SENIORcare Michigan Chronicle
COVID-19 Resource Guide For Senior Caregivers
The Caregivers Guide To Care Facilities During COVID-19
Dear Reader: I think we can all agree that this year has been like none in our lifetime. When we rang in 2020, we were full of hope for what the coming year would hold. We had no idea that within a few months our entire way of life would be replaced by something never before experienced. And with those changes, came new challenges – and opportunities. Because Michigan was hit so hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, HAP made a commitment early on to conduct personalized outreach to its most vulnerable members, many of whom are Medicare members. We identified members who were most at risk during this extended time of isolation and made phone calls to them to determine if they needed food or other services. About 9,000 phone calls later, we knew we made the right choice, because even in a pandemic our members are at the center of all we do. And that is why HAP is proud to be the presenting sponsor of this guide designed specifically for you. We want you to know that HAP is here, taking care of you and giving back to the communities in which we do business. This has been our commitment since HAP was founded in Detroit 60 years ago, and this remains our commitment to you as we look toward 2021 and beyond. As we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, let’s work together to make Michigan a healthier place – a place where we can live, work, play and worship together. HAP is here, ready to lead that effort. On behalf of HAP and its 1,100 Michigan-based employees,
Dr. Michael Genord President and CEO Health Alliance Plan
2 SENIORcare | October 2020
‘Real Estate Agent of Group Homes’ Gives Top 5 Things to Consider in
Senior Living By Alan Hunt II Coming to terms with the fact that a family matriarch or patriarch needs professional senior care is not an easy admission. Establishing an assisted living arrangement presents another obstacle; this is where Felicia Marshall of Best Choice Senior Placement steps in.
■ What can you afford for your loved one? ■ Anticipate costs and other expenses. What does your budget allow?
Referred to as the ‘real estate agent of group homes,’ Marshall, a registered nurse, runs a free referral, placement, and consulting agency. “Our goal is to help more seniors get out of situations where they are not receiving the optimal care that is best for them and to educate families Felicia Marshall that they do have options. They don’t have to leave a loved one in a subpar facility,” said Marshall, who runs the agency with her husband William, a certified nursing assistant. “I think we’re a really good team…We’re small. It’s just him and I so we take things a little more personal than maybe a bigger corporation. Our clients aren’t just numbers they are people to us and we know all of them because it’s just him and I. Each home we can say we’d put our personal loved one in if we needed to.” The personal touch continues as Felicia or William accompany clients on tours of group homes they recommend. Despite the agency only being in operation since June 2019, Felicia has always been passionate about assisting with senior living. “I had been referring patients and family members to different facilities for as long as I’ve been a nurse which has been nearly 10 years. We just decided to turn it into a real business.” She says when families are considering care options for a loved one, these are the top 5 things to consider:
Additionally, when it comes to making a final decision, Marshall says there is no set time table in her experience. It boils down to whenever a family feels comfortable enough. “Some placements can take weeks where we are back and forth with the family because they may not be sure if they are ready for a placement. They’re just sort of thinking about it because of difficulties with caring for their loved one. Some placements we have done in as little as two days.”
■ What is the reputation of the facility? ■ Is the facility licensed? What does the state say about the facility when they renew their license? ■ What is the patient to caregiver ratio? ■ Are there a lot of patients assigned to one caregiver per shift? ■ Is the facility equipped to take care of a loved one’s needs? ■ How do your needs align with what a facility provides? ■ Where do you want your loved one to be? ■ How easily accessible will family be in proximity to the facility?
COVID-19 has not impacted Marshall’s business as much as you would expect. Social media has drawn attention to her brand, and she only refers clients to group homes with six patients or fewer. Due to this, families have still been able to tour a home after passing the COVID-19 screening. She’s found better success in consulting with smaller homes. “I noticed my patients who were in smaller facilities had better outcomes than the ones in larger ones. I wanted to help guide people toward the smaller facilities that not a lot of people know about but provide great care.” Marshall’s contact with clients does not end once they have been placed into a home. “We follow up with every client to see how the placements have gone, if they are pleased with the facilities, if they are pleased with how their loved ones are treated. I love to get that good feedback…it makes it all worth it.” For more information on Best Choice Senior Placement, visit https://www.bestchoiceseniorplacement.com/. SENIORcare | October 2020 3
How to Help Your Senior Shop for a Medicare Plan from Home (StatePoint) Every year, eligible individuals can shop for a health plan during Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP), which runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Doing so can potentially improve your coverage, lower your costs or both. The options are many, including Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, Medicare Supplement plans and Prescription Drug Plans.
while safe at home, such as telehealth, prescription drug delivery and in-home fitness programs. Know your network. Beyond cost, make sure the plan’s network includes your favorite facilities and doctors. Are you okay seeking care within a network? These kinds of choices should be guided by your own personal goals and preferences.
According to Aparna Abburi, president of the Medicare Advantage business at Cigna, one of the nation’s largest insurers, those concerned about COVID-19 exposure have a number of ways to shop. If you’re computer savvy, visit plan websites like www.cigna.com/medicare or Medicare’s Plan Finder at Medicare.gov. You might even be able to attend a virtual educational session. If you prefer phone, call individual plans or independent brokers representing the health plan you’re considering. You can also request a face-to-face meeting, but be sure to follow the COVID-19 safety precautions outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Consider costs. To estimate total costs, first, know the plan’s premium or monthly cost. Second, check for out-of-pocket costs, including copays and deductibles on doctor and hospital visits and prescription drugs. Finally, check to see what the cost will be if you need to see a specialist. In some plans, you pay more for going outside your network.
Abburi said you’ll want to think about the following when picking a plan:
plans send their MA customers a document called the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) with information about costs, benefits, available doctors and facilities for the upcoming year. Check this document to see if anything in your plan will change.
Review changes. In late September, health H9861_RMA292_M
Weigh extras. Pay attention to extra ben-
Don’t forget prevention. Many MA plans cover preventive health screenings beyond those covered by Original Medicare. Talk to efits not available with Original Medicare your doctor about which screenings are imbut which may be built into an MA plan at portant for you given your age and health no additional cost, such as dental, vision, status. While it’s smart to minimize your risk transportation or even an allowance for pur- to COVID-19, you still want to make sure chasing certain over-the-counter items. In you’re getting preventive and other necesthese times, you might be especially inter- sary care. Your doctor will have proper safeested in benefits that helpSize: you stay ty protocols in place.4/0, cmyk/0 10”xhealthy 5”; Bleeds: none; Colors:
Do you have MEDICARE or MEDICARE + MEDICAID and live in Genesee, Macomb, Monroe*, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne County? Start the new year with NEW BENEFITS for a $0 monthly premium! Get the only doctor-owned Medicare Advantage plan of its kind in Michigan: Reliance Medicare Advantage (HMO) and Dual Care Plus (HMO-SNP).
Enroll before December 7th to have benefits in place starting January 1, 2021: 4 $0 in-network primary care doctor visits 5 4 Dental, vision and routine hearing coverage 5 4 $0 or low copay for prescription drugs 5 4 NEW 8 hours of companion services for 5 assistance with transportation, computer 4 NEW quarterly benefit to spend on 5 healthcare-related products through NationsOTC.com/Reliance
support, light household help, and more
Call 734-274-2781 (TTY: 711), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or visit RelianceMedicareAdvantage.org/year * The Dual Care Plus Plan is not available in Monroe county. Reliance Medicare Advantage is an HMO and an HMO-SNP with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in the plans depends on contract renewal. Other providers are in our network. Please call Customer Service for assistance at 1-855-959-5855 (TTY: 711), Monday - Sunday from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. October 1 - March 31 and Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. April 1 - September 30. Reliance Medicare Advantage complies with Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. H9861_RMA292_M
Marketing Campaign Code: MPDRLP
4 SENIORcare | October 2020 H9861_RMA292-10x5-f.indd 1
9/22/20 10:32 PM
Care Facilities and COVID-19 The latest on evolving rules, visiting loved ones, your rights and more Why are care facilities so vulnerable to COVID-19? Older people are at higher risk for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. So are people with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and respiratory illness. Both groups are heavily represented among the nation’s 1.3 million nursing home residents. That concentration is a key reason why 2 in 5 U.S. deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in care facilities and other long-term care facilities, according to tracking by the Kaiser Family Foundation, but it’s not the only one. Certain conditions at care facilities can exacerbate the spread of the disease: • shortages of coronavirus tests • shortages of or lack of access to personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gowns • frequent physical contact between residents and staff • understaffing • employees who work in multiple facilities, increasing chances for exposure • residents sharing rooms • transfers of residents from hospitals and other settings These factors make care facilities potential breeding grounds for viral and bacterial diseases, especially given chronic problems with infection control that predate the pandemic. According to a recent federal report, 4 in 5 care facilities surveyed between 2013 and 2017 were cited for deficiencies in infection prevention and control. Half were cited more than once during that time. Can I visit my loved one in a nursing home? It depends on where you live. As of Sept. 17, 41 states and the District of Columbia had authorized care facilities to resume visitation, with strict rules for distancing, face-covering and sanitizing, in accordance with guidelines the CMS issued in May to help state and local authorities determine when and how to resume visitation. States that allow visits are recommending, and some are requiring, that they take place outdoors. Studies have shown that the risk of coronavirus transmission is considerably lower outside. In the remaining states, care facilities are still effectively in lockdown, with building entry restricted to essential staff, health care workers and vendors and outside visitors allowed only in “compassionate care situations,” such as when a resident is near death. A handful of states have given long-term care
facilities discretion to allow more expansive visitation by people deemed “essential caregivers” — for example, a family member who before the pandemic visited regularly and helped their loved one with daily activities like eating and grooming. AARP has a state-by-state guide you can use to check visitation status in your state. Bear in mind that even in states that have authorized visits, individual care facilities may remain locked down due to local or facility-specific circumstances. In the meantime, the best way to “see” your loved ones during this period is often through video-chat and conferencing platforms like Zoom, FaceTime and Skype.
What can I do to support my loved one? Stay connected. It’s crucial for your loved one’s well-being, physically and emotionally. Isolation “can have very real and serious health impacts” for nursing home residents, says Megan O’Reilly, AARP’s vice president of health and family. If you haven’t already established ways to visit virtually, ask the nursing home what it can do to facilitate communication. Does it have tablets residents can use for televisits? Can staff help those who have mobile devices but aren’t familiar with video-chat apps? Use tech to do more than just check in. With smartphone cameras and video apps, you can take a locked-down loved one for a walk in the woods, share a virtual meal or watch a movie together. Also think about non-digital ways to boost morale, like sending handwritten cards or arranging a delivery from their favorite restaurant. (Not all facilities may allow this, so check first.) You can also support loved ones by staying informed about what’s going on at their facility. Identify a point of contact on staff for when you have questions and concerns. AARP has a list of six key questions to ask about circumstances at your loved one’s nursing home.
Will the care facility tell me if people there are infected? The CMS is requiring care facilities to tell residents and their families or representatives within 12 hours if a COVID-19 case is confirmed on-site. The information must also be reported to the CDC. Some states have made public the names of care facilities with cases, but not all states are doing so. Advocates for seniors say the CMS guidance do not go far enough and are demanding greater transparency and accountability at both the federal and state level. Don’t be shy about contacting the nursing home to ask if it’s had cases and deaths and about what protective measures they’re taking. If the facility is not forthcoming or if you have a concern or complaint, contact your state’s long-term care ombudsman. What if I have a complaint or concern? First, try talking to the nursing home. Learn as much as you can about the situation you want to address and have specific questions ready. If the facility is not responsive, reach out to your state’s long-term care ombudsman. Ombudsmen programs were established by the federal Older Americans Act in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, to address problems related to the health, safety, welfare and rights of residents of care facilities and long-term care communities. Staff and volunteers at ombudsmen offices work to advocate for residents of long-term care facilities, and to investigate and resolve complaints. AARP has a directory where you can find contact information and a website link for your state ombudsman. If an issue persists, you can file a complaint with your state survey agency, which inspects care facilities to determine if they comply with CMS regulations. Keep in mind that infection control is getting priority attention, so other concerns may take longer to resolve. Should I consider taking my loved one out of a nursing home? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some individuals and families may decide that it makes sense for a spouse, parent or other loved one to come home during the pandemic, particularly if there are COVID-19 cases at their facility. But the reality is that some nursing home residents have medical or other needs beyond what can be provided at home. Ask your loved one’s medical provider for advice before making a move.
Here are some questions to consider: How is the facility handling the coronavirus? For example, are residents and staff being tested? Are there confirmed cases among them? Do staff have PPE? Are staffing levels adequate? What type and level of care does your loved one need, and are you able to provide it? Is in-home care available during the pandemic? Can your home accommodate a loved one with mobility issues or dementia? For example, is there a ground-floor bedroom if they can’t use stairs, or ways to guard against wandering? Will your loved one be able to return to the nursing home? Many residents rely on Medicaid to help cover their long-term care costs and leaving a facility can affect eligibility. If you’re concerned about the safety and well-being of a loved one in a nursing home or other senior living facility, contact your state’s long-term care ombudsman. Do these answers apply to other long-term-care facilities, like assisted living? Many assisted living facilities and senior care communities have implemented lockdowns and other restrictions to combat COVID-19. The CDC has issued recommendations for assisted living that mirror much of its guidance for care facilities on controlling the disease, including no outside visitors or group activities and regular screening of staff for symptoms. Unlike care facilities, however, assisted living facilities are generally not subject to federal oversight. For example, the CMS rules on disclosing COVID-19 cases to residents and family members do not apply to assisted living facilities. They are licensed by the states, many of which have not issued disclosure orders, and regulation varies by state. If you have a loved one at an assisted living community and have questions or concerns about its COVID-19 caseload and response, contact the facility and ask to speak to an administrator. You can also bring issues to your state’s department of health, department of health and human services, or department of aging. (Source: AARP)
SENIORcare | October 2020 5
Here, with tips to talk to your doctor Now more than ever, it’s important to see your primary care provider. If you haven’t had your annual well-visit, make sure you schedule it soon. Then, remember to…
1. Write down questions about your physical and mental well-being. Throughout the year, you’re bound to think of questions about your physical and mental health — especially with COVID-19 still spreading. Instead of trying to remember them come appointment time, start writing them down now. 2. Think about your health and any changes to it. What’s changed for your body, mind or mood in the last year? Challenge yourself to run a personal evaluation before visiting the doctor so this information is top-of-mind. 3. Learn your family health history. Gathering information about your blood relatives’ health can help your doctor determine your unique risks. It may also help them provide more targeted care. 4. Consider current events. How are you handling the stress and uncertainty of living in a pandemic? Are you experiencing any anxiety, depression or loneliness? Tell your doctor what you’re feeling. And in this COVID-world, now coupled with the flu, you may also want to learn more about risk factors and symptoms. 5. Use telehealth services. If you’re not comfortable going into your doctor’s office, ask about virtual care. In situations where it makes sense, you can get convenient care from the comfort of home. But please know, with respect to the pandemic, in-person visits are safe with our top doctors and leading hospitals.
Returning to the Doctor? Here’s what you can expect. Controlling the coronavirus has changed the world as we knew it. Especially when it comes to health care. Extra precautions have been put in place to keep you safe. But for your convenience, HAP is here to help you navigate your next visit. Here’s what you should be aware of, whether you’re preparing for your annual well-visit or preventive flu shot: WHAT TO EXPECT You will likely have a health screening, and you will have to wear a mask. You will also be encouraged to use hand sanitizer. Health care teams are following strict handwashing and social distancing protocols, and exam rooms and waiting areas are being cleaned thoroughly. Some entrances may be closed, and you may have to wait in your car until your appointment time. For more, visit hap.org/newnormal. 6 SENIORcare | October 2020
As Medicare experts, HAP is here with educational opportunities for those looking to understand more about Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement plans. HAP’s webinars are free and open to the public. There are sessions offered every week, find one that works for you. 2021 Annual Enrollment Period Webinars Come and explore what Health Alliance Plan - HAP is offering for 2021 Medicare Plans. Our HAP Medicare experts will go over plan details, highlight the added value benefits and go over enrollment options with you, right from the comfort of your home. To register visit hap.org/webinar Retirement Readiness Webinars HAP is here to help you plan for your retirement! This webinar is perfect if you are approaching your retirement goal, or turning 65, and are interested in helpful information on how to be prepared. Join a HAP Medicare expert and a community partner as they co-present pertinent information to help you plan and move forward into this exciting new chapter. To register visit hap.org/retirement
5 Shopping Tips to Help You Get the Most from Medicare It’s time to choose a Medicare plan and it can be tempting to simply follow a friend or family member’s advice on which plan is right for you. If it works for them, it’ll work for you, right? Not always. Everyone has different needs, which means they’ll likely want different things from a Medicare plan. If you’re not sure what makes the most sense for you, HAP can help. Here’s how to make the most of your Medicare shopping experience. 1. Enroll early Did you know you can sign up for Medicare three months before your birthday month? If you’re currently receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B when you turn 65. If you aren’t, you can sign up when you’re 64 years and 9 months old. It ensures you have coverage the day you’re eligible and that you don’t get a lifetime of late enrollment fees. You can also sign up during your birthday month and three months after. 2. Review your coverage every year You can choose to switch your Medicare coverage during the annual enrollment period (October 15 – December 7). To make sure you’re still getting the greatest value, it’s always worth investigating your plan options. It’s important to understand the full cost of your plan including the premium, copays, your deductible and coinsurance. Some plans may have a $0 premium, but you’re still responsible for other costs associated with the plan. 3. Choose a plan with an extensive network With Original Medicare, you can see any doctor who
accepts Medicare. But with a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll want to see which doctors and hospitals would be in your network. Look for your primary care physician, any specialists you already see and your preferential hospitals. HAP, for example, is accepted by thousands of doctors and most Michigan hospitals. 4. Check out what’s NOT covered
Understand the Differences Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement Plans HAP is here to help you understand the differences between the types of insurance options you have as a Medicare beneficiary. A HAP Medicare expert will explain how Medicare Supplement (or Medigap) and Medicare Advantage (or Part C) plans work and compare the two so you can make sure you have the right coverage for your health care needs. To register visit hap.org/advantage-medsupp
Original Medicare doesn’t cover dental, vision or hearing. However, you can find Medicare Advantage plans that do like our plans at HAP. As you’re evaluating the options, consider what kind of care you might need in the upcoming year. And don’t forget to also explore the benefits built into each plan. HAP has additional benefits like preventive dental, vision telehealth services, $0 gym memberships and up to $400/year for over-the-counter items and medications.
Caregiver Webinars Created with caregivers in mind, this webinar series will present valuable information and introduce resources that can help with the special challenges involved in caregiving. Learn how HAP is here to help as well as meet partners from the community that are useful resources. To register visit hap.org/caregiverevents
5. Don’t miss the enrollment deadline
November 11, 2020 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Sometimes, people still have health insurance through their employer (or their spouse’s employer) at age 65. If you’re in the same situation, you can delay your Medicare enrollment. The only catch – you need to sign up within eight months of losing that coverage. If you don’t, you’ll face a hefty fee, and you might even have to wait until the next enrollment period. Want to learn more about HAP’s Medicare Advantage plans? To talk to an expert by calling (313) 3240386 (TTY: 711). Our team is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Or, if you’d rather do your own research, you can request a FREE Medicare planning guide at hap.org/mc-plan.
FREE Virtual Caregiver Conference HAP knows how hard it is to be a caregiver! Join us in our first Caregiver Conference to learn about and meet partners in the community that are useful resources for caregivers. In this virtual conference, you will meet and hear from our community partners, their services and programs to help caregivers in our communities. To register visit hap.org/caregiver-conference
SENIORcare | October 2020 7
Manage Medical Conditions During COVID-19
Engage Virtually Tips for keeping older adults connected (Family Features) Connection and a sense of community can be critical to well-being as people continue to distance and isolate. It can be challenging, especially for older adults, but there are ways to engage, explore and unwind. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so choose a few things that suit you and commit to them. Remember to pay attention to your social and mental health while taking care of your physical health, and consider these ideas from the Administration for Community Living. Connect •Use social media to stay in touch with friends and loved ones or reconnect with people you haven’t seen in a while. •Take advantage of video call platforms to see faces of family and friends while you talk to them. •Write letters to friends and reminisce about some of your favorite memories. Ask them to write back and share their own favorite memories. •Keep up to date with current events and stay connected to neighbors by reading local newspapers and community bulletins.
Explore •Take free courses online. With subjects ranging from computers and cooking to studio arts and foreign languages, there is something for nearly everyone. • Explore zoos and aquariums across the country through virtual tours and lessons. Many have live webcams that allow you to watch the animals in real time. •Enjoy artwork from around the world. Thousands of museums and galleries are currently displaying their collections online through virtual tours. •Tour one of the many national parks offering digital tours and experiences you can access anytime from the comfort of home.
Unwind •Check your library’s free e-books and audiobooks you can borrow without leaving home. Consider joining a virtual book club to connect with others enjoying the same book. •Host dinner or a game night with friends over a video chat. Word, trivia and acting games tend to work well virtually. •Catch free performances online. Some opera houses and theaters are streaming plays and performances for digital audiences. •Watch a TV show or movie while talking to a friend on the phone or over video chat. Many streaming services offer free trials and some even have a way to watch together online.
For information on services for older adults in your community, contact the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 or eldercare.acl.gov. Source: Administration for Community Living
8 SENIORcare | October 2020
(Family Features) Diabetes and heart disease are two pre-existing medical conditions that researchers believe contribute to elevated risk of severe complications from COVID-19. In fact, patients with two or more pre-existing conditions have 4.5 times greater risk of needing treatment at a hospital if they contract COVID-19, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How Diabetes Affects Heart Health If you have diabetes, your body either makes too much or not enough insulin, which results in too much glucose in your bloodstream. Over time, high blood glucose levels can increase damage to your organs, including your heart, brain and kidneys. Diabetes is associated with a buildup of plaque that can clog arteries, so the longer you live with type 2 diabetes, the higher your cardiovascular risk. At least one-third of people with heart failure have diabetes, and heart disease is the leading cause of death and a major cause of heart attacks, heart failure, strokes and disability for people living with type 2 diabetes. Managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are common in people with type 2 diabetes, along with keeping blood glucose levels in check, supports heart health and may also prevent or slow down progression of chronic kidney disease - another condition that heightens the risk of severe COVID-19 complications. COVID-19 Precautions Considering that people with conditions like diabetes and heart disease are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, it’s especially important to keep health-related numbers in healthy ranges and manage these conditions, in addition to taking precautions against contracting the virus. Consider these tips from the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association: • If you’ve delayed or postponed medical appointments due to COVID-19, it’s vital to resume them, either in person or through virtual options. • Continue to take medication as prescribed. If you’ve lost your medical insurance or can’t afford it, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about available resources. Stopping your medication without talking to your health care provider could lead to serious illness or death. • Know your numbers. If you have
diabetes, check blood glucose levels frequently and make necessary adjustments to insulin and diet to keep levels under control. If you have high blood pressure, make sure to monitor that number regularly from home. • Manage stress, which can also impact blood glucose and blood pressure levels. In addition to maintaining your social support network (even if it’s through social distancing), exercise, adequate sleep and meditation can help improve your mental health.
• If you or someone around you has symptoms of heart attack or stroke, remember to call 9-1-1 as the hospital is still the safest place to go in a medical emergency. • If you have diabetes, talk with your doctor about ways to reduce your risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke and COVID-19. Visit KnowDiabetesbyHeart.org for resources like diabetes-friendly recipes, success stories and a list of questions to ask your doctor. Source: American Heart Association
If you have Medicare questions, I can help Looking for better Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans? Now is the right time to review your current Medicare coverage—and maybe strengthen it. Let’s make sure you have the benefits you really want in 2021. Sometimes the help you need is finding the right answers to your questions and sometimes it’s finding the right plan for your needs. At Humana it’s always about putting you first.
Call a licensed Humana sales agent Local Humana Office 1-800-649-0059 (TTY: 711) Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Humana.com Applicable to Humana Choice PPO H5216-078-002. Newspaper advertising supplement to Beacon Senior News. At Humana, it is important you are treated fairly. Humana Inc. and its subsidiaries do not discriminate or exclude people because of their race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion. Discrimination is against the law. Humana and its subsidiaries comply with applicable Federal Civil Rights laws. If you believe that you have been discriminated against by Humana or its subsidiaries, there are ways to get help. 1)You may file a complaint, also known as a grievance: Discrimination Grievances, P.O. Box 14618, Lexington, KY 40512-4618 If you need help filing a grievance, call 1-877-320-1235 or if you use a TTY, call 711. 2)You can also file a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights electronically through the Office for Civil Rights Complaint Portal, available at https://ocrportal.hhs.gov/ocr/portal/lobby.jsf, or by mail or phone at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 509F, HHH Building, Washington, DC 20201, 1-800-368-1019, 800-537-7697 (TDD). Complaint forms are available at https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/office/file/index.html. Auxiliary aids and services, free of charge, are available to you. 1-877-320-1235 (TTY: 711). Humana provides free auxiliary aids and services, such as qualified sign language interpreters, video remote interpretation, and written information in other formats to people with disabilities when such auxiliary aids and services are necessary to ensure an equal opportunity to participate. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. 1-877-320-1235 (TTY: 711) Español (Spanish): Llame al número arriba indicado para recibir servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. 繁體中文 (Chinese): 撥打上面的電話號碼即可獲得免費語言援助服務。 Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese): Xin gọi số điện thoại trên đây để nhận được các dịch vụ hỗ trợ ngôn ngữ miễn phí. 한국어 (Korean): 무료 언어 지원 서비스를 받으려면 위의 번호로 전화하십시오. Tagalog (Tagalog – Filipino): Tawagan ang numero sa itaas upang makatanggap ng mga serbisyo ng tulong sa wika nang walang bayad. Русский (Russian): Позвоните по номеру, указанному выше, чтобы получить бесплатные услуги перевода. Kreyòl Ayisyen (French Creole): Rele nimewo ki pi wo la a, pou resevwa sèvis èd pou lang ki gratis. Français (French): Appelez le numéro ci-dessus pour recevoir gratuitement des services d’aide linguistique. Polski (Polish): Aby skorzystać z bezpłatnej pomocy językowej, proszę zadzwonić pod wyżej podany numer. Português (Portuguese): Ligue para o número acima indicado para receber serviços linguísticos, grátis. Italiano (Italian): Chiamare il numero sopra per ricevere servizi di assistenza linguistica gratuiti. Deutsch (German): Wählen Sie die oben angegebene Nummer, um kostenlose sprachliche Hilfsdienstleistungen zu erhalten. 日本語 (Japanese): 無料の言語支援サービスをご要望の場合 は、上記の番号までお電話ください。( یسرافFarsi) دیریگب سامت قوف هرامش اب ناگیار تروصب ینابز تالیهست تفایرد یارب. Diné Bizaad ЁNavajoЂ: W0dah7 b44sh bee hani’7 bee wolta’7g77 bich’9’ h0d77lnih 47 bee t’11 jiik’eh saad bee 1k1’1n7da’1wo’d66 nik1’adoowo[. ( ةيب رعلاArabic) كتغلب ةدعاسملل ةيناجم تامدخ ىلع لوصحلل هالعأ نيبملا مقرلاب لاصتالا ءاجرلا Y0040_GHHHXDHEN_21_C SENIORcare | October 2020 9
Ways to Ensure
Medication Safety For Your Senior During COVID-19
(Family Features) During the COVID-19 pandemic, staying healthy is top of mind. For individuals at risk for or diagnosed with COVID-19, the addition of new treatments may pose another medical danger: adverse drug events (ADEs). ADEs cause an estimated 150,000 deaths per year in the United States and 1.3 million emergency room visits, resulting in nearly 350,000 people hospitalized for further treatment. The experts at Tabula Rasa HealthCare, a team of clinical pharmacists building solutions for personalized medication safety, recommend several actions to improve medication safety and prevent ADEs:
1. Keep an updated list of all your medications. Ask your doctor(s) for a list of all your medications and update it with over-the-counter medications to ensure you both have a complete profile. Document why you take each medicine, the dose, frequency and time of day. Always have access to it by, for example, creating a secure note in your phone for safekeeping. Also, share a copy with a loved one in case of an emergency.
2. Ask your pharmacist to review your medication regimen. Make an appointment with your pharmacist to review your medications, including prescription, nonprescription, supplements, herbals and recreational drugs. While you may see multiple health care providers, your pharmacist can provide a holistic review of your regimen. Ask questions and try to understand the purpose of each medication. Your pharmacist likely has access to technological tools that identify risk for preventable ADEs. For example, Tabula Rasa HealthCare’s MedWise is a one-of-a-kind technology solution that compares how medications interact together. Using this unique solution, pharmacists may assist you with managing your medications safer and smarter. If you are not aware if your health plan covers pharmacist visits, consider selecting a plan that does.
3. Ask about the benefits of a “pharmacogenomic” test. If you have a chronic illness and take multiple medications, ask your pharmacist for a test that identifies your personal gene make-up that can affect the way certain medications interact with each other in your body. With this data, your pharmacist can determine if your medications will work as expected, or if they may put you at risk for ADEs. With tools 10 SENIORcare | October 2020
that store this data, your pharmacist can personalize your medication regimen and help reduce your risk for ADEs.
4. Ask your pharmacist about risks with every new medication. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, talk to your pharmacist before taking any new medications to determine if they may increase your risk for ADEs. When adding or removing medications to or from your regimen, it is important to understand how these changes impact your risk for an ADE. Another tool your pharmacist may use is the MedWise Risk Score to help you better understand and measure medication risk with changes. Your pharmacist may adjust how you take your medications or recommend
an alternative that is safer for you.
5. Develop a routine for taking your medications and stick with it. Be consistent when you take your medications to avoid ADEs. Your pharmacist can provide you with a unique medication profile that outlines the time to take each of your medications for safety. Setting reminders such as an alert on your cell phone or sticky notes can help remind you to take your medication on time. Pharmacists are medication safety “quarterbacks,” helping optimize your medication regimen, avoid ADEs and assure you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe, during and after COVID-19. To learn more, visit trhc.com/nextfrontier.
Your Daily Dose of Your Community.
michiganchronicle.com SENIORcare | October 2020 11
with Medicare plans and benefits to talk about. Our $0* HMO and PPO Medicare plans go above and beyond for members. They include dental, vision, hearing aid coverage and an over-the-counter (OTC) allowance. Not to mention, award-winning ratings. Did you know? Our health plan has been rated “highest in customer satisfaction in Michigan.”**
But don’t take our word for it… “I brag to my friends how good my HAP insurance is. HAP’s customer service – everybody in the office -- has always been great to me. Customer service is excellent; I’ve never had any issues. They are really good about listening to you. Even if I need to call the HAP Helpline – the people are so nice.” -Mary Ann S., HAP Customer
Get your FREE Medicare Planning Guide today. Call (313) 324-0376. Or, sign up for an online webinar at hap.org/aep-events.
* You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium. ** Based on 2019 Medicare CAHPS survey results when compared to other Michigan-based HMO health plans. Health Alliance Plan (HAP) has HMO, HMO-POS, PPO plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment inthe plans depends on contract renewals. Y0076_ALL 2021 Mich Chron Ad_M Accepted 12 SENIORcare | October 2020