New Medicare Cards

Hi Readers, beginning this month, older adults will receive their NEW Medicare cards.  The purpose of replacing the old ones is simple: The new ones do not have the social security number.  The National Council on Aging [NCOA] recently sent this information to me and I hope you find it useful.  I have also included some resources from Medicare.gov including the mailing schedule for the new cards.  AgeDoc

New Medicare Cards: 5 Things You Need to Know Before They Arrive

 

by: The My Medicare Matters Team at NCOA

Beginning April 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be sending new Medicare cards to beneficiaries. The new cards are being sent to decrease Medicare beneficiaries’ vulnerability to identity theft by removing the Social Security-based number from their Medicare identification cards and replacing it with a new unique Medicare Number.

Here’s what you need to know before they arrive.

  1. Medicare cards will be sent between April 2018 and April 2019. Make sure your address is up to date because Medicare will be sending it to the location associated with your Social Security account. To update your address information contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or go online. https://www.ssa.gov/site/signin/en/
  2. Your new card will no longer include your Social Security number. It will include your name, new Medicare number, and the dates your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage started.
  3. Start using your new Medicare card once you receive it. Destroy the old one immediately, since it contains your Social Security number. If you happen to lose or misplace your card you can get a replacement, but you can also can access your new Medicare number on a Medicare Summary Notice or through Medicare.
  4. Keep your Medicare AdvantagePart D prescription, and/or Medigap. Continue using your health or drug plan’s card when you get health care or fill a prescription, but know you will also get the new Original Medicare card.
  5. The Railroad Retirement Board will issue new cards to Railroad Retirement beneficiaries.

These are just a few quick tips to keep in mind as new Medicare cards are issued. You can find additional information on the release of Medicare’s new card on Medicare.gov.

New Medicare card mailing schedule:


More resources and details:


 


Watch out for scams


Medicare will never call you uninvited and ask you to give us personal or private information to get your new Medicare Number and card. Scam artists may try to get personal information (like your current Medicare Number) by contacting you about your new card. If someone asks you for your information, for money, or threatens to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your personal information, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).  

 

 

Older Adults, Vets, and Disabled Blamed for National Parks Revenue Decline


American Society on Aging [ASA] Board Chair Bob Blancato, Chair-Elect Karyne Jones, and CEO Bob Stein today condemned remarks offered by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke during testimony to the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee on Tuesday.

As reported in The Hill, Zinke said “When you give discounted or free passes to elderly, fourth graders, veterans, disabled, and you do it by the carload, there's not a whole lot of people who actually pay at our front door. So, we're looking at ways to make sure we have more revenue in the front door of our parks themselves.”

ASA leaders responded by saying “On behalf of the older and disabled Americans and veterans in our membership we take offense at the comments of the Interior Secretary about all of these groups not continuing to enjoy free access to national parks. It is especially disingenuous coming from a Cabinet Secretary who according to published reports spent almost $140,000 in taxpayer funds to fix doors leading into his office. This proposal to impose these new fees should be shown the door.”

ASA will continue to support policies that provide preferential access to public resources for older Americans, youth, the disabled and the veteran community.

Reference:
Gstalter, M. (2018, March 13).  Zinke: Too many people enter national parks for free. The Hill.   Retrieved from http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/378220-zinke-too-many-people-can-enter-national-parks-for-free


Expanded Support from Alzheimer's Foundation of America



Hi Readers, her is some fantastic news from my friends at the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America:

 

AFA's National Toll-Free Helpline is
Now Open 7 Days a Week!

 

Effective 4 February 2018, AFA's National Toll-Free Helpline will be available to provide support, assistance and referrals to families affected by Alzheimer's disease seven days a week.
 
The new helpline hours are:
 
Monday-Friday: 9 am to 9 pm (ET)
Saturday: 9 am to 1 pm (ET)
Sunday: 9 am to 1 pm (ET)
 
Call 866-232-8484 to speak with one of AFA's licensed social workers if you have questions or need help!

 


Guide for Seniors ~ Recognizing and Avoiding Internet Scams

Hi Readers,

Globally, older adults are the most targeted group for scammers.  To approach this issue using a proactive stance, I have attached this guide developed by internet experts. 

https://www.attinternetservice.com/resources/senior-citizens-guide/

It was sent to me by the ATT community outreach manager, Gary Bell.  I hope you find it useful.  If you do, download and forward the booklet or pass along the link. 

 
 

NCOA Advocates for Older Adults


According to Marci Phillips, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the National Council on Aging [NCOA], several programs impacting seniors have been included in the FY19 budget.  As she stated on the NCOA website, these are proposed changes that will wrap up on March 23. I suggest following this issue on the NCOA link below and make your voices heard: 

https://www.ncoa.org/blog/straight-talk-seniors-administrations-fy19-budget-request-means-seniors/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=02212018_NCOAWeek

Ms. Phillips also included another article about the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, passed on February 9.  While there are some positive changes for older adults, there are also cuts to some important programs, as shown below:

https://www.ncoa.org/blog/bipartisan-budget-act-2018/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=02212018_NCOAWeek

 

The Virtues of Age



Marcus Tullius Cicero 106-43 BC

THE VIRTUES OF AGE

"Those… who allege that old age is devoid of useful activity… are like those who would say that the pilot does nothing in the sailing of his ship, because, while others are climbing the masts, or running about the gangways, or working at the pumps, he sits quietly in the stern and simply holds the tiller.  He may not be doing what younger members of the crew are doing, but what he does is better and much more important. It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment; in these qualities old age is usually not … poorer, but is even richer."

From "Cicero, On Old Age."

Cicero's De Senectute (on Old Age), translated with introduction and notes by Andrew P. Peabody  (Leopold Classic Library, 2015).

Aging and Brain Health


 
Hi Readers,

Although scientists are working to find the cause of Alzheimer’s Disease and eventually a cure and/or preventive strategy, there is little focus on taking proactive measures to protect our brains.  At the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in August, Dr. Lon Schneider, professor at the Keck School of Medicine at USC, urged a proactive approach, as one-third of dementias can be prevented through lifestyle changes.  Here are some of the recommendations:

1.     Take care of your health.  The brain is connected to the rest of the body! Maintain a healthy weight, get diagnostics on time, adhere to eating nutritious food by making every calorie count, maintain oral health, take medicines as prescribed, and get lots of sleep. 

2.     Sitting.  I covered this topic here in the AgeDoc blog in March of 2015.  Studies show that too much sitting is actually dangerous.  Not only does it compress vital organs, but it impairs circulation.  What is “too much?”  Sitting for 8-12 hours is harmful, and the recommended maximum amount daily is about 4-5 hours.  Avoid a sedentary lifestyle, exercise regularly, and take frequent walking or standing breaks. 

3.     Avoid Social Isolation.  Recent studies found that social isolation is as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day! Social isolation increases inflammation and brain imaging showed that loneliness “causes a reaction in the same area of the brain as physical pain” (IlluminAge, 2017, p. 2). 

4.     Sleep. Older adults need about 7-9 hours of sleep.  During sleep, the brain logs memories and experiences from the previous day and the brain is cleaned of toxins.  Sleep deprivation may be a fall hazard and can lead to accidents.  For more information on the importance of sleep, see these articles here in the blog: Sleeping Position and Brain Waste Removal, 10/18/13; Sleep and Obesity Prevention, 8/19/13; Older Adults and Sleep Deprivation, 1/2/16.

5.     Air pollution.  According to the American Heart Association, people living in geographical regions with poor air quality score lower on thinking and memory assessments.  In areas with high pollution, avoid exposure on days when the levels are high.  Even if you reside in an area without any pollution, take precautions when in heavy traffic to avoid exhaust from cars by using the “recirculate” function.  As I reported here in the blog on 11/5/2010, Environmental Threats to Health Aging, Mexico City is one of the most polluted cities in the world.  There, autopsies of children showed plaques and tangles in their brains.  I have since learned that in Mexico City, plaques and tangles have been identified in the brains of dogs, adolescents, and young adults as well.  While this does not prove cause/effect, it suggests a link to pollution and brain health.

The five listed in this posting were acquired from the September-October 2017 Aging in Stride, a publication from IlluminAge Corporation.  For the entire list of the twelve enemies of brain health, please access this informative article:


 

 

New Medicare Cards

Hi Readers, beginning this month, older adults will receive their NEW Medicare cards.  The purpose of replacing the old ones is simple: The ...