The best freebies for people 60+

Maybe baby boomers don’t have any greater need than other generations to save money — but we do have greater opportunities. That’s what this story is about. It appeared originally on MoneyTips.com, and we found it at the PBS website of our friends at NextAvenue.org. We love the title: The Best Freebies for People 60+.

Once you’re in your 60s, you may have aches and pains and other concerns, but a little good news comes out of it: you start finding yourself eligible for discounts based on your age.

You should take full advantage of these — including some outright freebies!

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For example:

Free admission at state parks, museums, sporting events, state fairs … plenty of places offer free entry to Americans who are of the boomer generation at specified times. Check for special nights with any place or event you would like to visit.

Why not go back to school? Many states and colleges have tuition-waiver programs allowing people 60 and older to attend some classes for free. They may not be for credit, but you can still explore areas that interest you or catch up on the latest technologies.

If you need help with your taxes and are 60 or older, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website can direct you to nearby free assistance. Offered from January 1 to April 15, it will be from IRS-certified tax specialists in retirement-related tax issues, through its Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program.

AARP offers a similar program around the country (known as AARP Foundation Tax-Aide) for low- to moderate-income taxpayers— with special attention to those 60 and older— from late January/early February to April 15.

affordable_careThe Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) mandates that some preventative care procedures and screenings be covered at no out-of-pocket cost to you, regardless of age. These include blood pressure testing, cholesterol and colorectal cancer screening, various vaccines and one free wellness visit annually.

A guide to Medicare-related preventive health care services can be found at the Medicare website in the government’s publication: Your Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services (be prepared to download a huge PDF file).

Some health care plans cover the services, but the services themselves may not be free. For example, a vaccine might be free, but there might be shared costs to administer it. Check with your health plan and your doctor to verify when “free” means completely free of costs during the visit.

If you qualify, you may be able to receive free prescription drugs through Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs). PAPs are set up through drug companies to assist low-income individuals who cannot afford certain medications.

You can start by checking to see if your prescription drugs are available through these programs at the Rxassist.org site for patient assistance programs. Some supermarkets with pharmacies also offer certain free prescriptions as part of their loyalty program.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers free eye exams and potentially up to a year of free care through EyeCare America to people 65 and older who have not seen an eye doctor in at least three years. Check the guidelines at the EyeCare America website to see if you qualify.

States and municipalities also often offer their own free assistance over a wide range of programs for people who qualify based on age and/or income. Examples include assistance with simple home repairs to correct unsafe situations, shoveling snow off sidewalks and driveways, and building wheelchair ramps. Links are usually available through government websites, although some are more user-friendly than others.

Take a little time to investigate the free goods and services available to you. Discounts are great, but freebies are even better. Why pay anything at all if you don’t have to?

© Twin Cities Public Television – 2016. All rights reserved.

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