Nightmare

NIGHTMARE ON “MEDICARE” STREET

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By Bob Evenson, Contributor

One word can make you cringe. One word can make you scared! One word can make you frightened…is that word “Halloween”? No, that word is MEDICARE! Yes, Medicare insurance will bring out fear and cause anxiety for many people. It can be complicated and difficult to understand. It can be scary and intimidating, but should bring peace of mind when it is needed most.

This fall offers another annual election period for Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans) and Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Plans). Do not be afraid to understand your Medicare insurance options! With the assistance of a trained and certified insurance agent, Medicare can be less frightening and understandable.

The annual election period for Medicare Part C and Medicare Part D is from October 15, 2017 through December 07, 2017. Due to regulatory and industry changes, annual reviews are necessary to maintain an affordable and effective health insurance plan. Insurance contracts have annual rate and benefit updates. The provider and pharmacy networks can change as well as the prescription drug list or formulary. The worse time to learn about these changes is after you have incurred a claim.

This Halloween, conquer your fear of Medicare by working with a trained insurance professional at Century Health Solutions. Our staff will take the time to explain your coverage options and the plans available to meet your needs and fit your budget. After enrollment, we continue to answer your questions or assist you with claims. With our services and support, having Medicare does not have to be a scary experience!

Century Health Solutions is a subsidiary of Stormont Vail Health, Topeka, and provides free Medicare Educational Seminars to the community. We are your local expert in Medicare planning and will help you find the best option for your personal situation.

FREE MEDICARE EDUCATIONAL SEMINARS

Upcoming seminars are held at Cotton O’Neil 823 Mulvane, the Cotton O’Neil Heart Center at 929 Mulvane, or Cotton O’Neil North Clinic at 4505 NW Fielding Rd in Topeka.

10/19/17       2:00 p.m.         929 Mulvane

10/31/17       2:00 p.m.         929 Mulvane

11/02/17       2:00 p.m.         929 Mulvane

11/07/17       6:30 p.m.         4505 NW Fielding Rd

11/09/17       2:00 p.m.         929 Mulvane

11/14/17       2:00 p.m.        929 Mulvane

Call us at 785-270-4593 with questions or to sign up for a free seminar. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm.

You may also go to http://www.centuryinsuranceagencyks.com or email info@century-health.com for more information.

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Osteoarthritis

IrisesBy Renea Dennison, Contributor

As we look at Bone and Joint Health National Action Week (October 12-20), it seems a good time to improve our understanding of Osteoarthritis. I think knowing our risk factors and how to reduce them is the best place to start.

Osteoarthritis symptoms include grating sensations, tenderness, and inflammation in the joints resulting in pain and stiffness (or lack of flexibility). The stiffness is worse upon waking in the morning, or long periods of non-movement. Stiffness, as well as the pain, is also worse after overuse.

Though this disease can affect anyone, the onset is gradual and most often begins after the age of 40. About one third of the population over the age of 65 has some form of Osteoarthritis. Nearly one in two will have it in their knees by age 85, and one in four will get it in their hips in their lifetimes.

Osteoarthritis tends to affect joints most heavily used such as hands, knees, hips and spines. The base of the thumb joint and the big toe are also probable targets. You are more likely to have Osteoarthritis if your parents or siblings have it, if you are older, female, obese, or have experienced some kind of joint injury.

While knee osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of disability among adults, lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on reducing the pain and swelling. Moderate physical activity at least three times per week can reduce the risk of knee osteoarthritis disability by 47%, and just an 11 pound weight loss can half the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis in women.

Osteoarthritis does not have to stop you, or even slow you down. Moderate activity, range of motion exercises, over the counter pain medication, and joint braces if necessary can keep you living the life you love. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor so together you can create a livable plan that will keep you ready, willing and definitely able.

Century Health Solutions is a subsidiary of Stormont Vail Health, Topeka and provides free Medicare Educational Seminars. We are your local expert in Medicare insurance planning and will help you find the best option for your personal situation. Call us at 785-270-4593 with questions or to sign up for a free seminar. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm.

Go to: http://www.centuryinsuranceagencyks.com or email info@century-health.com for more information.

Water Aerobics

By Renea Dennison, Contributor

pool-690034_960_720Exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. Those who want to live better and longer try to incorporate some type of physical activity into their day.

This can be tough if you are overweight, out of shape, an older adult, or someone recovering from a serious illness such as a heart attack. Many diseases are significantly reduced or even avoided entirely by healthy exercise such as aerobics. Running, riding your bike, dancing, and walking fast are some of the great ways to achieve the desired benefits. But if you are recovering from major surgery or have bad knees, running may not be your best option.

Fortunately, there is an enjoyable alternative. Water aerobics are simple and fun. They can be done individually or in a class and at a variety of levels. Many county and city recreational facilities offer them, as well as non profit and for profit health facilities.

You don’t even have to be able to swim! Just walking across a pool in waist high water swinging your arms will give you a bit of a work out. Of course, you should increase your activity as you improve. You can tone, improve muscle mass, give your heart the aerobic work out it deserves, and burn calories all in one fun playtime.

Consider water aerobics. It’s a great low impact activity that combines strength training as well as the ability to improve endurance. Most importantly, it is definitely heart healthy fun!

Century Health Solutions is a subsidiary of Stormont Vail Health, Topeka and provides free Medicare Educational Seminars. We are your local expert in Medicare insurance planning and will help you find the best option for your personal situation. Call us at 785-270-4593 with questions or to sign up for a free seminar. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm.

Go to: http://www.centuryinsuranceagencyks.com or email info@century-health.com for more information.

Healthy Aging

by Renea Dennison, Contributor

DTS_BMX1_8 Ride bike into sunsetThe end of August seems like a good time to discuss healthy aging, as September, among other things, is designated Healthy Aging Month. Hopefully you already do things to help keep your mind and body healthy and young such as eating right, exercising, getting plenty of rest, and spending time with loved ones. These steps make us all feel more healthy and energetic regardless of age.

However, a large portion of the population is now over 45, and if that includes you there may be a few more things you can do to improve your health and wellness. Here are some (paraphrased) ideas from the editors of “Healthy Aging Magazine”:

Stop acting your age. Do you look in the mirror and think about how old you are? Stop it! Instead, think of your favorite age (35, 50, etc.) and act as if you are that age.

Be positive. No complaining! To go along with this, also avoid pessimistic and complaining friends and family and negative programs such as the news. This is probably the hardest suggestion to take, but can truly make a huge difference in your life. And who knows? You may be able to influence a Debbie Downer to turn their attitude around.

Body language counts. Stand straight and tall, shoulders back and chin up. Walk like a vibrant, healthy person with your heel first. Smile. It may sound silly, but science has proven it matters.

Lonely? Make new friends by volunteering, taking a class, tutoring someone, or just invite someone out. Make a point to go out at least once a week. You can also walk your dog (a great conversation starter) or volunteer at your local animal shelter (ah…puppy love.)

Discover your inner artist. It is not too late to learn to play the piano or the violin. Take an oil painting class or learn to work with wood or anything that interests you.

Being healthy includes a healthy mind. How you live your life is up to you. Make it count!

Century Health Solutions is a subsidiary of Stormont Vail Health, Topeka and provides free Medicare Educational Seminars. We are your local expert in Medicare insurance planning and will help you find the best option for your personal situation. Call us at 785-270-4593 with questions or to sign up for a free seminar. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm.

Go to: http://www.centuryinsuranceagencyks.com or email info@century-health.com for more information.

 

Questions For Your Doctor

ambulanceBy Renea Dennison, Contributor

Visiting your doctor can be stressful, especially when you don’t feel well or are worried about your condition. It can be hard to remember everything you wanted to ask and understand what you are told in the short time you have with your physician.

PREPARE

Before going to your appointment, prepare and write down your questions. During your appointment, write down the answers, or bring someone with you to help you remember the answers. If you do not understand the response, ask for clarification. Do not be rushed or embarrassed if the explanation does not make sense to you.

QUESTIONS

Here are some examples of questions to ask:

  • What are my different treatment options? What outcomes should I expect from each, and what side effects?
  • Are there any alternatives? Can we revisit this later? Is there anything I can do on my own to improve my condition?
  • Will this medication interact with any others I am taking? Please spell the name of the drug.
  • Why do I need this test? How safe is it? When will I get my results? How much will it cost me?
  • How experienced are you at this diagnosis? Should I get a second opinion?
  • Is there anything I should have asked that I have not asked?

FOLLOW UP

If you follow your physician’s orders and have side effects, or your symptoms worsen, contact your doctor immediately. You should also check in with your doctor if you receive any new prescriptions, take new over the counter medications, and to get your test results. Do not assume test results were good because you have not heard from your doctor.

Take your medications, undergo tests, and follow your doctor’s orders as closely as possible. If he/she recommends something too difficult for you, such as losing weight or stopping smoking, go back and ask for help. Following your doctor’s recommendations is the best way to get good results. If you decide your doctor is wrong, then get a second opinion. Don’t just ignore them. Your health is too important.

Century Health Solutions is a subsidiary of Stormont Vail Health, Topeka and provides free Medicare Educational Seminars. We are your local expert in Medicare insurance planning and will help you find the best option for your personal situation. Call us at 785-270-4593 with questions or to sign up for a free seminar. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm.

Go to: http://www.centuryinsuranceagencyks.com or email info@century-health.com for more information.

Medicare Part B

DTS_hands_1 Post-it notesHow well do you understand Medicare, particularly Part B? Do you know the answers to the following questions?

What does Part B cover? While Part A covers hospitalization, Part B covers doctor visits and outpatient services. Like Part A, there are deductibles and coinsurance amounts to consider, based upon the services you have.

Do you have to pay for Part B? Yes. Unlike Part A, when you sign up for Part B you will pay monthly for your coverage. The amount will depend on such factors as your family income and if you signed up at first opportunity. Premiums may be deducted from your social security check, but can also be paid directly or by arranging for an automatic draft from your bank account.

Can I be penalized if I delay or do not take Part B coverage?  YES!  There are penalties if you delay signing up for Part B coverage. Also, by law Medicare is always primary with the one exception below so most other insurance, including most COBRA, will not pay the portion Medicare B would have paid even if you do not have Medicare.

Exception: If you or your spouse have coverage through an employer you may be able to postpone Part B without penalty while you are still actively employed. The good news is that you will still be considered coming in at first opportunity even if you postpone signing up until you (or your spouse) retire. You will then have a short window to sign up before Medicare will penalize you. Technically, Medicare B is optional, but the penalties can make it feel mandatory.

How did you do? Could you respond correctly to all the questions before reading the answers? Medicare eligibility begins at age 65, regardless of whether you enroll in Social Security or continue working (or do both). Medicare Parts A and B are considered Original Medicare. Talk to a Medicare specialist if you have questions about how Medicare may impact you.

Century Health Solutions is a subsidiary of Stormont Vail Health, Topeka and provides free Medicare Educational Seminars. We are your local expert in Medicare insurance planning and will help you find the best option for your personal situation. Call us at 785-270-4593 with questions or to sign up for a free seminar. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm.

Go to: http://www.centuryinsuranceagencyks.com or email info@century-health.com for more information.

Medicare Part A

DTS_farm_10 SunsetDo you know and understand Medicare? Let’s talk about the first part of Medicare, Part A.  How well do you know it? Check out the mini-quiz below.

1) What does Medicare Part A help cover?

  • Hospital costs
  • Routine dental visits
  • Long term care
  • All of the above

2) How much does Part A cost for most people?

  • $0.00
  • $33.33 per month
  • Depends upon your income
  • Trick question

3) You may not qualify for Social Security until you are 66, but you still qualify for Medicare at age 65.

  •  True
  • False

Medicare Part A is piece of what is known as Original Medicare (which also includes Part B). If you said Part A covers hospital costs, you are right. Part A only covers hospital costs (less deductibles and coinsurance). Part B covers doctor visits and outpatient services, and Part D deals with prescription drugs. Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, covers a combination of B and D and often a few other things as well.

Question two was a trick question, so if you answered anything except the second choice you were correct. 1.65% (or double that amount if you are self-employed) of your salary is paid into the Medicare fund every paycheck during your entire working career. The more you earn, the more you pay in. However, Medicare does not charge recipients of Part A one cent to receive benefits.

Final Answer: True. Medicare eligibility begins at age 65, regardless of whether you enroll in Social Security or continue working (or do both). In fact, certain penalties may apply if you fail to apply for Medicare at your earliest opportunity. Talk to a Medicare specialist for specific details if this may impact you.

Century Health Solutions is a subsidiary of Stormont Vail Health, Topeka and provides free Medicare Educational Seminars. We are your local expert in Medicare insurance planning and will help you find the best option for your personal situation. Call us at 785-270-4593 with questions or to sign up for a free seminar. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm.

Go to: http://www.centuryinsuranceagencyks.com or email info@century-health.com for more information.