North Dakota State Capitol

— THE HEADLINE  12/5/2018 Governor Doug Burgum presented his budget for the next biennium to North Dakota legislators on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. Here are some of the highlights, prioritizing issues AARP North Dakota will be working on during this session: Burgum proposes changes in how social services are delivered in the state. He would like to see the current structure of 47 administrative areas changed to 19. He was quick to emphasize that ‘touch points’ would not change, …

— AARP is here to help you take on today – and every day. From sharing practical resources, to holding fun activities and events, AARP is providing opportunities to connect and help build an even stronger North Dakota for all ages to live, work and play. We hope you’ll join us!

— AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is looking to expand its team of volunteers for the upcoming tax season. Tax-Aide offers free tax filing help to anyone, especially those 50 and older, who can’t afford a tax preparation service. Tax-Aide volunteers make a difference in their communities by assisting many older, lower-income taxpayers who might otherwise miss out on the credits and deductions they’ve earned. Tax-Aide volunteers receive training and support in a welcoming environment. There is need for volunteer tax preparers, client …

— AARP is encouraging Medicare beneficiaries to read their annual Notice of Change and to review their health and prescription drug plan options for 2019 during Medicare Open Enrollment Oct. 15-Dec. 7. The N.D. Insurance Department is conducting Part D open enrollment events in eight North Dakota cities. You can also call 2-1-1 from anywhere in North Dakota now through Nov. 16 for help. After providing your medication information and answering some questions, information on the best three plans will be …

— Check out the October AARP North Dakota newsletter. Stories include: Telephone Town Halls with U.S. Senate Candidates. Burkholder Named Recipient of Volunteer Award. Caregiving Expert to Speak in Bismarck and Fargo. Minot, Grand Forks Caregiving Lunch and Learns. Upcoming Coffee and Conversations in Mayville, Cavalier, and Valley City. Monthly legislative update calls with Advocacy Director Mike Chaussee. Upcoming driver safety classes around the state. Get Help with Medicare Part D during Open Enrollment If you’d like to receive the newsletter …

— In a newly released AARP poll, North Dakota voters age 50 and over are united in their concern over health care and personal finance issues. The poll found that health care and Social Security are critically important issues to 50-plus voters as they cast their ballots this fall, and a strong majority (79 percent) believe it is unfair to deny coverage or charge those with pre-existing conditions more for health care. The survey is part of AARP’s “Be the Difference. …

— An expert witness testified in support of AARP’s concerns about Montana-Dakota Utilities’ proposal to raise natural gas rates during a North Dakota Public Service Commission technical hearing May 30-June 1. MDU is asking for a $3.6 million increase applied to residential customers and general service (large commercial users) customers. AARP formally intervened in this rate case allowing us to testify against the rate proposal during the hearing. AARP raised the following issues with MDU’s proposal: The collection of the increase …

— Starting in April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin mailing new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare, including 126,000 in North Dakota. Instead of a Social Security number, the new card will have a Medicare number that’s unique to each person with Medicare. The new card will help protect your identity and keep your personal information more secure. Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same. Medicare will automatically mail new cards at no cost …

— As bitter cold temperatures settle in, most families are turning up their thermostats to stay warm. For some low- and fixed-income households, cranking up the heat is not always an option. The North Dakota Department of Human Services reminds people that help is available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The federally-funded program pays a portion of home heating costs for qualifying low-income households. Older adults, people with disabilities, and families with children age five and younger …

— Montana-Dakota Utilities has another natural gas rate request proposal that includes a 5.9 percent increase for residential users. The North Dakota Public Service Commission is holding public hearings on the rate increase at 5 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, Oct. 24, and Wednesday, Oct. 25. Prior to the hearing, AARP is providing a briefing for those interested in learning more and how you can voice your opinion to the Public Service Commission. At the conclusion of the briefing we will proceed …

— The recent cold temperatures may have left some low-income North Dakotans with home heating costs that are higher than their budget can handle. The North Dakota Department of Human Services reminds low-income individuals and families and seniors on limited fixed incomes that help is available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The federally-funded program helps qualifying households pay a portion of their home heating costs, whether its natural gas, electricity, propane, coal, fuel oil, wood or kerosene. …

— As the days and nights get colder, some low-income North Dakotans may find the increase in home heating costs beyond what their budget can handle. The North Dakota Department of Human Services is reminding low-income individuals, families, and seniors that help is available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Applications are now being accepted at county social service offices in North Dakota. The federally-funded program helps qualifying households in need of assistance pay a portion of their …