Senior Page

Insurance Agent or 800?

Finding the right health insurance coverage can be overwhelming, especially for those who are new to Medicare. The learning curve can be pretty steep. When you go it alone, you have to figure out all the different options, consider the reputation of each company, weigh what each type of plan provides and decide which plan will offer the most cost effective coverage for the hospitals, doctors and prescriptions you use.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 4:12 PM, 06.05.2019

Bob's Corner

How will you be remembered? 

She came into the senior center a few times a week.  She barely said a word to anyone.  As a rule, she intentionally sat by herself. She didn't complain, she never had much to say, and she caused no trouble.  She was encouraged, but she never participated in anything that required more of an investment than a hello and a half-hearted smile.  Her features were average and her clothing unremarkable.  She suddenly quit coming to the center, but nobody really noticed.  We learned that she died, alone.  Nobody knew her, and nobody missed her.

I am sure this strikes you as incredibly sad.  It is, but please let it serve as more than just a gloomy story.

The truth is that no one can make you interact with others.  People aren’t going to take you by the hand and force you to get involved and to have fun.  No one can compel you to enjoy your life.  It’s all up to you. 

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 4:48 PM, 05.10.2018

Does Medicare Cover THIS?

If you are on Medicare, chances are good that preventive services, tests and screenings ordered by your physician will be covered. In addition to coverage for exams, immunizations, lab tests, and screenings, Medicare covers programs for health monitoring, counseling and education to help you take good care of your health.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 10:36 AM, 05.05.2019

Avoid These Medicare Mistakes

Medicare’s rules are often confusing and mistakes can be costly. Make the wrong choice and you could end up with high premiums and unexpected out-of-pocket costs. Here are a few of the most common pitfalls for you to avoid.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 3:01 PM, 03.30.2019

Find Help with Prescription Costs

Access to affordable prescription medication is often a critical component to staying healthy. Unfortunately, with the rising costs of medicines, many people cannot afford their prescription drugs. This is where Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) may be able to help.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 2:41 PM, 03.10.2019

HELP! I Picked the Wrong Advantage Plan

You were so sure that you made the right choice when you signed up for your Medicare Advantage Plan.  But, you realize now after Open Enrollment closed that you made a poor choice. You picked the wrong plan and now fear you have to live with your decision.

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 5:14 PM, 01.08.2019

Don't be a Victim of Medical Identity Theft

Medical identity theft is the unauthorized use a person’s name, insurance information or social security records without that person’s knowledge or consent. The theft occurs when unscrupulous people obtain medical services, or use another person’s identity to make false claims. When a person’s medical identity is stolen, incorrect information may become a part of the victim’s medical records. This can lead to confusion and in extreme situations, it can be life-threatening if the wrong information gets mixed in with someone’s a person’s medical record.

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 1:10 PM, 12.07.2018

Prescription Drug Allowances

Dominic was prescribed a prescription by his doctor which retails for $679 for a 30 day supply. This particular pill is not on his current plan so not subject to discounted pricing. There is a plan offered in 2019 which covers the pill at $337 both before the deductible and in the initial period. Still, pretty pricey…Good RX has a coupon which allows him to purchase this drug for $27.34 at Giant Eagle pharmacy.

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 1:10 PM, 12.07.2018

Your Medicare is Changing

This year, you will want to take a close look at your Medicare coverage or your Medicare Advantage plan. There are a number of changes that will affect all Medicare recipients and some that apply only to Medicare Advantage plan policyholders. Here are some of the changes you can expect to see:

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:01 PM, 11.04.2018

2019 Medicare Costs

The new Medicare rates have been released! Typically these rates are not disclosed until the end or after the annual enrollment period.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:01 PM, 11.04.2018

Euclid Senior Center

If the Euclid City Schools are CLOSED for inclement weather, there will be NO LUNCHES

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:20 PM, 01.13.2017

What to do When Caregiving Happens Suddenly

Are you a caregiver to a spouse…an older parent or grandparent or perhaps to a child?  Being a caregiver is one of the top stressors that anyone can face.  It can be an overwhelming experience.  Know that you can embrace the caregiving role when you have a plan, with resources and support along the way.

Most people are creatures of habit.  Some of us plan our day.  For others, the day plans us.  No matter our personal style, when a crisis occurs and we are called upon to become a caregiver, it can throw us for a loop. Our routine is shattered and it can be very unsettling.

First things first….breathe.

Even when things are happening at whirlwind speed, decisions needing to be made, tasks accomplished, etc., it is important to take a step back and recognize that we can be in control of the situation, not the other way around.   Try to identify the top priorities and decide which items may not be the top priority and we can let go of or give to others.  For instance, in order to be at the hospital with a relative, can someone else pick up Jimmy from soccer practice, get dinner, run errands, etc. 

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Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 7:56 AM, 10.14.2018

Don't Leave these Benefits on the Table

Fall is a good time to take a look at where you stand with your health insurance benefits. There are a number of benefits you may lose if you do not use them before the end of the year.

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Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 7:56 AM, 10.14.2018

Cancer Genomics

Stella was recently diagnosed with fourth stage liver cancer and passed within weeks.  The liver cancer metastasized from pancreatic cancer whose symptoms were disguised as stomach issues attributed to diverticulitis. What if Stella had known she was carrying the gene for pancreatic cancer?  Would she be alive today?

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Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 7:56 AM, 10.14.2018

Health Insurance. A Priority for Grandparents Raising Grandkids

An increasing number of grandparents are taking on the responsibility of the care and upbringing of their grandchildren. According to Ohio’s Kinship Care program, almost 100,000 grandparents in Ohio are raising their grandchildren today. How to secure health insurance for their grandkids is a major concern for many.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 12:13 PM, 09.07.2018

Prescriptions Personalized

Paula became eligible for Medicare due to a disability and was enrolled on the 25th month after her benefit checks started with the help of the social security office. Candidates under the age of 65 in the state of Ohio can enroll in an independent drug plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan which limits their healthcare expenditures and offers prescription drug coverage. Medicare supplement insurance is not available to recipients who are under the age of 65 in the state of Ohio.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:04 AM, 08.04.2018

Have the Talk

Chas is the breadwinner and patriarch of the family. He made the money, pays the bills, invests and manages all finances for the household. What happens when he becomes incapacitated or passes? Sara would be overwhelmed and probably turn to her children for help. Have you had the talk with your kids?

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Volume 9, Issue 7, Posted 3:08 PM, 07.05.2018

Go Paperless for Easy Medicare Record-Keeping

You will be pleased to know you no longer need an entire file cabinet devoted to Medicare paperwork. Medicare has several electronic resources to help you manage your health care records. I recommend you check out the following options for paperless record-keeping:

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Volume 9, Issue 7, Posted 3:08 PM, 07.05.2018

Planning a vacation everyone will enjoy

Summer is a great time for family vacations, reunions and weekend getaways. You may have concerns if your travel group includes a parent, an older companion or someone with physical limitations. But, don’t let that stop you. With a little bit of extra planning, you can pull off a vacation everyone will enjoy.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 11:05 AM, 06.07.2018

Beneficiary Appropriate

Margaret stormed into her husband's insurance office with righteousness indignation. She berated the agent because the life insurance benefit of her recently deceased husband had been awarded to his ex wife, even though he had been divorced for more than a decade. Unfortunately this is not an isolated instance and not one that can be reconciled post mortem.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 11:05 AM, 06.07.2018

Local Woman Wins Caregiver of the Year

Doris Pickens, a local caregiver who works with Euclid in-home care company Right at Home, was recently recognized as the company's Caregiver of the Year by going above and beyond to make sure her clients are safe and happy. In late February, Right at Home owner Shalom Plotkin and Beachwood Mayor Martin Horwitz presented her with the Caregiver of the Year Award.

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 3:19 PM, 04.04.2018

Bob’s Corner

He had just lost the love of his life, and he came to the Center because he didn’t want to be alone. His feelings and emotions were raw. They went from relief that the suffering was over, to anger and a horrible feeling of emptiness. Twenty-six years together is a long time.

During that time, they had shared everything in life. Good times, and bad. Happy and sad. It has been said that everyone needs a witness to their life and his had died, just this morning.

We talked about the belief that birth and death are opposites, but there is no opposite to life. We talked about life going on, but in a different form that we cannot see. We spoke about the gift that life together had been, and how it is better that the suffering is now over.

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 5:18 PM, 09.09.2016

Medicaid & Medicare

Recently, Paul was reassessed for his benefit under Medicaid and lost his medical benefit. This granted him a special enrollment period to adopt new coverage. His new classification of QI still provided help with paying his Part B premium, as well as, help in paying for prescription drugs.

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 11:09 AM, 03.10.2018

Don't Pay Extra for Part B!

Nadine, a nurse at the Cleveland Clinic, was celebrating her sixty-fifth birthday in December of 2016. While she planned on working at least until full retirement at age sixty six, she mistakenly believed she was required to enroll in Medicare. Through social security, she enrolled in her Part B and discontinued her employer medical coverage through the clinic.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 2:00 PM, 02.10.2018

Advance Directives: Your ‘Just in Case’ Documents

No one wants to envision a time when they cannot make their own health care decisions. But, if you suddenly found yourself unable to speak for yourself, who would you want to speak for you? Who would you choose to make sure your decisions concerning your health care are honored?

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 2:00 PM, 02.10.2018

Medicare Disenrollment

Robert had coverage for his Medicare from an advantage plan and through his agent had decided to change to a Medicare supplement. They met near the end of annual enrollment, discussed the plan options, as well as the different companies offerings and completed online applications from both the supplement and an independent prescription drug plan.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 4:06 PM, 01.15.2018

Turning 65 in 2018? Get Ready for Medicare

The day you turned age 65 used to be the day most people retired. They left the work place behind, started collecting Social Security and enrolled in Medicare. It was a fairly clear-cut process. But transitioning to Medicare is different today. If you are turning 65 in 2018, I recommend you take some time before your birthday to learn about the choices you will be facing. Here are steps to help you get started:
Step 1: Know when to enroll
You can sign up for Medicare at any time during your initial enrollment period or IEP. Your IEP begins three months before your 65th birthday month, includes your birthday month and continues for three months after. Delaying your enrollment may result in penalties so it is important to enrolled on time.
Step 2: Learn what’s covered and what’s not
Original Medicare does not cover 100% of your medical costs. Many people are surprised to learn long-term care, most routine dental and vision care and hearing aids are not covered. Even if Medicare covers a service or item, you generally have to pay your deductible, coinsurance, and copayments. Lean how much you will be responsible for so there are no surprises in store for you.
Step 3: Learn about Prescription Drug Coverage
Original Medicare offers prescription drug coverage (Part D) to everyone with Medicare. Part D is added through a standalone prescription drug plan or as part of a Medicare Advantage plan. Each plan can vary in cost and the drugs it covers.
Step 4: Learn about Other Options
Your other options include Medicare-approved Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplements. There are also plans providing coverage for vision, dental hearing and long term care. These vary in coverage and cost but are intended to take care of a portion of your costs or offer additional benefits not covered by Original Medicare
Step 5: Learn more by attending Getting Started with Medicare
Plan now to join me for a presentation of Getting Started with Medicare, a class where we cover all these topics and you have a chance to get answers to your questions now, before you sign up for Medicare. Getting Started with Medicare classes are only for educational purposes and no plan specific benefits or details are shared
Our next class will take place in conjunction with the Mentor Library on Wednesday, January 24, 2018, from 6 to 8 pm. Call 440-255-8811, ext. 216 for more information on where the class will meet. Visit www.Mutskoinsurance.com/seminars for additional upcoming class dates and times. I look forward to you joining me. You can also contact me at 440-255-5700 or email me at Lmutsko@mutskoinsurance.com.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 4:06 PM, 01.15.2018

How to Avoid Rising E.R. Costs

Most of us have had this experience. Your doctor’s office is closed for the weekend and you are hit with a sudden illness or a painful injury. The conventional choice has been to head for the hospital emergency room and plan on a long wait for treatment.
But, today, there is a shift away from using hospital emergency rooms for non-life threatening emergencies. Hospital costs are skyrocketing and insurers are passing a bigger portion of these costs on to the patients. 
There are a growing number of good alternatives to the ER for those times when you need immediate attention. The next time you need non-emergency care, consider one of these. You will likely save both money and time.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 10:03 AM, 12.08.2017

'How-to' Resolve Insurance Questions

Patience and persistence are often required in order to get complex insurance matters resolved. When you have questions or concerns, you can make things a little easier by following these tips.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 1:17 PM, 11.03.2017

It's Time to Review Your Medicare Plan

Open Enrollment for Medicare begins on October 15. You have until December 7 to review your current coverage and compare it to other options to determine if there is a better plan for you.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 3:26 PM, 10.08.2017

Medicare Information

If you are new to Medicare or thinking about changing to a new Medicare plan, you will want to hear Jim Aust, a member of the Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIP) give a Medicare presentation. Jim will be at Euclid Public Library on Monday, October 16th at 7 p.m.  He is a knowledgeable speaker with years of experience who can help explain this complex topic.  In addition Jim will explain how you can get help selecting a new plan. So if you have questions bring them to this meeting.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 3:26 PM, 10.08.2017

Mount St. Joseph Awarded Five Stars

On July 18, 2017 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded Mount St. Joseph Rehab Facility with a Five-Star Quality Rating. This ranking is the federal government’s highest possible quality rating for nursing homes.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 12:15 PM, 08.04.2017

Seniors Targeted

Sid received a phone call from his 16 year old grandson, Isac who reported he was under arrest by the local police in his hometown in the state of Missouri.  Isac was frantic because he couldn’t reach his parents and the police were threatening to lock him in a cell for possession of illegal drugs found in his car.  He requested his grandfather wire the money for his immediate release.  

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 11:11 AM, 07.07.2017