SCMH To Sponsor Medicare Education Ahead of Open Enrollment


SMITH CENTER, Kan. – Smith County Memorial Hospital will sponsor Medicare education sessions for area residents. Two sessions will be held on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Smith Center Church of the Nazarene.

“We were pleased with the turnout at these events two years ago and are happy to once again be able to sponsor in-person events for this important topic,” said Allen Van Driel, CEO of the hospital. “The Medicare enrollment period will open on Oct. 15 and we want everyone who is eligible to have time to ask questions and learn about changes to the program.”

Van Driel notes that these sessions may be especially helpful for anyone signing up for Medicare for the first time, those who have experienced health changes or care givers helping a loved one navigate the process.

“There is a lot to know and the window for decision-making is short,” Van Driel said. “If this is your first experience enrolling in Medicare it can seem overwhelming. That is one of the reasons we feel so strongly about education. We want to help members of the public sort through the plan options, what is Medicare and what is supplemental insurance, etc.”

Van Driel goes on to say that regardless of attending an education session, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion before purchasing insurance.

“The experts we bring in for education know the ins and outs of Medicare very well,” Van Driel said. “They aren’t trying to sell a product, they are simply providing education to help our patients and the greater community understand what they’re buying and how it works before they commit to a year of premiums.”

The hospital administration has been hoping to get back to public health education and they are pleased to kick off the return of in-person community events with a session on Medicare.

“While we can’t host them at the hospital right now, we are happy to have community partners who have opened their doors to the public for these sessions,” Van Driel said. “We know that Medicare is an important issue for the residents of North Central Kansas.”

The window for open enrollment for Medicare is from October 15 to December 7. The address for the Smith Center Church of the Nazarene is 117 E New York St, Smith Center, Kan. Please enter the church through the south door.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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