Make Open Enrollment Work for You
Whether you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan or are on original Medicare with a Part D Drug Plan, Medicare Open Enrollment is an important time for Medicare-eligible members to check their plans and to verify if the current coverage still fits their health care needs and budget.
This enrollment window is the time to make changes to determine if there is a better alternative for your specific needs.
The Medicare marketplace offers Medicare-eligible beneficiaries a competitive field of plans to choose from.
Every year, insurance companies modify plan benefits, and it’s important to know which ones made modifications and how these changes in benefits impact you.
When it comes to prescription drugs, many companies may also change their drug formularies and cost structure. In other words, you’ll want to know which drugs will be covered for the upcoming benefit year, and what copay you’ll have to pay for a specific drug.
In addition, there may be some changes to the plan’s provider network, such as adding or removing physicians and facilities. It’s important to review your Medicare options, provider networks, and drug formularies to verify if the current coverage still fits your needs or if switching to a different plan will ensure you have the right coverage for your specific health concerns.
George Popa is a licensed sales agent with Strachan-Novak Insurance Services in Twinsburg. He can be reached at 330-963-3800 or [email protected] Visit sn-insure.com for more information....
When They’re Healthy, You’re Healthy
Having practiced dentistry for over 40 years, I’ve seen lots of patients and lots of changes in dentistry, from materials to techniques.
In those 40 years there’s been one constant, and that is the importance of having your own teeth – for nutrition, health, and appearance. My appearances on Cleveland WKYC ‘s “Golden Opportunities” TV show has helped me promote dental care for those of us over 50.
It’s clear that our teeth allow us to chew food and to consume necessary nutrients. When patients lose teeth and replace them with dentures (either partial or full), they often remark that they don’t enjoy their food like they used to, or they mention that they have digestive problems, which are often linked to an inability to properly break up or grind food.
Dentures anchored by implants improve stability but they still don’t have the chewing strength that natural teeth provide. Plus, food often gets caught under the denture. Today’s partials – often metal-free – look relatively natural, feel tight and are better adapted for chewing, but they still require removal to keep clean.
Implants with single teeth screwed or cemented on can help with chewing and can feel like “they’re my own teeth” but present other complications, including difficulty with cleaning and maintenance.
Studies associate oral health to overall health. This includes a strong relationship between periodontal health and heart health.
Oral hygiene – including brushing and flossing after meals to remove food particles that mouth bacteria feed off of – helps maintain teeth and the surrounding bone and tissue. Gum/periodontal disease allow the proliferation of bacteria, often leading to infection that may move to other parts of the body. Some research supports the use of a baking soda/peroxide incorporated into toothpaste to help fight the disease and, in fact, is something that we suggest to our own patients....
College Kids and Grandchildren
As your child heads off to college (or as you watch your grandchild head off ) you feel a sense of relief and, of course, sadness as your baby moves to the next stage of life.
You’ve purchased the dorm room supplies — a small refrigerator, dorm-size sheets, new towels, decorations — and you are prepared to drive, fly or otherwise get them to their campus on time. Can you sit back and put up your feet on a job well done? Maybe not; there might just be one last task you need to check off your to-do list.
College Student Paperwork
As your child or grandchild gets older, you have less control over their life. This also becomes legally true when they turn 18. Once that happens, you do not automatically have the right to speak to their doctors, for example. Your child’s finances (even if you are supporting them) are private as well. So, you need them to sign three critical documents: a Health Care Power of Attorney with a HIPAA Release, a Durable Power of Attorney, and a Last Will and Testament.
The Health Care Power of Attorney allows you, after your child is 18, to make medical decisions if the child cannot do so.
When your child is younger than 18, you can make all medical decisions for them. That changes after they turn 18 and you lose that right. If they’re in an accident and are unable to make medical decisions for themselves, a Health Care Power of Attorney signed in advance would allow you to be their health care agent.
The HIPAA release form also is important. Many parents are probably still paying medical bills for their college-age students and helping them make medical decisions....
Treatment Tips to Get Back on Your Feet
I twisted my ankle while hiking in the Metroparks. What are the signs of a sprain and how do I treat it?
A typical ankle sprain has tenderness over the injured area, swelling and bruising. After the injury, most patients can walk on the affected foot. However, if you cannot put any weight on your foot because of severe pain, you may not have an ankle sprain but a fracture to one of the bones that makes up the ankle joint. If this is the case, you may need an X-ray of the ankle to look at the anatomy and to determine if there is a fracture.
There are three types of ankle sprains: medial, lateral and syndesmotic “high.” The most common type of sprain affects the lateral ligaments, and the most common ligament to be sprained is the anterior talofibular ligament. This type of injury is usually due to an inversion motion to the ankle and foot — the twisting movement of the foot inward.
Treatment options for an ankle sprain include ice, compression, anti-inflammatory medications, elevation and support bracing. Severe ankle sprains may require a walking boot and crutches. Other treatment options can consist of platelet-rich-plasma injections or prolotherapy to help heal the injured ligament. Rehabilitation from an ankle sprain consists of range-of-motion, strengthening and balancing exercises.
If pain from the injury becomes unmanageable, many believe they need to go to the emergency room. But the ER is primarily designed to serve life-threatening emergencies. An urgent care center may be able to help you, but you will likely be seen by a generalist — not an orthopedic specialist. In both cases, you will walk out with a referral to have a second appointment with a specialist....
Better Relationships & a Better Life
By Kathy McGowan
“What was that?”
Hearing loss can become a heavy, uncomfortable burden causing awkward social encounters and ultimately alienating family and friends.
How many times do we repeat ourselves before we say, “Forget it,” and walk away? Or worse, we don’t bother to start a conversation because it takes too much effort.
The listener feels left out and ignored, resulting in hurt feelings and isolation.
Hearing loss harms our personal and professional relationships. Relationships require communication — the exchange of information and ideas between people — to be successful. Hearing loss breaks that connection.
The divorce rate among the hard of hearing is four times higher than the general population. A study of more than 1,000 people over age 40 with hearing loss shows how hearing issues can damage relationships.
More than 33 percent of those who responded admitted that misunderstandings from not hearing properly contributed significantly to arguments with family members.
Nearly two-thirds confessed to pretending to understand spoken dialogue and then floundering their way through conversations. Hearing loss can add stress to relationships, resulting in feelings of failure, anxiety and separation, and overall poor health.
Stay connected to your loved ones and avoid the effects of hearing loss. Have your hearing tested yearly, and if a loss is identified, take care of it.
Those who have their hearing loss corrected — either medically or with hearing aids — report less stress, improved relationships and a better quality of life.
Kathy McGowan is a doctor of audiology with Beltone Hearing and has been helping people hear better for 27 years. She is very excited about the great new technology available for hearing help. For a free hearing evaluation, go to Beltone.com or call 234-400-0201....
Many people exercise, and they do it for a variety of reasons.
Most tend to focus on cosmetic reasons, but the No. 1 thing that I’m interested in as an exercise professional is a functional ability — the ability to carry out everyday tasks with ease. You name it: walking, getting up from a chair, lifting, climbing stairs or participating in your favorite activities.
Those most affected by losses in functional ability are the elderly. However, with targeted strength training, they can see a rapid reversal of this condition.
Strength training stimulates skeletal muscular strengthening. All reasonable expectations from exercise are accessed through the skeletal muscles — the only window into the body — by strengthening them. Expectations should include:
- Improvements in bone density and balance
- Vascular and metabolic efficiency
- Joint stability
- Muscular strength
The elderly are just as capable of performing productive exercise as anyone and stand to gain as much, if not more, from strength training.
Research has shown that exercise programs for elderly patients have a role in preventing illness and injury, limiting functional loss and disability, and alleviating the course and symptoms of existing cardiac, pulmonary, musculoskeletal and metabolic disorders.
Of course, exercise safety is paramount when discussing training programs for elderly populations.
It is crucial to abide by preliminary exercise considerations. Attempting to stimulate physical improvements would not be worthwhile if someone gets hurt doing it.
Strength Training 101 for the Elderly
- Choose only one to two days per week to do strength training. All of the “good stuff” happens while we recover from exercise, and this can take three to seven days. Recovery periods may need to be even longer as we age or become more advanced in our exercise performance.
- Choose the minimum number of exercises that produce the greatest effect.
Spring is a great time to sell a house. And here in Northeast Ohio, spring comes early — at least in the real estate market.
Families who want to move before the start of the school year start searching for houses in February. That seems early, but keep in mind that many homes are on the market for an average of 45 days. Add another 60 to 120 days for closing, and before you know it, summer’s here.
If you’re thinking about selling your house next year, right now is a good time to get professional, high-quality photographs of your home and property. Buyers increasingly are doing their preliminary shopping online through real estate websites such as Zillow. First impressions count, and those photographs both inside and outside of homes can either draw buyers in or chase them away.
Most homes look their best when landscaping is in full bloom and trees have leaves on them. At the very least, snow should not mask details of the property.
Get professional photographs now of the outside of the house. Showcase the landscaping and mature trees. Photos free of snow and ice allow prospective buyers to check out the roof, and the condition of walkways and the driveway, outbuildings, decks and porches.
Have the professional get shots of the outdoor seating areas with furniture, tables and the grill. That gives buyers an opportunity to picture how they might use outdoor spaces.
Snow and ice hamper exterior shots, and the cloudy days that accompany them affect interior shots, too.
The bright light of late summer and fall is a good time to get those inside photos. Our cloudy winter days make rooms look dim and drab. Bright, clean interiors attract buyers.
To generate interest in your home next year, get in touch with a real estate professional today and have photographs taken and available to post online at the end of winter....