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Welcome to Medicare

CCMH is sponsoring a free Welcome to Medicare seminar on Thursday, March 14, from 5:30 to 7 pm in Conference Room B at the hospital. Registering for the seminar can be completed by calling 712-265-2509.

“It’s free, so anyone can sign up for this, but we’re in particular looking for an audience of people who are going to be enrolling in Medicare soon. If you’re turning 65 or know someone who is, your parents, or someone you help, this Medicare seminar is for you.”

Connie Riesselman is a Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) counselor at CCMH.


Riesselman says the SHIIP program in Denison serves a sizable number of seniors each year.

“We saw around 220 people in 2023. Part of our responsibility, part of the goals we set forward are to help as many people as possible to understand Medicare. In particular, we concentrate a lot on Medicare Part D because the prescription drug supplement is one that a lot of people have. There’s a lot of questions about that. People come in every year between October and December to take a look at the  drug plans because they change every year. So even if you’ve been on Medicare for years and years, we can look at new plans every year for Part D to make sure you’re on the right plan for the upcoming year. We’re also available throughout the year for anyone who needs any help with anything related to Medicare.”

There are many facets to Medicare coverage, most denoted by letters of the alphabet.

“We’ll spend some time during the seminar discussing the ABCs. These are the supplements that go along with Medicare Part A, and Part B. There are supplements like C (Medicare Advantage), and the D (prescription drug coverage), and G (Medigap coverages), and all those supplemental plans, which can be a bit complicated. Now, to sign up for Medicare, you’d think you’d go to, right? Wrong. You sign up for Medicare through the Social Security Administration. It’s just these kind of nuances of the system we discuss to help people streamline the process.”


While there’s a much to know about Medicare, Riesselman explained the seminar is very informal and questions are invited.

“As we go through the seminar, I know it can be overwhelming because there’s so much information. This is a very relaxed seminar. I have people ask questions as we go. You don’t hold your questions to the end and then you forget them. We answer them right away and get that out there, so you completely understand it and you’re not lost in the dark. And you’ll get a packet of information to take home as well.”

One irritating aspect of Medicare is the vast amount of mail one receives from various companies about signing up for their supplemental insurance.

“Keep in mind, while most people think that all mail related to Medicare is ‘junk mail,’ you have to pay close attention to the return address. If you get letters from Medicare, you’d think it would say Medicare on the return address, but it’s CMS. That’s an acronym that stands for ‘Centers for Medicare Services.’ Remember, the return address won’t be Medicare, it will be CMS. So that’s something people should be alerted to that they need to be careful.”


As noted above, you can register for the Welcome to Medicare seminar at CCMH by phoning 712-265-2509.

“The person who answers the phone there, just tell them you want to sign up for the free Medicare seminar and they will put your name down and you’re signed up. While the deadline for registration is Monday, March 11, I’m not going to turn anybody away. If you call on the day of the seminar, you’re going to be able to get in. And then, of course, we’ll have refreshments. We’ll have some water, tea, coffee, and cookies.”

Riesselman says even after you have attended the seminar and have additional questions, she is only a phone call away.

“If you come to the Welcome to Medicare seminar, normally I do a follow up appointment to help finish or take care of the last minute details. If there are questions I can’t answer, I have a wonderful resource in Des Moines, Iowa at the SHIIP office, which is located in the office of the state insurance commissioner. They’re the experts. And I have them on speed dial. We will always call a professional who knows the answer to your questions.”



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This contact form is designed for general inquiries and not intended for urgent matters or medical advice. If you are seeking answers to a medical question, please contact your medical provider or call the hospital operator at 712.265.2500