2015 Medicare FACTS – Enrollment Ends Dec. 7, 2014

You can change your Medicare Plan now until Dec. 7, 2014!

If you are already on Medicare and are Re-Enrolling in a Different Medicare Plan – Please Get Some KEY FACTS in this blog!

If you qualify for Medicare and have not yet enrolled, sign up by Dec. 7, 2014

  • In CT you may call CHOICES at: 1-800-994-9422 – immediately. A CHOICE counselor at your local Agency on Aging will help you to find a plan that meet your needs.  You may visit: Choices – CT.gov

  • You may also check out plans offered by ConnectiCare or Call (860) 674-5757 or 1-800-251-7722.  If you call 800-447-0580 (Someone in New York will answer; they are handling the over-flow for CT)

  • If you are interested in exploring coverage with Aetna call 1-855-220-3516, or visit Aetna’s comprehensive site at: www.aetnamedicare.com/

OneWorld urges great caution in selecting a new Medicare health insurance provider for 2015.

  • United Health Care (UHC) will be one of the insurance marketplace providers in CT in 2015.  UHC policies have proven to be extremely punitive to many of its existing Medicare enrollees.

  • Please be sure that you are absolutely clear about what your coverage, provider latitude, and your own freedom to choose will be before enrolling.  This goes for all insurance providers.

Here are a few salient questions to be addressed before signing up with a new insurer:

  1. Are your present doctors in the network of the new insurer? If not, what latitude do you have in selecting health care providers?

  2. How far will you have to drive to get to your new providers?

    a) In mid 2014, UHC advised Medicare enrollees who live in Hamden and New Haven that they could no longer be admitted to Yale New Haven Hospital (this also means the St. Raphael Campus), or be treated by Yale-affiliated physicians and care providers. 

    b) The approved hospitals are Griffin in Derby, Mid-State (in Meriden) Milford Hospital, St. Vincent Medical Center (Bpt) and Bridgeport Hospital.

This is an incredible inconvenience and physical hardship on many of CT’s elderly residents. Many seniors do not drive on the highways.  Many do not have cars and depend on others to drive them to appointments.

3) Be careful about the phrase “$0 monthly plan premium.” Unless you are on Medicaid (where the government pays for your health insurance), you pay a premium which is deducted from your Social Security monthly payments and sent directly to your insurer. You may not have to make any additional premiums to your insurer; however, it is important to ask about your co-pays and deductibles before benefits start.

a) How much will you have to pay out-of-pocket when you see a primary care (PC) provider? Or when you see a specialist (spec)?

b) When you go to the emergency room (ER), or have an in-hospital stay, what portion of the bill do you have to pay? What will be your deductibles? Get clear explanations and get all benefit information in writing.

c) Is Vision Care and/or Dental Care included? If they are, what is your co-pay per visit and per type of service? Are there also deductibles?

d)  Do you have pre-existing conditions that are being treated by specialist/s?

f) Will you be able to maintain those existing relationships and continuity of care under your new insurer?  This is very important! 

If not, will you be able to get comparable providers/specialists under the new insurer?  It is essential that this be addressed before signing up.  Once you have signed up it takes one year to change your insurer.

NOTE! In choosing a Medicare Plan– please know that AARP is NOT a health insurance provider. AARP is only a licensee to UHC. If you sign up with United Health Care through the AARP Supplement program, you are NOT insured with AARP. Please see the disclosure below.

Important Disclosure about Medicare Supplement Insurance:
“The AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans carry the AARP name and United Health Care pays a royalty fee to AARP for use of the AARP intellectual property. Amounts paid are used for the general purposes of AARP and its members. Neither AARP nor its affiliate is the insurer.”

“AARP encourages you to consider your needs when selecting products and does not make specific product recommendations for individuals” https://www.aarpmedicareplans.com/

Medicare.Gov is the official US Government Site for Medicare.

This is a federal government website managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244

At the link below you can find all of the Medicare-related information you need: http://www.medicare.gov/

 OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., is a small group of committed volunteers who produce community information and education television programs on health literacy, education and civic engagement.  We also find good information and post informative blogs about issues we believe shine light and are beneficial to many in our communities. Learn more about us at our web site: www.oneworldpi.org/  and visit our web health section at: http://www.oneworldpi.org/health/index.html  Please share our information with others.  Watch our informative television programs on your public access channels: AT&T Uverse, Charter Communications Chan. 21, and Comcast Chan; 10, 15, 18 & 26.

https://www.youtube.com/user/oneworldpi/videos – OneWorld’s YouTube – See us on: https://www.facebook.com/pages/OneWorld-Progressive-Institute-Inc/151551484879941

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Fewer Deaths After Health Care Reform In MA

Fewer deaths after health reform

Health Reform Watch: Study finds fewer deaths after MA implemented Health Reform   (5/8/2014) 

Nov. 15, 2014 through Feb. 15, 2015 = Open Enrollment for ACA Coverage for 2015

SIGN UP FOR THE ACA IN 2014 TO HAVE COVERAGE ON JAN. 1, 2015

Health insurance coverage allows us to get timely screenings and medical check ups that will identify health problems early; this allows for effective intervention that can save lives.  Sign UP today! 

In this edition of Health Reform Watch: Harvard Asst. Professor Ben Sommers explains his widely-quoted study showing a measurable drop in adult deaths in Massachusetts in the wake of the state’s health reform program, the model for the Affordable Care Act.

Ben Sommers, an assistant professor at Harvard, explains his widely-quoted study showing a measurable drop in adult deaths in Massachusetts in the wake of the state’s health reform program, the model for the Affordable Care Act.  Video 

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Affordable Care -Open Enrollment #2- Nov. 15 – Dec. 31, 2014

Thanks to the ACA millions of Americans now have health coverage. Those with pre-existing medical conditions, who had to make a choice between having affordable care and having shelter, are now free of that onerous burden.  For the first time since the implementation of Medicare average Americans, who do not have health coverage through an employer, now have access to affordable care. It is really important that people sign up.

The first open enrollment period in 2013 was challenging for assisters and consumers. The next open enrollment period will bring new challenges; however, the process will be less complicated if people seek help in getting enrolled in a timely manner, and have with them the required documents and information. There are at least 5 million more individuals to be enrolled, plus re-enrolling millions. We have only 7 weeks in this enrollment period; Nov. 15 to Dec. 31, 2014.  It is important that service agencies and individuals do all that is possible to help those who need health insurance to fully understand the importance of getting coverage and of signing up in a timely manner.

Are you self-employed? Work only part-time? There are subsidies to help you to get affordable health care. The emergency room is not the place to get primary health coverage because there is no continuity of care. And now that there is the Affordable Care Plan (ACA/Obamacare) the ER will ask you for your health insurance card. There is a penalty for not signing up for health coverage in Connecticut. You may also sign up before Nov. 15, 2014 if you have had a “Qualifying Life Event” since the close of the last enrollment period. See this link: https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage-outside-open-enrollment/special-enrollment-period/

Find out how to enroll through Access Health here: How to enroll | Access Health CT

Get ALL of the essential FACTS about the ACA/Obamacare in Connecticut and learn about eligibility:

http://obamacarefacts.com/insurance-exchange/connecticut-health-insurance-exchange/

 You may be eligible for Expanded Medicaid (HUSKY Health Care), or for a plan through the Marketplace (AccessHealthCT). Contact one of the service agencies in CT to find out.

Obamacare Sign Up- Get ALL details here: http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-sign-up/

In the short videos linked below we bring you the testimony of various consumers sharing the significant benefits they have derived from having health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare).

Consumer Kimberly Tonyan, a single mother speaks about the importance of having health coverage, and the difference between having coverage and having gone four years without it. http://youtu.be/R8Dh7sZTKg8 = 2 mins 10 secs.

Health care consumer, Patricia Edwards, someone with hypertension, tells her story about the benefits of having health insurance under the ACA:   “Having insurance is like having an umbrella over one’s head.” Get Health Coverage! Patricia Edwards did and it made a major difference in her life. Watch and listen to her: http://youtu.be/hKLfxt3cygU = 2 mins 15 secs

Self-employed, health care consumer, Jennifer Busco, shares her experience with signing up for the ACA in North Carolina: http://youtu.be/ju9vqd3GwNU 1 min 58 secs

Covered Just in Time – Robert’s Story: http://youtu.be/cM1CS0EaYzc 1:13

The Affordable Care Act is Working: http://youtu.be/SB56WXdKBKQ  4:22 Brief Overview of How

Published on Sep 26, 2014 – Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans have the peace of mind that comes with affordable health coverage. http://youtu.be/poHnMDzB4P0 1 min 20 secs

The Affordable Care Act and Latinos: The Affordable Care Act is making health insurance coverage more affordable and accessible for millions of Americans. For Latinos, like other ethnic minorities, the law addresses inequities in access to quality, affordable health coverage. The Affordable Care Act invests in prevention and wellness, and gives individuals and families more control over their care.

http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/factsheets/2012/04/aca-and-latinos04102012a.html

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans have the peace of mind that comes with affordable health coverage. GET Coverage in 2014! Sign UP for the Affordable Care Insurance. The health care landscape has changed in CT and nationally. It is sensible and responsible to get coverage now.

Yes, even if you line in a Republican controlled state you can get health coverage through the federal exchange. You can get coverage in Kentucky, Georgia and Arizona and in other states where there are no state exchanges. Visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/ the federal marketplace.

A Message to Pastors, Community Educators, Outreach Workers and Church Volunteers: We ask you all to be particularly vigilant, encouraging and helpful to those within your influence.  We ask pastors to speak about this from the pulpit; remind parishioners how important it is to take advantage of this positive offering and sign up for health care coverage.  Health and well-being, especially of those who struggle with health issues every day, are critically important. Diabetes, Gout and high blood pressure take a disproportionate toll on communities of color and on poor inner-city communities. Having health insurance allows for timely interventions and prevents severe damage to our biological infrastructure.  Please encourage parishioners to seek coverage for themselves and loved ones.  Under the ACA many poor people qualify for free health insurance.

With coverage under the ACA you do not have to go without health coverage for four years as Kimberly did before she was able to sign up for the ACA. Obamacare is helping us to stay more healthy. Sign UP!

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., is a small group of committed volunteers who produce community information and education television programs on health literacy, education and civic engagement.  We also find good information and post informative blogs about issues we believe shine light. Learn more about us at our web site: www.oneworldpi.org/  and visit our web health section at: http://www.oneworldpi.org/health/index.html  Please share our information with others.  Watch our informative television programs on your public access channels: AT&T Uverse, Charter Communications Chan. 21, and Comcast Chans 10, 15, 18 & 26.

https://www.youtube.com/user/oneworldpi/videos – OneWorld’s YouTube – See us on: https://www.facebook.com/pages/OneWorld-Progressive-Institute-Inc/151551484879941

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Our Right to Choose When to Die – An Ethical Discussion

As Planned, Right-To-Die Advocate Brittany Maynard Ended Her Life on Nov. 1, 2014

“I quickly decided that death with dignity was the best option for me and my family.”

This young woman’s choice to end her life offers an opportunity for us (as individuals and) as a society to engage family, loved ones and legislators in an ethical discussion. When plagued by disease and suffering, do we have the right to decide when we should die? How many of us in CT have Living Wills or Health Care Advanced Directives?

http://wcbe.org/post/planned-right-die-advocate-brittany-maynard-ends-her-life

The amount of conversation this situation has generated tells us it is an important issue.

  • How many of us even know what are “Living Wills’ and Health Care Directives?  Do we know the key roles these play in resolving critical issues for us when we are in no position to resolve them for ourselves?

  • How many Connecticut families have been caught up in legal and emotional battles because no one knew exactly what the “patient” wanted before he/she became incapacitated? 

  • It is heart-wrenching to see what some families go through when critical decisions need to be made and there are conflicts between family members who want differing decisions to be made.  This is particularly difficult when there are adult children and no spouse.

  • Under these circumstances, who has the right to decide for each of us how and when we die? This blog does not purport to answer any of these questions. We do believe it is important to discuss these issues.

This topic is a critically important one. As a former director of patient relations, I saw first-hand the turmoil wrought in families when there are disagreements about continuity of care and level of care for the terminally ill. As much as it is uncomfortable for many to deal with the knowledge, belief, or fact that a loved one faces inevitable death within a short time, this is an issue that should be addressed among family members and decision-makers before they ever get to that point. It is more difficult to make these decisions when we are emotionally distraught. It is also difficult to know what is the “right thing to do” when the issue has never been discussed with the person who is now incapacitated. This is why what Brittany Maynard did was so courageous. She tackled the issue before it became a problem for her family.

This blog is not about the right or wrong of it; it is about having the discussion while she was fully able to make a carefully thought-out decision; this gives her family freedom from making any decisions.

 CTLAWHELP.ORG is a comprehensive web site and an organization that offers free legal help to the very poor; it also provides excellent information about health care directives. Visit: http://ctlawhelp.org/health-care-planning-advance-directives-living-wills

 Visit this link below to see actual samples of each of the required documents and the explanation about the purpose and function of each.

http://ct.gov/ag/lib/ag/health/advancedirectiveslivingwillorhealthcareinstructions.pdf

What is a Living Will – Connecticut Wills and Trusts

www.ctwillsandtrusts.com/Page/what-is-a-living-will

Connecticut Living Will Form | Estate Planning – US Legal www.uslegalforms.com/livingwills/connecticut-living-will-forms.htm

Get living will forms and documents for CT. Download living wills by city or state!

Ms. Maynard chose the picture she wanted posted on the Death with Dignity National Center web site.  Whether we agree or not, she did it her way. This is an opportunity for the rest of us to discuss this issue with our loved ones. While you are discussing, talk about organ and tissue donation.  Thousands of healthy, viable, transplantable organs and tissues are put in the ground every day because family members did not know what the deceased person wanted. Have the discussion; sign a donor card.  http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/11/brittany_maynard_readers_offer.html

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., is a small group of committed volunteers who produce community information and education programs on health literacy, education and civic engagement.  We also find good information and post informative blogs about issues we believe shine light. Learn more about us at our web site: www.oneworldpi.org/ and visit http://www.oneworldpi.org/health/index.html

https://www.youtube.com/user/oneworldpi/videos   – OneWorld’s YouTube – Please Visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/OneWorld-Progressive-Institute-Inc/151551484879941

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Get the FACTS about Lung Cancer – Its the Number One Killer

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Lung Cancer is the top cause of cancer deaths in both men and women.  Today, smoking causes nearly 9 out of 10 lung cancer deaths, while radon gas, pollution, and other chemicals play a smaller role.  See a Visual Guide to  Lung Cancer here: http://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/ss/slideshow-lung-cancer-overview 

“About 90 percent of lung cancers are attributed directly or indirectly to the use of tobacco products. “Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemical compounds, many of which have been shown to be cancer-causing, or carcinogenic. The two primary carcinogens in tobacco smoke are chemicals known as nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.” http://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/guide/lung-cancer-causes

Lung Cancer Diagnosis – Learn how Lung Cancer is diagnosed by reading or listening here: http://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/guide/lung-cancer-diagnosis 

Your doctor may suspect lung cancer if a routine physical exam reveals:

  • Swollen lymph nodes above the collarbone

  • A mass in the abdomen

  • Weak breathing

  • Abnormal sounds in the lungs

  • Dullness when the chest is tapped

  • Rounding of the fingernails

  • Unequal pupils

  • Droopy eyelids

  • Weakness in one arm

  • Expanded veins in the arms, chest, or neck

  • Swelling of the face 

See the BIG Picture at the Maps linked below.  Visit the links and get much more information; share with friends and family, and especially with teens. It is easier never to start smoking than to quit smoking.

Examine Cancer Incidence Rates By State. Connecticut residents, please look closely at our figures in CT.

The Center for Disease Control & Prevention Provides an Overview of All Cancers by State

The number of people who get cancer is called cancer incidence. In the United States, the rate of getting cancer varies from state to state.

In the following maps, the U.S. states are divided into groups based on the rates at which people developed or died from cancer in 2011, which is the most recent year with numbers available. The rates are the numbers out of 100,000 people who developed or died from cancer each year.

Cancer Incidence Rates by State  (This information is quite interesting)

We invite you to click the link below to examine your state and more detailed stats:

 http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/data/state.htm

Get the FACTS about Lung Cancer
Myth: If You’ve Smoked for Years, the Damage Is Done
Fact: It’s never too late to stop smoking. Quitting has almost immediate benefits, including improved circulation and lung function. Risk of lung cancer begins to decline over time. Ten years after quitting, former smokers cut their risk of developing lung cancer by up to 50%.

Myth: Low-Tar or ‘Light’ Cigarettes Are Safer Than Regular 

Fact: Light, ultra-light, and low-tar are just as dangerous as regular cigarettes. And beware of menthol: Some research suggests that menthol cigarettes may be more dangerous and harder to quit. Their cooling sensation can allow smokers to inhale more deeply.  http://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/chemotherapy-non-small-cell-10/slideshow-lung-cancer-risks

November is Lung Cancer Awareness. It’s November 1, 2014 – Make a Positive Change Today! Check the map below to see figures in your state

Color on Map Interval States
Light green 373.8 to 435.8 Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming
Medium green 435.9 to 457.6 Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont
Medium blue 457.7 to 477.2 Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin
Dark blue 477.3 to 509.3 Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
Light Gray Data not available‡ Nevada

*Rates are per 100,000 and are age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population.
‡Rates are not shown if the state did not meet USCS publication criteria or if the state did not submit data to CDC.
†Source: U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2011 Incidence and Mortality … Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2014.  More details available at: www.cdc.gov/uscs.

Cancer Death Rates by State

Rates of dying from cancer also vary from state to state.

All Cancers Combined.  More information available at the various links:

http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/data/state.htm

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc., is a small group of committed volunteers who produce community information and education programs on health literacy, education and civic engagement.  We also find good information and post informative blogs about issues we believe shine light. Learn more about us at our web site: www.oneworldpi.org/   and also visit http://www.oneworldpi.org/health/index.html 

https://www.youtube.com/user/oneworldpi/videos   – OneWorld’s YouTube – Please Visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/OneWorld-Progressive-Institute-Inc/151551484879941

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