Medicare Patient News

Updates on services and programs covered under Medicare to help senior patients achieve optimal health.

Healthy Aging Tips Including Medicare’s Preventive Services

Active Senior Living, Medicare Patient News

Here is the U.S., many seniors live active, healthy and long lives. You can too. Here are some things you can do to help you stay healthy and active as you age, according to the National Institute on Aging.

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Keep your mind and body active
  • Don’t smoke
  • Get regular checkups.
  • Practice safety habits to avoid accidents and prevent falls

 

Disease prevention and early detection services can keep you from getting certain diseases or can help you find health problems early, when treatment works best. Talk with your doctor or health care provider to find out what tests or other services you may need, as described in this chart from medicare.gov, and how often you need them to stay healthy. If you have Original Medicare, you’ll now be able to get a yearly “Wellness” visit and many preventive services at no cost to you. Visit Medicare.gov for more information.

September is Healthy Aging Month

Take this time to get serious about your health. Here are 10 Tips for Reinventing Yourself courtesy of Healthy Aging® Magazine.

  1. Do not act your age or at least what you think your current age should act like. What was your best year so far? 28? 40? Now? Picture yourself at that age and be it. Some people may say this is denial, but we say it’s positive thinking and goes a long way toward feeling better about yourself. (Tip:  Don’t keep looking in the mirror, just FEEL IT!)
  2. Be positive in your conversations and your actions every day. When you catch yourself complaining, check yourself right there and change the conversation to something positive. (Tip: Stop watching the police reports on the local news.)
  3. Have negative friends who complain all of the time and constantly talk about how awful everything is? Drop them. As cruel as that may sound, distance yourself from people who do not have a positive outlook on life. They will only depress you and stop you from moving forward. Surround yourself with energetic, happy, positive people of all ages and you will be happier too. (Tip: Smile often. It’s contagious and wards off naysayers.)
  4. Walk like a vibrant, healthy person. Come on. You can probably do it. Analyze your gait. Do you walk slowly because you have just become lazy or, perhaps, have a fear of falling? (Tip: Make a conscious effort to take big strides, walk with your heel first, and wear comfortable shoes.)
  5. Stand up straight! You can knock off the appearance of a few extra years with this trick your mother kept trying to tell you. Look at yourself in the mirror. Are you holding your stomach in, have your shoulders back, chin up? Check out how much better your neck looks! Fix your stance and practice it every day, all day until it is natural. You will look great and feel better. (Tip: Your waistline will look trimmer if you follow this advice.)
  6. How’s your smile? Research shows people who smile more often are happier. Your teeth are just as important to your good health as the rest of your body. Not only is it the first thing people notice, but good oral health is a gateway to your overall well-being. (Tip: Go to the dentist regularly and look into teeth whitening. Nothing says old more than yellowing teeth!)
  7. Lonely? Stop brooding and complaining about having no friends or family. Do something about it now. Right this minute. Pick up the phone, landline, or cell and make a call to do one or more of the following: Volunteer your time, Take a class. Invite someone to meet for lunch, brunch, dinner, or coffee. (Tip: Volunteer at the local public school to stay in touch with younger people and to keep current on trends, take a computer class or a tutorial session at your cell phone store to keep up with technology, choose a new person every week for your dining out.)
  8. Start walking not only for your health but to see the neighbors. Have a dog? You’ll be amazed how the dog can be a conversation starter. (Tip: If you don’t have time for a dog, go to your local animal shelter and volunteer. You will be thrilled by the puppy love!)
  9. Make this month the time to set up your annual physical and other health screenings. Go to the appointments and then, hopefully, you can stop worrying about ailments for a while. (Tip: For a list of recommended annual health screenings, a great resource is the My Health Finder. Here’s what Medicare Covers.
  10. Find your inner artist. Who says taking music lessons is for young school children? You may have an artist lurking inside you just waiting to be tapped.  Have you always wanted to play the piano, violin, or tuba? Have you ever wondered if you could paint a portrait or scenic in oil? What about working in wood? (Tip: Sign up now for fall art or music classes and discover your inner artist!)

HHN: Most Americans Confused About Medicare Home Health Care Coverage

Medicare Patient News

Most Americans Confused About Medicare Home Health Care Coverage

Only 33% of older Americans have set aside money to pay for their own long-term care, including home health care. Similarly, most Americans believe the federal government should help pay for their old age, according to a recent survey. Over half of Americans 40 and older believe the federal government should devote “a lot” [Nelson, 5/25] Read Full Article from Home Health Care News.


What Medicare Beneficiaries Pay Out-Of-Pocket For Cancer

Medicare Patient News, Reports & Statistics

If you are a Medicare beneficiary with a new cancer diagnosis, you can expect to incur some steep out-of-pocket (OOP) costs, according to a study published recently by JAMA Oncology. And those costs vary depending on the type – if any – of supplemental insurance you have. Hospitalizations were a primary driver of these high OOP costs.

For instance, patients with only Medicare, and no additional health coverage, paid on average $8,115 a year (that’s 23.7 percent of their incomes) on out-of-pocket costs after a diagnosis of cancer.

Beneficiaries in private Medicare plans, which is part of Medicare Advantage, had costs of almost $6,000 a year.

The lowest out-of-pocket costs went to Medicare beneficiaries who also had coverage through Medicaid ($2,116 a year) or the Veterans Health Administration ($2,367 a year).

Seniors with additional coverage through employers had costs of almost $5,500, while those with private “Medigap” policies, which cover copays and deductibles not picked up by Medicare, had expenses of $5,670.

Among the 10 percent of beneficiaries with cancer who incurred the highest OOP costs, hospitalization contributed to 41.6 percent of total OOP costs.

Check out the study findings here.