Keeping Medicare costs and utility rates down in the Mid-Atlantic
31. 9 Va.
31. 8 Ariz.
31. 6 Ohio
31. 5 Kan.
31. 2 N.C.
30. 6 N.D.
30. 4 Mass.
30. 3 Pa.
29. 9 Iowa
29. 8 Neb.
29. 7 Wyo.
29. 5 Maine
29. 5 Wis.
29. 2 Minn.
28. 9 Okla.
28. 8 Mont.
28. 8 N.H.
28. 2 R.I.
27. 4 Colo.
26. 8 Ore.
Keeping watch During the
recent legislative session, AARP
Virginia successfully encouraged
lawmakers to block or amend
several pieces of legislation that
could have led to higher electric
bills for residents. ; The pro-
posed legislation, which never
reached a vote, would have al-
lowed utility companies to adopt
“smart meters,” devices that track
electricity usage, allowing utilities
to charge more per kilowatt-hour
during times of peak demand.
AARP argued that if smart meters
were installed, lawmakers should
safeguard consumers by requiring
utilities to report to regulators on
the difference in cost to consum-
ers and how effectively the new
system conserved energy. ; To
learn more, visit www.aarp.org/va.
; North Carolina
Fraud patrol AARP is encour-
aging Medicare and Medicaid
beneficiaries to report possible
billing errors and suspected fraud
to the North Carolina Senior
Medicare Patrol. ; As part of the
state Seniors’ Health Insurance
Information Program, the pa-
trol helps beneficiaries and their
caregivers understand Medicare
documents such as summary
notices and explanations of ben-
efits. Armed with this knowledge,
people can identify and report
problems that cost taxpayers na-
tionwide about $19 billion a year.
; Volunteers with the state AARP
Fraud Fighters Speakers Bu-
reau are incorporating tips from
the Senior Medicare Patrol into
presentations. In addition, the
information will be presented at
Scam Jam consumer fraud forums
across the state this year. To learn
more, go to www.aarp.org/nc, or
call the patrol at 1-800-443-9354.
; New Jersey
Money crunch As lawmakers consider the budget proposed by
Gov. Chris Christie, R, AARP New Jersey is urging them to protect
programs that help older state residents. ; Funding is tight in a slug-
gish economy, and the new fiscal-year budget must be in place by July
1. Programs facing possible cuts include FamilyCare, which provides
health care for low-income families with children, including grand-
parents raising grandchildren; the senior property tax freeze; and state
prescription drug programs. In addition, the state’s poorest residents
could face copayments on some medical services. ; AARP encourages
members to contact their legislators through its legislative hotline at
1-800-844-2272 and the governor’s office at 609-292-6000 to ask that
these programs not fall victim to the budget ax.
; District of Columbia
Career boosters With the unemployment rate among U.S. work-
ers age 55 and older at a 60-year high, AARP D.C. is cosponsoring a ca-
reer fair on May 11 at Nationals Park. ; Produced in cooperation with
Dominion Enterprises, publisher of the Employment Guide, the local
career fair is part of a national AARP effort called Helping Experience
Work @50+. Scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the event will feature
career counseling and AARP resources for job seekers age 50-plus.
; Registration is required for an optional workshop called “The Power
of Promoting Yourself at 50+” on personal branding and image. To
register for the workshop, go to www.workat50plus.com or call 1-888-
; West Virginia
No such thing AARP is
working with the West Virginia
Insurance Commission and State
Auditor’s Office to inform con-
sumers about the possible dangers
of investing in products pitched
at “free lunch” seminars. To learn
how to guard against investment
fraud, make plans to attend one of
several “No Free Lunch” work-
shops scheduled across the state
this year. For a list of dates and
locations, go to www.aarp.org/wv.
; If you have received an invita-
tion to an investment seminar and
are planning to attend, consider
monitoring it for AARP by using
the “What to Listen For” check-
list. To download the checklist, go
to www.aarp.org/nofreelunch and
click on the link to the left.
—Reports by Donya Currie