Resources for Seniors

Taking Advantage of Free Medicare Preventive Services

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More than 25 million people covered by Original Medicare received at least one Medicare preventive service at no cost to them during the first eleven months of 2013 because of the Affordable Care Act, according to new data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Medicare Preventative Services

Seniors can receive important preventive services and screenings, such as an annual wellness visit, screening mammograms and colonoscopies, and smoking cessation at no cost to them.

 

Moreover, in the first eleven months of 2013, more than 3.5 million beneficiaries with Original Medicare took advantage of the Annual Wellness Visit established by the health care law – a significant increase from the 2.8 million who used this service by this point in the year in 2012.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of seniors have been able to receive important medicare preventive services and screenings such as an annual wellness visit, screening mammograms and colonoscopies, and smoking cessation at no cost to them,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “Prevention and early detection are so vital to ensure that Americans are healthy and Medicare is healthy.”

Before the Affordable Care Act, Medicare recipients had to pay part of the cost for many preventive health services. For example, a person with Medicare could pay as much as $160 in cost-sharing for a colorectal cancer screening. Today, this important screening and many others are covered at no cost to beneficiaries (with no deductible or co-pay).

Preventive Visit and Yearly Wellness Exams

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers:

A “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit: You can get this introductory visit only within the first 12 months you have Part B. This visit includes a review of your medical and social history related to your health and education and counseling about preventive services, including certain screenings, shots, and referrals for other care, if needed. It also includes: Read more


When Depression Becomes Unbearable

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If you are unusually sad and experiencing thoughts of suicide, get help immediately by contacting your doctor, a friend, or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

If you are unusually sad and experiencing thoughts of suicide, get help immediately by contacting your doctor, a friend, or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Older adults with depression are at risk for suicide. In fact, white men age 85 and older have the highest suicide rate in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

If you are thinking about harming yourself or attempting suicide, tell someone who can help immediately.

  • Call your doctor.
  • Call 911 for emergency services.
  • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
  • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.

For more information on Older Adults and Depression

Contact the National Institute of Mental Health

Phone: 301-443-4513 or 1-866-615-6464

E-mail: nimhinfo@nih.gov
Website: http://www.nimh.nih.gov


Telehealth Services Offer Convenience in Health Care

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Advances in telehealth technology allow consumers to dial up a doctor from an electronic device, have a video consult, and receive medical care immediately.

Advances in telehealth technology allow consumers to dial up a doctor from an electronic device, have a video consult, and receive medical care immediately.

Telehealth services, such as virtual computer consultations with medical providers and mobile apps that link patients to live doctors, are growing in popularity as people are increasingly drawn to the convenience, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of long distance health care via technology.

“Just a few years ago, when patients had symptoms, they could either call their doctors, go to emergency rooms, or tough it out at home. Now options for care designed for consumer convenience are mounting,” according to an article from U.S. News and World Report, which featured American Well, a telehealth service that is available directly to consumers.

Anyone can download an app at americanwell.com, enroll, choose from a panel of physicians and talk to a doctor nearly immediately,” the U.S. News article states. “Using smart phones, tablets or web browsers, people with common symptoms like sore throats, or who need quick advice in ongoing care for chronic conditions, or even those looking for support in kicking the cigarette habit can have a virtual face-to-face with the board certified primary care physician of their choice.”

American Well’s platform has been largely used for primary care issues like the flu, rashes, headaches, migraines, UTIs, bronchitis, pneumonias, and pediatric issues, American Well CEO Dr. Roy Schoenberg told MobiHealthNews. Increasingly more people with chronic conditions are using the video visits to check-in on a particular symptom to see if it is something they can take care of on their own with the “arsenal of medications” they already have at home, or if they should visit a healthcare facility, Schoenberg said.

The value of telehealth is twofold, according to the National Care Planning Council: a.) Nurses can be more alert to patients’ current needs and address these needs in a more timely manner than ever before; b.) Patients who receive telehealth interventions can receive more comprehensive management, leading to more rapid stabilization and, ideally, learn how to become more competent in self-management skills (learning self-management being the most cost effective home health service interaction of all).

Read A Typical Day in the Life of a Home Telehealth Patient courtesy of the National Care Planning Council.