Actor Lee Majors Joins Flu + You Campaign to Raise Awareness of Risks of Flu for People 65 and Older
National Council on Aging Launches Second Year of Education Program for Older Adults and Those Who Care for Them Aimed at Helping to Protect More Older Adults from the Flu
Actor Lee Majors, best known for his iconic roles on The Big Valley, The Fall Guy, and The Six Million Dollar Man, is joining the National Council on Aging (NCOA) Flu + You program to help protect older adults from influenza (commonly known as “the flu”). Flu + You aims to inform adults 65 and older, their caregivers, and those who care about them, about the dangers of the flu, the importance of annual vaccination, and available vaccine options.
As a part of his involvement in the Flu + You campaign, Majors will appear in a public service announcement (PSA) that follows him as he embarks on an important and action-packed mission: learning about his vaccine options and getting vaccinated against the flu. The PSA will educate the public about the increased risk of flu in adults 65 years of age and older and the importance of knowing your vaccine options and getting a flu vaccine, even for tough guys like Majors.
Every year in the United States, roughly nine out of 10 flu-related deaths and more than six out of 10 flu-related hospitalizations occur in people 65 and older. Older adults are at a greater risk for flu due, in part, to the weakening of the immune system that typically occurs with age. This means that no matter how healthy or youthful we feel, as we age we become more vulnerable to the flu and its related complications.
“The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine as the single best way to protect yourself from the flu, yet a third of people 65 and older still don’t get vaccinated,” said Richard Birkel, PhD, MPA, NCOA Senior Vice President for Healthy Aging and Director of NCOA’s Self-Management Alliance. “As NCOA continues to educate older adults about the flu and the potential severity of the illness, we hope to encourage more people to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting an annual flu shot.”
The flu vaccine offers the best defense to protect against the flu, and adults 65 years of age and older have several vaccine options. In addition to the traditional flu vaccine (which helps protect against three strains of the flu virus), there is also a quadrivalent vaccine (which helps protect against four strains), and a higher dose vaccine that was designed specifically for adults 65 and older. By improving the production of antibodies in older patients, the higher dose vaccine can provide a stronger immune response to the flu than traditional vaccines. All flu vaccines are covered as a Medicare Part B benefit, which means there is no copay for Medicare beneficiaries 65 years of age and older.
“I get the flu shot every year and encourage my peers to do the same – it’s a simple step you can take to protect yourself from the flu,” says actor Lee Majors. “I urge everyone 65 years of age and older to talk to their health care provider about their vaccine options this flu season.”
The flu can make existing health conditions worse, and it is especially dangerous for people with lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer—conditions that commonly affect older adults. Nationwide, 86 percent of adults 65 years of age and older have at least one chronic health condition and approximately 66 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have two or more chronic conditions, putting them at increased risk of the flu and flu-related complications, which can be severe and include hospitalization and even death.
For more facts about flu, and to order free educational materials, including a brochure and fact sheet, visit www.ncoa.org/Flu.
About Flu + You
Flu + You is a national public education initiative, from the National Council on Aging with support from Sanofi Pasteur, to educate adults 65 years and older about the dangers of the influenza virus, the importance of annual vaccination, and available vaccine options. Older adults and their caregivers can learn more on the Flu + You website, www.ncoa.org/Flu, which features a public service announcement with Lee Majors and facts about the flu. Also available on the website is a calendar of Flu + You events that will be held in 12 cities throughout the United States in September and October. At the events, older adults will have the opportunity to learn more about their risks for flu and available vaccine options, as well as talk to a health care provider and receive a flu vaccination.
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for millions of older adults—especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged—and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. For more information, please visit:
www.NCOA.org | www.facebook.com/NCOAging | www.twitter.com/NCOAging
CONTACT: Dana Kinker, (212) 301-7181, email@example.com
Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Changes Are Expected, Allsup Explains
New Medicare plan options for 2014 will be available Oct. 15, but Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment could confuse beneficiaries
There are only a few weeks before the Medicare annual open enrollment period begins Oct. 15. This year’s Medicare season crosses calendars with the rollout of the Health Insurance Marketplace, so it’s important Medicare-eligible beneficiaries understand the differences between the two government programs, according to Allsup, a nationwide provider of Medicare plan selection services.
During the Medicare annual enrollment period, Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, all Medicare beneficiaries have the option to change their Medicare plans for the coming year to better match their needs. This includes anyone using original Medicare, Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plans.
“Because the federal and state-run health insurance exchanges open for business just two weeks prior to Medicare enrollment, some people may be confused,” said Paula Muschler, manager of the Allsup Medicare Advisor®, a Medicare plan selection service offering personalized help that includes customized research and enrollment assistance.
“Medicare beneficiaries may falsely think they need to enroll in an exchange plan to avoid penalties. Or, they may be so flustered that they don’t carefully evaluate their Medicare plan options for 2014, which could be detrimental if their plan or their needs have changed,” Muschler said.
Another potential area of confusion is for those individuals turning 65 during Medicare annual enrollment. “Because some seniors become Medicare eligible during this time period, they need to look at their Medicare selections for coverage that takes them through year-end 2013, as well as coverage that will begin Jan. 1, 2014,” Muschler said. “These first-time enrollees can benefit from the help of a Medicare specialist like Allsup when it comes to navigating their Medicare plan decisions.”
What to Expect: Medicare Coverage 2014
Nearly 50 million people are enrolled in Medicare. Each year, annual open enrollment brings with it changes that can affect their Medicare plan selections.
Following are factors to keep in mind for 2014 coverage:
Medicare is not part of the Health Insurance Marketplace. Anyone with Medicare is considered covered and won’t face penalties for being uninsured under provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Medicare annual open enrollment runs Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. (Note: Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment is from Oct. 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).)
Medicare recipients reaching the drug donut hole will benefit from lower costs. The gap in prescription drug coverage starts when someone reaches the initial coverage limit, estimated at $2,850 in 2014. It ends when they have spent $4,550, when catastrophic coverage begins. (These are reductions of $120 and $200, respectively, from 2013.) During the donut hole, all costs are covered by individuals out of their own pocket. In 2014, those who reach the donut hole can receive a 52.5 percent discount on brand-name drugs and 28 percent discount on generic drugs (an increase from 21 percent in 2013).
Under catastrophic coverage, they are responsible for a co-pay of $2.55 for generic or preferred multisource drugs (down from $2.65 in 2013) with a retail price up to $51 and $6.35 for all other drugs (down from $6.60 in 2013) with a retail price up to $127. For 2014, however, beneficiaries are responsible for a 5 percent cost-sharing fee for drugs over those retail prices.
Medicare Part B premium changes are expected. In each of the past three years, Part B premiums have increased. The 2013 monthly premium for Medicare Part B (medical insurance) was $104.90, an increase from $99.90 in 2012. In addition, because Part B premiums are based on the beneficiary’s income and those income levels are frozen at 2010 levels, more individuals could see their premiums change. Information on the standard Part B premium for 2014 should be available by the time Medicare annual open enrollment begins Oct. 15.
Prescription drug Part D plans will see slight changes in deductible and premiums. The Part D initial deductible decreases by $15 to $310. HHS also recently reported the Part D monthly premiums will remain relatively stable, at $31 for a basic prescription drug plan in 2014. This is close to the reported average premium of $30 for the past three years (2011-13). Part D premiums are subject to the same income-based thresholds as Part B.
Changes anticipated for Medicare Advantage plans. Not all plans change every year, but common changes include costs, such as premiums, deductibles and co-pays, and changes to covered procedures, tests, medical facilities and other provisions. Some plans may be eliminated, which means beneficiaries will need to select a new plan or default to original Medicare Part B. Enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans continues to grow with 14.4 million people enrolled, an increase of more than 1 million from 2012, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Most Medicare participants will receive their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EO) from their current Medicare Advantage and Part D providers by Sept. 30, according to Muschler. “It’s crucial people review materials as soon as they receive them and asses their current healthcare needs,” she said.
“Healthcare costs are a critical line item in most people’s budget, and especially so for seniors and people with disabilities,” Muschler added. “Believing your current plan will continue to cover your needs in the same way can lead to unexpected and costly surprises.”
Medicare specialists such as Allsup are available to help consumers and their family members review Medicare plans and choices for 2014 coverage, Muschler added.
“For many people, this can be a time-consuming, confusing and complex evaluation process, especially when comparing Part D plans or Medicare Advantage plans,” Muschler said. “Many Medicare beneficiaries are pleased to find out there are Medicare specialists like Allsup who look at the comparative details of the plans, and then provide them the assistance they need to make choices that suit their needs and budget in the coming year.”
The Allsup Medicare Advisor is an affordable, flat-fee based service for Medicare-eligible individuals.
For an evaluation of Medicare options, call an Allsup Medicare Advisor specialist at (866) 521-7655 or visit Medicare.Allsup.com to learn more about the service.
The Allsup Medicare Advisor also has features that help financial advisors guide their clients to the Medicare plans that match their specific lifestyles and healthcare needs. Employers also use Allsup Medicare Advisor for their employees who are retiring and transitioning to Medicare. For more information, go to FinancialAdvisor.Allsup.com, or call (888) 220-9678.
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. Founded in 1984, the company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, go to http://www.Allsup.com or visit Allsup on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.
The information provided is not intended as a substitute for legal or other professional services. Legal or other expert assistance should be sought before making any decision that may affect your situation.
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Rebecca Ray, (800) 854-1418, ext. 65065, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Jung, (773) 429-0940, email@example.com
There are two main programs administered by the government that offer benefits to senior citizens – Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is available for all senior citizens age 65 or older. Those under age 65 with certain disabilities may also be eligible for Medicare. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must have entered the U.S. lawfully at least five years prior to receiving Medicare benefits. Medicaid is for people with limited income.
Medicare has two parts. Part A is the hospital insurance and Part B is the medical insurance.
Medicare Part A can pay for home health care if the patient meets certain requirements. Part A is set up mainly to pay for care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility, or by hospice. Depending on the amount of Medicare taxes paid by the patient and their spouse over their lifetimes, they may not have to pay a monthly fee for Medicare Part A. Otherwise, the patient may have to enroll and pay a premium.
Medicare Part B is the medical portion which helps pay for medically-necessary doctors’ services and other patient care. Part B can also pay for some preventative services (like flu shots) or some services to keep certain illnesses from getting worse. The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B was $96.40 in 2008.
You have two main options in how you get your Medicare coverage.
You can choose traditional Medicare coverage, which is managed by the Federal government. This plan provides Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. The recipient can choose to have either Part A or Part B or both. There is a mandatory deductible, and usually coinsurance charges for each time one gets service. A Medicare supplemental insurance policy known as “Medigap,” can also be purchased. This helps pay for some of the “gaps” such as co-payments, coinsurances, and deductibles.
Medicare Advantage Plans, offered by Medicare-approved private insurance companies (called Part C) is another option. They generally provide services in addition to Part A and Part B services. Co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles are likely to be less, but you pay a monthly premium.
Medicare Part D is available for senior citizens with limited income to help pay for prescription costs.
Medicaid is a health insurance program designed for people with low-income. It is funded by both the Federal and state government. Each state administers the program for its residents. Rules for eligibility include the potential recipient’s income and assets. Each state may have slightly different rules for determining financial need and other eligibility requirements.
If the senior citizen you are caring for has limited income, you should apply to find out if he or she is qualified. Find a qualified caseworker in your state to help you with the application process. You may have to pay a co-pay for certain medical services, depending on your state’s policies.
Medicare and Medicaid will pay for most of the medical expenses, including nursing home care, for those who qualify.
The Caring Space
David Crumrine at the Caring Space
We are an organization that connects caregivers and care seekers, providing an easy and affordable resource for families seeking care for friends/loved ones and caregivers seeking employment.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_Crumrine
As a senior citizen, you may find yourself in a health insurance crisis – no longer covered by an employer’s health insurance policy but needing health insurance more than you ever did before. Of course, Medicare covers some of your medical expenses, but how can you get the best rate on health insurance to cover the gaps Medicare leaves?
What Medicare Covers
Once you are 65 years old, you’re eligible to enroll in Medicare. Medicare can include several programs:
* Medicare Part A, which helps cover inpatient hospital care, nursing home care, hospice care, and some home health care. Most people pay for this coverage through taxes, so they do not pay a deductible or monthly premium.
* Medicare Part B, which helps cover doctors’ services, outpatient hospital care, medical equipment, physical and occupational therapy and some home health care. Most people pay an annual deductible and a monthly premium for this health plan.
* Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage Plan, which offers you more choices among health plans and extends your benefits.
* Medicare Part D, prescription drug coverage.
In addition, you may need MediGap coverage, which is health insurance that covers what Medicare does not.
Affordable Health Insurance for Senior Citizens
As you can see, health insurance for senior citizens can be confusing. Fortunately, insurance comparison websites can help you gain a clear picture of what health insurance you need, as well as help you find that insurance at a reasonable rate.
All you need to do is go to an insurance comparison website and complete a simple form with information about yourself and your insurance needs. Once you submit the form, you will soon receive quotes for affordable health insurance from multiple A-rated insurance companies. And at the best insurance comparison websites, insurance professionals are standing by to talk with you and answer any health insurance questions you have. (See link below.)
Visit http://www.LowerRateQuotes.com/health-insurance.html or click on the following link to get health insurance quotes for senior citizens from top-rated companies and see how much you can save. You can also get more insurance tips there.
The authors, Brian Stevens and Stacey Schifferdecker, have spent 30 years in the insurance and finance industries, and have written a number of articles on health insurance for senior citizens.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Brian_Stevens
Senior citizen insurance is used by people who are 65 years old or above. The reason why this is a separate category of insurance is because senior citizens tend to have more health related troubles, compared to younger people.
Therefore it is important for a senior citizen to find the right type of insurance. They need to find insurance that is both affordable and offers good coverage for their specific needs. Seniors do need insurance for the simple reason that Medicare only provides partial coverage. The thing to do here is to find out exactly what medicare covers and then have secondary insurance to cover other expenses.
An example would be, Medicare part A will cover some of their inpatient care, nursing home care and some health care. Medicare part B covers some types of their outpatient hospital care, medical equipment and occupational therapy.
However, medicare of any type will usually not cover annual physicals. In order to get this the patient may have to get the senior health insurance. This is why it is important to check with your broker and see what exactly is covered by medicare before getting insurance.
With the use of the internet it is easy nowadays to find an insurance company that gives affordable rates. Although before getting your senior citizen insurance coverage, it is always better to talk to an agent before signing anything. Senior citizens can also qualify for some life insurance plans. There is a common misconception that seniors do not have anybody directly dependent on them, therefore they do not need life insurance policies.
This is simply not true in all cases and should be discussed with your insurance agent or broker. The idea behind life insurance is to give financial protection for family members. This way they are not left to pay for the funeral and any unsettled debt that is left behind.
When it comes to the unfortunate situation, such as a loved one’s demise, you will want to be sure everything or everyone is taken care of. This is especially true if the person leaves behind a spouse and, or children. The surviving wife or husband will have many expenses such as rent and health insurance. In this case a life insurance policy will be of great help for the surviving family member or members to take care of the daily, weekly, or even monthly living expenses.
For more information on insurance for seniors check out [http://www.senior-citizen-insurance-online.com/]
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jerry_Fatjo
Senior Care Plus Offers Daily Meetings During medicare Enrollment Period
RENO, Nev. (Oct. 15, 2012) – Senior Care Plus, a Medicare Advantage Plan offered by Hometown Health, is hosting daily informational group meetings to assist current and new members during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, which is Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, 2012.
During those dates, Medicare eligible beneficiaries can sign up or make changes to their current coverage, including choosing a Medicare managed care plan (Medicare Advantage or Stand-Alone Prescription Drug plans).
With this opportunity to select private health insurance for next year, these informational meetings are designed to answer questions regarding the impact of Health Care Reform on Medicare Advantage. Additionally Medicare eligible beneficiaries will be able to select the right insurance plan, with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2013, and complete their Annual Election Form.
“After Dec. 7, members will be locked into their plans until next year’s Annual Enrollment Period,” said Matt Ladich, director of government programs for Hometown Health. “Medicare Advantage plans can offer greater medical, prescription drug, and supplemental benefits in one plan with one insurance carrier versus other arrangements – this allows for lower costs and convenience to the beneficiary.”
Those interested can call 775-982-3191 or toll-free 888-775-7003 to choose from daily sessions held at the 850 Harvard Way offices. Walk-ins are welcome and home appointments may also be available. Additionally, specific meetings will be scheduled in communities outside of the Reno Sparks area at various libraries and senior centers. Reservations are strongly recommended. Visit seniorcareplus.com for more information.
Many Medicare eligible beneficiaries may wait until it is too late to enroll in managed care plans. These plans offer more cost savings and benefits than traditional (fee-for-service) Medicare. Senior Care Plus wants to educate the public about the change and cut down on possible beneficiary confusion and frustration.
Senior Care Plus, a product of Hometown Health Plan, Inc. is contracted with the Federal Government to offer a Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage, available to anyone with both Medicare Parts A and B. Hometown Health is pleased to have been awarded another contract with Medicare for 2013 and will continue to offer its plans for a 17th year. Members must be residents of Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Storey and Washoe counties and continue to pay his or her Medicare Part B premium.
Hometown Health and Senior Care Plus will provide northern Nevada residents with the convenience of drive-thru seasonal flu shots, Saturday, Oct. 6 from 8 a.m. to noon, at Renown South Meadows Medical Center, 10101 Double R Blvd. This event is one of more than 45 scheduled Renown Health flu and pneumonia shot offerings around the Truckee Meadows community this season.
“The drive-thru flu shot event is one of our most popular events because of the ease and convenience it offers,” said Ty Windfeldt, vice president of Hometown Health. “Depending on wait times, the entire process can take as little as 10 minutes. It’s great for people who know they should get the shot or want the shot but have trouble finding the time to fit in a visit to their doctor’s office.”
Flu shots are offered at no cost to Medicare beneficiaries (Part B), members of Senior Care Plus or Hometown Health fully insured HMO and PPO plans and Renown Health employee plan members. All other individuals can receive the seasonal flu shots for $28. Pneumonia shots will be offered for those people whose medical conditions could be helped by one (individuals must meet CDC requirements). There are no out-of-pocket costs for Medicare (Part B), Senior Care Plus members or Hometown Health fully insured HMO and PPO plan members. For all others, the pneumonia shot is $70.
“The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a flu vaccine as the first and most important thing people can do to protect against the flu,” said Lori Mitchell, health management services manager at Renown Health. “Additional preventive actions like washing your hands regularly and covering your cough will help stop the spread of germs.”
If unable to attend this flu shot event, people are encouraged to visit renown.org/flu for a complete flu and pneumonia shot schedule and locations. Pediatric flu shots are available by appointment only for children ages six months to eight years old. Call 775-982-5433 to schedule. Flu shots are available to children ages nine to 17 with a parent present.
About Hometown Health
Established in 1988, Hometown Health is the insurance division of Renown Health. Hometown Health is northern Nevada’s largest and most experienced health-insurance company. Providing wide-ranging medical coverage and great service to members, Hometown Health represents a philosophy of healthcare that emphasizes active partnerships between members and physicians. Hometown Health values prevention as a key component of comprehensive care – reducing the risks of illness and helping to treat small problems before they can become more severe. Hometown Health offers a number of insurance products including HMO, PPO, HAS, Dental, Vision and Senior Care Plus, northern Nevada’s first Medicare Advantage Plan. For more information, call 775-982-3000 or visit hometownhealth.com
Say HELLO to Senior Dimensions
When selecting a Medicare plan, people have different priorities. Most consider the out-of-pocket costs associated with prescriptions, doctor visits, and hospital admissions. Others may select a plan that’s simple to use with little or no paperwork. For some, staying with their doctor is a must. That’s why Senior Dimensions (HMO/HMO-POS) offers Medicare Advantage benefits to help fit your health insurance needs.
Senior Dimensions Medicare Advantage plan is insured through Health Plan of Nevada, Inc., a UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company and a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract.
Enrollment Limitations: Enrollment in the plan is available during specific times of the year. Contact Senior Dimensions for more information. You must have both Medicare Parts A and B to enroll in the plan. You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium, if not otherwise paid for under Medicaid or by another third party.
Senior Dimensions Southern Nevada (HMO-POS) service area covers Clark and Nye counties. Senior Dimensions Greater Nevada (HMO) service area covers Esmeralda, Lyon and Mineral counties, as well as designated zip codes in Washoe County.
HMO members must use plan providers except in emergency or urgent care situations or for out-of-area renal dialysis. If you obtain routine care from out-of-network providers neither Medicare nor Senior Dimensions Medicare Advantage plans will be responsible for the costs.
For HMO-POS members, with the exception of emergency or out-of-area renal dialysis, it may cost more to get care from out-of-network providers.
Pharmacy Network Limitations: Prescription coverage subject to limitations. You must use contracted network pharmacies to access your Part D prescription drug benefit except under non-routine circumstances, in which case quantity limitations and restrictions may apply.
Beneficiary information is available in alternate formats and languages. Please call Customer Service at 1-800-650-6232; TTY: 711 for details. Customer Service hours of operation are October 1 through February 14: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, 7 days a week. Between February 15 through September 30: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, Monday – Friday. On Saturday, Sunday and holidays, please leave a detailed message and a representative will return your call within a business day.
At Senior Dimensions, we realize more than ever the importance of offering affordable, quality health care coverage. We understand that people who are eligible for Original Medicare may be looking for better options to meet their health care needs. That’s where Senior Dimensions (HMO/HMO-POS) can help.
Over 45,000 Nevadans get more benefits than Original Medicare with Senior Dimensions Medicare Advantage plans. We’ve been serving Nevadans for over 25 years. A product of Health Plan of Nevada, an affiliate company of UnitedHealthcare, and Nevada’s first federally qualified health maintenance organization, Senior Dimensions offers members access to a range of plan options and services above and beyond Original Medicare.
Senior Dimensions (HMO/HMO-POS) has a wide range of programs and services to assist you!