Vitamin D Benefits for Seniors

The Virtues of Vitamin DYou may have heard that vitamin D helps protect against bone loss (osteoporosis). But did you know it may also help you maintain good muscle tone and may even protect you against certain cancers, according to studies?

The National Institutes of Health reports that vitamin D is calcium’s essential partner in protecting your bones. It helps your body absorb calcium. Vitamin D deficiency can weaken your bones or cause them to get brittle or deformed.

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Why Early Detection Is Important for Breast Cancer

Medicare and Breast CancerWhen it comes to breast cancer screening exams, early detection is obviously crucial, as it helps get breast cancer diagnosed as early as possible, allowing your doctor and other health-care professionals to consider treatment options at the earliest stages.  

According to, breast cancers that are found during screening exams have the best chance of still being confined to the breast at the time of discovery. In other words, they haven’t yet spread to other parts of the body. The American Cancer Society’s guidelines for early detection of breast cancer can be an effective way to diagnose breast cancer at an early stage and strategize a successful treatment.

Award-winning journalist Joan Lunden has spoken at length about her own battle with breast cancer, documenting her struggle on in a series of videos and blog posts. She’s also become an advocate for women’s health and delivered the keynote speech at the 32nd Annual Miami Breast Cancer Conference on February 26, 2015, which was planned and developed by ACCME-accredited Physicians’ Education Resource, LLC (PER).

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Is Vinyl Making a Comeback? Can Music Boost Your Mood?

Medicare and Mental HealthEvery generation feels a little bit like things were better back in their day, right? Wouldn’t it be interesting if a younger generation started to agree? That’s what’s happening when it comes to the vinyl resurgence that’s happening all over the United States. Millennials have discovered the joy of records and they’re loving it.

One record store in St. Petersburg, Florida, called Bananas Records, is experiencing the vinyl comeback firsthand. It’s not just a destination that’s popular with baby boomers looking to fill in gaps in their collections. Instead, younger music fans are beginning to embrace records with fervor.

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Medicare and High Cholesterol

Medicare and CholesterolA person dies every 38 seconds from cardiovascular disease. In almost every year since 1900, cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death in the United States, as far as diseases go. So what’s the greatest cause of coronary artery disease? You guessed it — high cholesterol.   

Cholesterol has the potential to block the flow to blood to your heart. The higher your cholesterol count, the more your chances of this happening increase, according to the Mayo Clinic. When cholesterol builds up, it leads to a constriction of coronary vessels, creating plaque blockages which prevent additional blood vessels from reaching your heart. When this happens, cardiovascular disease becomes a significant risk.

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President Obama’s 2016 Budget Looks to Make Medicare Cuts

President Obama's 2016 Budget Looks to Make Medicare CutsPresident Barack Obama’s proposed budget aims to cut more than $400 billion in Medicare funding over the next decade. Here’s what 2016-2026 might look like for the Medicare program if the Obama budget is passed as is.

The presidential budget could present big changes for the Medicare program, asking some beneficiaries to pay more for certain types of coverage, as well as cutting back the amount of federal payments made to private Medicare Advantage plans.

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Some Benefits and Risks of Weight-Loss Surgery

Benefits and Risks of Weight-Loss Surgery When other efforts to lose weight haven’t worked, some people consider weight-loss surgery, otherwise known as bariatric surgery. There’s a lot to consider about this type of procedure.

While any kind of surgery comes with risks and is not to be taken lightly, weight-loss surgery may be considered suitable in some cases for certain health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes or morbid obesity.

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Medicare Part D and Drug Safety for Older Adults

Medicare Part D and Drug Safety for Older AdultsOlder adults tend to have more health problems and often take more than one prescription drug to treat their conditions. This increases their risk for taking drugs incorrectly or harmful drug interactions. Here are tips for managing your medications and taking them safely.

No matter how old you are, it can be hard to keep track of your prescription medications when you’re taking multiple drugs to treat various health conditions. Each drug may come with a different dosage and its own instructions for how it should be taken. Add on the memory and vision issues that plague many seniors, and you have the perfect storm for misreading drug labels, taking medications incorrectly, and even accidental drug poisoning.

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Medicare Can’t Deny Skilled Care Coverage if You’re Not Improving

Medicare and the Improvement StandardIf you need skilled care, such as physical therapy or home health services, Medicare can’t deny you coverage because you aren’t getting better.

Many Medicare beneficiaries have chronic conditions or disabilities that need ongoing skilled nursing care, home health care, or outpatient therapy. Even if these patients may not get better, the treatment may be medically necessary to keep them from getting worse.

In the past, Medicare denied coverage for skilled nursing care, home health care, and outpatient therapy services if the patient didn’t show signs of progress. Also known as the improvement standard, this guideline meant that Medicare coverage for treatment ceased as soon as patients plateaued in their therapy–although they would become eligible for coverage again if their condition got worse.

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Medicare Adds Star Ratings to Dialysis Facilities

Medicare and Dialysis FacilitiesMedicare beneficiaries with end-stage renal disease can now use star ratings to compare the quality of dialysis facilities.

End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is one of the few situations that may qualify you for Medicare before 65. If you have end-stage renal disease that requires kidney dialysis or transplant, you may be eligible for Medicare coverage regardless of your age, as long as you’ve worked enough quarters, are already receiving retirement benefits, or qualify through your spouse’s work history.

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Medicare Now Covers CT Scans to Screen for Lung Cancer

Medicare and Lung Cancer ScreeningsEffective immediately, Medicare will cover low-dose CT screening for certain beneficiaries who have a high risk for lung cancer.

Known more commonly as CT or CAT scans, computed tomography scans are a type of X-ray that produces detailed images of a patient’s body, according to the National Cancer Institute. In oncology, CT scans are used to screen and diagnose tumors and abnormal growths, to track progress during cancer treatment, and to monitor patients in remission. Without health coverage, CT scans can be quite expensive and unaffordable for most Medicare beneficiaries.

On February 5, Medicare announced it would begin covering low-dose CT screenings for lung cancer. Medicare’s coverage of CT screenings could help high-risk beneficiaries detect lung cancer at its early stages, when treatment may be more effective.

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