Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Allergy Strategies

How to keep your spring allergies in check.

Suffering from springtime allergies?  Your first impulse may be to reach for allergy medicines. Instead, think about taking some practical steps to help reduce the pollen, dust mites and other allergens inside your home. 

1.  Windows: Wash curtain and wipe down blinds. Keep windows closed to keep pollen outside.

2.  Bedding: Wash pillowcases, sheets and blankets regularly - at least once a week or more. Cover your pillows, mattress and box springs with covers that are dust-mite-proof.  

3.  Stuffed Animals:  If you cannot wash your kids' stuffed animals, run them through an air fluff cycle in the dryer. Store stuffed animals in a plastic bin to keep dust to a minimum.

4.  Clothing:  Leave your shoes at the door, change your clothes and take a quick shower after being outside to reduce pollen inside your home.

5.  Flooring:  Replace carpeting with hardwood floors, tile and linoleum.  All of these harbor  fewer allergens than carpeting and rugs. If you cannot replace your carpeting, wash your rugs regularly and deep clean your carpeting.

6.  Smoking:  Allergies are simply one more reason to ask smokers not to light up inside your home.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Don't Automatically Use Your Insurance for Prescriptions

Can that be right??? That you shouldn't automatically use your prescription insurance for every prescription? 

There are hundreds of commonly used generic medications that can be purchased for as little as $10 for a three-month supply at grocery stores, major drugstores and club stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. You may find some drugs usually covered by your insurance might be less expensive if you pay cash instead using your insurance.

Even if your cost at the counter is the same when you use your insurance card, your insurance company or your employer are often paying the full price which will cost you in higher premiums down the road.

Friday, May 16, 2014

New Generic Drugs on the Horizon

Cutting Drug Costs Down to Size

Do you think you’re spending too much on your prescription medications?  You’re probably
right!  But the good news is that there are a number of commonly prescribed brand name drugs scheduled to lose their patents this year. This opens the way for new, lower cost generic
versions of these medications to become available.

Among the medications scheduled for generic release this year are:

Actonel (Osteoporosis) June, 2014

Copaxone (Multiple Sclerosis) May 2014

Detrol LA (Urinary Incontinence) March, 2014

Evista (Osteoporosis) March, 2014

Lunesta (Sleep Disorders) May 2014

Lovanza (Hihg Cholesterol) 2014

Nasonex (Nasal Allergies) 2014

Nexium (Ulcers) May 2014

Restasis (Dry Eyes) May 2014

The dates for generic drugs becoming available are subject to change

You can find out whether a drug is available as a generic version by visiting the commercial website www.GoodRx.com and searching for the drug by name and ask your doctor for more information.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Home Visits Becoming the Norm

Don’t be surprised if a representative of your Medicare Advantage Plan calls and asks if they can visit you. Home visits are becoming increasingly common and are helping to cut down on hospital readmissions and improve care coordination.

We are often seeing these visits in cases of people who have complex care management needs or who have just returned home from the hospital.  If you are selected for a visit, you will be seen by a Registered Nurse or a Nurse Practitioner. Their goal is to make sure you understand and are receiving the care and medications you need.

The home visit will only take place with your consent. In addition, a doctor’s order will be needed before the visit can be arranged.  Both you and your doctor will receive a copy of all information gathered during the home visit.

Home visits are for your benefit. They are one more assurance that the plan for your recovery is complete.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Get the Facts on Medicare

If you're turning 65 soon or going on Medicare for the first time, please join me for my seminar, Getting Started with Medicare. You'll be armed with the facts when the time comes for you to sign up for this important health care benefits. In class, we'll cover all the basics, including the difference between Original Medicare, Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage Plans. I'll also talk about Prescription Drug Plans and what you should consider when selecting a plan. Plus much more. 

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

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Morley Library
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Meeting Room B
184 Phelps St., Painesville, OH 44077 

Monday, May 19, 2014
Willoughby Hills Library
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
354 Chardon Rd., Willoughby Hills, OH 44094

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Concord Community Center
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
7671 Auburn Rd., Concord, OH 44077

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Polaris Career – Strongsville High School
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
20025 Lunn Rd., Strongsville, OH 44149

Thursday, May 22, 2014
Andover Library
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
142 W. Main St., Andover, OH 44003

For more dates and times of classes, please visit my website at www.mutskoinsurance.com

Medicare. Medicaid. Do you know the difference?

Their names sound similar. They’re both government-run health care programs. But, there are a number of important differences between Medicare and Medicaid that you should be aware of.

What is it?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program generally for U.S. citizens and legal residents who are 65 or older or under 65 with certain disabilities, end-stage renal disease, ALS or complications from chemical exposure from a war. Most people become eligible for Medicare because they have contributed to the Medicare trust fund while working. The trust fund covers the cost of Medicare expenses.

Medicaid is a jointly funded state and federal program that helps pay health care costs for people with limited income and resources. Medical bills are paid from a federal, state and local tax fund. The federal government also pays the states for a percentage of their program expenses.

Who runs it?

Medicare is a federal program run by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The rules for Medicare are basically the same throughout the United States.

Medicaid is run by individual state and local governments who operate within federal guidelines. Unlike Medicare, the administration and rules for Medicaid vary from state to state.

What does it cover?

Medicare coverage includes care and services in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (part A), doctor visits, care and services received as an outpatient and some preventive care (part B), prescription drug coverage (Part D).  Medicare Advantage Plans combine Part A and B coverage and often include Part D coverage in one plan.

Medicaid programs are created by the individual states and may offer some benefits not normally covered by Medicare, including nursing home care and personal care services. Mandatory benefits include care and service received in a hospital or skilled nursing facility; care and service received in a federally qualified health center, rural health center or a free-standing state recognized birth clinic; doctor, nurse, midwife and certified pediatric and family nurse practitioner services. Prescriptions and other services may also be covered.

Some people qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid and the two programs can work together to cover most of their health care costs.

To learn more or find out if you qualify for Medicaid, please visit Ohio’s Medicaid website at http://www.medicaid.ohio.gov/.  For Medicare information, please visit http://www.Medicare.gov.