Medicare Blueprint Advisors - July/August 2020

MED I CAREBLUEPR INT.COM Health Matters

JULY-AUGUST 2020

Not a day goes by that I don’t pass by a wooden American flag on my back porch. I often meet it when I’m coming home from work. Most days I don’t dwell too long on its presence, but it means so much to me that I see it every day and am reminded of what it means to me. I enlisted in the Air Force out of high school, and I spent four years serving my country. I always wanted to work on airplanes, and it was great to work on these planes. I even received top-secret clearance and had the chance to work on the B-2 Stealth Bomber. Those who know the bomber will remember its boomerang look, which allowed the two-person crew to be invisible to radar. I worked nights in the Air Force, which meant I was going to bed when many of our pilots and fighters were loading up and preparing to take off for the day. I still get chills when I think about the aircraft I spent all night fixing and preparing then taking off into the sunrise. It was our pat on the back for the job we did. It always made me so proud to see those planes take off. TAKING PRIDE In Our Nation’s Military Members This Fourth of July

“For me, seeing that American flag in my home is a small reminder of the pride I feel having served this country.”

veteran-run business that hires veterans with disabilities and empowers veterans in civilian life. They craft handmade wooden American flags. I was extremely touched by the mission of Flags of Valor, and I had one of their flags on my wish list for years. My wish came true when my wife surprised me with a wooden American flag on Christmas morning, and it’s been hanging in my home ever since. These days, Independence Day to me means so much more than fireworks and barbecues, like it did when I was a kid. Sure, those are fun, but as someone who was away from his family for years to serve his country, I have a greater understanding of the dedication and sacrifice of those who have given their lives for our country and our freedoms. This Independence Day, and on many days afterward, I hope you find time to reflect on the sacrifice our nation’s military men and women make every day. For me, seeing that American flag in my home is a small reminder of the pride I feel having served this country. It makes me smile to think of the memories I have from my four years of service, and it makes me proud. It’s a reminder I value having each day.

I hope you and your family had a nice Fourth of July holiday, and thank you to our nation’s military members and their families for serving our country.

– Jason Mackey

Years later, after I had completed my service, I watched a news segment on Flags of Valor, a

P.S. You can learn more about Flags of Valor online at FlagsOfValor.com.

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Medicare Announces Fixed Insulin Cost

At $35 for Many Part D Plans

If you’re among the 1 in 3 Medicare beneficiaries who has diabetes, your insulin bill could drop dramatically in 2021. This spring, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that more than 1,750 Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage with prescription coverage plan sponsors have vowed to provide a variety of insulins at just $35 at most per copay for beneficiaries in 2021.

“I like the personal interest you show in your clients. Plus your skill set is clearly unparalleled in this area for Medicare advice.” What Our Clients Think!

This announcement comes at a revolutionary time in the prescription drug era, as more manufacturers and

pharmaceutical companies are criticized for costly insulin prices. A study by the American Diabetes Foundation, as published in 2018, found that insulin prices tripled from 2002 to 2013. This cost continues to rise without governmental interference, and while a direct link to explain the high cost hasn’t been determined, some point to the complexity of insulin and general pricing indexes as contributing to the costs. CMS adds that the creeping costs for beneficiaries are often due to patients acquiring the added costs of higher premiums when Part D sponsors are given manufacturing costs when opting for lower-cost-sharing options. For the Medicare Part D beneficiaries who make up the 30 million patients who live with diabetes in the U.S., fulfilling this gap will no longer be a concern. In the past, a Part D beneficiary may have seen huge swings in monthly out-of-pocket costs, largely due to changing rules in coverage. The new model could provide beneficiaries with better information for budgeting and could save Medicare beneficiaries upward of $446, which CMS estimates as 66% savings. The final details of this new model are still in the works, as Medicare disseminates which plans will offer capped costs. Plan providers were given a June 1 deadline to comply. CMS estimates the model will be finalized in September 2020, allowing members the opportunity to review plans prior to enrollment, which begins on Oct. 15. Medicare Blueprint Advisors is excited about what this could mean for our clients, but we also understand how confusing this process can be. If you have questions about Medicare initiatives to decrease insulin prices and how this may affect you, then contact our team today.

– Jackson Libby, customer since 2017

“Despite being educated and engaged in the Medicare process, selecting the right plans is beyond my ability. Jason cuts through the noise and bright objects to help me select a plan that is right for me today and when I move to Florida later this year. He is an invaluable asset to anyone facing a choice with Medicare!”

– Janet McKim, customer since 2018

“I HAVE recommended you many times. Jason really knows his stuff, is proactive, and makes it so easy to complete transactions. I tell everyone who has any questions about Medicare to take advantage of this valuable resource.”

– Dianne Farrelly, customer since 2018

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SAFE IN THE SUN How Your Skin Changes as You Age and How to Protect It

Skin cancers are some of the most treatable and preventable forms of cancer in the U.S. Yet many Americans don’t fully understand the scope, prevention, and symptoms. As you enjoy another summer, consider these skin-safety tips specifically designed for aging populations. Age Matters If you think you’ve reached the “worthless” point when it comes to protecting your skin from cancers or damage, then think again. As we age, our body begins to show normal signs of wear, and our skin is no different. Skin becomes much more fragile as we age, and as a result, many older adults are at risk of developing skin cancers. Aging spots, discoloration, and moles may be normal, but as the skin thins, its ability to protect itself from the sun’s rays or cuts and scrapes becomes much more difficult. That’s what makes proper skincare in aging populations so important. It’s Not Too Late Our skin changes rapidly, and what you do to protect it or damage it today could impact your future. Protecting it now could be vital to preventing new cancers or precancerous spots, which could cause dangerous health complications and costly treatments. You can protect your skin by applying sunscreen daily, covering up, regularly

washing your face, applying moisturizer, wearing sunglasses, and eating a balanced diet, just to name a fewmeasures. Your skin may have damage or standard signs of wear, but that does not mean it isn’t worth protecting, regardless of your age. Know the Signs Part of properly protecting your skin as you age is understanding what you need to monitor. Typically, skin cancers or precancerous spots appear like moles or discoloration on our skin. Knowing the ABCDE symptom rules can help you determine if skin spots are harmless or concerning. If you notice any of the following traits on a mole or skin spot, then consult with a medical professional immediately. A: Asymmetry B: Border irregularity C: Color that is not consistent D: Diameter greater than a pencil eraser E: Evolving shape, size, or color (For example, the spot is growing.)

To learn more about the complexities of skin wellness and aging, visit SkinCancer.org.

THE BEST GRILLED SUMMER VEGETABLES

WORD SEARCH

INGREDIENTS

• • • • •

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning

1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced

2 lbs assorted vegetables, trimmed and halved (asparagus, mushrooms, red onion, red bell peppers, baby carrots, and yellow squash are great on the grill)

• • •

5 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped

DIRECTIONS

1. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic. 2. Brush vegetables with olive oil and place in a large bowl. Top with lemon juice and seasoning mixture. Toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes but no longer than 2 hours.

3. Prepare the grill at medium-high heat. 4. Grill vegetables in batches, cooking 3–5 minutes on each side until browned and tender. (Carrots will cook longer, 6–9 minutes per side.) 5. Remove from the grill, sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot.

CAESAR FIREWORKS GRILLING INDEPENDENCE LARKSPUR PEACHES

PICNIC POPSICLES RUBY SPARKLER SUNGLASSES SWIMMING

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Inside This Issue

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HONORING VETERANS THIS INDEPENDENCE DAY

GOOD NEWS FOR THE 1 IN 3 MEDICARE RECIPIENTSWITH DIABETES

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FROM OUR CLIENTS

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HAVE FUN AND STAY SAFE IN THE SUN THIS YEAR

THE SECRET TO DELICIOUS GRILLED VEGGIES

HOWMEALS ONWHEELS ATLANTA STEPPED UP FOR ITS COMMUNITY

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Meals on Wheels doesn’t often get the credit it deserves. The international nonprofit ensures those who are unable to buy or make their own meals get the food they need to survive. Of course, for many recipients, the efforts of the organization go far beyond “survival.” For those who receive food daily or weekly, those deliveries may be their only source of social interaction. And during times of social distancing, the program became more important than ever. Meals on Wheels doesn’t just serve meals to the elderly and people with disabilities — it also serves those people’s pets. In 2019, Meals on Wheels Atlanta realized there was a huge need in their community to feed the pets of senior citizens. It stands to reason that if an elderly individual is unable to shop or cook for themselves, their pets may be in a similar predicament. And when someone’s pet is their entire world, making sure the animal is fed and healthy means everything. In response to this need, Meals on Wheels Atlanta began stocking up on cat and dog food, creating its own pantry to serve the local pet community. When volunteers

made their rounds delivering meals to seniors, they made sure to bring cat and dog food along, too. One volunteer with Meals on Wheels Atlanta, Larry Auberbach, had a unique experience delivering meals to Jeffery Jones and his dog, Grizzly. The volunteer told 11Alive News in Atlanta that Jeffery and Grizzly “have their own special relationship.” Larry loved Grizzly long before Meals on Wheels Atlanta started the pet pantry because he saw how much Grizzly’s companionship meant to Jeffery. Now, Larry enjoys his service that much more since he gets to provide for Jeffery’s beloved pet as well. On top of delivering food to seniors and their pets, Meals on Wheels Atlanta also delivers pet toys and pet beds, and they are happy to take in any pet-related food or items for donation. The organization says this endeavor was done out of love, not only for the people they serve but also for the whole family — wagging tails, fuzzy whiskers, and all.

A MEAL FOR EVERY MEMBER OF THE FAMILY

Meals on Wheels Goes the Extra Mile

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