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Touchstone Health - Breaking Health and Medicare News

'Six Things You Need to Know About Medicare'

As the first wave of baby boomers become eligible for Medicare benefits, it is important to be on top of the latest news, and the essentials of understanding Medicare.  Some of the important points everyone should be aware of as they enter Medicare decisions include enrollment processes, types of plans including Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage), and what is covered.  The points expressed in this article are only a few of the important things to know when it comes to health care and Medicare.

By: Nancy Mann Jackson
SecondAct.com - December 13, 2010

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Touchstone Health HMO is providing medical information not medical advice in the content herein. The information should be acted upon as part of your care plan with your physician(s).

'The Pew Generations 2010 Study Shows A Shift In Our Online Activities'

The Pew Internet & American Life Project studies the way people use the Internet and who is using it.  Their recent study shows more people in the Boomer generation and seniors are using the Internet for a variety of things.  This article shows a breakdown of how the population is using the Internet from purchasing products, to researching health issues, to listening to music.  Data was collected from telephone interviews with individuals from 18 - 74. 

By: Rawn Shah
Forbes.com - December 28, 2010

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Touchstone Health HMO is providing medical information not medical advice in the content herein. The information should be acted upon as part of your care plan with your physician(s).

'Seniors May Not Rush In For Medicare Wellness Exams'

For the past few years Medicare has offered free wellness checkups to Medicare Beneficiaries.  The checkups were started as an incentive for seniors to promote a healthy lifestyle and gain knowledge from their doctor during the annual visit.  Those are original Medicare and those with Medicare Advantage both benefit from the option.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have found that not many seniors take advantage of the benefit, but hope more will.  Read here about why this is such an important benefit and what seniors are able to get from the wellness benefit.

By: Phil Galewitz
Kaiser Health News - December 23, 2010

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Touchstone Health HMO is providing medical information not medical advice in the content herein. The information should be acted upon as part of your care plan with your physician(s).

'Primary Care Interventions Can Reduce Falls in Elderly'

Researchers looked at trials of 'primary care interventions' and falls suffered by the elderly and concluded that with primary care intervention the risk of falls in seniors decreases.  The three most important interventions proved to be a combination of regular exercise and physical therapy in addition to vitamin D intake or supplements.

The research has been published in the Dec. 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

This is important knowledge for Medicare beneficiaries and shows how the risk of falls can decrease with these simple measures.

By: Health Day
America's Health Insurance Plans - December 28, 2010

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Touchstone Health HMO is providing medical information not medical advice in the content herein. The information should be acted upon as part of your care plan with your physician(s).

'Even if you are healthy now, Consider a future with Medicare Advantage'

Medicare Advantage offers seniors another choice when looking at Medicare.  It typically offers extra benefits and different types of payment plans.  It is always important to consider all options when looking at healthcare.  For example, many seniors are not always sure if they need a Medigap plan when they sign up with Medicare Advantage.  This article looks at how the advantage plans work for seniors.

This article also takes a look at how the Affordable Care Act effects Medicare Advantage.  Starting in 2011, Medicare Part C Advantage plans are prohibited from charging higher cost-sharing requirements than the original Medicare for certain covered services such as chemotherapy, dialysis and skilled nursing care.

By: Debra Wilson
The Atom Stack Tribune - December 27, 2010

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Touchstone Health HMO is providing medical information not medical advice in the content herein. The information should be acted upon as part of your care plan with your physician(s).

 

'Expert tips for beating the winter Blues'

With the winter weather, holiday stress and responsibilities, and more, many begin to feel the effects and may feel down.  Some great tips for beating those feelings and keeping stress levels down include maintaining healthy diets, finding ways to keep moving despite the cold weather and getting enough sleep.  Many Medicare Advantage companies provide assistance and mental health programs to their members.

This article from YNN has some ideas for keeping the cheer and information on who to contact if you need help.

By: Tamara Lindstrom
YNN News - November 15, 2010

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Touchstone Health HMO is providing medical information not medical advice in the content herein. The information should be acted upon as part of your care plan with your physician(s).

'Winter Safety Tips for Seniors'

There are many challenges to getting through the winter months.  Winter weather makes travel and walking difficult and people of all age, especially seniors, should be careful.  In addition, illness like the Flu is common and those of Medicare age should take extra precaution to stay healthy. 

To read more winter safety tips and measures, click on the article below.

By: SteadyHealth.com
SteadyHealth.com - December 2, 2010

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Touchstone Health HMO is providing medical information not medical advice in the content herein. The information should be acted upon as part of your care plan with your physician(s).

With Alzheimer’s Patients Growing in Number, Congress Endorses a National Plan

Congress has voted unanimously to create a national plan to combat Alzheimer’s disease with the same efforts the government currently fights diseases like AIDS and cancer.

With a signature by the president, the new bill would establish a National Alzheimer’s Project within the Department of Health and Human Services.  The plan is to coordinate the way we approach research, treatment and care-giving of the disease.

As reported by The New York Times:

Its goal, the legislation says, is to “accelerate the development of treatments that would prevent, halt or reverse the course of Alzheimer’s” and “improve the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and coordination of the care and treatment of citizens with Alzheimer’s.”

There are a growing number of people developing the disease with number currently reporting about 5.3 million individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s now.  That number is expected to triple by 2050.  Last year alone the cost to care for patients to Medicare and Medicaid was about $170 billion.

By Pam Belluck
New York Times – December 15, 2010
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Touchstone Health HMO is providing medical information not medical advice in the content herein. The information should be acted upon as part of your care plan with your physician(s).

Study Shows Echinacea Only Reduced Sniffles and Cold Symptoms by a Half Day at Most

Despite its popularity as a natural remedy for treating the common cold, a new study suggests echinacea does not substantially reduce the severity or duration of the common cold.

The study was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, and the findings are published in the Dec. 20 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

By Katrina Woznicki
WebMD Health News – December 20, 2010
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Touchstone Health HMO is providing medical information not medical advice in the content herein. The information should be acted upon as part of your care plan with your physician(s).

Q&A: Medicare Supplement versus Medicare Advantage

In this Q&A, the TusconCitizen.com's medicareblogger responds to a writer who would like to know if she should switch to a Medicare Advantage plan from her Plan J Medigap coverage.

Medicareblogger mentions that seniors benefit from Medicare Advantage because it gives them additional options for their Medicare coverage.  Many seniors opt for Medicare Advantage coverage because oftentimes "people don’t want to or can’t afford to pay a $229 monthly premium, and they can take the “pay as you go” option of Medicare Advantage."  While he states that even though one could afford to pay the $229 monthly premium of Medigap coverage, he or she should consider another Medicare supplement plan (if not Medicare Advantage) because Medicare benefits have changed to cover more benefits.  In other words, some seniors may be paying additional premiums for services they could be getting for free from Medicare.  The Q&A goes on to discuss prescription drug coverage.

Medicare beneficiaries typically only have until December 31 to add or change their Medicare insurance coverage, unless they are eligible for Special Election Period enrollment.

By medicareblogger
tusconcitizen.com - December 22, 2010
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Touchstone Health HMO is providing medical information not medical advice in the content herein. The information should be acted upon as part of your care plan with your physician(s).

Y0064_H3327_THPSMK_2060 Approved
Touchstone Health HMO, Inc. is a Medicare-approved Health Maintenance Organization with a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug contract with the federal government and a contract with the New York State Medicaid program. The plan is available to anyone enrolled in Part A and Part B through age or disability and who continues to pay their Medicare Part B premium. Copayment, service area, and benefit limitations apply. Members must use contracted providers to receive plan benefits, except in an emergency, urgent care, and for out-of-area dialysis. The Touchstone Health Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans are Total, Prestige, Power, Clear and Freedom. Enrollment in Touchstone Health depends on contract renewal.