Medicare Café to help Valley residents

saaaA unique Medicare Café opens in Clarke County this August and offers local residents help in understanding their personal Medicare benefits and/or the opportunity to gather information for family members or friends.  This monthly event is open to the public and is a free community service hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9760 in Berryville in partnership with the non-profit Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging (SAAA).  The VFW Post is located at 425 S Buckmarsh St, Berryville, VA 22611.

The first Medicare Café begins on August 28th at 10:00 a.m. with a presentation by certified VICAP Counselor René White that will help distinguish Parts A and B of original Medicare compared to Part C Medicare Advantage Plans, highlight Part D Prescription Coverage, and review benefits people may not know about.  At 11:00 a.m. there will be a “Military Veteran Benefits” presentation by Bill Stewart, the VFW Post 9760 chaplain, and then at 11:30 a.m. a “Tax Relief for Elderly and Disabled and Low Income Housing Benefits” briefing by Donna Peake, Clarke County commissioner of Revenue. Each session will include time for questions and answers.

During the afternoon, SAAA’s Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP) will offer counseling sessions available on a first-come first-served basis from 1 – 4 PM.   The Medicare Café provides a safe place where neighbors can go to get help understanding Medicare information, while enjoying coffee, tea and cookies.  Medicare benefits can be complicated, especially for those without Internet access. The VFW is wired for free-Wi-Fi, so everyone is welcome to bring their laptops or tablets.

“We are proud to offer this free service at the VFW in Clarke County,” said Marty Schiller VICAP specialist. “This Medicare Café is an idea of our newest certified VICAP volunteer counselor René White.  René is a military veteran, President of the Native American Church of Virginia, a Clarke County resident and a member of the Berryville VFW Post 9760.”

When asked why she was organizing the Medicare Café, René replied, “Like my mom would say, I’m just being a good citizen. As a volunteer, my personal goal is to help our neighbors, honor our elders and veterans, and connect Medicare and military benefits to those who need and earned them.”

René White joins SAAA’s team of six certified VICAP Counselors.  With population growth in the area, more people getting older and seniors living longer, the need for understanding Medicare is growing.  Those interested in volunteering to help with VICAP can reach Marty Schiller at 540-635-7141 or 800 883-4122 at ext. 303.

The next Medicare Café will be scheduled for September 25 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.  VICAP is one of many senior support services provided by the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging.  More information is available at or by calling (540) 635-7141.  The official Medicare web site is


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