The Affordable Care Act has resulted in better coverage of preventive medical care for Medicare beneficiaries. Starting in 2011, many of the preventive services will be available without the usual 20 percent co-pay, and will not require an out-of-pocket payment even if you have not met your annual deductable. According to Medicare, the following preventive services will be available in 2011:
Services Available Without a Coinsurance or Deductible:
* “Welcome to Medicare” physical exam: this is the one-time physical exam that must be completed within the first year of becoming Medicare eligible.
* Annual wellness visit: this is for updating medical history, reviewing medications, taking vital signs and body measurements, and for making plans for future medical screenings.
* Breast cancer screening: once every 12 months if over age 40, or one baseline if between the ages 35 and 39.
*Breast exam: once every 24 months, or every 12 months if “at risk.”
* Heart disease screening: blood tests for cholesterol, lipid and triglyceride levels.
* Bone density test: once every 24 months, or more frequently if medically necessary.
* Diabetes screening: once every 12 months if you are at risk for diabetes, or twice a year of you are “pre-diabetic.”
* Colon cancer screening: fecal occult blood test every 12 months if over 50; colonoscopy every 10 years if not at risk, or every 24 months if high risk; sigmoidoscopy every 48 months.
* Vaccinations: pneumonia, flu, hepatitis B.
* Smoking cessation: 2 attempts a year of 4 sessions each.
* Cervical cancer screening: once every 24 months, or one every 12 months if at risk.
* Prostate cancer screening: once every 12 months for men over 50.
*Medical nutritional therapy: for management of specific diseases such as diabetes.
Services Covered that Require Coinsurance or Deductibles
* Glaucoma screening: once every 12 months if you are at high risk.
* Colon cancer screening: a barium enema once every 48 months, or once every 24 months if you are at high risk.
* Digital prostate cancer screening.
Please note that the above are “preventive” services only. Once diagnosed with an illness, Medicare’s coverage for testing and monitoring has different guidelines. Additional preventive services might be covered if you have a Medicare Advantage plan.
For more information, please see Medicare’s preventive services checklist at http://tinyurl.com/2furoyq
- CORRECTION FOR 11/12 NEWSLETTER
KNOCK KNOCK JOKES
Levalbuterol (levosalbutamol) was incorrectly described as consisting of right-handed albuterol molecules, when in fact they are left-handed. The brand name medications Xopenex and Levolin therefore consist of left-handed albuterol molecules.
Graham, a long-term subscriber sent in suggestions to control thrush, and hopes others find them useful. He says, “I’ve had really bad thrush for a long time, losing my voice, etc. I recently found an apple cider vinegar cure that cleared it up in 3 days. I chop a half pound of ginger, and boil it in a one gallon pot until it reduces by about half. I then top it up with water to get the taste I like, and add honey. Finally, I add 1 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar to an 8 oz cup of the liquid. It tastes good and the ginger also has beneficial effects.” Graham, who is undergoing chemotherapy, still has intermittent bouts of thrush. He says he keeps his occasionally thrush in check by brushing and gargling with baking soda. Finally, he mentions, “ENT (ears, nose and throat) specialists say that thrush is aggravated in people who have acid reflux, and that the reflux prescription should be taken at the same time every day.” As always, you should check with your doctor before trying any home remedy. For more information on the use of baking soda for thrush, see this eHow article at http://tinyurl.com/2w87cp7
For a mainstream medical approach to the diagnosis and treatment of thrush, see the Medline Plus, an online site from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, at http://tinyurl.com/2dbjcv
The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) reports the number of people in the United States who are aware of COPD has increased by 4 percent between 2008 and 2010. Unfortunately, 30 percent of people in the U.S. are still unaware of this disease, and an estimated 12 million have the disease but remain undiagnosed and untreated. The year 2010 has been declared “Year of the Lung” by the Forum for International Respiratory Societies, and every November is “COPD Awareness Month.” There are also COPD recognition days and recognition months across the globe, including November 17, designated “World COPD Day” by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD). Initiatives to help spread the awareness of COPD continue on many fronts, including efforts such as the popular Dive4COPD in the U.S. For more information, see the NHLBI press release at http://tinyurl.com/36ttvo3
For information on the “Year of the Lung,” visit:
For information on World COPD Day, visit:
For information on the Drive4COPD, visit:
Here’s an interesting oxygen conserver (also called a regulator) that is build into a disposable cannula. The manufacturer Chad offers two types of disposable cannulas that have build-in conservers. They work with both liquid and gas units and are pneumatic, therefore they don’t require batteries. (An oxygen conserver provides oxygen in spurts upon inhalation, thereby extending how long a portable oxygen cylinder will last). For more information, see http://tinyurl.com/39ejkq2
Propublica reports that major drug companies are hiring dubious doctors as promoters and advisors for their products. Doctors found performing excessive and unnecessary invasive procedures, doctors who the FDA has ordered to stop false and misleading advertising, and doctors performing unnecessary exams of sexual organs, make up, in part, the pharmaceutical sales force. For the full report that includes information on some of the doctors being paid by pharmaceutical companies, their credibility issues, and the large amount money involved, please see the Propublica article at http://tinyurl.com/23honb9
New research published in CHEST, reports that COPD patients in rehabilitation do better on a mixture of 60 percent helium and 40 percent oxygen. They are able to exercise longer and harder than patients on normal air. It is believed that because helium is less dense, it allows patients to empty their lungs more completely. For a discussion of this study, see this Science Daily article http://tinyurl.com/d6n3w5
For the study in CHEST, see:
The Huffington Post reviews a number of studies related to attitude and longevity. Across the board, researchers are finding a positive attitude affects our health, and can add years to our lives. In one study, the Mayo Clinic finds optimists have about a 50 percent lower risk of early death. A Yale study finds that people who disagree with the statement, “we become less useful as we age” live an average of 7.5 years longer. If that’s not sufficiently impressive, a Dutch study finds that optimistic people had a 77 percent lower risk of heart disease than pessimists. Naysayers are especially encouraged to read Huffington Post’s complete article at http://tinyurl.com/38fs357
Payments to doctors for treating Medicare patients is scheduled to be cut by 23 percent on Dec 1, 2010 and another 6.5 percent on January 1, 2011. The AMA (American Medical Association) is asking for a 13-month reprieve to give it time to work with Congress to overhaul the Medicare payment formula. The AMA warns that the scheduled cuts will compel physicians to leave the program and result in Medicare beneficiaries having fewer doctors. For more information, see this Associated Press report on Yahoo News http://tinyurl.com/2fooauk
According to Medicare, diabetes testing supplies (along with home oxygen) are covered under Medicare’s competitive bidding pilot program starting on January 1, 2010. The pilot program covers the metropolitan areas of Charlotte, North Carolina; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Dallas; Kansas City; Miami; Orlando, Florida; Pittsburgh; and Riverside, California. If you live in one of these areas and get your diabetes testing supplies locally under Medicare Part B, you may want to call your supplier to be sure your testing supplies will be covered by Medicare after the beginning of the new year. If unavailable locally, you may need a mail order supplier. For more information, see Medicare’s brochure at http://tinyurl.com/45j4qu
November 15 starts the open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries to choose or change their health insurance and/or prescription drug plans for 2011. Kaiser Health News reports that newspapers from Seattle to Omaha warn readers of the need to shop around. Some plans have been dropped, new plans have been added, and many plans have changed. Remember the basics: Medigap Plans (also called Supplemental Plans) are private plans to cover some of the costs not covered by regular Medicare (such as deductibles and co-pays); Medicare Advantage Plans are plans offered by private insurance companies; and Part D drug plans are for beneficiaries with regular Medicare, including those with a Medicare supplement plan added to their regular Medicare. To read more about some of the concerns, see http://tinyurl.com/2co47gs
To review and compare plans available to you see http://tinyurl.com/2c6o5fh
The Newsletter, like all the other endeavors of the Family of COPD Support Programs , is provided to you by COPD-Support, Inc. a non-profit member organization with IRS designation 501(c)(3). If you would like to be involved and help us provide these programs to the individuals who benefit from them, please consider joining us as a member. Further information is available at: http://copd-support.com/membership.html
KNOCK KNOCK JOKES
RECIPES FOR TURKEY LEFTOVERS
TRIVIA, QUIZZES AND PUZZLES
For comments and questions, or to contact Richard D. Martin, please send your email to: newsletter@COPD-Support.com
Until next Friday,
Richard D. Martin, Editor