Putting a Price Tag on the Costs of Caregiving

Medicare Caregiving CostsCaregivers who work often sacrifice income to care for their loved ones. One recent study found that caregiving in the United States results in over $500 billion in wage losses every year.

On top of being an emotionally and physically challenging experience, caregiving can be expensive. Many caregivers financially support and pay for the medical expenses of their care recipients. These financial costs can be higher for working caregivers who must turn down hours or income to care for their loved ones.

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Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage (Part C) Plans

Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage Plans

Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, is the government-run health program for adults over 65 and disabled individuals. Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) is the private alternative, offered through insurance companies that contract with Medicare.

As you consider what might work for your situation, here’s a breakdown of some of the main differences between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.

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The Annual Election Period (AEP) Ends Soon

Senior man on his computer.The nearly two-month Medicare Annual Election Period is coming to an end for another year. If you want to make changes to your Medicare coverage and haven’t yet done so, then be sure to make any changes to your 2015 plan coverage on or before December 7.

 The Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) occurs from October 15 to December 7 of each year. During this time, beneficiaries may make changes to their Medicare Part D and/or Medicare Advantage plan coverage. These benefits will not begin until January 1 of the following year, but AEP is important because it may be the only time during the year that   beneficiaries can make dramatic changes to their Medicare coverage without financial penalty.

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Alzheimer’s and the Holidays: Advice for Caregivers

Caregiver holiday tips. Photo by Clever Cupcakes from Montreal, Canada (Creative Commons license)About five million Americans over age 65 currently have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and this irreversible, progressive condition slowly destroys a person’s memory. People can live with this disease for up to 10 years as the condition goes from almost no symptoms to dementia. Alzheimer’s also affects the family or loved ones of those with the disease because they must often care for the patient as his or her condition worsens.

This can be especially difficult around the holidays from Thanksgiving to Christmas or Hanukkah and the New Year. The typical stresses of holiday events, shopping, and visiting can add to caregiving strains. Plus all this activity may create confusion and anxiety for the person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. You may want to prepare in advance to lessen the burden on everyone.
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U.S. Life Expectancy Reaches Record High

Life Expectancy and MedicareAmericans are living longer and healthier lives, thanks to lifestyle changes and better access to preventive care. In a new report, average life expectancy rates in the United States were at almost 79 years, the highest ever. Death rates for 8 of the 10 leading causes of death dropped, but suicide rates increased.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that life expectancy for the total United States population was 78.8 years in 2012, a record high. Conversely, death rates in the U.S. dropped 1.1% to an all-time low.

As in previous years, the report found that women tend to live longer than men by two to three years. Women have a life expectancy of 81.2 years; men have a life expectancy of 78.7 years.

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Halloween Horror Movies, Staying In or Going Out?

Seniors enjoy Halloween time with horror movies tooAs autumn brings a chill to the air, thoughts of Halloween come to mind. Maybe you expect trick-or-treaters at the door or you’re attending a costumed event on October 31. In preparation, perhaps you want to get into a spooky mood with a movie.

Will you choose a classic horror film to watch in the comfort of home? How about heading to the movie theater for a new thrill? No matter which you prefer, there are Halloween movies sure to scare or at least tickle your funny bone. Here are some film picks no matter your Halloween preferences.

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The Medicare Annual Election Period for 2015 Plans Begins Today

Man standing on country road looking into the distanceToday marks the start of the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP), also known as the Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and prescription drug coverage.

It’s that time of year again when everyone enrolled in Medicare should understand how their current plan is changing, compare their coverage options for 2015, and decide if they need to take any action.

The Medicare Annual Election Period occurs each year from October 15 to December 7. During this two-month enrollment window, Medicare beneficiaries can choose to make changes to their Medicare Advantage and/or prescription drug coverage for the following year.

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More High-Rated Medicare Advantage Plans Available in 2015

2015 Private Medicare Insurance TrendsIn 2015, Medicare Advantage plans will be more accessible and higher quality than previously. As you consider your options during the Annual Election Period, here are the main trends in the private Medicare insurance market.

Based on recent data by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, beneficiaries will have plenty of Medicare Advantage options in 2015. More high-rated plans will be available to consumers in the coming year. Average premium costs for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D increased slightly.

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High Blood Pressure, the Silent Killer

High Blood Pressure and Medicare coverageHigh blood pressure, or hypertension, can wreak havoc on your heart and kidneys for years without showing any signs. Although one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, many don’t realize it until they’ve been diagnosed with other conditions, including heart disease and stroke.

There’s always a certain level of normal blood pressure as your blood presses against artery walls and gets pumped throughout the body. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day according to your level of activity, lowering naturally when you sleep and rising when you’re exercising, excited, or stressed. However, in people with high blood pressure, this pressure stays at high levels for a long period of time and causes damage.

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Vision Loss Linked to Shorter Life Span in Seniors

Senior Vision and Medicare CoverageA new study finds that declining vision health may be linked with shorter survival rates in older adults.

It’s common for adults to have vision problems as they get older. Starting in their 40s, many adults start developing near-sightedness, which is a normal part of the aging process and may worsen with time.

However, a Purdue University study now links vision loss with an increased risk of death. Researchers tracked adults between 65 and 84 years old for a period of eight years and found that people whose vision worsened by one letter size on the standard eye exam chart had a 16% higher risk of death during the study.

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