Judi L. Woods Agency Blog
2014 Medicare Deductibles
Medicare is reporting the 2014 Part A deductible, Part B
premiums, Part B deductible and High Deductible Plan F deductible. Beginning in 2014:
- The Part A deductible will be $1,216 (up from $1,184 in 2013)
- The Part B premiums will be unchanged and remain at $104.90 per month
- The Part B deductible will be unchanged and remain at $147 per year
- The High Deductible Plan F deductible will increase to $2,140 (up from
$2,110 in 2013)
Have you heard of a sickness called Norovirus? Chances are you have had Norovirus, also called the "stomach flu," many times in your life. Despite its nickname, Norovirus is not related to the flu.
Norovirus is highly contagious and may cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually start within 24 to 48 hours and most people begin to feel better within one or two days and have no long-term health effects.
People with the Norovirus illness are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick until at least 3 days after they recover. There is no vaccine to prevent a Norovirus infection and no drug to treat people who get sick from the virus. Antibiotics will not help because they fight against bacteria, not viruses.
1 in every 15 Americans will get Norovirus illness each year. Norovirus is also estimated to cause over 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths each year in the United States.
The Center for Disease Control offers the following tips on protecting yourself from Norovirus:
- Practice proper hand hygiene
Wash your hands carefully with soap and water—Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing. They should not be used as a substitute for washing with soap and water.
- Wash fruits & vegetables and cook seafood thoroughly
Carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them. Cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.
Be aware that Noroviruses are relatively resistant. They can survive temperatures as high as 140°F and quick steaming processes that are often used for cooking shellfish.
- When you are sick, do not prepare food or care for others who are sick
You should not prepare food for others or provide healthcare while you are sick and for at least 2 to 3 days after you recover.
- Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces
After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces. Use a chlorine bleach solution with a concentration of 5–25 tablespoons of household bleach per gallon of water or other disinfectant registered as effective against Norovirus by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Immediately remove and wash clothes or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool (feces).
You should handle soiled items carefully without agitating them, wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled items and wash your hands after, and wash the items with detergent at the maximum available cycle length then machine dry them.
If you follow these tips and use caution when caring for sick loved ones, you may dramatically reduce your chances of contracting Norovirus.
Turning 65 and unsure where to start? If you are not currently receiving Social Security Income and you would like to enroll in Medicare you should start by applying for Medicare. You can apply three different ways:
- Enroll at your local social security office
- Enroll over the phone by calling the Social Security Administration 800-772-1213
- Enroll online http://www.ssa.gov/medicareonly/
It generally takes about 30 days for your application to be processed and you should receive your Medicare card within 45 days. However, there are always exceptions and sometimes it takes longer. It is best to apply early, so you can make sure everything is processed in a timely fashion. You can apply for Medicare as early as 3 months before you turn 65. Applying early will also give you plenty of time to apply for a Medicare Supplement.
According to a recent article by Weiss Ratings, seven out of the ten most popular Medicare Part D Prescription plans are predicted to increase by double digits next year.
- Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan (23 percent)
- First Health Part D Premier (18 percent)
- First Health Part D Value Plus (17 percent)
- Cigna Medicare Rx Plan One (15 percent)
- Express Scripts Medicare-Value (13 percent)
- HealthSpring Prescription Drug Plan (12 percent)
- Humana Enhanced (11 percent)
Three of the ten most popular plans Silver Script (8 percent), WellCare Classic (3 percent) and AARP Medicare RX Preferred are predicted to increase less drastically. AARP's plan is only expected to increase the least - only $0.57 per month on average. What does this mean to you? It's no secret that it is difficult for seniors to wade through the enormous amounts of health care information they receive in regards to Medicare and Medicare Supplements. It is important to make sure all options are carefully considered. Whether you or one of your loved ones is trying to decide what option is best - call us! Judi L. Woods agency is an insurance brokerage firm which means we offer many plans throughout the state of Florida, and we can help you make an informed decision!
Remember, Medicare Open Enrollment is from October 15, 2012 until December 7, 2012, so if you are looking for a change in coverage give us a call - we can help! To read the rest of Weiss Ratings article click here.
As we focus this weeks newsletter on the issue of breast cancer, we want to encourage you to be proactive in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Be aware of the resources that are available to you and take advantage of them. The Affordable Healthcare Act has made it mandatory for insurance companies to pay for the following services without any cost sharing from the policy holder (YOU!):
Breast cancer mammography every 1 to 2 years for women over age 40Breast cancer chemoprevention counseling for women at high risk for breast cancerCervical cancer pap test for womenProstate cancer screenings for men
Click here to learn about additional preventative care services that are available to women & men under the Affordable Healthcare Act.