Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Break Free From Osteoporosis!

*Repost* National Osteoporosis Foundation

May is National Osteoporosis Month!

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones. It happens when you lose too much bone and/or make too little bone. This means your bones become weak and may break from a minor fall or, in serious cases, even from simple actions, like sneezing or bumping into furniture.

Osteoporosis means "porous bone." Under a microscope healthy bones look like a honeycomb but in bones with osteoporosis the honeycomb holes and spaces are much bigger. This means your bones have lost density or mass and that the structure of your bone tissue has become abnormal making the bone weaker and more likely to break.

FACT: One in two women and up to one in four men will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis. For women, the incidence is greater than that of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined.*

May is National Osteoporosis Month! We hope you will help us celebrate by taking the #JumpingJackChallenge. We issued this challenge to raise awareness about building bone strength and density when you’re younger to achieve peak bone mass and to maintain bone health and strength as you age.
Accepting the Jumping Jack Challenge is easy – videotape yourself, your kids, family or friends doing 10 jumping jacks in less than 10 seconds. Share the video via your social media page with the hashtag #JumpingJackChallenge and challenge your friends to do it too – or they should make a donation to NOF at You can learn more and see an example on this page of our website: Please remember that if you have osteoporosis you shouldn’t do jumping jacks, but you can do “stepping jacks” (step side-to-side raising your arms above your heard as you would for jumping jacks). This is a safe way for everyone to take part in the Jumping Jack Challenge!
You might wonder why we chose jumping jacks for this challenge. As noted above, we hope to raise awareness about building peak bone mass in children and adolescents. Peak bone mass is the greatest amount of bone an individual can attain. We reach our peak bone mass between 25-30 years of age. Focusing on bone health in children and adolescents is not just about growing strong bones, it also may help strengthen the concept of disease prevention over treatment. Most children do not consume the necessary amounts of nutrients needed to sustain strong bones during the key bone-building years of 9-18. In fact, a quarter of childhood injuries include fractures that could have been prevented through better nutrition.
Prevention of osteoporosis later in life begins in childhood with a strong health curriculum that teaches children healthy lifestyle choices including about proper diet and exercise.
I recently surveyed the community including educators and health leaders to determine if they think a curriculum including bone health is important to implement in schools and more than 75% said yes! Check out the following infographic to learn how you can incorporate bone healthy behaviors with your children or grandchildren before, during or after school.
We hope to see your posts on social media for the #JumpingJackChallenge!
Andrea Portillo, MPH, CHES®
Marketing, Consumer & Professional Education Manager
National Osteoporosis Foundation

Friday, May 5, 2017

What Is Medicare Supplement Insurance?

                      *repost:               What's Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?

A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy, sold by private companies, can help pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
Some Medigap policies also offer coverage for services that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like medical care when you travel outside the U.S. If you have Original Medicare and you buy a Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs. Then your Medigap policy pays its share.
A Medigap policy is different from a Medicare Advantage Plan. Those plans are ways to get Medicare benefits, while a Medigap policy only supplements your Original Medicare benefits.

8 things to know about Medigap policies 

  1. You must have Medicare Part A and Part B.
  2. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can apply for a Medigap policy, but make sure you can leave the Medicare Advantage Plan before your Medigap policy begins.
  3. You pay the private insurance company a monthly premium for your Medigap policy in addition to the monthly Part B premium that you pay to Medicare.
  4. A Medigap policy only covers one person. If you and your spouse both want Medigap coverage, you'll each have to buy separate policies.
  5. You can buy a Medigap policy from any insurance company that's licensed in your state to sell one.
  6. Any standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable even if you have health problems. This means the insurance company can't cancel your Medigap policy as long as you pay the premium.
  7. Some Medigap policies sold in the past cover prescription drugs, but Medigap policies sold after January 1, 2006 aren't allowed to include prescription drug coverage. If you want prescription drug coverage, you can join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).
  8. It's illegal for anyone to sell you a Medigap policy if you have a Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) Plan.

Medigap policies don't cover everything

Medigap policies generally don't cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing.

Insurance plans that aren't Medigap

Some types of insurance aren't Medigap plans, they include:
  • Medicare Advantage Plans (like an HMO, PPO, or Private Fee-for-Service Plan)
  • Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
  • Medicaid
  • Employer or union plans, including the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP)
  • Veterans' benefits
  • Long-term care insurance policies
  • Indian Health Service, Tribal, and Urban Indian Health plans

Dropping your entire Medigap policy (not just the drug coverage) 

If you decide to drop your entire Medigap policy, you need to be careful about the timing. For example, you may want a completely different Medigap policy—not just your old Medigap policy without the prescription drug coverage. Or you might decide to switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers prescription drug coverage.
You have to pay a late enrollment penalty when you join a new Medicare drug plan if:
  • You drop your entire Medigap policy and the drug coverage wasn't creditable prescription drug coverage, or
  • You go 63 days or more in a row before your new Medicare drug coverage begins