Volunteer in Your Community with Senior Corps

A woman being campanion to a senior through Senior CorpsFor some people, retirement is an endless vacation. But others miss the chance to use and improve their skills while interacting with different people. If you want to put your free time towards helping your community, Senior Corps has a variety of service opportunities for those ages 55 and over in every U.S. state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Senior Corps is part of the federal Corporation for National and Community Service and began during the John F. Kennedy administration. It connects seniors with people and organizations in their local communities. The principles that guide Senior Corps’ service are teamwork, diversity, capability, presence, flexibility, and service-learning. Volunteers from different backgrounds team together and share their unique talents to meet community needs. People can set their own schedules and give whatever time they have to the projects they choose. This is a good way to expand on lifelong skills and even learn new things. Continue reading

Celebrity Birthdays in June: Turning 65 in 2014

Celebrity Birthdays in June: Turning 65 in 2014It’s always nice to celebrate the arrival of June. Who can’t appreciate warmer weather, longer days, and weekend cookouts? Perhaps these summer months signify a milestone in your life, like a 65th birthday. If so then you’re in good company with some of the celebrities who are turning 65 this month.    

Whether or not you’re a fan of bona fide movie stars, character actors, musicians, or designers, there’s a lot of talent and variety in this list of celebrities birthdays in June.

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Medicare Costs for Generic and Brand-Name Drugs

Pill bottle & dollars, cost of generic & brand-name drugsIf you have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage, you should have access to both generic and brand-name drugs. These medications will have separate cost-sharing, meaning you’ll pay a different rate for each type. Often, the generic equivalent of a brand-name drug will be less expensive.

People sometimes worry about generic drugs being not as effective or safe as brand-name drugs, but that shouldn’t be a problem. The FDA requires that generics have the same active ingredients as the brand-name drugs, and generic and brand-name drugs are tested to perform the same medically.

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The Medicare Competitive Bidding Program—Does it Affect You?

Medicare Advantage Plans: Out-Of-Pocket ExpensesMedicare is rolling out a “competitive bidding” program that might affect you if you’re a Medicare beneficiary who orders certain medical supplies by mail order.

The program is called the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program. It requires you to get certain medical supplies from a Medicare contract supplier if you get your supplies by mail order, and if you live in certain areas. The items in question are some of the DMEPOS equipment, such as diabetic testing supplies and certain other items prescribed as medically necessary. This program doesn’t affect you unless you order these supplies by mail, and you have Original Medicare.
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Sunscreen for Senior Citizens

Senior couple uses sunscreen on a beachMost people enjoy getting outside on a sunny day. But before you throw off winter’s sweater to spend time in the garden or at the beach this summer, make sure you know about sunscreen for senior citizens. Older skin can be more delicate and needs protection from the elements, so it’s wise to pick your protection carefully and consider how and when you go outside.

The consumer watchdog organization, the Environmental Working Group, updates its database of the safest and most effective sunscreens every year. The group gives the highest scores to products that provide excellent UV protection and have nontoxic ingredients. Here are 10 of the top-rated sunscreens for 2014: Continue reading

Medical Marijuana and Your Medicare Coverage

Medical Marijuana and Your Medicare CoverageMedical marijuana has gained recognition and acceptance in the last few years as a treatment for certain chronic illnesses, plus the nausea and pain that can accompany them.

If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, you may wonder if your Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan or Medicare Part D standalone Prescription Drug Plan covers medical marijuana.

The short answer to the question of whether Medicare beneficiaries have cannabis coverage is: No, Medicare does not cover medical marijuana.

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Medicare Rules about Ordering Diabetic Supplies by Mail

medicare-diabetic-suppliesIf you’re enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), and you get your diabetic testing supplies by mail, you need to get them from a Medicare contract supplier. If you don’t, you could end up paying full price.

Many Medicare beneficiaries enjoy the convenience of having their medical supplies home-delivered. If you are among them, then it is important to make sure that you choose from Medicare’s list of contract suppliers when ordering diabetic testing supplies by mail. It’s all about Medicare’s Competitive Bidding program.

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Medicare Coverage While Traveling Outside the U.S.

Medicare Coverage While Traveling Outside the U.S.Medicare beneficiaries traveling abroad should be aware that their coverage options may be limited in foreign countries.

Planning a trip to Europe this summer? You may want to add “finding health insurance” to your to-do list if you want to stay covered while traveling. In general, Medicare does not cover most health care received while traveling outside of the United States and its territories. The phrase “outside of the United States” includes anywhere outside of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. If you need health care or medical supplies outside of these areas, you will have to pay out of pocket, barring a few exceptions. Continue reading

CMS Reduces Medicare Overpayments for Hospice Patient Prescriptions

CMS Reduces Medicare Overpayments for Hospice Patient PrescriptionsMedicare spending continues to be scrutinized, and the latest reduction effort from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) comes in the elimination of double billing for hospice drugs.

The CMS’ Part D payment plan for hospice beneficiaries aims to prevent duplicate payments for hospice prescriptions. In the past, insurance companies may have been billed twice for the same medications — once from the Medicare Part D beneficiary and again by the hospice organization administering care. Following a guideline that went into effect on May 1 of this year, the CMS now directs insurers to confirm with hospices up front whether or not they cover the necessary prescriptions related to a beneficiary’s care.

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Medicare Data Shed Light On Cost Of Spinal Surgeries

Medicare Data Shed Light On Cost Of Spinal Surgeries Many Americans struggle with back pain and back injury, especially seniors. Spinal surgeries are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, which may not come as a surprise as our population becomes more active and

A few weeks ago, Medicare released a vast amount of billing data which included information for individual doctors and medical providers. In particular, the newly released Medicare data revealed some surprising information about how much the government paid surgeons who performed spinal surgeries.

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