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Medicare Open Enrollment Ends Dec. 7: Comparing coverage options could save you money

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(Family Features) If you’re enrolled in Medicare, it’s important to remember Medicare Open Enrollment is open through Dec. 7 each year. It is the time for people with Medicare to compare their prescription drug and health coverage options for the upcoming year.

It is important to compare your options because plans can change every year – even your current choice may be changing. Your health needs can change, too. By comparing all your options, you could save money, find a coverage option better tailored to your needs or both.

How to Compare Prescription Drug and Health Coverage Options
Medicare.gov is the official source for information about Medicare and Open Enrollment. You may see enrollment information from various insurance companies and other sources. Start at Medicare.gov to get unbiased information to find the type of coverage that best meets your needs.

Comparing prescription drug and health coverage options is easy at Medicare.gov. You can input the list of medications you are taking and conduct a side-by-side comparison of plan coverage, costs and quality ratings. If you are happy with your current choice, you don’t have to do anything. If you choose a new option for 2024, you can enroll right there.

Before you enroll in a plan, consider the following:

  • Check if your health care providers are in a plan’s network.
  • Check if your prescriptions are included on a plan’s formulary and if the plan works with your pharmacy.
  • Check the plan’s Star Rating on Medicare.gov to see how it performs on quality, customer service and more.
  • Remember low monthly premiums may not always be the best overall value for your specific needs.
  • Review a plan’s estimated total costs to you, including deductible and other out-of-pocket costs.
  • Check if Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits, like vision, hearing or dental coverage, if you need these services.
  • Remember that you may need a referral or prior authorization for some services under Medicare Advantage plans.

Vaccine, Insulin and Drug Cost Savings
Improvements to the Medicare program are adding up to savings and improved access to affordable treatments because of the Inflation Reduction Act.

  • Insulin: If you have Medicare and take insulin, you’ll pay no more than $35 for a month’s supply of each covered insulin. This includes people who have Medicare drug coverage (Part D) and all Part B covered insulins.
  • Vaccines: People with Medicare drug coverage will pay nothing out of pocket for adult vaccines, including the shingles vaccine, that are recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
  • Drug Cost Savings: In 2024, people enrolled in Part D who have very high drug costs will get some relief. Once they reach a certain threshold on paying out-of-pocket costs – what we call the catastrophic phase – they will no longer have additional cost sharing or copays at the pharmacy.

Medicare Can Help
To compare options and find the best coverage to fit your needs:

  • Visit Medicare.gov and conduct side-by-side comparisons of costs and coverage.
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE. Help is available 24 hours a day, including weekends.
  • Access personalized health insurance counseling in your community at no cost, available from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Visit shiphelp.org or call 1-800-MEDICARE for locations near you.

Medicare Options
There are two main ways to get Medicare coverage: Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage (Medicare-approved plans from private companies). There are differences between the two that are important to understand when reviewing your coverage options.

  • With Original Medicare, you get your health care through Medicare Parts A and B. You can join a separate drug plan to get Medicare drug coverage (also called Part D). And you can see any doctor that takes Medicare anywhere in the U.S.
  • Medicare Advantage is an alternative that usually bundles your health and drug coverage all in one plan. Some plans may offer extra benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t cover – like certain vision, hearing and dental services. In many cases, you can only use doctors who are in the plan’s network.

If you are new to Medicare or need to review the ways you can get your Medicare coverage, visit Medicare.gov and click “Get Started with Medicare.”

Extra Help with Prescription Drug Costs
If you are struggling with prescription drug costs, Extra Help is a Medicare program that can help pay for your drug coverage (Part D) premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and other costs. If you make less than $22,000 a year ($30,000 for married couples), it’s worth it to apply. Visit ssa.gov/extrahelp or call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to apply. The program will expand to cover more drug costs for people with limited resources in 2024. People who qualify for Extra Help generally will pay no more than $4.50 for each generic drug and $11.20 for each brand-name drug.

Information provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images
SOURCE:
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

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Community Fundraiser Hosted by CFC in Support of Infertility Awareness Week

Canadian Fertility Consulting and Fertility Matters Canada Unite for Virtual Paint Night Fundraiser

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TORONTO (Newswire.com) – Canadian Fertility Consulting is proud to announce a Virtual Paint Night Fundraiser in support of Infertility Awareness Week, scheduled for April 28, 2024. This event aims to raise awareness about infertility issues while supporting Fertility Matters Canada, a national charity dedicated to assisting those struggling with fertility challenges.

The virtual paint night will be led by the talented Jenny Hughes of Oceanside Art Studios, offering participants the opportunity to unleash their creativity while supporting a meaningful cause. Taking part is simple – join from the comfort of your home via Microsoft Teams, and we will provide all the necessary paint materials, conveniently shipped directly to your door.

“We are thrilled to host this virtual paint night fundraiser to support Infertility Awareness Week and Fertility Matters Canada,” said Janet Harbick, Administrative Specialist at Canadian Fertility Consulting. “It’s an opportunity for our community to come together, express themselves artistically, and raise vital funds for a cause that impacts so many lives.”

Participants are encouraged to register by April 12, 2024, to ensure timely delivery of the paint supplies. Registration and payment are required to secure your spot in this event.

The theme for the evening is to paint a beautiful hatching embryo, with each participant adding their own unique interpretation. No prior painting experience is necessary, as guidance will be provided throughout the virtual session.

Infertility affects one in six Canadians, leading many to explore alternative paths to parenthood. Statistics show that 40% of infertility cases are attributed to female factors, 30% to male factors, and 30% to joint infertility or remain unexplained. Additionally, various factors such as sexual orientation, genetic diseases, gynecological issues, and career considerations contribute to the complexity of infertility challenges faced by individuals and couples across every demographic and economic group.

Canadian Fertility Consulting is Canada’s largest surrogacy and egg donation agency, committed to assisting couples and individuals in their journey to parenthood. With a mission to build families with love, we provide guidance and support throughout the process of exploring alternative methods of family building.

Join us for a night of creativity and compassion as we come together to support Infertility Awareness Week and Fertility Matters Canada. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by infertility.

For more information and to register for the Virtual Paint Night Fundraiser, visit Paint Night Event Registration.

About Canadian Fertility Consulting:

Canadian Fertility Consulting is Canada’s largest surrogacy and egg donation agency, dedicated to helping couples and individuals navigate the challenges of infertility. With a focus on compassion and support, we assist in building families through surrogacy and egg donation arrangements.

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World Health Day 2020: Celebrating Nurses and Midwives in Healthcare

World Health Day: Celebrating nurses and midwives, the backbone of healthcare. #HealthcareHeroes #WorldHealthDay2020

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Today isWorld Health Day, an annual event that takes place on April 7th, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO). This day serves as a platform to highlight various health issues and set the tone for future developments in the global wellness and medical world. From mental health to insurance and everything in between, World Health Day tackles it all.

Let’s delve into the history of this significant day. The creation of the World Health Organization marked a turning point in international health efforts. In December 1945, officials from Brazil and China proposed the establishment of a comprehensive and independent international health organization. Half a year later, in July 1946, the WHO Constitution was approved in New York. On April 7, 1948, this constitution entered into force with 61 countries signing an agreement to inaugurate the NGO.

World Health Day: Celebrating nurses and midwives, the backbone of healthcare. #HealthcareHeroes #WorldHealthDay2020

Among the early initiatives of WHO was the introduction of World Health Day. Originally observed on July 22, 1949, the date was later changed to April 7, coinciding with the establishment of WHO, in order to encourage student participation. Since 1950, each World Health Day has been assigned a different theme, chosen by the WHO Director-General in consultation with member governments and staff.

World Health Day offers a globally significant opportunity to draw attention to crucial public health issues that impact communities worldwide. On this day, various promotional programs are launched that extend far beyond April 7th, raising awareness and fostering positive change.

This year, World Health Day shines a spotlight on the exceptional contributions made by nurses and midwives to the healthcare industry. Nurses and midwives are the devoted and restless workforce that has transformed healthcare as we know it. Their tireless efforts, compassion, and expertise make them the backbone of the healthcare system, providing invaluable care and support to individuals and communities across the globe.

World Health Day 2020 celebrates nurses and midwives by organizing advocacy events worldwide. One of the highlights is the launch of the first-ever State of the World’s Nursing Report. This groundbreaking report will provide critical insights and recommendations to optimize the contributions of the nursing workforce. In 2021, a similar report focusing on the midwifery workforce will follow.

On this World Health Day, let us all join hands in acknowledging and appreciating the vital role played by nurses and midwives in providing healthcare. We owe them our gratitude and support. Take a moment to thank a nurse or midwife who has made a difference in your life or participate in events and discussions that promote their recognition.

Remember, every day is an opportunity to prioritize our health and well-being. Let World Health Day serve as a reminder to embrace healthy living, support those who care for us, and work towards a healthier future.

Stay joyful, stay healthy, and happy World Health Day!

https://nationaltoday.com/world-health-day/

https://stmdailynews.com/category/lifestyle/

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Walk Your Way to Better Health

A walk is not just good for your body, it’s also good for your soul. Physical activity, like walking, is one of the best ways to reduce stress and boost your mood for better health.

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(Family Features) A walk is not just good for your body, it’s also good for your soul. Physical activity, like walking, is one of the best ways to reduce stress and boost your mood. However, reports show walking rates are declining steadily in the United States.

On average, 1 out of every 4 U.S. adults sits for longer than eight hours each day, per research from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, which can have negative consequences on physical and mental health. Regular exercise improves mood, boosts energy and can even help you sleep better. Staying active is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy.

Consider this advice from the American Heart Association, which has worked for decades to promote policies and strategies that make it easier for communities to get and stay active. One example is National Walking Day on April 3, established by the organization to encourage people to move more throughout the day so they can feel, think, sleep and live better.

Indeed, adding more movement can benefit your body and mind in numerous ways, such as:

Lowering disease risk. Getting the recommended amount of physical activity (at least 150 minutes of moderate, 75 minutes of vigorous or a combination of those activities per week) is linked to lower risk of diseases, stronger bones and muscles, improved mental health and cognitive function and lower risk of depression, according to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.

Increasing sunlight exposure. Outdoor exercise is an easy way to get moving and take in the sunlight, which can improve mood, boost immunity and help you get some vitamin D. Spending time outdoors is a no-cost option and has been shown to reduce stress, promote a sense of belonging and improve mood.

Improving cognitive and mental function. Physical activity keeps your mind sharp now and later. Studies show higher fitness levels are linked to better attention, learning, working memory and problem solving. What’s more, a study published in the “British Journal of Sports Medicine” shows people who get the recommended amount of physical activity are less likely to develop depression.

Living longer. Healthy life expectancy can be positively impacted by increasing activity. According to research published in the “American Journal of Epidemiology,” swapping just 30 minutes of sitting with low-intensity physical activity reduced risk of death by 17%.

Get moving to reduce your stress and step into better health. Learn more at heart.org/movemore.

Get Inspired to Get Moving

A little creativity can go a long way to make your walk more fun. You might think of walking as a solo activity, but a companion makes it even more enjoyable. Ask colleagues, friends or family to join you.

A walk is a perfect excuse to take a break from a long day at your desk. If you work remotely, take a conference call on the go or plan your walk as a reward for completing a project.

Use your walk as a guilt-free opportunity to listen to a new audiobook or create a walking soundtrack of your favorite upbeat music.

Mix up your scenery. Taking new routes keeps your walks interesting and helps prevent boredom from traveling the same predictable path.

If you need an extra nudge to get moving, a pet may help you get fit. Dog parents are more likely to reach their fitness goals than those without canine companions. In fact, according to the “Journal of Physical Activity & Health,” dog parents are 34% more likely to fit in 150 minutes of walking a week than non-dog owners. Pets can also help lower stress, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar and boost your overall happiness and well-being.

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock


SOURCE:
American Heart Association

https://stmdailynews.com/category/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/health/

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