Medicare Plans Offer More Health And Wellness Benefits for 2019

(NewsUSA) – Beginning next year, Medicare Advantage plans will be allowed to cover a broader array of health-related services that may help people with Medicare improve their health.Starting in January 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has expanded the health-related benefits that insurers are allowed to include in their Medicare Advantage plans.Rides to the gym and in-home safety measures such as bathroom grab bars are among the new benefits added to certain Medicare Advantage plans for 2019.Original Medicare combines Medicare Part A, which helps cover hospital and other types of inpatient care, and Medicare Part B, which helps cover doctor visits, outpatient and preventive care. Original Medicare does not include coverage for most prescriptions.Medicare Advantage plans cover everything that Original Medicare covers and may include extra benefits, services and often prescription drug coverage through a private insurer such as Humana.Most Medicare Advantage plans offer extra coverage and services, such as vision, hearing and dental benefits, health and wellness programs, and a 24-hour nurse advice line. And most include Medicare prescription drug coverage.Health and wellness benefits often include fitness programs and gym memberships, and transportation to medical appointments. For 2019, Medicare Advantage plans provide members access to an expanded choice of over-the-counter personal care items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, pill boxes, cough and cold medicines, eye drops, vitamins, heating pads, compression stockings and other supplies for diabetics, plastic bandages and other first aid items.The new Medicare Advantage supplemental benefits approved by CMS for 2019 also include virtual medical visits and virtual psychiatry, in-home support services and caregiver support.People with Medicare can see which new health and wellness benefits are being offered for 2019 on Medicare Advantage plans in their neighborhood by going online to the Medicare Plan Finder, or for Humana Medicare Advantage plans at www.humana.com/Medicare.You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (or TTY: 1-877-486-2048) 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or call Humana at 1-877-877-0714 (TTY use 711) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., local time, seven days a week.The Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Election Period takes place from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, 2018 for coverage that takes effect Jan. 1, 2019. Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and PFFS organization, and stand-alone prescription drug plan, with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on plan renewal.This information is not a complete description of benefits. Call 1-877-877-0714 (TTY use 711) for more information. Telepsychiatry services are currently available to Humana Medicare Advantage members at selected locations. Limitations on health care and prescription services delivered via virtual visits and communications options vary by state. Virtual visit services are not a substitute for emergency care and are not intended to replace your primary care provider or other providers in your network. This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional.Y0040_GHHKBSPEN_M 

Americans Are Flossing in the Strangest Places

(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – From erratic sleep schedules to not soaping up properly, modern living is rife with ways to compromise a healthy immune system. See where your routine might be leading your immune health off course, plus easy ways to get it back on track. See full-sized image here

The Road to a Healthy Smile

(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News -As much as we all love having a healthy smile and gums, a new national survey reveals many U.S. adults miss the mark when it comes to caring for their teeth and gums, putting them at risk for periodontal disease, which affects one in every two adults over age 30. One of the biggest no-nos? Eating a snack at night after having already brushed your teeth, which one-third of those polled admitted to. On the plus side, respondents show a willingness to floss more regularly – in fact, you’ll be surprised at the odd places we admit to flossing. For healthy teeth and gums the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) recommends brushing and flossing twice daily and regular visits to your periodontist for a comprehensive periodontal evaluation, and most importantly to Love The Gums You’re With. See full-sized image here

Reduce Risk of Gum Disease With This Easy Rinse

(NewsUSA) – It happens during any given dental appointment; that embarassing moment when your hygenist asks how often you floss, and your reply (most likely) is, "Not often enough," at the same time he or she clucks disapprovingly and shakes his or her head.Turns out they know what they’re talking about.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nearly half of American adults aged 30 years and older (47.2 percent) suffer from some form of gum disease.Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is one of the main threats to dental health, but maintaining a healthy mouth goes beyond the benefits of a bright smile.Gum disease is a chronic, inflammatory condition, and recent studies suggest that gum disease and tooth decay may be associated with an increased risk of other inflammatory conditions, including heart attacks and strokes if left untreated.The CDC describes common warning signs of gum disease, including bad breath, gums that are red, swollen, bleeding, or tender; pain when chewing; loose or sensitive teeth; receding gums; change in bite; and change in the fit of partial dentures. Additional factors that increase the risk of gum disease include smoking, diabetes, stress, and poor oral hygiene.That said, most people can improve their dental hygiene and reduce their risk for developing gum disease by following a few simple steps:- Brush. Brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste. Pick a toothbrush style that fits your mouth and feels comfortable, and you will be more likely to use it. If your teeth are sensitive or you want them to be whiter, look around; there’s a toothpaste for that.- Floss. Floss your teeth once a day. Dental floss is available in a variety of widths and thicknesses, although some people prefer disposable flossers, which are often easier for children to use.- Rinse. Oral rinses play an important role in a dental health routine. Gum disease is caused by bacteria, but an oral rinse formulated with bacteria-targeting ingredients can help keep gum disease at bay.Healthy Gums Oral Rinse from TheraBreath contains cetylpyridinium chloride, an ingredient approved by the FDA and clinically proven to kill the germs linked to gum disease."Gum disease is more serious than people think. It starts out with just bleeding and sensitive gums, but in its advanced stages, it can cause tooth loss," says Dr. Harold Katz, founder and chief researcher for TheraBreath.For more information about keeping your mouth healthy and reducing your risk of gum disease, go to therabreathhealthygums.com.Healthy Gums Oral Rinse fromTheraBreath is available at Walmart

The Balancing Act of Two Microbiomes

(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News -The gut microbiome impacts general wellness. Women have a vaginal microbiome as well that affects feminine health. See full-sized image here

50 Years Later, This Medicine is Still Protecting Moms and Newborns

(NewsUSA) – Every pregnant woman in the world should know the name Marianne Cummins.Fifty years ago, in May 1968, the then-29-year-old Teaneck, New Jersey, homemaker was expecting her third child when she became the first person to receive an injection of a new medicine called RhoGAM, developed to help prevent a condition that in the U.S. alone was leading to the deaths of about 10,000 newborns annually and brain damage in others."That one injection had a tremendous impact on my family," Cummins recently recalled.Cummins, you see, has Rh-negative blood, a trait shared by 15 percent of the U.S. population.But the fetus inside her was Rh-positive – as were her two children at home.To understand how terrifying that incompatibility was in those pre-RhoGAM days, a bit of Biology 101 is in order. During any pregnancy, it’s normal for some of the baby’s blood to enter the mother’s blood stream, usually at delivery. However, when Rh-positive fetal red blood cells cross into an Rh-negative mother’s circulation, her body reacts like it’s fighting off an invading virus, producing antibodies that can attack the baby’s blood cells. This immune system response is called "Rh sensitization."The first child is typically unaffected since manufacturing those antibodies takes time. However, any Rh-positive baby after that – and, remember, this was Cummins’ third pregnancy -represents a dangerous gamble; Rh sensitization sometimes leads to hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (HDFN), a deadly condition.RhoGAM, as it does to this day, prevented that sensitization from happening."I still marvel at RhoGAM’s impact," John Gorman, MD, a co-creator of the medicine and former director of the blood bank at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, has said.In fact, with approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in hand, the drug’s use became standard medical practice for every pregnant Rh-negative woman here and in Europe and Canada, resulting in HDFN’s virtual eradication there. But in many poorer countries lacking the same protocols? Even now, the situation remains what many call so "dire" that an estimated 14 percent of affected fetuses are stillborn and a full 50 percent of live births end in death or brain injury, according to a scientific paper published in 2010 by leading medical experts.That’s why in February 2018, as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the FDA’s approval, Kedrion Biopharma, which makes RhoGAM, and Columbia University Irving Medical Center, which developed it, hosted a panel discussion to map strategies for getting the medicine to the rest of the world."The view ahead should be bright for all women, their partners, and their families around the globe," declared Paolo Marcucci, chief executive officer at Kedrion Biopharma.In addition, a series of upcoming events throughout the year will encourage Rh-negative women to donate blood plasma to be used in the ongoing manufacture of RhoGAM by Kedrion BiopharmaImportant Safety Information RhoGAM should NOT be used if you are Rh-positive.Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including:* If you have known severe allergic reactions or a severe response to human immune globulin.* If you have experienced a serious reaction to other medicines that contain immune globulin.* If you have an immunoglobulin A (IgA) deficiency. RhoGAM contain a small quantity of IgA and there is a potential risk of an allergic reaction in IgA-deficient individuals. Ask your healthcare provider if you are not sure.* Your recent history of vaccinations. Certain types of vaccines (ones containing a live virus) may not work as well for you if you are also receiving immune globulin products, like RhoGAM. The antibodies in RhoGAM may prevent the vaccine from working. Before you get a vaccine, tell your healthcare provider that you have received RhoGAM.RhoGAM is made from human blood and therefore, carries a risk of transmitting infectious agents, such as viruses, the agent of the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), or unknown infectious agents. You should consult with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.Reactions to RhoGAM that affect the entire body are extremely rare. However allergic responses to RhoGAM may occur. You should be observed for at least 20 minutes after administration for early signs of an allergic reaction. Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction include itchy rash (hives), tightness of the chest, wheezing, low blood pressure and anaphylaxis (which may also include throat or tongue swelling, shortness of breath, vomiting, hives and/or lightheadedness).The most common side effects of RhoGAM are swelling, hardening, redness, and mild pain at the site of the injection. A small number of patients have noted a slight fever.Your healthcare provider should provide you with a completed Patient Identification Card for you to retain and present to other healthcare providers.You are encouraged to report adverse events of prescription drugs to the FDA.Visit www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.Click here for the RhoGAM Full Prescribing Information. 

Cancer Research Focuses on Growing Tumor Cells Outside the Human Body

(NewsUSA) – One of the great barriers to improving the fight against cancer has been the problem of growing human cancer cells for drug testing so they behave as if they were inside the patient.To answer this, pharmaceutical companies are beginning to grow human tumors in mice. But mice are not human, so the tests often lead to dead ends. And while it’s possible to grow tumor cells in petri dishes, they rarely behave like actual cancers.But now this problem is being solved by a company called Precision Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:AIPT), formerly Skyline Medical Inc (NASDAQ:SKLN), and its partner, Helomics.Precision Therapeutics and Helomics, through a subsidiary named TumorGenesis, are pioneering an approach that takes cancer cells from a patient, then analyzes the tumors’ genes and proteins. That information is crucial because it guides the selection of nutrients and other substances that the cells need. The final step is putting the cancer cells not in a petri dish, but rather on a special scaffold that’s bathed in the nutrient-rich media.The result: "For the first time, it will be possible to grow tumors outside the body that closely mimic those in the body," explains Dr. Carl Schwartz, CEO of Precision Therapeutics.That, in turn, will bring major benefits for cancer treatment and drug discovery. Cancer is actually many thousands of different diseases, each with different underlying DNA mutations.That’s why drugs that are effective against one person’s ovarian cancer may fail utterly against another’s. But with the ability to grow the cancer cells from patients outside the body, doctors will be able to test drug combinations to discover what works before treating the patient, thus saving people from debilitating side effects from ineffective drugs.Equally important, pharmaceutical companies will have a far better and lower-cost way to test drug candidates than testing on mice. It’s yet another key step towards personalized cancer treatment that will give every patient a much better chance of long-term survival.

Virtual Colonoscopy Is Becoming a Reality for More People

(NewsUSA) – Colorectal cancer deaths are slowly declining, but shocking racial and ethnic disparities remain.According to the American Cancer Society, Latinos living in the United States are more likely to develop and die from this disease than those in many Central and South American countries. African-Americans are at least 41 percent more likely to die from colorectal cancer than whites.Both groups are also less likely to get screened, and their cancers are often found later.What can be done?A growing number of medical groups, patient advocates and members of Congress say virtual colonoscopy – known medically as CT colonography – can overcome cultural stigmas and anxiety associated with this screening."CT colonography can attract those who would otherwise not be screened, allow doctors to remove more polyps before they become cancers and help people avoid getting this disease," says Carolyn R. ("Bo") Aldigé, president and founder of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.The evidence is thereVirtual colonoscopy is an American Cancer Society-recommended screening exam. Studies show that it is as accurate as standard colonoscopy in most people – including those 65 and older.Virtual colonoscopy increases screening rates where it is offered in the U.S. and abroad. Former President Obama chose to have the virtual exam.Michael Sapienza, President and CEO of the Colon Cancer Alliance, says the virtual exam can "jump-start screening by offering access to a less-invasive option that millions of screening age who choose not to be tested find more appealing."Unfortunately, the prep is the sameHowever, the virtual exam is far less invasive than standard colonoscopy. The CT scanner uses low-dose X-rays to make 3-D, moving images of the colon that doctors examine for polyps and cancer.The test does not require sedation. It is over in minutes. And you may not need someone to drive you to the exam. Afterward, you can go back to daily activities.Private insurers are starting to listenThirty-six states require that insurance policies sold in their state cover virtual colonoscopy. Insurers who take part in federal exchanges are required under the Affordable Care Act to cover the exam. CIGNA, UnitedHealthcare, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna and other insurers cover these tests irrespective of ACA requirements.Challenges remain for Medicare patientsScreening those on Medicare with virtual colonoscopy may cost nearly a third less than standard colonoscopy. Yet, Medicare is among a shrinking number of insurers that does not cover the test."We need more Medicare-covered options, including CT colonography, to increase Hispanic screening rates and save lives," says Elena V. Rios, MD, MSPH, president and chief executive officer of the National Hispanic Medical Association.Patient and provider groups want Congress to pass a new bill that would provide Medicare coverage for virtual colonoscopy."With Medicare coverage, CT colonography can increase screening and reduce unnecessary deaths," says Judy Yee, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology Colon Cancer Committee.Find more information on virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography) at RadiologyInfo.org/virtualct.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help Fight Presenteeism At Work

Even with a stronger economy, businesses face an uphill battle when it comes to making a profit. Which is why it’s not surprising that much of a company’s success hinges on its employees. But what if an employee is fighting a medical condition or illness? How impactful is that to a business’s bottom line? It turns out: quite a lot.

Unlike absenteeism, according to a recent study, presenteeism – when people show up for work but don’t or can’t perform at full capacity – isn’t always apparent. You know when someone doesn’t show up for work, but you often can’t tell when – or how much – health problems, including chronic conditions such as back pain, headaches, and arthritis, can leave them muddling through the day.

Three Ways Older Americans Can Benefit From Chiropractic Care

As a nation, America is getting older. So too is its population, with 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day. And even if you don’t want to admit it, you are most likely experiencing the same nagging aches and pains that you thought only plagued your parents.

Assuming you’re one of the nation’s 100 million chronic pain sufferers, in all likelihood you’re looking for a safer alternative for treatment other than opioids – especially with headlines of people becoming addicted to prescription painkillers and even dying from them. To see if drug-free chiropractic care is for you, read on.