Posts Tagged ‘screenings’

Boomer Alert: CDC Recommends Hepatitis C Screenings

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Boomer Alert: CDC Recommends Hepatitis C Screenings

The number of Americans dying from Hepatitis C related diseases nearly doubled from 1999 to 2007. And one in 30 baby boomers have been infected and might not even know it. These statistics come to us from the CDC who is now urging that baby boomers get tested for Hepatitis C. Baby boomers are defined as those born between 1945 and 1965.

It is possible that people were infected by blood transfusions, tattoos, piercing, shared razors, toothbrushes, even manicures. Of course other means of infection with Hepatitis C are sharing drug needles and sexual contact. This blood-borne virus can cause liver damage and it may take years for symptoms to appear. In addition to liver damage, Hepatitis C is linked to liver disease and liver cancer. The CDC estimates that more than 15,000 Americans die each year from Hepatitis C related illnesses.

Screening for Hepatitis C used to just be recommended for those at risk, like drug users. According to CDC, risk-based screening will continue, but is not sufficient alone.  More than 2 million U.S. baby boomers are infected with hepatitis C – accounting for more than 75 percent of all American adults living with the virus.  Studies show that many baby boomers could have been infected with the virus decades ago, did not perceive themselves to be at risk, and have never been screened.

The CDC estimates one-time Hepatitis C testing of baby boomers could identify more than 800,000 additional people with hepatitis C.  And with newly available therapies that can cure up to 75 percent of infections, expanded testing – along with linkage to appropriate care and treatment – would prevent the costly consequences of liver cancer and other chronic liver diseases and save more than 120,000 lives.

The CDC states that without some intervention the statistics will only get worse and the number of infected and the number of deaths will continue to rise. Another reason the CDC is recommending testing now for baby boomers is that there are two new drugs on the market. Treatment for Hepatitis can vary and after receiving results patients should consult with a physician to decide the best treatment plan for them.

More information about Hepatitis C is available at http://www.cdc.gov/knowmorehepatitis/

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Facts: Follow this Series

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

There is a lot of speculation and discussion about what affect health care reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), will have on seniors and more specifically, Medicare.

Fact # 1 ACA will not cut your basic Medicare benefits.

There are actually some improvements to Medicare benefits as a result of ACA. One immediate improvement, according¬†to the Law,¬†is more help with prescription drug coverage. In Medicare prescription drug coverage there is something commonly referred to as ‚Äúthe donut hole‚Äù which refers to a coverage gap where seniors end up paying 100% of prescription drug costs. The new law helps you pay these costs right away. If you enter the donut hole this year, Medicare will send you a check for $250. You don’t have to do anything to get the check. It will arrive around 45 days after you reach the gap. In 2011, if you enter the donut hole, you’ll pay only half of what your plan charges for brand-name drugs‚Äîa 50% discount. By 2020, the donut hole will be slowly phased out and completely eliminated because of the Affordable Care Act.

Also as a result of ACA, a free annual well visit is now available in 2011. The free annual wellness checkup will allow you and your doctor to develop a prevention plan to keep you healthy. And a range of prevention services, such as cancer and diabetes screenings, will be provided free, no more cost sharing.

Another improvement related to the ACA, better care when you get sick! 80% of older Americans, have at least one chronic medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. If you are one of them, you probably see several doctors, who may not always work together. The law will invest in testing new models of care for people with chronic conditions in order to provide better care, better coordination, and more patient-centered services. If you must be hospitalized, the law also will help you return home successfully, and avoid going re-hospitalization, by providing incentives for hospitals to make sure that you get the services you need in your community and by teaching you ways to take good care of yourself.

There are more facts that seniors need to know about how the new healthcare legislation will impact you and your Medicare coverage, stay tuned for more information from NJFA.

The information in this blog was gathered from language in the Affordable Care Act, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid and the National Council on Aging.

For more information check out the following links:

A brochure from Medicare:

http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/11467.pdf

Webpage from the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD):

http://www.nasuad.org/affordable_care_act/nasuad_materials.html

Answers from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a):

http://www.n4a.org/advocacy/health-care-reform/

Straight Talk for Seniors from the National Council on Aging:

http://www.ncoa.org/public-policy/health-care-reform/straight-talk/