Medicare and Alcohol Dependency Counseling

Hospitals Aim to Reduce the Amount of Readmissions for Medicare Beneficiaries2015 is a new year, and that means new resolutions for many people–like “I’ll quit drinking.” If you’re a Medicare beneficiary looking to eliminate your alcohol dependency, you don’t have to do it alone.

Whether you have Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, or belong to a private Medicare Advantage plan, you may be covered when it comes to getting assistance for alcohol dependency issues. This could be the year you quit drinking.

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Measles Outbreaks and Senior Immunity

Measles VaccinationMeasles may seem like a long-gone childhood disease, but it’s back in the news. While the United States declared measles eliminated from the country in 2000, cases can occur from foreign travel and rising numbers of unvaccinated children in American communities.

Since the end of December 2014, a measles outbreak in California has infected 78 people at last count, according to the National Institutes of Health. This occurrence has been linked to visitors at the Disneyland theme parks, which highlights the extremely infectious nature of the disease.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that measles is so contagious that if just one person has it, 90% of the people nearby could get infected if they haven’t been immunized.

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Only 30% of Americans with HIV Have the Virus Under Control

Medicare HIV CoverageA recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that just 30% of the 1.2 million Americans with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have the virus under control.

Today, an HIV diagnosis is no longer the death sentence it once was. Regular medical care and antiretroviral therapy can suppress the virus and keep it at low levels in the body, making it possible for HIV patients to have close to average life expectancy rates. However, left untreated, people with HIV significantly increase their risk of passing on the virus and having it develop into full-blown acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

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Seniors and Flu Prevention During a Hostile Flu Season

healthy coupleThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that we’ll be seeing a harsher flu season this year. Flu shots are important, but might not knock down all strains of influenza during the next few months. Seniors may need to be especially careful about flu prevention; Medicare covers flu shots, but you can take other steps as well.

H3N2 is an influenza strain with double the death rate of other strains. According to a CDC report released on December 4, 2014, H3N2 is in wider circulation this year and current flu vaccines are shaping up to be a poor match against it. If you’ve already received a flu shot this year, or are planning to get one, there’s a chance it may not offer enough protection against the virus. The CDC reports that half of the H3N2 viruses have mutated away from the vaccination, making that influenza strain a particularly tough one to kick.

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Medicare Coverage of Smoking and Tobacco Cessation

smoke free manAre you a Medicare beneficiary trying to give up smoking in the New Year? You may be surprised to discover that the Medicare program offers assistance to help you meet your goal.

Whether you receive your Medicare benefits through Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, or a private Medicare Advantage plan, also called Medicare Part C, you can get help when it comes to kicking your tobacco habit.

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New Year’s Resolutions for Weight Loss and How Medicare Might Help

New Year's Resolutions for Your HealthIt’s that time of year again: New Year’s resolutions. This time, why not focus on realistic steps to improve your health, such as effective weight-loss strategies?

Losing excess weight can help with so many health problems. Medicare might cover weight-loss-related services, from obesity counseling to surgery, in some cases.

If you’re a Medicare beneficiary with health issues, could losing weight help make you healthier? Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and breathing problems are a few examples of health problems that are often made worse by being overweight, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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Coping with Grief and Loss: You’re Not Alone

Coping with Loss of a Loved OneHave you recently lost a spouse, a good friend, or another loved one? Coping with loss is never easy, and it can be much worse around holiday time–even after the holidays, when everyone else is getting back to their normal lives.

You don’t have to suffer alone. You can talk to someone about your grief. Try these ways of putting your life back together again.

Here’s an all-too-common scenario: Your husband, wife, or good friend is gravely ill. You experience sadness and anxiety about this, but at least he or she is still alive. Then, suddenly, one day he or she is gone. Even though your loved one was very sick, there’s something about the finality of death that really shakes us. In the whirlwind or the aftermath of the holidays, maybe you don’t feel so merry, and it seems like no one’s getting it: You’re devastated.

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Why Some Doctors Don’t Accept Medicare and How to Find One That Does

Why Some Doctors Don't Take MedicareHave you ever had this experience? A friend highly recommends a doctor. You research that doctor’s credentials, and you’re very impressed. But when you call to make an appointment, you find out that he doesn’t take Medicare. Or, your own beloved Medicare doctor tells you she’s opting out of Medicare.

While there are many well-qualified doctors who accept Medicare assignment (a payment agreement with Medicare), a significant (and growing) number of physicians are no longer taking Medicare or not signing up to participate in the program.

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Stay Active with Indoor Winter Exercise

Indoor Winter Exercises for SeniorsDon’t let winter weather stop you in your tracks. Even if there’s snow on the ground or the temperature is simply too cold to go outside, seniors can still get some exercise this winter.

Staying physically active is important at any age, and you’re probably not too old to gain health benefits from a little exercise. Seniors who participate in regular exercise programs have fewer hospitalizations and lower overall health-care costs, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, and it’s a good way to keep flexible and strong and maintain your balance.

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Social Security Increase and Changes in Benefits for 2015

Social Security Changes 2015

There’s good news if you’re getting Social Security benefits. Your benefit amount may be a little higher in 2015.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently reported that it was increasing payments to beneficiaries by 1.7% in 2015. This cost-of-living adjustment will bring most retired workers about $22 per month more than in 2014, or about $264 more for the year.
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