Elections, benefits and open enrollment November 2010
As I write, the news is filled with speculation about the coming mid-term elections and it seems that the news in general has been pretty grim for too many months. We at PSRC know that one of the key elements of healthy living is managing stress, and we highly recommend lots of laughter. In fact, studies have shown that laughter relaxes the whole body, boosts the immune system, triggers release of endorphins, and improves the function of blood vessels for heart health (helpguide.org). We hope that you will join us for an evening of lots of laughs with the Capitol Steps on November 18. This group of former US Capitol staff creates new lyrics to classic hit tunes to poke fun at politics on both sides of the aisle. The event supports PSRC’s Human Capital Campaign, supporting the staff that provide all the programs and services described in this issue.
November 15-December 31 is Medicare Open Enrollment period, when you can change your coverage. We recommend that every year you read the description of your plan benefit, as significant details may change. The formulary may not include the medications you take, copays may change, and covered benefits may change. You can review options at Medicare.gov or by making an appointment with a SHIP counselor-call 609-924-2098x14.
In addition to these annual issues, there will be changes from the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act over the next few years. The Act will not cut basic Medicare and will not cut current doctor payments. However, it will reduce the subsidy that has been paid to the Medicare Advantage plans. To encourage people to subscribe to these managed care plans, companies that offered them were subsidized at a higher rate than traditional Medicare. This is what enabled them to offer additional benefits such as vision, dental and hearing aids. It is predicted that as the subsidy is reduced, many companies will increase premiums, drop their plans, or reduce the extra benefits offered. The law will slow payment increases to providers but will increase payment to Primary Care doctors in an effort to reduce the shortage of these practitioners and improve medical training in geriatrics.
Other features include:
- There will be higher taxes and Medicare D premiums for the wealthiest 5% of participants.
- People who reach the “Doughnut hole” are receiving a $250 rebate this year, and 50% discount on brand-name drugs and 7% discount on generic drugs next year, to close completely by 2020.
- Medicare benefits will expand to include free coverage for wellness and preventive care, including an annual physical and many screenings.
- Better chronic care.
- Eliminates lifetime limits of coverage.
- Greater access to home and community-based long term care, mandatory spouse protection.
- CLASS Act, a voluntary long-term care public insurance plan will be introduced in 2013.
The The changes are expected to extend the solvency of Medicare for 10-12 years. One of the key features of current thinking is to direct funds to community-based care. Not only do people prefer to remain at home, it is more cost effective than long term institutional care. PSRC sees a growing demand for our Support & Guidance Services to coordinate community services, provide smooth transitions after a hospitalization, and support family caregivers.
Sources: AARP Bulletin: Users Guide to Health Care Reform; National Council on Aging, Innovations Summer 2010; NCOA Straight Talk for Seniors, www.ncoa.org; Medicare.gov.
Susan W. Hoskins LCSW
GrandPals Celebrate 20 Years!
No One Ages Well Alone
Help at Home
November 2016 Family Caregiving
October 2016 Annual Report
September 2016 Corporate Healthcare
Is Your Home Age- Friendly?
May 2016 Director's Message Part 2 - We Need Your Help
May 2016 - Part 1 - Going Solo
April 2016 - Volunteering
March 2016 - Partners In Caring
February 2016 - PSRC's Strategic Plan
January 2016 - Hope
December 2015 - Gratitude
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May 2015 60 Is the New 60
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December 2014 - Leaving A Legacy
October 2014 An Age Friendly Future
September 2014 Annual Report
July - August 2014
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December 2013 - Giving
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July - August 2013 My cat, My Father and Me
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APRIL 2012 - TEN YEARS
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November - We need YOU!
October - Chocolate for Memory
September- Looking Back and Looking Forward
July - August 2011; Ageism
June 2011 - Accessibility
May 2011 - Paper retention
Knit Wits, April 2011
Lessons and Legacies, March 2011
Independent Living February 2011
Home Safety January 2011
Witness to my Life December 2010
Elections, benefits and open enrollment November 2010
Retire in 3D!
Am I Old?
Aging In America May 2010
Volunteering April 2010
Spirituality March 2010
Encore Careers January 2010
Hiring Home Care
Annual Giving by
Flu Pandemic 2009 October 2009
Healthy Memory, Healthy Mind
A Personal Perspective on Caregiving
Wei Ji: Crisis, Danger and Opportunity
Write your own obituary
Hope and Vision in Challenging Times
Medicare Changes 2008: Take A Look!
Scams, Frauds and Rip-offs November 2008
Engaged Retirement: Beyond Financial Planning
Finding Rhythm and Purpose
Spring Cleaning II June 2008
V + OA = ER (Volunteering + Older Americans=Engaged Retirement)May 2008
Spring Cleaning April 2008
Have You Had the Talk Yet?
Get Moving with FitRhythms™!
My Condolences January 2008
What Are Social Services? November 2007
Plan for the Future September 2007
The Up-side of Aging Summer 2007
Volunteering June 2007
Strategic Plan May 2007
National Conference on Aging: Let's ReThink Aging April 2007
Brain Health March 2007
Resiliency February 2007
Transportation January 2007
Season of Giving December 2006
Medicare Part D November 2006
April Hill McElroy October 2006
Civic Engagement September 2006
Change June 2006
White House Conference on Aging May 2006
Hearing Loss April 2006
GrandPals March 2006
Lets Talk February 2006
Eldertopia January 2006
Hoarding December 2005
Annual Report: November 2005
Are You Prepared? October 2005
Planning Ahead October 2005
Watch Your Language September 2005
Medicare Part D Summer 2005
Sue Tillett June 2005
The End of the Journey May 2005
Clutter March 2005
New Dietary Guidelines February 2005
Transitions January 2005
Funding December 2004
Caregiving November 2004
Civic Engagement with GrandPals October 2004
A New Look September 2004
Safe Driving Summer 2004
Food Safety June 2004
Communication June 2004
The Challenge of Giving Care May 2004
Seniors On The Move April 2004
Depression March 2004
McGreevey February 2004
Medications January 2004
Random Acts of Kindness December 2003
Civic Engagement November 2003
Reverse Mortgages Oct 2003
Emergency Preparedness, Jan 2003