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MED I CAREBLUEPR INT.COM Health Matters
Meeting and Learning From Historical Figures Why History Has Value
At any point throughout the year, there are historical moments worth celebrating. But if you look at the concentration of historical moments in January and February, you would be amazed to see howmuch we honor the past during late winter. For instance, January celebrates the life of Martin Luther King Jr., while February includes President’s Day, multiple presidents’ birthdays, and a holiday to celebrate Susan B. Anthony. I consider myself a bit of a history buff, so naturally, this stretch of holidays intrigues me. I enjoy reading books about historical figures, and sometimes, I like to think about what it would be like to meet these large figures in American history. If given the chance, I would like to go back in time and meet Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. I think Abe Lincoln is an obvious choice for many of us. He’s one of the most well-known presidents, and the historical events in his presidency are among some of the most studied moments in history. (I am also fascinated by the Civil War.) However, I admire Lincoln for another reason. Lincoln wasn’t entirely successful until his presidency. He experienced failures, including a few election losses while en route to becoming the president. Many of his other obstacles, “[History is] not about proving something or someone right or wrong; it’s about learning from mistakes and understanding where we come from.”
like the death of his mother when he was just 9 years old or losing his family home, were not entirely uncommon back in Lincoln’s day, but he remained resilient. His journey to becoming president and ultimately changing the course of history wasn’t easy. Yet he never gave up. I admire that. I’m also fascinated by the life of Frederick Douglass. He has many accolades and successes, but what I appreciate most is his bravery. Douglass fought for what he believed in, even though his beliefs could have gotten him killed. He was a prolific author and incredibly wise, and he contributed a lot to history during his time. Douglass and Lincoln actually met, too, and their meeting is quite historic. Douglass had tremendous strength. It’s hard not to admire that in a person’s character. I’ve learned a lot about the world we live in as I’ve learned about history, but what’s more is I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’m just your average family guy, trying to live out the American dream in my own way. Historical figures start out the same way. Many are not born into fame, wealth, or notoriety, but they use their character and life lessons to become the people who shape our nation. Whether we agree with them or not, we can learn a lot from their actions. That’s what makes history so compelling. It’s not about proving something or someone right or wrong; it’s about learning from mistakes and understanding where we come from. It’s about learning how to avoid common missteps and creating a better future for others. That’s what I hope we remember this winter as we celebrate these holidays.
SOCIAL SECURITY GIVETH, MEDICARE TAKETH AWAY
Part B’s Shocking New Prices
In October 2021, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) announced the largest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to Social Security since 1983. This was welcome news for enrollees and elder care experts, who saw the 5.9% jump in distribution amounts for 2022 as a rightful increase to what enrollees are owed.
But Medicare just damped those spirits.
In November 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its updated rates for 2022, and it saw a similar spike — only, it wasn’t good news for enrollees. CMS announced an increase from Medicare Part B monthly premiums from $148.50 to $170.10, and its deductibles for the calendar year jumped from $203 to $233 for 2022. While these totals may not seem pricey, as older adults know, even just $30 per month can make a difference to seniors living on limited budgets. Of course, CMS has its reasons for the spike. For starters, health care costs have increased during the pandemic, and because the premium increase for 2021 was very low — just an additional $3.90 per month — Congress instructed CMS to begin recuperating those costs in 2022. The increase was low in 2021 due to the pandemic as well. However, there is another, perhaps unexpected, reason CMS is making this leap. With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Aduhelm for treatment of Alzheimer’s, CMS is preparing to cover the drug and other Alzheimer’s treatments that may be approved by the FDA in coming years. While Aduhelm is currently not covered by Medicare — and is still heavily debated for its effectiveness — CMS told AARP this fall that it would like to be prepared should coverage happen.
“It feels like you are looking after us. Standing by for your advice for a new plan.” –David Cruse, customer since 2017 “I really felt that you were looking out for my best interest! You were so patient in explaining everything that it was easy to pick up the plan based on your recommendations. I really felt like you were an expert on Medicare and supplemental plans!” –Customer since 2017 What Our Clients Think!
It’s worth noting the silver lining to this Medicare Part B premium and deductible jump. The COLA increase should cover the cost of the spike and leave some money left over for Social
Security recipients. That may be a relief, but it does lessen the impact of the COLA. If you have questions about how these spikes will impact your Medicare needs, please contact our team today.
Scammers Still Exist in 2022 HOWTO AVOID COSTLY MISTAKES WITHIN MEDICARE
It’s a new year, but Medicare scams still exist! These scams can trick you into providing personal information such as your Social Security number, address, birth date, bank account information, and more. Here’s how you can avoid costly mistakes and what you need to watch out for as a Medicare enrollee. Familiarize yourself with how Medicare uses your personal information. Medicare can share your information to public health and government agencies. They can also share it with your personal representative and state or federal agencies that have a legal right to the data. However, Medicare must have your written authorization to share your information for any purpose. You have the right to see and receive a copy of the material they have about you and change any information that needs to be updated. You can also request a list of people who get your information and limit how they use it.
To learn more about how Medicare plans use your information, go to Medicare.gov.
Protect your Medicare number and other personal information.
ROOT VEGETABLE BUDDHA BOWLS Don’t accept services you don’t need. Your doctor may try to take advantage of your lack of Medicare knowledge. They could try to persuade you into getting services you think are unnecessary, but you can deny their proposed service. The only time a Medicare representative can call you is if you called 1-800-633-4227 and left a message. Remember, your Medicare provider will never call you to update any information. You should never share your private information with anyone who contacts you by phone, email, or in-person unless they are your doctors, insurance companies, or other providers.
Root vegetables are the cream of the crop during winter, and this recipe makes the most out of them by pairing them with other protein- packed ingredients. To level it up, add grilled chicken or fish! Have any questions about Medicare, how you can protect yourself, or services? Allow Medicare Blueprint Advisors to help. Call us at 888-335-9498 . Ask for a second opinion from another physician. It’s okay to be skeptical about these services, even if the provider says Medicare will pay for it. You can reference Medicare’s coverage rules in order to determine if a service is covered. A coverage list can be found at MedicareInteractive.org under the “Get Answers” tab.
Inspired by SheLikesFood.com
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. 2. On a large sheet pan, toss root vegetables in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them evenly and roast until fork tender, about 40 minutes, stirring and flipping halfway through.
(For 4 bowls) •
In a serving bowl, layer 1/2 cup warm quinoa with 2 cups root vegetables, 2 tbsp hummus, 1 handful of baby kale, and 1/2 an avocado. Repeat for the 3 remaining bowls, drizzle with balsamic glaze and any other desired toppings, then serve and enjoy! (If you don’t want individual bowls, you can mix everything together into a salad!)
8 cups root vegetables of your choice, chopped
• • • • • • • • •
2 tsp olive oil 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper 2 cups quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup hummus
4 handfuls baby kale 2 small avocados, sliced
Optional: Garnishes of your choice (lemon juice, fresh herbs, etc.)
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Inside This Issue
WHY I WANT TO MEET CIVILWAR HISTORICAL FIGURES
PART B COSTS SPIKE —WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
WHAT OUR CLIENTS THINK
HOWDO YOU PREVENT SCAM TACTICS?
ROOT VEGETABLE BUDDHA BOWLS
THE STREET VET
THE STREET VET Saving the Lives of Homeless Individuals’ Pets
Veterinarian and animal advocate Dr. Kwane Stewart, known in his docuseries as “The Street Vet,” has his own veterinary practice in Modesto, California, but still makes a point to help the pets of the homeless population in town for free. He began this selfless act of heroism in 2011 after the Great Recession hit and has since helped well over 400 animals, even tending to a Burmese python at one point! About 25% of Modesto’s homeless population own a pet, and back in 2011, Dr. Stewart noticed that many needed medical attention. This tugged at his heart strings. Knowing that many would come for free pet medical attention if he set up a table near a soup kitchen, Dr. Stewart jumped at the opportunity. What he thought would be a one-time event eventually turned into a regular act of heroism. Now, Dr. Stewart has the ability to step in and save the day for both the pet and owner at no cost. Dr. Stewart has found that the bond
between homeless individuals and their pets is unlike any that he sees in his office. “Keep in mind that they are with their pet every minute of every day,” he says. “That’s not the case with most of us.” He notes that seeing these special pet patients makes him feel as if he has a superpower. Dr. Stewart recalls that growing up, he wanted to be either a vet or Batman, and now, he gets the best of both worlds! Dr. Stewart often spends his spare time wandering the streets in search of pets that need his help, offering free vaccinations and medical care. He notes that the homeless population is just like us, but they have fallen on hard times, and their pets are their companions and lifelines. In helping the pets, Dr. Stewart builds a special bond with their owners. To be able to make a difference in the lives of sweet, innocent animals and their owners is the most rewarding type of work — the dream job Dr. Stewart could have never even conjured up before he selflessly started living it.
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