Veterans, Here’s How to Maximize Your Health Benefits in 2020

(NewsUSA) -If you are a veteran considering Medicare options, you have the opportunity to maximize your coverage by electing to have a Medicare Advantage plan along with your Veterans Affairs (VA) health care benefits.Fortunately, finding a Medicare Advantage plan that works in tandem with VA health care benefits is easier than you think, as you can enroll in plans that are available to everyone eligible for Medicare, but that are designed to complement VA health care benefits.As a veteran, it’s important that you understand how a Medicare Advantage plan may balance out any VA benefits you have in order to maximize your health benefits.* Can Medicare Advantage and VA benefits work together? A Medicare Advantage plan that does not interfere with existing VA benefits you have may be an excellent fit for those who want to enhance their benefits and coverage. Enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan may provide access to additional services and benefits, such as urgent care and dental coverage, which complement VA benefits for prescription drugs and primary care. Each time you receive care, you will need to choose whether to use your VA benefits or your Medicare Advantage plan.* Are there any specific Medicare Advantage plans for veterans? While most Medicare Advantage plans are available to anyone with Medicare, be sure to speak with a licensed insurance agent about plan options that are designed with veterans in mind.For example, the new Humana Honor Medicare Advantage plan is designed to complement VA coverage and provide beneficiaries with extensive coverage, such as robust dental care, at a $0 plan premium. This plan also offers access to a broad network, including access to urgent care and non-VA facilities, which is advantageous if you need to travel far to receive care at a VA facility or experience long wait times.And you don’t have to be a veteran to enroll in the Humana Honor Medicare Advantage plan.* How would the Humana Honor Medicare Advantage plan work with my VA prescription drug coverage? Typically, VA prescription drug benefits will serve as your primary prescription drug coverage when you add a Medicare Advantage plan that does not include prescription drug coverage, such as the Humana Honor plan. These Medicare Advantage plans cover certain injectable drugs and infusions at in-network, non-VA facilities, which may be beneficial depending on your health needs.Additionally, some Medicare Advantage plans also include Part D prescription drug coverage, which may be beneficial if you get medications from non-VA doctors and would like to fill your prescriptions at your local pharmacy instead of through the VA mail-order service.Along with geographical location, veterans and all those with Medicare should consider their health, medical and budget needs and visit www.Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE or TTY 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also visit www.HumanaMedicare.com to learn more about Humana plans or call toll-free 1-800-457-4708 (TTY: 711). Licensed sales agents are available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on plan renewal. Y0040_GCHKNAWENc_M

Hispanic Homeowner Follows A Step-By-Step Plan to Buy A House

(NewsUSA) – A national housing survey found 88 percent of Hispanics felt homeownership was a good long-term investment, with 92 percent reporting they planned to be homeowners.Jocelyn Vasquez is living proof of those statistics.At a young age, her parents instilled the belief that if you owned a home, you had achieved the American dream. That dream of homeownership carried a lot of weight for her Hispanic parents, who had immigrated from El Salvador in 1977.Jocelyn turned the dream into an aggressive goal for herself:"My goal, as a U.S. citizen, was to graduate college and get a house before turning 30," says Jocelyn. "And, I wanted to do it on my own."To accomplish this, the Los Angeles, California resident made a roadmap for herself. She saved, attended college and kept her student loan debt as low as possible – all without burdening her parents.After she graduated, Jocelyn got a job as a loan officer assistant. It wasn’t until she had worked there for three years that she fully understood what was needed to qualify for a mortgage. The lightbulb went off when she realized, "I really could buy my own home someday."That was when she got serious. Because California real estate is so expensive, Jocelyn got a second job. She earned her real estate license and worked part-time as an agent, determined to save all her commission checks for a down payment.It took her three years to build her savings, pay off bills and get her debt-to-income (DTI) ratio low enough to qualify for a loan. (Many lenders don’t want a borrower’s debt to be greater than 45 percent of their gross income.) Once she achieved this, it was time to execute her plan.Jocelyn searched for a house that was less than $300,000 – not an easy task in the Greater Los Angeles Area. She looked at 16 homes before she found a 2-bed, 2 ? bath townhouse, with a 2-car garage for $285,000. Even though it was perfect for her, she took the weekend to think it over before making an offer. Unfortunately, her hesitancy cost her. By Sunday night, the seller had already accepted an offer. Jocelyn was devastated."I felt so discouraged, I didn’t know what to do," she admitted."After all my hard work and determination, I couldn’t believe I had missed out on this house. But I told myself what I tell all my buyers, ‘If it’s meant to be, it will be.’"It must have been meant to be: Five days later, Jocelyn got an alert on her phone informing her the house was back on the market – for $7,000 less. Jocelyn immediately called the seller’s agent, who told her the first buyer had backed out of the deal because his truck didn’t fit in the garage. This time, Jocelyn didn’t hesitate to offer the new asking price of $278,000.Jocelyn used conventional financing with private mortgage insurance, which allowed her to put down less than 20 percent. By saving diligently, she was able to make a five-percent down payment of $13,900. Her current monthly payment of $2,020 is exactly what she paid to rent her previous 1-bed, 1-bath, 640-sq.-ft apartment in downtown LA."This is the best investment I’ve ever made," says Jocelyn. "In the two years I’ve owned my home, its value has increased by almost 15 percent. It took a very long time, but I knew my plan would work eventually. And, I did it all on my own at age 28. My goal now is to help other Hispanic homebuyers realize the American dream of owning their own home."For more first-time homebuyer stories, visit readynest.com1 According to Fannie Mae’s 2018 National Housing Survey 

Change Someone’s Life; Live United

Five words or less(NewsUSA)

Closing in on A Killer

(NewsUSA) – Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cancer killer, expected to claim more than 142,000 lives this year alone. That is more than the lives lost due to breast, colon and prostate cancers combined.Doctors and patient groups say it doesn’t have to stay this way."Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women. Finally, we have a screening exam that will make a major impact and change the face of lung cancer for the future to a survivable cancer, not a death sentence," says Ella Kazerooni, MD, MS, chair of the National Lung Cancer Roundtable and Professor of Radiology and Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan.Screening older current and former smokers each year with low-dose computed tomography or "CAT" scans is a cost-effective system proven to significantly reduce lung cancer deaths.CT lung cancer screening exams for high-risk individuals are recommended by the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the National Lung Cancer Roundtable, The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer and many other medical and scientific organizations."After decades of having little to offer adults at high risk for lung cancer, we’ve entered a new era where we now have evidence that lung cancer screening saves lives, and new targeted therapies and immunotherapy are offering new hope to patients diagnosed with advanced lung cancer," says Richard Wender, MD, Chief Cancer Control Officer at the American Cancer Society."CT lung cancer screening is a game changer. We finally have a weapon to fight back against this terrible disease – if patients who need this screening get tested," says Debra Dyer, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology Lung Cancer Screening 2.0 Committee."Most lung cancers are not diagnosed until it is too late. This screening provides critical early detection that saves lives," says Carolyn Aldigé, founder and chief executive officer of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.Insurance companies cover these exams with no copay for people 55-80 years of age with a history of heavy smoking who are current or former smokers. Medicare ends coverage at age 77. If you were a heavy smoker, meet the age specifications and stopped tobacco use in the last 15 years, you are covered.However, unlike breast and colon cancer screening, if you are covered by Medicare, your health care provider must discuss the risk and benefits of a lung cancer screening CT exam with you during a "shared-decision making visit" before ordering your first screening CT.Lung cancer care advocates urge those who think lung cancer screening can help them or a loved one to have that conversation with their doctor."Lung cancer screening is a proven, valuable tool in finding the number-one cancer killer at its most treatable, and even curable, stage," says Laurie Fenton Ambrose, Co-Founder of the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer.For more lung cancer screening information, visit NLCRT.org and RadiologyInfo.org  Source: National Lung Cancer Roundtable (NLCRT.org) 

5 Low-Carb Swaps for A Guilt-Free Holiday Season

(NewsUSA) – With the holidays just around the corner, you might be worrying about how to get through all the parties and cookie exchanges without derailing your healthy lifestyle. It can be a struggle to avoid temptation, particularly when you’re busy, stressed, sleep-deprived, or all three. At times, you might consider giving up and just diving into the dessert tray. But with a bit of motivation and creativity, you can whip together some festive treats that are both delicious and carb-conscious.Courtney McCormick, Dietitian at Nutrisystem, offers five low-carb swaps to keep you healthy and happy through the holidays:1. Try veggies when you’re craving a crunch. We’re all guilty of lingering too long at the chips and salsa bowl at a holiday party. If you’re craving something crunchy such as a pretzel or chips, try carb-conscious snacks with a crunch – brussel sprouts chips, kale chips, veggies such as cucumber, zucchini, and carrots – they pair wonderfully with a healthier dip such as low-fat ranch or hummus.2. Sub in cauliflower for your favorite comfort foods. Do you love mashed potatoes, rice, pizza, and tater tots? If you’ve been avoiding these foods as part of your healthy lifestyle, cauliflower is here to help. This versatile veggie has recently become popular as a substitute for some of our favorite comfort foods. Mashed and steamed cauliflower have a texture and taste that is surprisingly similar to mashed potatoes – add a bit of salted butter and enjoy! And if you’re not ready to go all in on the cauliflower craze just yet, McCormick recommends swapping out at least half the potatoes for cauliflower.3. Mix your own dressings and condiments. Have you taken a close look at the nutrition facts on your favorite cranberry sauce? You might be shocked by the carbs and added sugars in dressings, sauces, and condiments, even those that appear to be "healthier" options. The best way to avoid sneaky carbs in your condiments is to make them at home. That way, you can control the ingredients and ensure they taste great.4. Bring the healthy alternative to the holiday party. Where everyone else is hauling sugary cookies and cakes, dare to bring the delicious low-carb snack! Get creative with the presentation – use edamame hummus, pita, and slices of red pepper to make perfectly festive "holiday trees."5. Don’t drink your carbs. You’ve probably heard the saying, "don’t drink your calories," before, but you shouldn’t drink your carbs either. Toss the fruit juices and sodas for seltzer, unsweetened tea, and the original favorite, water. Light beer, spiked seltzer, or dry wines are good low-carb alcohol options if you’re celebrating.For more great tips and tricks on how to make the most of your holidays with healthy alternatives, visit leaf.nutrisystem.com

How to Buy A House Without Draining Your Savings

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Erin, who works at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, had been toying with the idea of buying her first home. She was 32 years old, and was very aware that the Durham housing market was heating up.
“I figured if I was going to buy a house, I’d better do it sooner rather than later because prices just kept going up,” explains Erin.
However, with only $7,000 in savings at the time, she felt she didn’t have enough money for a down payment. But the timing became a dilemma for her. Should she wait to save more money for a house that would probably cost more in a year? Or, use all her savings to buy a house now – at the risk of leaving herself with no funds for a rainy day or future expenses?
The answer came when Erin visited the new home of a friend who had used a down payment assistance program to purchase her house. Her friend explained how down payment assistance programs give first-time homebuyers money to pay for a portion or all of their down payment, with some programs even helping with closing costs.

Save Money, Live Luxuriously with Yacht Co-ownership

(NewsUSA) -Are you a yacht owner who wants to enjoy time on the water, but doesn’t want to keep up with the work and expense of full-time ownership? Consider shared (fractional) ownership through a cooperative instead. It offers "all of the luxury and none of the hassle" according to yacht co-op and management company Saveene.Many yacht owners or would-be owners hesitate at the additional expenses of luxury boating beyond the purchase of the boat itself, such as cleaning, upkeep, marina fees, and paying a crew. Saveene offers options for fractional purchases that are flexible and cost-saving. The more fractions you purchase, the more yacht usage you have.For example, a 10 percent purchase equals approximately 4 weeks of yachting time each year; 20 percent entitles you to 8 weeks.Other advantages of fractional ownership include:– Flexibility. Saveene fractional owners can purchase up to 10 fractions per yacht, and Saveene helps them sell these fractions if they choose or owners can sell their own fractions if they choose.Several styles of yachts are available, ranging from 40 feet to 90 feet; all are outfitted with luxurious rooms and amenities. A handy online scheduling tool lets fractional owners choose outings of a few hours, day trips, or overnight excursions.– Fun. Sit back and relax. The Saveene team will schedule and prepare your yacht for your arrival, and a professional crew and concierge will help plan the perfect outing for one or two passengers, a larger group of friends, business associates, or extended family with a range of ages. Fractional owners can bring their own food and beverages or Saveene yachts can accommodate a caterer or chef.– Finance. With fractional ownership, you can enjoy periodic luxury boating without worrying about the day-to-day costs of maintenance, repairs, insurance, or storage that come with owning a yacht outright. So why pay 100 percent of the cost plus 10 percent of the cost for maintenance when you only use 10 percent to 50 percent of the yacht?Also, if you wish to purchase 100 percent of the yacht, you can. In this case, Saveene can manage your yacht. A tax write-off option is also available with Saveene. In addition, a maintenance-free option is also available. Yes, this means no monthly payments.Here’s an example of how fractional co-op ownership works: Mr. Smith purchases a 10 percent interest in a 4-stateroom fractional yacht for $89,980. This gets him approximately 3-4 weeks a year of yachting. If that doesn’t seem like enough, he can buy more. If he decides to give it up, he sells his fraction through Saveene or himself.Saveene offers a range of yacht co-op choices to fit any budget, and the Florida-based location means great yachting weather all year round.Visit saveene.com for more information. 

Four Tips for Boosting Exercise Motivation in Seniors

(NewsUSA) – You’re never too old to develop or refine an exercise program. And there has never been more opportunity to find an array of programs that suit your interests, your fitness ability and your lifestyle.As an older adult, the reasons for exercise change: benefits include helping to control chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, strengthening muscles to prevent falls, and improving flexibility to maintain activities of daily living.An added benefit? Regular exercise can help boost your mood and improve your overall sense of well-being. And, you’ll make new friends! (Of course, always talk to your doctor before starting any type of exercise program.)Where to look for a new exercise program? Start with your local fitness or community center. The key is finding activities that you enjoy. Some tips to get started:- Follow your interests. Like to dance? Swim? Maybe yoga or Tai-Chi sounds appealing. There are fitness classes for every taste and ability level.- Follow your friends. Going to a fitness class with a friend improves your motivation and if you’re going it alone – here’s your chance to make new friends!- Listen to your body. Exercise doesn’t need to be painful to be beneficial. Start slow and progress over time.- Set goals. How often do you want to exercise? How hard? Develop a three- to six-month plan so you can measure your success.But wait, there’s more: Older adults who participate in group exercise programs report improved quality of life from the social aspect of group fitness. The group creates a sense of community that helps keep you motivated.Social isolation, which often leads to loneliness, is common among seniors, but taking a fitness class can forge a bond that keeps people coming back for exercise and extends to socializing outside of class.In a recent study of adults aged 65 years and older, researchers surveyed 46,564 participants in the SilverSneakers fitness program between 2010 and 2016 to determine how exercise improved their quality of life."Even though regular physical activity is important, well-being is about more than just exercise," according to Julie Logue, Training Manager at Tivity Health. "Through SilverSneakers, you can explore all kinds of fitness programs, socialization and nutrition programs to help you live your best life. We empower members to live healthier, happier, longer."Older adults with more frequent visits to fitness centers who participate in SilverSneakers exercise programs report significantly fewer days when they felt physically or mentally unwell and rated their physical and mental health higher than those who participated less frequently.Curious about more ways to stay motivated to get and stay fit? During open enrollment for health insurance between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7, enroll in a plan that offers SilverSneakers, which provides members with access to more than 16,000 fitness and community locations nationwide.To check your eligibility and find a health plan that includes SilverSneakers, call 888-423-4632 or visit silversneakers.com.

Replacing a Roof: 4 Things to Consider

(NewsUSA) – Are you considering a home improvement project that will deliver value, curb appeal and performance? Replacing the roof is a good place to start.From an economic perspective, REMODELING magazine’s 32nd Cost vs. Value Report states that a new asphalt roof recoups more of its value at resale compared to other home improvements such as a major kitchen remodel, bathroom addition or backyard patio.Representing as much as 40 percent of a home’s exterior, the roof is an easy way to boost curb appeal. Homeowners are no longer limited to gray, taupe and other neutral shingle colors. New palettes and color selection tools make it easy to integrate color into the roof. Today’s calibrated shingles are infused with hues that add depth, dimension and subtle color.Unsure what shingle color will best complement your home’s exterior? Designer and style expert Chad Esslinger offers some tips:* Seek out Digital Design Tools: Technology makes it easy to experiment with exterior home colors, including roofing shingles. Owens Corning® Roofing offers inspiration boards and color and design tools that allow homeowners to color coordinate their exteriors with the click of a mouse. The 2020 Owens Corning Shingle Color of the Year, Pacific Wave, is a good example of how a carefully curated shingle color can complement styles ranging from a stately Midwest colonial to a coastal beach house.* Look around your house:People surround themselves with colors they love – in interior paint colors, accessories such as bedding or pillows, and their closets. What colors make up the bulk of your wardrobe? If your closet is stocked with navy shirts, you may gravitate to shades of blue on your roof. Similarly, bookmarking an online search of exteriors can help you identify appealing color combinations for your roof, doors, windows and landscaping.When searching online, look for patterns emerging in exterior color, trim and roof colors. It is likely these same shades will also appeal to you when brought together on your home’s exterior.* Go for a Color Drive: Drive around your neighborhood – or a neighborhood you like – and consider which homes and colors appeal to you. Be sure to drive by homes at different times of day and in different weather conditions so you can see how a particular color looks in sunlight, shade and when wet.* Don’t forget performance: A roof must be beautiful and able to stand up to the elements. Duration Series Shingles by Owens Corning have patented SureNail Technology in the nailing zone, giving them added performance against the elements. Homes in areas prone to strong winds and storms need extra protection against hail. Duration FLEX shingles feature a rubberizing SBS polymer modified asphalt to help guard against impact*.When it comes to home improvements, the roof is an ideal place to connect value, curb appeal and performance. And today’s shingle colors make it easy to tie functionality and aesthetics together beautifully.

Kick Off Your College Financial Aid Game This Fall

(NewsUSA) – Fall is here, and high school seniors (and their parents) are in the thick of the college application process.But these days, the cost of tuition can seem daunting: 85 percent of parents believe the cost of college is more of a financial burden than in past years, according to a College Ave Student Loans survey of 1,072 parents conducted by Barnes & Noble College Insights. However, many families may not realize and take advantage of the range of financial aid opportunities and options available."Don’t let the ‘sticker price’ of a college sway you from applying," says Joe DePaulo, Co-Founder and CEO of College Ave Student Loans."The college ‘sticker price’ typically refers to the published annual cost of attendance for any given school, which includes tuition, fees, and an average estimate of other related costs like room and board. The actual price families will pay depends on how much financial aid they receive which will be unique for each family," he says.Start by filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Some families skip this form because they think it is too much work for too little payoff. Don’t Fear the FAFSA By forgoing filling out this important government form, you could be leaving financial aid on the table. Some financial aid programs work on a first-come first-served basis, so getting it done as close to the October 1 start date maximizes the aid you might receive.There are other reasons to make sure the FAFSA is part of your fall financial aid game, according to College Ave Student Loans, a company offering simple and personalized private student loans:– More financial aid: Some schools won’t even consider you for merit aid unless you complete this important form.– More options: Students planning to apply for Federal Stafford Loans or Federal PLUS Loans must fill out the FAFSA first. Keep Applying to Scholarships Beyond the FAFSA, students and parents can round out their financial aid plan with scholarships. Many scholarships are available with rolling applications year-round and every little bit helps. College Ave Student Loans offers a monthly chance for students to win a $1,000 scholarship on their website. Build a Balanced College List College Ave recommends that you apply to a variety of schools. This will give you more opportunities to find a school that fits your budget financially, and one that may offer better financial aid.If scholarships, grants and federal loans in the student’s name don’t cover the full cost of tuition, College Ave Student Loans offers a simple, stress-free student loan process to help cover college costs. Students and parents can apply online and get a response in 3 minutes, with no application or origination fees.For more information about college financial aid planning, hints for filling out the FAFSA, and other loan opportunities, visit collegeavestudentloans.com.