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Medicare News Feed

  • Celebrate Earth Day—Medicare style!
    by Stuart.Zang@cms.hhs.gov on April 22, 2019 at 4:00 am

    Celebrate Earth Day—Medicare style! More than 190 countries celebrate Earth Day on April 22—a day for encouraging awareness and action to help protect our environment. How can you make your voice heard this year? Let Medicare help! Sign up for a MyMedicare.gov account and take advantage of Medicare’s electronic resources to help you manage your health care and get rid of unnecessary paper. Get your “Medicare & You” handbook electronically Log into your MyMedicare.gov account to sign up to get your “Medicare & You” eHandbook. Instead of sending you a paper handbook every year, we’ll send you an email each September when the new eHandbook is available, linking you to the online version. We’ll also email you about any major updates to the handbook throughout the year, including any new cost changes. Sign up by May 31 to get your eHandbook email instead of a paper copy this fall. It’s one of the easiest ways you can save Medicare paper and money! Get your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) electronically Go paperless and get your “Medicare Summary Notices” electronically (also called “eMSNs”). For anyone with Original Medicare Part A or Part B, the eMSNs contain the same information as paper MSNs. You can sign up by logging into MyMedicare.gov. You won’t get printed copies of your MSNs in the mail every quarter if you choose eMSNs. We’ll send you an email each month when an eMSN is available in your MyMedicare.gov account. Take advantage of Medicare’s paperless resources to help make a difference for the environment. What a great way to make your voice heard and celebrate Earth Day. Share PrintPrint this page Stuart.Zang@cm… Mon, 04/22/2019 – 04:00 […]

  • Think before you drink
    by Stuart.Zang@cms.hhs.gov on April 9, 2019 at 4:00 am

    Think before you drink As you get older, alcohol may start to effect you differently. You may become more sensitive to it, and your regular drinking habits could become a problem. Alcohol can also cause dangerous interactions when mixed with prescription or over-the-counter medications. Drinking too much can cause falls and fractures and can lead to some cancers, liver and brain damage, osteoporosis, and strokes. Medicare covers alcohol misuse screening & counseling to provide counseling for people who misuse alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends adults 65 and over who are healthy and don’t take medications have no more than 3 drinks on a given day or 7 drinks in a week. If you think you or a loved one could be misusing alcohol, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and Medicare wants to help you stay safe and healthy. Share PrintPrint this page Stuart.Zang@cm… Tue, 04/09/2019 – 04:00 […]

  • Using opioids safely
    by Stuart.Zang@cms.hhs.gov on March 28, 2019 at 4:01 am

    Using opioids safely Doctors may prescribe opioids, a class of drugs used to treat pain, after surgery or an injury. Although opioids can be an important part of treatment, they have serious risks like addiction, abuse, and overdose, especially if used continuously. That’s why Medicare is working with doctors and pharmacists to perform safety checks to help you use opioids safely. Medicare is also using new drug management programs to look for potentially high-risk opioid use. These checks and programs generally won’t apply to you if you have cancer, are in hospice, get palliative or end-of-life care, or if you live in a long-term care facility. Safety checks at the pharmacy When a prescription is filled at the pharmacy, your Medicare drug plan performs additional safety checks and may send your pharmacy an alert to monitor the safe use of opioids and certain other medications. These safety checks may cover situations like possible unsafe amounts of opioids, first prescription fills for opioids, or use of opioids at the same time with benzodiazepines (commonly used for anxiety and sleep). If your pharmacy can’t fill your prescription as written, the pharmacist will give you a notice explaining how you or your doctor can call or write to your plan to ask for a coverage decision. Visit the Medicare drug plan coverage rules page for more information about safety checks. Drug management programs As of January 1, 2019, some Medicare drug plans have a drug management program in place to help you use opioids safely. If you get opioids from multiple doctors or pharmacies, your drug plan may talk with your doctors to make sure you need these medications and are using them safely and appropriately. Safety checks and drug management programs are just some of the ways that Medicare, Medicare drug plans, and pharmacies are working together to make sure you’re getting the pain relief treatment you need while keeping you safe. Read your Medicare drug plan’s materials for more information on their specific drug coverage rules. Share PrintPrint this page Stuart.Zang@cm… Thu, 03/28/2019 – 04:01 […]

  • Know your diabetes risk—take this quick test!
    by Stuart.Zang@cms.hhs.gov on March 26, 2019 at 4:01 am

    Know your diabetes risk—take this quick test! One in three Americans is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, a serious disease that can lead to complications like kidney disease, blindness, and amputations. But type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to be permanent– you can delay or even prevent it with healthy lifestyle changes. Many people with diabetes don’t know that they have it, but Medicare covers screening tests so you can find out if you do. Tuesday, March 26 is American Diabetes Association Alert Day, a day that focuses on the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of understanding your risk. It’s also a great time to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if you’re at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Knowing your risk is the first step. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged and older adults. If you have diabetes, Medicare covers many of your supplies, including insulin, test strips, monitors, lancets and control solutions. In some cases, Medicare also covers therapeutic shoes if you have diabetic foot problems. You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for these supplies. Medicare also covers diabetes self-management training to help you learn how to better manage your diabetes. You can learn how to monitor your blood sugar, control your diet, exercise, and manage your prescriptions. Talk to your doctor about how this training can help you stay healthy and avoid serious complications. Take control of your health—talk to your doctor today about which screening tests, supplies, and training may help you stay healthy. Share PrintPrint this page Stuart.Zang@cm… Tue, 03/26/2019 – 04:01 […]

  • Need help with your Medicare costs?
    by Stuart.Zang@cms.hhs.gov on March 22, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Need help with your Medicare costs? If you have Medicare and you’re facing challenges with paying for health care, you may qualify for programs that can help you save money on medical and drug costs. People with limited income and resources may qualify for Medicaid, a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs. Even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid, one of these 4 Medicare Savings Programs may be able to help you pay your Medicare premiums and other costs: Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program   Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) Program   Qualifying Individual (QI) Program   Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) Program   If you qualify for Medicaid or one of the Medicare Savings Programs above, you’ll also get Extra Help paying for your prescription drugs automatically. Extra Help is a Medicare program that helps people with limited income or resources pay Medicare prescription drug costs, like premiums, deductibles and coinsurance. If you don’t automatically qualify for Extra Help, you can apply online at SSA.gov. Even if your income or resources are higher than the amounts listed on Medicare.gov, call or fill out an application if you think you could qualify for savings. These amounts change yearly, and you may be eligible for another savings program, depending on your situation. To find out if you’re eligible for savings through one of these programs, call your state Medicaid program. Also, watch our video to find out more ways you can save money on your Medicare coverage. Share PrintPrint this page Stuart.Zang@cm… Fri, 03/22/2019 – 00:00 […]