Medicare General Information

This blog section contains general information about Medicare. For example, we answer general Medicare question and update you on Medicare changes. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, you can get Coronavirus tips to stay safe and apply for Medicare Part B from the safety of your home.

New Scholarship for Non-Traditional Students

Senior Healthcare Direct helps people with Medicare and offers a new scholarship for non-traditional students at any US university or community college. This scholarship is for older adult students age 50 or older. It pays $1100 to help balance educational costs with your work and family commitments.

Scholarship for older adults who work

The Senior Healthcare Direct scholarship provides financial assistance for older adults who are currently employed. To qualify and be awarded an $1100 scholarship, you must be able to provide a valid employment reference with your current employer. Furthermore, your annual income must be less than $50,000.

Improve Your Professional Opportunities

Pursuing higher education at a university or community college can improve your professional opportunities. You may have put off college because of financial difficulties or the expense of a growing family. A Senior Healthcare Direct scholarship can help advance your career, so we invite you to apply for our $1100 corporate scholarship.

Scholarship for New or Returning Students

You may have postponed college and went directly into the workforce. After working for the last 30+ years, you may be ready for a career change. Senior Healthcare Direct can help offset your expenses while you pursue higher education. To qualify for the $1100 scholarship, you must provide acceptable proof of enrollment at an accredited university or community college.

Purpose of Senior Healthcare Direct Scholarship

The purpose of the Senior Healthcare Direct Scholarship is to award a working adult student a one-time payment of $1100 for tuition at an accredited university or community college. Moreover, this award may pay for other academic expenses, including room and board, books, supplies, and fees. This scholarship supports older working Americans. To qualify, you must be a United States citizen or legal permanent US resident.

Academic Scholarship Requirements

New students without academic records must provide your official acceptance letter from an accredited university or community college. Returning students with an academic record must provide your current official transcript and show a GPA of 3.0 or higher. You may be currently enrolled in a two-year associate degree, four-year undergraduate degree, or graduate program at an accredited public or private school in the US.

Scholarship Deadline and Restrictions

The Fall Scholarship deadline is August 15, 2020. You must apply on or before this deadline to qualify for Senior Healthcare Direct scholarship. $1100 scholarship award is paid directly to the educational institution to pay for your academic expenses. You may receive other monetary grants or scholarships. However, the award recipient must not be related to any owner or employee of Senior Healthcare Direct. Within 30 days of the deadline, we will notify the winner.

Summary of Scholarship Qualifications

You must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be age 50 or older and a United States citizen or permanent legal resident with valid photo identification (Driver’s License or green card). 
  • Current enrollment or acceptance at an accredited US university or college.
  • New Students must provide an official acceptance letter.
  • Returning students must mail their official college transcript to the mailing address below and show a 3.0 or higher GPA.
  • You must have an annual income under $50,000 and provide a recent pay stub. 

Please mail your official college transcript to the following address:

Attn: Scholarship Review Board

Senior Healthcare Direct, 34302 US Highway 19 North, Palm Harbor, FL 34684

Email: Brian.Kondas (at) SrHealthcaredirect.com

Scholarship Selection Process

Applicants must meet all scholarship requirements listed above. Furthermore, applicants must provide all required documentation. Returning students who apply will be valued more than new students. Moreover, students with a higher GPA will be weighted more than those with a lower GPA. Finally, we judge applicants with more financial need higher. Thus, applicants score higher with lower annual incomes.

Dental, Vision, Hearing Plan

What is Dual Eligible Medicare?

Dual Eligible Medicare

A dual eligible Medicare Beneficiary is enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid. In other words, you are enrolled in either Part A or Part B and getting full Medicaid benefits. According to Wikipedia, approximately 9.2 million people are eligible for “dual” status. Moreover, “Dual-eligibles” make up 14% of Medicaid enrollment and responsible for approximately 36% of Medicaid expenditures.

According to CMS, “Medicare pays covered dually eligible beneficiaries medical services first, because Medicaid is generally the payer of last resort.” As a result, Medicaid may cover medical costs not covered by Medicare. For example, Medicare only covers 100 days in Nursing facility, Medicaid can cover the costs beyond 100 days. There are seven categories for dually eligible beneficiaries and category with the most benefits is QMB Plus.

QMB Plus

Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program pays for Medicare Part A, Part B, both premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. QMB Plus includes full Medicaid coverage. The QMB benefits and qualifications vary by State. However, Federal law defines Medicaid income standards.

Medicaid Income Eligibility Requirements

Your Medicaid income eligibility depends on where you live. Find out if you are eligible fore Medicaid by viewing the 2020 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia.

New Fitness Program

New Fitness Program

Starting July 1, 2020 Senior Healthcare Direct clients are eligible to join the Active&Fit Direct self-pay fitness program for only $25 per month with access to over 11,000 fitness centers nationwide. In the video, Robert Bache explains who qualifies for the program and how this gym membership can save you money.

Active&Fit Direct Member Benefits

New Fitness Program

You have access to any fitness center in our network which includes:

  • LA Fitness
  • Curves
  • Anytime Fitness
  • Snap Fitness
  • And many more!

Fitness Tracking Technology

Active&Fit allows you to connect and track your activity data with over 250 wearable fitness devices, including brands such as Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin, and Polar. Moreover, Active&Fit collects activity data from exercise equipment and mobile applications.

Active&Fit Member Access

Active&Fit Direct members get access to online directory, maps, and fitness center locator so you can find the nearest location. To stay safe during the Coronavirus pandemic, you can work out from the safety of your home. For example, you get online access to 1500+ digital workout videos from which you can watch and exercise at home.

New Fitness Program

Join Active&Fit Direct

To get started, click the Register button.

Register button

Does Medicare Cover Chiropractors?

Medicare mental health psychologist and senior

Does Medicare cover mental health?

Medicare mental health psychologist and senior

In this article, you will learn Medicare Parts A and B cover mental health services. In particular, you will learn Medicare covers psychotherapy to treat mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, alcohol, and substance abuse. Furthermore, you will learn how Medicare Part B covers alcohol misuse and substance abuse that includes opioid use disorder. Moreover, you will better understand depression with the story of the two senior sisters and their COVID-19 experiences. Ultimately, you will discover that psychotherapy can improve the quality of your life.

Medicare Part A – Inpatient Mental Health Services

Medicare mental health psychiatric hospital
Part A covers mental health at psychiatric hospitals

Medicare Part A covers inpatient mental health services in a general hospital or psychiatric hospital. For example, a psychiatrist may prescribe you medications and admit you to a psychiatric hospital that only cares for people with mental health conditions. If a psychiatrist admits you to a psychiatric hospital, Medicare Part A only pays for up to 190 days of inpatient services during your lifetime. So how much does Medicare pay?

How much will Medicare pay for inpatient mental health services?

Before Medicare pays for your inpatient mental health services, you must first pay Part A deductible for each 60 day benefit period. If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, you do not have to pay this hospital deductible. Medicare will cover the first 60 days in a hospital at no cost. However, between 61 and 90 days in a hospital, you pay $352 coinsurance per day unless you have a supplement plan.

Furthermore, between 91 days up to 60 days over your lifetime limit, you pay $704 coinsurance per day unless you have a supplement plan. The lifetime limit is 190 days. Beyond this lifetime limit, you pay all costs.

Moreover, Original Medicare only pays 80% of medicare-approved amount for mental health services. Therefore, you are responsible for paying 20% coinsurance while a hospital inpatient unless you have a Medicare supplement plan. So what does Medicare outpatient mental health cover?

Medicare Part B – Outpatient Mental Health Services

Medicare mental health services
Senior meets with primary care doctor and talks about his mental health

Medicare Part B covers outpatient mental health services with a primary care doctor or other qualified health professionals. For example, Medicare covers cognitive assessment and care planning with your primary doctor. This evaluation includes your one-time “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit, which screens for depression and other signs of cognitive impairment. Moreover, Medicare covers an annual wellness visit where you can speak to your primary care doctor about your mental health. As a result of the screening, your primary doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist for further evaluation or to a psychologist for counseling.

After your psychological evaluation, a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist could recommend partial hospitalization as an alternative to inpatient psychiatric care. Under partial hospitalization, you receive more intensive treatment than you get in a clinician’s office. Treatment requires you to stay in a hospital outpatient department during the day and go home overnight. So what does outpatient mental health coverage cost?

How much will Medicare pay for outpatient mental health services?

Your one-time “Welcome to Medicare” and annual wellness visits cost zero deductible and zero coinsurance. These visits are completely free and include a yearly depression screening. To diagnose or treat your mental health condition, you pay 20% coinsurance to your doctor or other qualified health professional. Moreover, you are also required to pay the annual Part B deductible of $198 in 2020. Furthermore, you may have a copay for mental health services in a hospital outpatient clinic or department. 

However, most Medicare Supplement plans pay your 20% Part B coinsurance, so you have less out-of-pocket expenses for outpatient mental health services. The Medigap Plan G offers great value and is available for seniors new to Medicare. To shop and compare Plan G prices, call Senior Healthcare Direct at 1-855-368-4717 or get a quote. Now that you know what outpatient mental health services cost, what else do they cover?

What mental health services does Medicare cover?

Medicare covers psychotherapy sessions with a clinical psychologist
Medicare covers psychotherapy sessions with a clinical psychologist

The primary mental health service Medicare covers are psychotherapy sessions with a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, or clinical social worker. During a psychotherapy session, you talk about your moods, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. The Mayo Clinic says, “Psychotherapy helps you learn how to take control of your life and respond to challenging situations with healthy coping skills.” Anyone going through difficult times can benefit from psychotherapy by treating mental health disorders like anxiety.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders originate from your thoughts and feelings. You feel anxiety when you think about or remember events that make you nervous. Anxiety becomes a disorder when it negatively affects the physical and emotional quality of your life. 

For example, Memorial Day can be traumatic for veterans who saw combat and death. It is especially traumatic when veterans experience the loss of their military friends. This trauma can cause upsetting memories, feeling on edge, and trouble sleeping. If you experience these symptoms longer than a few weeks or months, you may have Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Moreover, treating PTSD can help with other mental health disorders. 

Major Depressive Disorder

When a person’s outlook on life changes from mostly positive to negative, depression may be the problem. For instance, people who view a situation as permanent are more likely to be depressed. As an illustration, let’s compare the COVID-19 experiences of two senior sisters Sue and Tammy.

Mental Health of Sue and Tammy

Senior sisters Sue and Tammy

Before the Coronavirus, Sue goes shopping and buys new clothes. Then the governor issues a COVID-19 stay-at-home order. As the weeks go by, Sue stays home and stares at all the new clothes in her closet. Most of them still have tags because she never wore them. After a few weeks alone at home, Sue feels her life is not worth living.

On the other hand, Tammy loves to take photos outdoors. When the governor gives the stay-at-home order, Tammy takes her photography indoors. She stays home and shoots pictures of the meals she prepares. Then she shares these photos on social media. Tammy spends weeks sharing photos and looking at photography, especially on Instagram.

When the governor reopens, Sue feels no reason to leave her home, so she continues to stay home. Whereas, Tammy takes a trip to a county park and uses her telephoto lens to photograph birds. At the park, Tammy calls her sister Sue and finds out she is not leaving her home and asks her to call the doctor.

Tammy is suffering from depression. Her thoughts and behavior make Tammy feel hopeless about her life, and she believes she can do nothing to change it. A highly pessimistic outlook on life has led her to self-isolation. Hopefully, Tammy speaks with a clinical psychologist and gets the psychotherapy she needs.

Types of Psychotherapy covered by Medicare

Group psychotherapy
Group psychotherapy

Medicare covers the following types of psychotherapy:

  • Individual – only one patient in the therapy session
  • Family – with the patient present or without the patient present
  • Group – more than one individual (such a couple) in a therapy session

During your psychotherapy session, you can expect the following. First, a clinical interview where you can sit down in the clinician’s office and talk for one or two hours about your life and personal history. The clinician will often ask you specific questions about various stages in your life. In subsequent visits, the clinical therapist may request you take specific psychological tests.

For example, the most commonly used personality test is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2). It’s a long 567 true/false test that measures dysfunction of personality. You usually take the test on a computer in the clinician’s office. The test helps the clinician better understand your personality and diagnose mental illness.

When a clinician discovers you misuse alcohol, he/she may refer you to your primary care doctor for alcohol misuse counseling. However, if the clinician finds you are physically or psychologically dependent upon alcohol, you could be diagnosed with alcohol dependence. As a result, treatment can include relapse prevention, support groups, psychotherapy, and setting short-term goals. Furthermore, the 4-point Smart Recovery Program can also help you recover from alcohol dependence as well as opioids and other addictive substances.

Medicare covers Alcohol Misuse and Substance Abuse

Alcohol Misuse Counseling

Medicare Part B covers alcohol misuse once per year. Any adult, including pregnant women who misuse alcohol, can get up to four brief face-to-face counseling sessions with your primary care doctor. Moreover, Medicare pays all costs, so you pay nothing. So exactly how many alcoholic drinks are too many?

Alcohol Consumption and Misuse

A senior misuses alcohol
A senior misuses alcohol

A standard alcoholic drink is 12 ounces of beer, 8-9 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces (one-shot) of distilled spirits. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines the following terms:

  • Moderate alcohol consumption is up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
  • Low-Risk drinking for women is no more than three drinks per day and no more than seven drinks per week.
  • Low-Risk drinking for men is no more than four drinks per day and no more than fourteen drinks per week.

When you drink more than these amounts, you are misusing alcohol and can cause harm to yourself or those around you. Furthermore, anyone under the age of 21 or pregnant women who use alcohol constitutes misuse. If you misuse alcohol, please call your doctor. In some cases, people who misuse alcohol also abuse other substances like opioids.

Medicare covers Opioid Use Disorder

Senior opioid misuse disorder
Senior opioid misuse disorder

January 1, 2020, CMS will pay certified Opioid Treatment Programs for opioid use disorder treatment services under Medicare Part B. You pay nothing for these treatment services. However, you must pay the $198 Part B deductible in 2020. Opioid treatment programs include counseling and therapy services in person and through Medicare Telehealth (real-time video or over the phone). You can find an Opioid Treatment Program Service provider in your area.

Opioid Risks and Safer Options

Opioid prescription pain medications are highly addictive substances and cause 70% of all drug overdose deaths in America. You can reduce your risk of opioid addiction and death by taking nonopioid medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). Moreover, ask your clinical psychologist about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help modify your physical, behavioral, and emotional triggers of pain and stress. Furthermore, Medicare covers acupuncture for chronic lower back pain.

Medicare Mental Health Takeaways

Medicare covers inpatient (Part A) and outpatient (Part B) mental health services. In conclusion, this article’s most important takeaways include:

  • Medicare Part A pays up to 190 days in a psychiatric hospital.
  • Annual mental health screenings are free with Medicare Part B.
  • Most Medicare Supplement plans pay your 20% Part B coinsurance.
  • Psychotherapy treats mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, alcohol, and substance abuse.
  • Medicare Part B covers alcohol misuse and substance abuse, including opioid use disorder treatment.

Psychotherapy can improve the quality of your life. If you are facing challenging times, remember you are not alone. Medicare provides mental health service, so call a clinical psychologist and schedule your appointment.

We help seniors shop and save on Medicare coverage nationwide. You can shop for Medicare Advantage, Supplements, and Part D plans. Call Senior Healthcare Direct at 1-855-368-4717 and speak with a licensed agent or get a quote.

Medicare Acupuncture experience

Does Medicare Cover Acupuncture in 2020?

Medicare does cover acupuncture in 2020. In this article, you will find out how many acupuncture visits are covered and which medical condition is treatable by acupuncture. Moreover, you will learn what acupuncture is, who can administer it, and the story of Mary’s acupuncture experience. Ultimately, you will discover that acupuncture is a safer pain management alternative to opioids, especially for seniors.

Medicare Covers Acupuncture

On January 21, 2020, CMS announces Medicare Part B covers up to 12 acupuncture visits in 90 days for chronic lower back pain. Before this date, Medicare did not cover acupuncture. Medicare.gov defines chronic back pain as follows:

  • Lasting 12 weeks or longer
  • Having no identifiable systemic cause (not associated with metastatic, inflammatory, or infectious disease)
  • Pain that is not associated with surgery or pregnancy

Moreover, an additional eight sessions for a total of 20 treatments will be covered if you show improvement. However, if your doctor decides your chronic lower back pain is not improving or gets worse, then Medicare will not cover your acupuncture treatments. Furthermore, Medicare does not cover acupuncture for any condition other than chronic lower back pain. Now you know Medicare covers acupuncture, so what exactly is it?

What is Acupuncture?

medicare accupuncture

Acupuncture is the practice of penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles at specific Acupuncture is the practice of penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles at specific points on your body. In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. As shown in the photo, acupuncture needles are very thin like a strand of hair, and the needle length is 1.5 inches. Acupuncture uses these needles to stimulate points on your nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. So who can administer acupuncture treatments, and is it safe?

Acupuncture Practitioners

Medicare Part B requires the acupuncture practitioner to be a licensed health care provider. For example, a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant can administer acupuncture. Moreover, practitioners must have a master’s or doctoral-level degree in acupuncture or Oriental Medicine. These licensed practitioners use sterile single-use, disposable needles. So the risk of infection is minimal, but does it hurt?

Mary’s Acupuncture Experience

medicare accupuncture experience

Mary is a senior diagnosed with osteoporosis. Like many senior women, Mary’s bones have become weak and brittle over the years. As a result, she suffers from chronic lower back pain. Mary wants to go walking with her grandkids, but it’s too painful on her back. She calls her doctor and makes an appointment.

At doctor Anderson’s office, he asks Mary what’s wrong? Mary says, “I have been having lower back pain for the last three months.” The doctor exams Mary and says, “I can prescribe oxycodone for the pain.” Mary looks intensely at the doctor and shouts, “No! My sister died from an opioid overdose.” Dr. Anderson recalls drug overdose deaths from the CDC:

2018 Drug Overdose Deaths

OxyContin Oxycodone pills
OxyContin also called Oxycodone is an addictive opioid.

“I’m sorry about your sister,” says Dr. Anderson. After a moment of silence, Dr. Anderson says, “Acupuncture is a safer alternative to opioids.” Mary listens to the doctor and learns how Medicare Part B covers acupuncture treatments for lower back pain. Then Mary makes an appointment with a licensed acupuncture practitioner. 

Mary lies down on her stomach, concerned the needles will hurt when they penetrate her skin. Doctor Lee, the acupuncture practitioner, inserts the needles. Mary is relieved she does not feel them. Then Dr. Lee applies mild electrical pulses to the needles, and Mary feels a tingling sensation down her back. After about 15 minutes, the acupuncture session is over. 

Mary’s Acupuncture Results

After a few weeks of acupuncture, Mary’s lower back pain improves. Mary starts going on walks with her grandkids. Best of all, Mary got pain relief without the overdose danger of opioids. After 90 days, Mary has a follow-up appointment with Doctor Anderson. He is happy to hear Mary’s lower back pain has improved and adds eight more acupuncture sessions.

Medicare Acupuncture Conclusion

You learned you could get up to 20 Medicare acupuncture treatments per year for chronic lower back pain. Moreover, you learned acupuncture is the practice of penetrating the skin with metal needles administered by licensed acupuncture practitioners. Furthermore, you learned that Mary got relief from lower back pain through acupuncture, which is a safer alternative than opioids. To get acupuncture, you need Medicare Part B.

Medicare Part B Application

Seniors new to Medicare can apply for Medicare Part B. Learn how you can apply for the safety of your home. You can download the Part B application, fill it out, mail or fax it to your local Social Security office. Robert Bache shows you how to apply for Medicare Part B online in a video. So you can complete the entire Part B application online.

Medicare Part B covers Chiropractic Service

Medicare Part B covers chiropractic services to correct spinal misalignment and alleviate your lower back pain. Learn about the chiropractic costs covered by Medicare and what Medicare Supplement Plan G pays. You can even watch an educational video by Robert Bache.

Coronavirus Cases and Deaths May 2020

Coronavirus Cases and Deaths

Based on global data on Coronavirus testing, America has led the world since March 26, 2020 with the most Coronavirus cases and deaths. When you compare the United States with other countries, America has more COVID-19 cases than the other top seven countries combined. So America, more than any other country in the world, needs to protect its people.

Coronavirus cases and deaths by country

In this article, you will better understand how the Coronavirus War is killing more Americans per day than the Civil War, how many more Americans are forecast to die in the coming weeks, and which states will have the highest increases in COVID-19 deaths. Moreover, you will discover which U.S. states have reported the most Coronavirus cases and deaths. Finally, the article tells you which Americans are at higher risk of COVID-19 and what you can do to protect your health.

American Deaths from Coronavirus COVID-19

President Trump

With 1.34 million Coronavirus cases, NBC News reports on May 11, 2020, that U.S. Coronavirus death toll passed 80,000. President Trump has called himself a “wartime president,” and upon reopening America we need to be “warriors.” So how does the Coronavirus War compare to the deadliest conflict in American history?

The American Civil War (1861–65) killed more Americans (750,000) than any other war in American history. In our civil war, 520 Americas died every day. On the other hand, our Coronavirus War has killed between 1,000 – 3,000 Americans every day, as shown in the graph below.

Graphic of coronavirus deaths per day
NBC News graphic shows Coronavirus deaths per day in the U.S.

So more Americans are dying per day than in our deadliest Civil War. Moreover, at a rate of 40,000 deaths per month, we could see half a million (500,000) dead Americans in the first year. With so many Americans dying from COVID-19, how many national deaths does the CDC forecast?

CDC National Forecast deaths
CDC National Forecast U.S. death toll over 100,000 by end of May, 2020.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts in additional 20,000 COVID-19 deaths in the next two weeks. By the end of May 2020, the American death toll is forecast to be over 100,000. In the coming weeks, the following U.S. States may see substantial death increases:

States with increasing COVID-19 deaths

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Minnsota
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio

  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia

The eighteen states above all have an upward curve, which closely matches or exceeds the slope of the national forecast. The CDC predicts these states to have the highest increases in COVID-19 deaths in the coming weeks. Likewise, these states will also have the highest number of new Coronavirus cases. So which U.S. states have had the most COVID-19 cases?

Coronavirus Cases and Deaths by State

New York is the epicenter of the U.S. Coronavirus Pandemic. It has suffered the highest number of COVID-19 cases 337,000 and deaths 21,640 reported by Wikipedia. Sixteen states have had over 20,000 cases, as shown in the CDC map of the United States.

CDC US Map of COVID-19 cases
CDC US Map of COVID-19 cases

All U.S. States have reported Coronavirus cases. The top sixteen states with the most COVID-19 cases and deaths ranked in order from highest to lowest cases include the following:

  1. New York (338K cases, 21,845 deaths)
  2. New Jersey (141K cases, 9,508 deaths)
  3. Illinois (83K cases, 3,601 deaths)
  4. Massachusetts (79K cases, 5,141 deaths)
  5. California (67K cases, 2,770 deaths)
  6. Pennsylvania (57K cases, 3,806 deaths)

7. Michigan (48K cases, 4,674 deaths)
8. Florida (41K cases, 1,779 deaths)
9. Texas (39K cases, 1,100 deaths)
10. Georgia (34K cases, 1,460 deaths)
11. Connecticut (33K cases, 3,008 deaths)
12. Maryland (33K cases, 1,683 deaths)

13. Louisiana (31K cases, 2,242 deaths)
14. Virginia (25K cases, 891 deaths)
15. Ohio (25K cases, 1,436 deaths)
16. Indiana (24K cases, 1,411 deaths)

These sixteen U.S. states include the top ten most populated states except for North Carolina. However, the CDC forecasts North Carolina will have a substantial increase in COVID-19 deaths and, as a result, cases in the coming weeks. So now that you know which states are most affected by COVID-19, which populations in these states have a higher risk of severe illness and death?

Americans at higher risk of COVID-19

The CDC reports that seniors age 65 or older and any person with serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Census.gov projects 3.5 working adults for every retirement-age person in 2020. Thus, the senior population is 28% of the current 2020 population (329 million) equals 92 million seniors. In other words, 3 out of 10 Americans are seniors at higher risk of Coronavirus illness and death. So how many people have serious underlying medical conditions?

60% of Americans at higher risk for COVID-19

The CDC reports 6 in 10 Americans have a chronic disease. These medical conditions include heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. Americans with these serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness and death from the Coronavirus. So how do you determine if you have a chronic disease?

You have a chronic illness when health conditions last one year or longer. Thus, 60% or 197 million Americans have a long-term health condition and are at higher risk for COVID-19. As a result, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death in America. In the short term, COVID-19 will join this list of leading causes of death. However, your behavior has a huge impact on stopping chronic disease. You can remove the following risk behaviors to prevent chronic disease.

Health Risk Behaviors

  • Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Poor nutrition, diets low in fruits and vegetables
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Excessive alcohol use
US Chronic Disease pie chart

How to Protect Your Health

You can reduce your risk of severe illness from COVID-19 by quit smoking, eating more healthy foods, getting more physical exercise, and drinking less alcohol. When you do get sick or injured, you can minimize your risk of Coronavirus exposure by communicating with your doctor remotely from the safety of your home. For example, seniors who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 can use Medicare Telehealth

Moreover, when you go outside, avoid touching public surfaces. The Coronavirus can live on surfaces and touching these surfaces, and then your face can infect you with COVID-19. Another Coronavirus tip is to cough into your elbow (instead of your hands) to slow the spread of COVID-19. Get more Coronavirus tips to stay safe

Furthermore, make sure you have health insurance. Seniors new to Medicare can safely apply for Medicare Part B from the safety of your home. Likewise, you can improve your health coverage with a Medicare Advantage, Supplement, or Part D plan by calling 1-855-368-4717 from the safety of your home. You can also get your quote by clicking the button below.

Get Medicare Quote
Senior Doctor on the computer laptop screen and Senior patient conferencing on treatment for a cold

Coronavirus Medicare Telehealth

Coronavirus Medicare Telehealth

To limit the risk of exposure and the spread of the Coronavirus, seniors can use Medicare telehealth. Seniors can communicate remotely with their doctors and other healthcare professionals from the safety of their homes using telehealth services. This article will show you how to use Medicare telehealth for doctor visits, counseling, and mental health.

Furthermore, you can use telehealth services using Internet devices you already have at home. Medicare Telehealth during the Coronavirus Pandemic can keep you safe. So what is Medicare Telehealth?

Medicare Part B Telehealth

Medicare Part B covers telehealth medical services with healthcare professionals using real-time video communication on the Internet. If you are new to Medicare, you can apply for Medicare Part B. Original Medicare covers your telehealth benefits. Consequently, you are responsible for paying 20% Part B coinsurance and Part B deductible of $198 in 2020.

However, you can get a Medicare Supplement plan that pays your Part B coinsurance. Medigap Plan G covers 100% of your coinsurance, so you can use telehealth services as often as you want and only have to pay a one-time annual $198 Part B deductible. Now that you know what it costs to use telehealth services, why is should you use it?

Telehealth Protects the Lives of Seniors

Coronavirus Medicare Telehealth protects seniors
Fred communicates with his doctor using Medicare Telehealth.

Fred is a senior who got sick and needs to see a doctor. Instead of traveling to the doctor’s office and exposing himself to other sick people, Fred uses Medicare Telehealth to keep himself safe from exposure to the Coronavirus. Moreover, Fred has a wife at home. The worse thing Fred could do is get COVID-19 from another sick patient by traveling to his doctor’s office. Then bring the virus home to his wife.

For this reason, Fred uses his home computer and WiFi Internet for an e-visit with his doctor. Fred opens his email and clicks a link that opens a Zoom application on his laptop. The doctor appears on Fred’s computer screen as a real-time video, and Fred’s built-in video camera and microphone allow the doctor to communicate with Fred.

The doctor asks Fred several medical questions about symptoms of Fred’s illness. Then the doctor prescribes medication to treat the condition. Fred takes the prescribed medicine and is feeling better. Most importantly, Fred’s wife is still healthy.

Medicare Part B Telehealth Counseling

Medicare Part B can provide you with the following counseling telehealth benefits:


Alcohol Misuse Counseling

Alcohol Misuse Counseling beer icon

You can receive alcohol misuse counseling when your primary doctor determines you are misusing alcohol. Consequently, you can get up to 4 brief face-to-face counseling sessions per year. Alcohol misuse counseling is free.

If you are someone you care about is drinking too much alcohol or using other drugs, call Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66747.


Cardiovascular Behavioral Therapy

Cardiovascular Behavioral Therapy heart icon

Cardiovascular behavioral therapy helps lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. You can receive one therapy visit per year with your primary care doctor. Moreover, you pay nothing as long as your doctor accepts Medicare assignment. So what exactly can therapy do for you?

During your therapy, your doctor may discuss aspirin use, blood pressure, and give you tips on eating well.


Diabetes Self-Management Training

Diabetes Self-Management Training icon
Monitoring
blood sugar

When your doctor diagnoses you with diabetes, you can get diabetes self-management training (DSMT). This training teaches you to cope with and manage your diabetes. For example, DSMT may include eating healthy, being active, monitoring blood sugar, taking prescription drugs, and reducing risks. DSMT may cover up to ten hours, for instance, one hour of individual training and 9 hours of group training. So now that you know what DSMT includes and covers, what does it cost?

Medicare will pay 80% of DSMT costs. Thus, you must pay the remaining 20% unless you have a Medicare Supplement plan. Furthermore, you will need to pay Part B deductible.


Medical Nutrition Therapy

kidney icon

If your doctor diagnoses you with diabetes, kidney disease, or you recently received a kidney transplant, then you qualify for medical nutrition therapy (MNT). In this case, Original Medicare covers all costs, so you pay nothing. MNT may include the following:

  • An initial nutrition and lifestyle assessment
  • Individual or group nutrition therapy services
  • Help you manage the lifestyle factors that affect your diabetes
  • Follow-up visits to check your progress in achieving your diet

Obesity Behavioral Therapy

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Doctors use a reference chart called Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine whether a person is obese or not. To find your BMI number, you locate your height in inches, then your weight in pounds. If you have a BMI of 30 or more, then you qualify for Obesity Behavioral Therapy. Now that you know whether or not you are obese, how can Obesity Behavioral Therapy help you?

You can talk with your doctor or other primary care practitioners to help you lose weight by focusing on diet and exercise. Furthermore, Obesity Behavioral Therapy is free. 


STI Counseling

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You can receive counseling for sexually transmitted infections (STI) if you are a sexually active adolescent or adult with an increased risk of STIs. You can have up to 2 individual 20-30 minute, face-to-face, high-intensity behavioral counseling sessions every year for free. So what are the benefits of STI counseling?

The counseling program is intended to promote sexual risk reduction or risk avoidance through education, skills training, and guidance of sexual behavior.


Tobacco Cessation Counseling

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A doctor or health care provider who accepts Medicare assignment can provide up to 8 visits of smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling per year. These counseling visits can help you stop smoking or using tobacco. Furthermore, tobacco cessation counseling is free.

You can get help to quite smoking by calling 1-800-QUITNOW (784-8669).

Betty’s Coronavirus Anxiety and Medicare Telehealth

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Betty wears a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Betty is a senior and has not been face-to-face with her grandkids in six weeks. Like many grandmothers across the country, Betty has socially isolated herself to avoid spreading and becoming infected by COVID-19. Moreover, Betty has chronic heart disease and puts her at high risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. So she stays home and only leaves to visit the pharmacy and grocery store.

Everywhere Betty goes, she puts on her face mask and sees other people wearing face masks. When waiting in line at the pharmacy, Betty stands on social distancing floor markings. At checkout, a plexiglass barrier further isolates her from the checkout clerk. The entire experience is emotionally disturbing. Then Betty gets a call from her son.

Doug told his mother, “I tested positive for the Coronavirus.” Betty is shocked and dismayed that her son has COVID-19, especially because Doug has diabetes and is at higher risk for severe illness. Betty is having trouble sleeping. She schedules a Medicare telehealth call with a psychologist.

Doctor Feldman a clinical psychologist, speaks with Betty on a real-time video call. Dr. Feldman listens to Betty and gives her some professional advice, including behaviors for reducing her anxiety. As a result, Betty is feeling better and sleeping better.

Get Medicare Telehealth for Coronavirus Anxiety

Betty got the mental health services she needed for her Coronavirus anxiety, and so can you. Medicare Part B covers 80% of the costs of outpatient mental health. You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount and Part B deductible of $198 in 2020. With Medicare telehealth, you can communicate with a mental health professional from the safety of your home. Moreover, you can avoid paying Part B coinsurance with a Medicare supplement plan.

Senior Healthcare Direct can help you find the best Medicare supplement plan for you. We can shop and compare Medigap plans with the Top Supplement insurance companies. For example, insurance carriers you know and trust such as Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Mutual of Omaha, and more. To get a free Medigap quote, call 1-855-368-4717 or get a quote.

Coronavirus US states reopening cases

Coronavirus US States Reopening May 4, 2020