[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
77°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
January 18
1899 - Martin & Richard Wood buy J.H. Tolfree's Saugus Eating House, rename it Saugus Cafe [story]


Commentary by David Sayen
| Friday, Dec 14, 2012

davidsayen_2012The Affordable Care Act strengthened Medicare in important ways. Signed in 2010, the federal health law already has provided free preventive health benefits to millions of people with Medicare, and saved billions of dollars for those who hit the gap in their Part D prescription drug coverage.

In 2013, discounts on prescription drugs for people who reach the Part D “donut hole” will increase, and Medicare will cover screenings and counseling for alcohol misuse, behavioral therapy for cardiovascular disease, counseling for obesity, and more.

If you reach the donut hole in 2013, you’ll pay only 47.5% for covered brand-name drugs and 79% for generic drugs. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, these discounts will gradually increase until the hole is closed in 2020.

In 2013, Medicare will cover one alcohol misuse screening per year for adults with Medicare (including pregnant women) who use alcohol, but don’t meet the medical criteria for alcohol dependency.

If your primary-care doctor or other primary-care practitioner determines you’re misusing alcohol, you can get up to four face-to-face counseling sessions per year (if you’re competent and alert during counseling). A qualified primary-care doctor or other primary-care practitioner must provide the counseling in a primary-care setting such as a doctor’s office.

Medicare also will cover one visit per year with your primary-care doctor to help lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. During this visit, your doctor may discuss whether taking aspirin is appropriate for you, check your blood pressure, and give you tips to make sure you’re eating well.

If you have a body mass index of 30 or more, Medicare will cover intensive counseling to help you lose weight. This counseling may be covered if you get it in a primary-care setting, where it can be coordinated with your personalized prevention plan.

In 2013, Medicare also will cover screenings for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and Hepatitis B. These screenings are covered for people with Medicare who are pregnant and/or at increased risk for sexually transmitted infection. Medicare covers these tests once every 12 months or at certain times during pregnancy.

In addition, Medicare covers up to two high-intensity behavioral counseling sessions each year for sexually-active adults at increased risk for sexually transmitted infections. Medicare covers this counseling only in a primary-care setting. Counseling in an inpatient setting, like a skilled nursing facility, isn’t covered as a preventive service.

You pay nothing for any of the above services if your primary-care doctor or other qualified primary-care practitioner accepts Medicare’s payment amount.

Medicare now covers one depression screening per year, too. The screening must be done in a primary-care setting that can provide follow-up treatment and referrals. You pay nothing for this test if the doctor or other qualified provider accepts Medicare payment, but you generally have to pay 20% of the Medicare‑approved amount for the doctor’s visit.

Besides these services, Medicare covers a long list of preventive benefits – often at no cost to you – to help you stay healthy and detect disease in its most treatable stages.

Medicare-covered preventive services include tests and screenings for breast, prostate, cervical, and colon cancer; screenings for conditions that may trigger heart attack or stroke; checks for diabetes and glaucoma; and counseling to help you stop smoking.

You’re also entitled to a one-time “Welcome to Medicare” checkup during the first 12 months after you take Medicare Part B, and wellness visits with your doctor each year after that. These visits are free.

Shots to protect you against flu and pneumonia also are free.

The Affordable Care Act eliminated deductibles and co-pays for most Medicare preventive services in order to encourage people to use them more.

Please take advantage of them.

 

David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and the Pacific Trust Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Ejody says:

    Kinda forgot to mention the $700 billion that Obamacare is stealing from Medicare, putting it in great jeopardy of even being there when many of us would be eligible…

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Thursday, Jan 11, 2018
There may come a time in your life when you need mental health care. Your Medicare covers a wide variety of such services, in both hospital inpatient and outpatient settings.
Monday, Jan 1, 2018
Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin previews Year 4 of the city's five-year Strategic Plan in his monthly message for January 2018.
Sunday, Dec 10, 2017
Derelict since the 1994 earthquake, the Pioneer Oil Refinery in Newhall was the first productive oil refinery in the American West and is believed to be the oldest existing refinery in the world today. Unfunded restoration plans have come and gone. Now that the surrounding property is under development, will the promises be kept?
Friday, Dec 8, 2017
A National Memorial designation for St. Francis Dam will honor those who lost their lives in the nation’s worst engineering disaster and the role it played in ushering in a new era of oversight for dam construction.
Thursday, Dec 7, 2017
Eliminating net neutrality would allow Internet service providers such as Verizon, Comcast, Spectrum and AT&T to create a “slow lane” and a “fast lane” on the Internet, prioritizing certain companies over others and dictating what websites you’re able to visit and at what speed, or even blocking you entirely from visiting certain websites of your choice.
Monday, Dec 4, 2017
In his monthly message for December 2017, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin encourages residents to shop and party locally during the holidays to keep the cash in our community.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Here are the Santa Clarita arts-related events for Jan. 20 and Jan. 25:
Jan. 20, 25: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
Following in the footsteps of her grandfather, dad, mom and several other family members, Erin Oxhorn-Gilpin always wanted to be a teacher.
CSUN Alumna Nabs Teacher of the Year
Legendary Band, "The Chieftains," will celebrate their 55th Anniversary with a performance at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (SCPAC), Saturday, Feb. 24, at 8:00 p.m.
Feb. 24: The Chieftains 55th Anniversary Tour
SEATTLE - Amazon reviewed 238 proposals from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to host HQ2, the company’s second headquarters in North America.
Los Angeles on Short List of Amazon’s HQ2
The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Board of Directors will hold its Regular Meeting Friday at 11:30 a.m.
Jan. 19: SCV Sanitation District Regular Meeting
Kevin Young has been selected as the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) 2018 Katie Jacobson Writer-in-Residence. Young will conduct workshops with CalArts students in the MFA Creative Writing Program and present public readings, which will be held at CalArts on Feb. 15 at 7:00 p.m. and at REDCAT in Downtown Los Angeles on Feb. 16 at 8:30 p.m.
The New Yorker’s Poetry Editor Selected as CalArts 2018 Writer-in-Residence
LOS ANGELES – The County Interim Health Officer is issuing a Cold Weather Alert due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for low temperatures. Wind chill temperatures are expected to be below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Affected areas include:
Cold Weather Alert Issued for SCV
1899 - Martin & Richard Wood buy J.H. Tolfree's Saugus Eating House, rename it Saugus Cafe [story]
The dismantling of a multi-state drug trafficking organization that used the U.S. Postal Service to mail packages of crystal methamphetamine and marijuana from California to traffickers in Pennsylvania since at least April 2016 - and the arrests of five leaders who spearheaded the corrupt organization, including two from the Santa Clarita Valley - were announced Wednesday by Montgomery County (Penn.) District Attorney Kevin R. Steele.
2 from SCV Netted in Major East Coast Drug Bust
With The Master's University's 2018 baseball season about to begin, TMU Sports Information Director Mason Nesbitt offers a preview.
TMU Previews Mustangs’ 2018 Baseball Season
Several CalArtians are among the Chicago-based United States Artists' annual fellowship class of 45 artists and collaboratives who will each receive an unrestricted $50,000 grant for their respective art practices.
CalArtians Among United States Artists’ New Fellowship Class
The TMU Mustangs' men's basketball team, on a 17-game winning streak, has moved up to No. 4 in the NAIA Division 1 Men's Basketball Coaches' Poll.
TMU Men’s Hoops Team Up to No. 4 in NAIA Coaches’ Poll
Tuesday night's 93-37 rout of St. Katherine University was more than just a non-conference tune-up for the TMU women's basketball team.
Master’s Women’s Hoops Team Shoots Down Firebirds
iLEAD Schools will honor College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook with its 'Vision in Education' award at the Santa Clarita Valley International School’s annual benefit dinner on March 10.
iLEAD to Honor COC’s Van Hook with 2018 ‘Vision in Education’ Award
Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters quickly extinguished a 1/4-acre brush fire in Newhall early Wednesday afternoon.
Small Brush Fire in Newhall Quickly Doused
Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang and the county Board of Supervisors have proclaimed January "Homeowners' Exemption Awareness Month" promote the county's property tax savings program.
County Officials:  January is ‘Homeowners’ Tax Exemption Awareness Month’
In an effort to provide support to local communities affected by the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean, and after the sell-out of the inaugural group on the January 20 Crown Princess sailing, Princess Cruises and Fathom Travel are adding two additional spring sailings in 2018.
Princess Adds More Caribbean Cruises for Spring 2018
California State University, Northridge journalism professor David Blumenkrantz documents the stories of the homeless of Los Angeles in an art exhibition titled “Street Scenes: Making the Homeless Count,” on display at the San Fernando Valley Arts and Cultural Center in Tarzana through Jan. 27.
CSUN Prof Uses Grant to Illuminate Homelessness in LA
Host College of the Canyons rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat the visiting Seahawks of Los Angeles Harbor College 96-82 on Saturday evening.
Cougars Win Third Straight with 96-82 Victory Over L.A. Harbor
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is stepping up bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operations in the Santa Clarita Valley today, officials announced this morning.
Deputies Step Up Pedestrian, Bike Safety Enforcement Today
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies checking on businesses after hours arrested two people on drug charges in separate incidents in Canyon Country on Monday and Newhall on Tuesday.
Deputies Check Businesses After Hours, Arrest 2 on Drug Charges
A Canyon Country man was killed and three people injured in a high-speed traffic collision on Golden Valley Road at Dorothy Street in the unincorporated area of the Santa Clarita Valley late Tuesday night, according to the CHP.
High-Speed Crash in SCV Leaves 1 Dead, 3 Injured
The U.S. Justice Department is appealing a court order that blocked the Trump administration from shutting down a program that shields more than 700,000 young immigrants from deportation.
Justice Dept. to Appeal Ruling That Blocked DACA Shutdown
A Los Angeles County sheriff’s officer was arrested Tuesday and charged with taking bribes 'to oversee the delivery of narcotics,' federal prosecutors said.
Dirty LA Sheriff’s Officer Busted for Drugs, FBI Says
The cost of the first phase of California’s high-speed rail project through the state’s Central Valley has soared by 35 percent to $10.6 billion, officials disclosed Tuesday.
California Bullet Train Cost Climbs by $2.8 Billion
Dozens of attorneys general including California's filed a petition Tuesday challenging the Federal Communication Commission’s recent decision to roll back net neutrality rules.
State AG’s Sue FCC to Block Net Neutrality Rollback
1994, 4:31 a.m. - Magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake rocks Santa Clarita Valley [video]
More than 4,000 newborns in Los Angeles, including some in the SCV, will be sporting little red caps, instead of the traditional pink or blue, as part of the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts program aimed at bringing attention to heart disease.
Newborns to Sport Little Red Caps as Part of AHA Campaign
College of the Canyons Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will be hosting a two-part Business Events and Training Webinar Jan. 24 (Part 1) and Jan. 31 (Part 2) from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Jan. 24, 31: Start, Grow Your E-Commerce Empire Webinar
The Santa Clarita Valley Veteran Center has found a permanent home in Newhall.
SCV Veteran Center Finds Permanent Home
The California Enterprise Development Authority will be holding a Teleconference Meeting Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
Jan. 18: CEDA Teleconference Meeting
The Oversight Board to the Former Redevelopment Agency of the city of Santa Clarita will hold its Regular Meeting Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 18: Oversight Board to the Former Redevelopment Agency Regular Meeting
NORTHRIDGE, Calif - The 2018 CSUN Water Polo season presents the opportunity for the Matadors to take the next step.
Matadors Start 2018 Water Polo Season Ranked No. 21
Santa Clarita Valley International (SCVi), a free public charter school serving grades TK through 12, will host an informational session Thursday for current and prospective high school students in the school’s Shakespeare Theatre at 28060 Hasley Canyon Road in Castaic, the school announced Tuesday.
Jan. 18: SCVi Open House, High School Information Session
Commercials, television shows, and a short film are all being filmed in Santa Clarita this week.
Currently Filming in SCV: Shadow Wolves, Seal Team, Toyota Commercial
SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined a bipartisan group of 18 state attorneys general Tuesday in urging Congress to advance legislation that will enable the cannabis industry to participate in the banking system in states that have legalized medicinal or adult use of cannabis.
Becerra, State AGs Press Congress to Let Cannabis Biz Use Banks