NIAASC web site: www.niaasc.org E-mail: niaasc@aol.com Toll-free phone: 866-6-niaasc (866-664-2272)


7 Roberta Avenue, Farmingville, NY 11738 Spring 2004 issue Editors: Rajeshwar Prasad & Ashwin Pandya MD



and Indian Seniors lost an Activist

Mr. Purushottam Karra was a member of the Board of Directors of theNational Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) and served as its liaison for senior programs in New Jersey. NIAASC will miss him as an active voice for seniors, and New Jersey State will have a vacuum hard to fill at the state level. Purushottam Karra had worked in India for about 30 years as a Regional Marketing Manager for a leading pharmaceutical manufacturing company. In India, he was the Co-founder and Secretary of Federation of Medical Reps. Association, and was actively associated with various social, cultural, educational, political and community service-oriented associations. In the USA, since his arrival in 1986, Mr. Karra was involved as a community activist in providing various services to Indian community. He was the Founding President of Indo-American Senior Citizen Association of New Jersey, and a member of Edison Township Senior Citizen Board. He actively lobbied for various issues pertaining to seniors with local, state and national politicians and government officials. Mr. Karra also served on the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. He was selected as Advisor to the Middlesex County Human Services Advisory Board.

NIAASC 2004 Board of Directors:

Officers: Rajeshwar Prasad, president (631-698-0512), Ashwin Pandya MD, vice president (516-292-9741), Ashok Satkalmi Ph.D., vice president (718-343-9038), Tara Kotecha, secretary (516-826-0486) and Romesh Tewari, treasurer ( 732-727-9456)

Board Members: Samir K. Dutta MD (newly elected): Floral Park, NY, Sushila Gidwani-Buschi: Dobbs Ferry NY, Satpal Malhotra (newly elected): Westbury, NY, Satya Malhotra RN: Westbury NY, Kamla Motihar: Flushing NY, Chandubhai Patel: Bellerose, NY, Manoj K. Patel Esq.: Jersey City NJ, M.K.Ramasubramanian: Fresh Meadows NY, Asha Samant DDS: Livingston NJ, V.N.Sehgal MD: Jackson Heights NY, Suprabhat Sengupta: Flushing NY, Chandrakant Shah: Floral Park NY, Vipin Shah: Old Bridge NJ, E.M.Stephen: Elmont NY, Satish Varma MD: New Hyde Park NY.

Dr. Samir Dutta, a practicing physician, comes with a very rich professional and community leadership background. He is past president of Nav Nirmaan and is involved with many other groups including political liaison.

Mr. Satpal Malhotra, with profession of commercial insurance, is a committed community leader and is the immediate past president of India Association of Long Island - a 27-year old organization.

NIAASC welcomes both on its Board of Directors.


NIAASC acknowledges with gratitude the sponsorship of MK Ramasubramanian and Satpal Malhota for this issue of the newsletter. It also acknowledges sponsorship by Drs. Samir K. Dutta and Satish K. Varma for the next issue of NIAASC newsletter. Another supporter: Romesh Tewari



The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens concentrated on developing a rapport with the governmental entities on Long Island, New York, thereby assisting local Indian groups and organizations in developing programs for seniors. The NIAASC President along with representatives of Long Island Gujarati Cultural Society (LIGCS) had a meeting with officials in the Office of Aging in Suffolk County in January 2004. This meeting was followed with another meeting with the officials of the Department of Human Services in the Town of Huntington where, in addition to LIGCS, representatives of India Association of Long Island also joined. Both meetings were very positive and productive. The LIGCS representatives also had a meeting with the Office of Aging in the Brookhaven Town government. As a result of their efforts, LIGCS has started a senior program at the Park and Recreation Center in Blue Point the last Sunday of every month. After seeking input on programs for seniors from its membership on April 4, which was also attended by the NIAASC representatives, the first Blue Point session was held on April 25, 2004. Praful Shah is the coordinator of the LIGCS senior program in Blue Point. The India Association of Long Island is moving ahead to initiate a senior program at the Senior Citizen Center of the Town of Huntington on 423 Park Avenue in Huntington.

NIAASC also collaborated with the IALI in its sixth Senior Luncheon held on April 25, 2004. The keynote speaker for this occasion was Dr. Narendra Hadpawat, chief of Cardiology at the Peninsula hospital and the subject was ‘Heart Disease and Indian Americans.’ A discussion panel consisted of Dr. Hadpawat, IALI president, Dr. Bhavani Srinivasan, and Mr. Irving Toliver, Director of Human Services in the Town of Huntington, and was moderated by NIAASC president. NIAASC secretary, Tara Kotecha, participated

in the spontaneous cultural program at the luncheon. Besides the president and secretary, others from NIAASC Board of Directors who attended the luncheon included: Dr. Ashwin Pandya (vice president), and Satya and Satpal Malhotra.

NIAASC also cosponsored India’s Republic Day celebrations (2004) organized by the Senior Citizen Center of New York (Vaishnav Temple), founded by Dr. Ashwin Pandya. The Center also invited and recognized NIAASC and other organization/institution representatives at its second anniversary held November 2003 held at the Gujarati Community Center in Queens, New York..


NIAASC will be pleased to incorporate in its future newsletters information about programs for elders of Indian origin in USA. Please e-mail the information to NIAASC with the name of the organization and/or program, its address and telephone number, activities undertaken, number of seniors benefiting, eligibility requirements if any, contact person and his/her telephone number. NIAASC’s E-mail address is: niaasc@aol.com


Senior Programs in the New York:

Almost all senior programs in the New York area are represented on the Board of Directors of NIAASC or vice versa. NIAASC can facilitate interested seniors to reach the 'contact person' at these senior programs in case they are unable to contact the program/center directly.

*United Hindu Cultural Council Senior Center: Monday to Friday 10:00 AM. to 3:00 P.M. 118- 09 Sutter Avenue, South Ozone Park (Queens), NY 11419, Telephone: 718-323-8900

*Senior Citizen Center of New York (Vaishnav Temple): Alternate Saturdays, 196-43 Foothill Avenue, Holliswood, NY 11423. 2:00 P.M. To 4:00 P.M.: Telephone: 516-292-9741

*Senior Program by the Hindu Temple Society of North America: Every Wednesday, 10:00 to 3:00 P.M. 45-57 Bowne Street, Flushing, NY 11355, Telephone: 718-460-8484

*Guru Govind Singh Senior Center at the Plainview Gurudwara: Every Thursday, 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., at Old Country Road, Plainview, Nassau County, New York.

*Senior Forum by the Long Island Gujarati Cultural Society: Last Sunday of each month 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. 39 Montauk Highway, Blue Point, NY 11715 (Town of Brookhaven -- Recreation Center)

*Senior Citizens Program by the Indian American Kerala Cultural & Civic Center at 1824 Fairfax Street, Elmont, Last Monday of the month 7:00 to 10:00 P.M., Telephone: 516-358-2000



Financial Support for Low Income Medicare Beneficiaries: There are state programs that can pay for your Medicare Part B health insurance premiums (currently $64.00 per month), deductibles and/or coinsurance if you have low income and limited resources but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. These programs are called Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB), Special Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB), and Qualifying Individuals (Q1 and Q2). The programs may not be available in all states. Determination for eligibility for these programs is based on your income and resources and may differ from state to state. If your income and resources are too limited you may qualify for Medicaid - a joint federal and state program. Most of your health care costs are covered if you have both Medicare and Medicaid. For details of State programs for Medicare Savings call your Medical Assistance Office and ask for Medicare Savings Programs. If you do not have the telephone number of your State office, you may call 1-800-MEDICARE ( 1-800 633-4227), or you may call NIAASC at its toll free number 1-866-6-NIAASC (1-866-664-2272). You may also call Eldercare Locator at 1-800-667-1116.


ANNOUNCEMENTS for the benefit of seniors and their families: For more details you can call the sponsoring organization or NIAASC.

1. Gujarati Samaj of New York (718-357-8471) will hold Health Fair on September 26, 2004, from 10:00 in the morning till 4:00 P.M..providing free medical check up, at the Gujarati Community Center in Queens, New York

2. India Association of Long Island has following three upcoming programs: 516-942-2021

a. Annual Fundraising Dinner, June 12 at the Crest Hollow Country Club, Woodbury.

b. Family Picnic, July 18, at the Eisenhower Park, East Meadow.

c. Indiafest on September 26 at the Bar Harbor Beach, Port Washington.




Medicare-Approved Prescription Drug Discount Card

(The following information has been assembled from various sources including AARP news bulletin, Newsday & New York Times newspapers, Medicare Bulletin and NAPCA newsletter)

Starting May 1, 2004 you can enroll in a Medicare-approved Drug Discount Card (Card). This program starts June 1, 2004. The Card will be good until at least December 31, 2005. This interim program is a precursor to a program called Medicare Part D which begins in 2006.

Who is Eligible?

Anyone who is enrolled in Medicare and does not have prescription drug coverage through Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, Group Health Insurance, or a Federal Employees Health Program, is eligible to receive Medicare-approved discount card.

Please note:

Anyone who is currently enrolled in a State assistance program such as EPIC in New York, can still get a card. If seniors already have prescription drug coverage through current health insurance or some other sources are advised to review the coverage and evaluate if the new card will save them more money.

Who issues these Discount Cards?

Medicare has chosen private companies -- pharmaceutical companies, health insurers, drug store chains, managed care firms, and private organizations -- to provide the discount cards. These sponsors have to meet the Medicare standard. Each sponsor reportedly has negotiated discount prices with manufacturers and retail stores. Medicare has approved 39 new national and 33 local and regional discount drug cards. Each company providing a discount card will decide which prescription drugs will be discounted and the amount of discount for those drugs. Seniors taking certain prescription drugs should be advised to choose a card that meets their drug needs at their favorite pharmacy. Seniors eligible for the Card also have to figure out which company card covers the greatest number of drugs they take, and how the discounted prices compare to those available from other programs, including availability in Canada.

Please note:

The companies can switch the drugs they cover, they can switch the percentage of discount. They can also raise prices.

Do Cardholders have any Restrictions?

Once seniors have chosen a discount card they cannot switch to another card for the rest of the calendar year, unless they

  1. permanently move to a state that dose not offer the same discount card,
  2. join or leave a Medicare Managed Care plan.
  3. enter or leave a long term care facility (like a nursing home) or
  4. the private company stops offering the discount card

How Much Do You Have to Pay for the Card?

Companies that offer Medicare-approved discount card can charge an annual fees up to $30.00 each, and entitle recipients to discount of 10 to 25 percent starting June 1, 2004. You need not pay enrollment fees if you qualify for $600.00 Credit (see below under financial help).

Is there any Financial Help to pay for drugs?

If a senior is eligible to get the Medicare-approved discount card, there is a $600.00 credit to help pay for prescription drugs if your annual salary is less than $12,569 ($16,862 for a married couple). If you are eligible for this credit, there is no enrollment fee.

Please note:

1. Once the credit is approved, the amount approved will be applied to the senior’s discount card. Each time the discount card is used, the pharmacy will deduct the amount spent on prescription from the discount card.

2. Seniors will have to pay a percentage of the cost for each prescription even if they get $600.00 to help pay for the prescription. Seniors in the above income bracket ($12,569 or $16,862) will pay 10 percent of the cost of each prescription, while seniors with an income of $9,310 or less (for a single person) or $12,490 (for a married couple) will pay 5 percent of the cost of prescription.

What if I have any other questions?

There are quite a few options:

*You can go to the official Medicare Web site: www.medicare.gov

*You can call Medicare hotline at 800-633-4227

*You can go to the web site of nonprofit Medicare Rights Center at www.medicarerights.org, or Families USA at www.familiesusa.org, or AARP worksheets including its drug benefit calculator www.aarp.org or the Kaiser Family Foundation at www.kff.org

The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens recognizes the limitations that all seniors do not have access to Internet or are capable to browse the web sites in order to make needed choices in selecting the appropriate discount drug card. It also realizes vulnerability seniors can face due to scams. The level of ignorance about the complexity of the Card is evident from recent Kaiser study that "found that 40% of seniors did not know the Medicare bill had been signed into law" under which the prescription discount drug card is approved.



A Resource Guide For Seniors And Caregivers

The following Resource Guide has been reproduced (with minor modifications) from an article by Saul Friedman of Newsday in Long Island, New York. Some of the information herewith pertains to New York and the Nassau & Suffolk Counties of New York. You can call the Eldercare Locator to get telephone numbers and web sites of different resources for your state and county. The Eldercare Locator is accessible at 800-667-1116 from 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. on working days.

General Social Security/Medicare Questions: Social Security: 800-772-1213 (www.ssa.gov); Medicare: 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227); (www.medicare.gov). New York Medicare Carrier: Empire Medicare Services, 800-442-8430.

Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) NY regional office: 212-264-3657.

Hospital, HMO and nursing home quality care complaints--Medicare’s official

Island Peer Review Organization (IPRO) hotline, 800-331-7767.

Medicare/HMO Problems:

Medicare Rights Center, 1460 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, offers publications on Medicare, Medicaid and HMOs. For help call the Hotline: 800-333-4114 or 212-869-3850 (www.medicarerights.org) For legal help on Medicare issues call the Center for Medicare Advocacy, 860-456-7790; 202-216-0028; (www.medicareadvocacy.org).

Health Insurance Hotline: For Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance (HICAP), Medicare HMO and Medigap Information. 212-333-5511; Medicare HMO appeals: 888-466-9050.

Help line for Medicare Hospital Patients: If denied admission to a hospital or to prevent or appeal premature hospital discharge: Statewide Senior Action Council: 800-333-4374/212-316-9393.

Legal Services: New York City: 212-391-0120; Queens: 718-657-8611; Nassau: 516-292-8088;

Suffolk: 631-854-0401.

General Aging Issues and Information:

New York State Office on Aging, 800-342-9871; New York City: 212-442-1000; Nassau: 516-571-5814; Suffolk: 631-853-8200.

Department of Social Services: For Medicaid, SSI, 800-343-8859;

Applications for Medicare Premium Assistance (QMB, QI-1 and SLMB)–New York,

877-472-8411; Nassau, 516-571-4558; Suffolk, 631-852-3710; 631-853-8730.

Discount Drugs: Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) 800-332-3742.

Long-term Care Insurance Information: http://www.unitedseniorshealth.org New York State Partnership for Long Term Care, 888-697-7582, 518-473-8083 (Leave name and address). Web site: www.nyspltc.org.

Nursing Home Abuses/Complaints: State Department of Health Hotline for all counties and cities, 888-201-4563.

Hotline for Medicaid/Nursing Home Problems: Friends and Relatives of the Institutionalized Aged (FRIA) 18 John St., Suite 905, New York, NY 10038, 212-732-4455, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. (www.fria.org).; Nursing Home Community Coalition, 212-385-0355; check out nursing homes at www.ipro.org.

Resources for Care givers: Children of Aging Parents (CAP), 1609 Woodbourne Rd., Suite 302A Levittown, PA 19057; 800-227-7294. National Eldercare Locator, to find assistance and a geriatric care manager for the elderly anywhere in the country: 800-677-1116.

AARP: The 24-hour membership help line: 800-424-3410; (www.aarp.org).

Alliance for Retired Americans, 800-333-7212, www.retiredamericans.org.

End of Life Issues: Personalized living wills, advance directives, health care proxies, and information on hospice care from "Partnership For Caring," 1620 Eye St., NW, Suite 202, Washington, DC, 20006, 800-989-9455, or free online from www.partnershipforcaring.org, Or "Sanctuary Inc.," at 718-479-1000, or www.healthproxylivingwill.org, asks for $25 contribution.

Housing for Seniors: The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, 901 E. Street, NW, Washington, 20004-2037; 202-783-2242. www.seniorsites.com

Reverse Mortgage Information: National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Assn., 1625 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20036. 866-264-4466, www.reversemortgage.org.

Recommended Publications: "Nursing Homes/ Alternatives'' $35, order from FRIA 212-732-4455; Consumer Reports’ "Complete Guide to Health Services for Seniors," by Trudy Lieberman, $19.95, Three Rivers Press/Random House; "J.K. Lasser’s Choosing the Right Long Term Care Insurance, " Ben Lipson,

Wiley, $16.95.

A Few Senior Web Sites:

National Family Caregivers Association, 301-942-6430, http://www.nfcacares.org;

For computer learning, www.seniornet.org;

For health information, www.intelihealth.com, www.healthandage.com,

For advocacy and help, www.familiesusa.org.

For legal advice www.elderlawanswers.com.http://www.familiesusa.org,

For the latest Medicare/Medicaid developments, www.kaisernetwork.org.

A good government web site, www.aoa.dhhs.gov/aoahttp://www.first.gov


The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens has arranged seven conferences and/or workshops so far. Their listing appeared in the last newsletter. NIAASC has been developing collaborations with a number of organizations and senior programs, though primarily limited to New York region at this time. However, the 'information' objective of NIAASC is nationwide, and its toll free number 1-866-6-NIAASC is available 24 hours. Caller can leave a message and a NIAASC representative returns the call ASAP. It may be worthwhile to point out that some callers (about 5%) have not received call backs from NIAASC as the message and particularly telephone number was not clear.

Two issues which are currently of importance to Indian seniors are: Senior Housing Facilities and Long Term Planning with specific approach to assist in developing necessary instruments such as Will, Durable Power of Attorney. NIAASC had full day conference on each of these issues. However, it is now widely recognized that some practical steps be taken to help seniors in these two areas. NIAASC, though an information, referral and advocacy entity, plans to have a brainstorming session on 'Developing Senior Housing Facilities.' NIAASC role will be to facilitate to arrange this workshop and if an individual or agency is willing to undertake the project of developing housing complex for seniors, NIAASC will continue to support in the process. The session will consist of professionals and interested community leaders, including investors or real estate professionals/developers. It is being planned end of June or middle of July 2004. Interested persons may call any of the NIAASC officers. The session will be limited to 20-25 participants.

In the area of long term planning with the intent to assist in developing necessary instruments NIAASC will work with professional organizations and institutions to assist. Recently, Senior Citizen Center of New York had arranged a 'working session' on developing these instruments for seniors and some 50 participants took advantage of the opportunity. NIAASC will expand on that and seek assistance of entities like the above mentioned center to develop such 'working sessions' for interested seniors on some regular basis.



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