Q: What are the changes taking place with air travel security? I have heard everyone will have to have a passport even to take a flight inside the United States.
A: On Oct. 1, 2020, the federally mandated Real ID law goes into full enforcement, and if you travel by air, this law will impact you.
If you haven’t been paying attention to Real ID, it’s time to get informed.
Real ID is the post-9/11 federal requirement that sets higher security standards for identification. Once in full effect, standard state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards no longer will be good enough in Homeland Security scenarios – such as boarding flights within the United States and entering certain federal facilities like military bases or nuclear power plants.
The good news is many people already have a Real ID document, such as a valid U.S. passport, a DHS Trusted Traveler Card or an Enhanced Driver’s License.
A full list of acceptable Real ID documents is available at the Transportation Security Administration’s website, www.tsa.gov.
The bad news is your standard driver’s license or ID card isn’t on that list, unless you turn it into a Real ID-compliant document by visiting a Secretary of State office and present the required documents.
Here’s what you’ll need to bring:
• Your driver’s license or state ID card.
• Your certified birth certificate, with a raised seal or stamp issued by a governmental agency; your valid, unexpired U.S. passport; or an approved citizenship or legal presence document. (Faxes and photocopies won’t be accepted.)
• If your name differs from what is on your birth certificate, bring certified documents for every time your name has changed, such as marriage licenses or court orders.
There’s no additional fee to turn a license or state ID card into a standard Real ID if it’s done during your normal renewal time. Otherwise a duplicate card fee will be charged. So, don’t delay.
Remember to check your Part D drug plan during open enrollment.
Medicare open enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, during which you can review your current prescription drug plan, or your Medicare Advantage plan, and compare it to others to see what your best option is for the coming year.
You can do this by going online to Medicare.gov and clicking on “Find Health and Drug Plans.”
This year, the plan finder has been updated, and everyone is encouraged to create an account to get specific plan information. If you don’t have computer access or aren’t comfortable going online, the Area Agency on Aging has counselors certified by the Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) who are available to assist in objectively reviewing your Medicare plan and comparing other Medicare drug plan choices. This service is free and confidential.
It is a good idea to double-check your options every year because so many variables can impact the cost of your coverage, such as cost of individual drugs and whether your plan still covers all the drugs you take.
If you want some help comparing Medicare plans, call our office at 983-0177 after Oct. 1. There are counselors in other locations in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties, as well as AAA’s office, so we can help you find a counselor near you.
AAA will be moving in the direction of enrollment events with local MMAP counselors to offer walk-in service, so individual appointments are limited. These will be at 2920 Lakeview Ave., in St. Joseph, from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m., Oct. 21, Nov. 5, Nov. 19 and Dec. 5.
You will need to bring your ID, a current medication list, and all your insurance cards, including your Medicare Card.
No registration is required. The last person signed in at 3:30 p.m. will be seen.
Sara Duris is community information liaison of Region IV Area Agency on Aging in Southwest Michigan. Questions on age or independence services? Call the Info-Line for Aging & Disability at 800-654-2810 or visit www.areaagencyonaging.org. The Generations column appears each Sunday in The Herald-Palladium.