It’s October which means Fall Open Enrollment begins for Medicare. During the Annual Coordinated Election Period, which runs from October 15th through December 7th, people with Medicare can change their choice of health coverage (whether they receive that coverage through a private Medicare Advantage plan or traditional Medicare), and add, drop or change Medicare Part D drug coverage. It’s very important that Medicare beneficiaries review their drug plan annually.
Why? Because Medicare private drug plans can make changes each year; changes can include which pharmacies are in their networks as well as which drugs are covered and the costs. Most people can only change their plans during the Fall Open Enrollment Period.
Find out whether medications you are taking will be covered on your plan next year. If your physician had to submit a prior authorization exception request and you need the same medication next year, call your plan to find out what you need to do to make sure that your plan continues covering your medication. Your physician may need to submit a new request and he may be able to do so before the end of the year to ensure that your coverage continues without interruption.
Now is the time to be asking questions! For more information visit http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/the-medicare-annual-coordinated-election-period-has-begun/
The United States Surgeon General wants to see you walking! Step it Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities articulates the health benefits of walking and asks individuals to make walking a priority in their lives.
Fewer than half of all U.S. adults get enough physical activity to reduce their risk of chronic disease
The Surgeon General’s report discusses the health benefits of walking and calls on individuals to make walking a priority in their lives. Fewer than half of all U.S. adults get enough physical activity to reduce their risk of chronic disease, and only a quarter of high school students get the recommended amount. Physical inactivity contributes to heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer, which account for 86 percent of our nation’s health care costs. Building walking into daily life can reduce disease and save money.
According to Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the 19th U.S. Surgeon General an average of 22 minutes a day of physical activity – such as brisk walking – can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The key is to get started because even a small first effort can make a big difference in improving the personal health of an individual and the public health of the nation.
The advantages of walking are numerous:
- A low-intensity exercise that is easy on your joints and muscles
- No equipment necessary
- Male or female, walking strengthens your heart
- Walking 90 minutes per week can prevent cognitive decline
- Improves overall fitness and can prevent physical disability in older persons
- Relieves stress
- Lowers blood sugar
- Builds aerobic fitness (which leads to more heart healthy benefits)
- Walking is a ‘weight-bearing’ activity, meaning it helps to fight against osteoporosis
To read the Surgeon General’s Call to Action and learn how to promote walking, please visit www.surgeongeneral.gov.
October is Long-Term Care Planning Month
Do you have a plan in place?
This month (and any month) seniors are encouraged, and those acting on their behalf, to develop a plan to help meet the high costs of long-term care. For the most part, a majority of long-term care costs are not covered by most health insurance plans or Medicare. That is where planning for Long-Term Care becomes so important. We encourage families to explore long-term care planning options.
There are of course advantages to planning ahead before the need arises. By preparing for the future, you can make choices for how and where you wish to spend your later years. It also removes the burden from adult children and others to make choices for others, a task not often envied by most.
Currently, Medicare only covers medical and rehabilitative care (doctors and nurses) and does not cover non-medical care including help with activities of daily living (ADLs). Medicaid will cover the cost of long-term care but only after an individual has depleted all their assets, and the choice of Medicaid facilities or Medicaid in-home services are very limited.
What is Long-Term Care?
Long-term care is a range of services and supports residents may need to meet their personal care needs. Most long-term care is not medical care, but rather assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life, sometimes called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as:
Why Plan Ahead for Long-Term Care?
- Long term care is a leading cause of catastrophic out-of-pocket health care costs for the elderly and their adult children.
- By planning ahead, seniors will increase the time they have for saving up sufficient money to get the help they want when they need it.
- By planning ahead when senior are in relatively good health they greatly increase the chances for qualifying for Long-Term Care Insurance which will cover most, if not all, of their non-medical long-term care costs.
There are a number of ways to get started in planning. Many insurance companies
Offer Long Term-Care insurance. Also here are a couple of very helpful sites to begin navigating this process https://www.longtermcarelink.net and http://longtermcare.gov
As you age, you can feel better knowing there are steps you can take to ensure that your wishes, both medical and financial, are carried out the way you want them. We encourage you to start this month, in taking a look at your future. We are here to help if you have any questions.