October 1-7, 2014

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Help paying for prescriptions

Long before Medicare Part D was created to provide help with the purchase of prescription medications, Pennsylvania had its own programs for low-income elderly. PACE (Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly) offers prescription coverage for individuals age 65 and older whose incomes are below $14,500, and for married couples with incomes below $17,700. Co-pays for generics are $6 and for name brands, $9.

Another Pennsylvania program covers individuals whose incomes fall between $14,500 and $23,500 and couples between $17,700 and $21,500 is known as PACENET (NET stands for Needs Enhancement Tier). Their co-pays are $8 for generics, $15 for name brands.

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Plan for life after your retirement

When Konnie Stark retired from her high-powered executive career after 40 years in the corporate world, she was not about to turn into a couch potato.

Stark had spent the majority of her career at Siemens Healthcare USA, Inc., a health care diagnostic and information technology company headquartered in Malvern, Pa., where she’d held senior leadership positions in marketing and communications and strategic planning and led the firm’s diversity initiative. “I knew I wanted to try new things,” she says.

Retirement opened up time and flexibility for creative pursuits, taking chances on new activities, and connecting with family. Stark’s transition was recently highlighted on “The Art of Aging,” a weekly series of 60-second segments televised during 2014 on 6ABC and statewide, which address the issues, challenges and opportunities that come with growing older. While still a novice at retired life, she has some lessons from her own experience to share.

Plan ahead
Accustomed to planning in her business career and analytical by nature, Stark says she considered in advance how she wanted to spend her time so she would feel more prepared. “I also consulted with friends who had already retired about what it’s like and how to find my way,” she says.

Stay connected
While Stark looked forward to spending more time playing the piano and reading, “I realized in talking about retirement with friends that I didn’t want to just do things that are solitary. I wanted to do as much as I could with other people,” she remembers.

Soon after retiring, she auditioned for the Abington Choral Club, a diverse community choir which performs a wide variety of traditional to modern classical, popular and holiday music. “It was funny at this point in my life to have to audition,” says Stark, an experienced music director of musical theater productions. “I’m not really a singer. Fortunately for me, they allowed us to sing anything we chose for the audition. 

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