Friday, August 22, 2014

Alcohol, Food and Drug Interactions

What you eat and drink may affect the way your medicines work. Some foods interfere with the body's ability to absorb medications into the blood stream. On the other hand, some prescription medications should be taken with food to prevent stomach irritation.  Some combinations may create new symptoms.

Be sure to ask your doctor about the effects of food on your prescribed medication, especially whenever you are given a new prescription.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mind Your Meds: How do you track your Rx usage?

It     It is estimated that more than 90 percent of people 65 or older use at least 1 medication per week. More than 40 percent of people in this age range use 5 or more different prescriptions per week. That's a lot of medications to keep track of!  To ensure their safe use, here's a couple of tips to stay organized:

1    Create a chart that outlines your medications, including when and how much to take. You should also include any non-prescription vitamins, supplements and prescription creams that you are using. Bring this chart with you whenever you see your doctor, visit an emergency room or are admitted to the hospital.

      You can create your own chart or you can pick up a complimentary wallet-size medication record/ID card at Mutsko Insurance Services, LLC,  6966 Spinach Drive, Mentor, Ohio 44060.

2.  Check into using e-tools and apps offered for free on your iPad or smart phone to help you track your medication usage. Two free apps that have good reviews are:

Med Helper  –  Pill Reminder and Medication Tracker, and

Pill Alert  –  Medication, Prescription Reminder and Tracker, and Tracker.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Are you paying too much for your prescriptions?

You probably already know that drug prices can vary widely. In fact, the cost of a prescription may differ by more than $100 between two pharmacies across the street from each other!

But, there's a very easy way to compare prices for all FDA-approved prescription drugs. 

It's a website called GoodRx.   

GoodRx will show you prices, coupons, discounts and saving tips for your prescriptions at pharmacies near you.  Simple visit and start saving.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Do you know all you should about Medicare?

It's one of the most important decisions you will make affecting your health care. You want to get this one RIGHT.

You'll be better prepared to make the right choices once you attend Getting Started with Medicare, a 90 minute interactive class that covers all the basics on Medicare. It is especially helpful for people turning 65, those going on Medicare for the first time or anyone who want to brush up on the most current Medicare information. 

Plan now to attend. For a complete list of upcoming seminars, please visit our website at   

Preregistration is required. Please register by calling the phone number listed for the class you wish to attend. These events are only for educational purposes and no plan specific benefits or details will be shared. Some venues charge a nominal fee. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Lakeland Community College
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
7700 Clock Tower Drive, Kirtland, OH 44094

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mentor Library
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
8215 Mentor Ave., Mentor, OH 44060

Monday, August 18, 2014
Morley Library
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
184 Phelps St., Painesville, OH 44077,  Meeting Room B

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to Get the Rehab Therapy You Need

Have you been denied rehabilitation therapy because your medical condition was no longer improving?  

In the past, in order for Medicare to pay for occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT) and speech-language therapy (SLP) services, Medicare required that these services help you to improve or regain your ability to perform these functions. If your progress slowed down too much or stopped, then Medicare would no longer cover its share of the cost. If you simply wanted to continue therapy for maintenance of your condition, you would be responsible for the full cost of therapy.

The problem with this is that the law did not require a person’s condition to improve in order for Medicare to pay for rehabilitation therapy. People were being denied the coverage that they were entitled to receive.

A legal agreement, Jimmo v Sebelius, settled this and determined that Medicare is required to cover the costs of rehabilitation therapy for qualified individuals who receive therapy for maintenance of their condition. The agreement applies to skilled maintenance services provided in all three care settings including Medicare home health, outpatient therapy and skilled nursing facility benefits and applies equally to Medicare Advantage as to the traditional Medicare program.

Specific language in the agreement states that “Nothing in this Settlement Agreement modifies, contracts, or expands the existing eligibility requirements for receiving Medicare coverage.” The agreement is intended to clarify that when skilled services are required to provide care that is reasonable and necessary to prevent or slow further deterioration; coverage cannot be denied based on the absence of potential for improvement or restoration.

Medicare has not expanded coverage. They are providing coverage in situations where they should have been provided in the first place.

Patients must still meet certain requirements for any treatment to be covered, including:
- Medically necessary
- Appropriate and effective in treating the condition
- Provided by a skilled professional
- Reasonable in terms of frequency and duration.

The payment limits, called “therapy caps,” are still in effect as well.

The bottom line is that not all medical providers are aware of these Medicare coverage changes and you may still be denied coverage for rehabilitation therapy you need. You need to be aware of these changes and bring them to the attention of your provider. If you’re still being denied the rehab therapy you are entitled to, you or your doctor will need to contact Medicare to correct the claim.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Who will shoulder your retirement health care costs?

If you’re planning on your employer picking up the cost of your healthcare once you retire, you may want to rethink your plans. The number of employers who provide health benefits has declined from 40% to 28% between 1988 and 2013. Today, less than one in five people work for a company that offers health benefits for their retirees.

The problem boils down to cost. Healthcare costs continue to grow and retirees are living longer. We are seeing more and more companies taking steps to contain costs by capping their contributions, tightening eligibility standards and eliminating new employees from this benefit.
The picture has improved for early retirees. They are enjoying the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and the availability of insurance on the healthcare marketplace. In the past, retirees who were too young to qualify for Medicare struggled to fill the gap in coverage until they turned 65. They were often denied coverage for pre-existing conditions or had to bear the burden of expensive premiums.

For retirees over age 65, the gap in covered medical costs is widening. Medicare alone does not cover 100% of medical costs and excludes long-term healthcare and dental care. In place of employee provided retiree health benefits, Medicare beneficiaries are increasingly relying on supplemental Medicare coverage such Medigap or Medicare Advantage Plans.

As employers move away from retiree health coverage, it's important for workers today to prepare themselves for future healthcare expenses and consider supplemental insurance plans. It is estimated that a 65-year-old couple who retired in 2013 will spend $220,000 on healthcare over the course of retirement.

And more than 70% of seniors will eventually need some sort of long-term healthcare, which is not covered by Medicare. Pre-retirees might want to consider long-term care insurance before they leave the workforce. The average policy costs about $3,000 a year — not cheap but certainly less expensive than the average of more than $83,000 a year that you’d shell out for a private nursing home stay without insurance.

If you are concerned about who will shoulder your health care costs, call me and we'll work together to put together a plan for you.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fun Facts to brighten your day

Did you know . . .

On average, women say 7,000 words per day. Men speak just over 2,000

Americans eat 18% more vegetables today than they did in 1970.

The width of your arm span stretched out is equal to the length of your whole body.

Research shows that people will walk 30% longer if they listen to music when they walk.

Laughing lowers levels of stress hormones and strengthens the immune system.