Did you know that 1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease? Major risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney failure and being 60 or older. The best way to fight kidney disease is to find it before trouble starts. But, if you’ve already been diagnosed, Medicare is here to help you make informed decisions about your care.
If you have Stage IV chronic kidney disease that will usually require dialysis or a kidney transplant, Medicare covers up to 6 kidney disease education sessions that teach you how to take the best possible care of your kidneys. Sessions include topics like how to prevent complications of kidney disease, what to eat and drink, and what options you have if your kidneys get worse, like dialysis and kidney transplants.
If you or a loved one has advanced kidney problems requiring dialysis, often known as End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD), finding the right care can be a challenge. Dialysis centers can vary in the quality of care and services they provide, so it’s important to understand the differences in dialysis centers in your area before you decide where to go for care. If you’re already on dialysis, it’s also important to understand the quality of care that your dialysis center delivers. Medicare’s Dialysis Facility Compare lets you easily search for dialysis centers, compare them side by side, and find the right one for you. The information includes feedback from patients – you can see how dialysis patients respond to a survey that asked questions about their dialysis center, their kidney doctor, and the center’s staff.
March is National Kidney Month, so there’s no better time to get smart about kidney disease. Learn more about kidney disease, Dialysis Facility Compare, and Medicare-covered kidney services to be sure you’re making educated choices about your kidney health.
As American lifestyles have gotten busier, the demand for food that can be purchased and eaten quickly—known as fast food–has gained speed, too. With today’s hectic schedules, it can be hard to find time to prepare a healthy meal or exercise. If you need an eating and activity plan that will work for you, Medicare can help.
Medicare covers medical nutrition therapy (MNT) services for people with diabetes or kidney disease. MNT services may include an initial nutrition and lifestyle assessment, one-on-one nutrition counseling, and follow-up visits to check on your progress. Find out if you qualify for these services.
During 2007-2010, American adults consumed an average of 11% of their total daily calories from fast food. More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, and frequently eating fast food has been shown to contribute to weight gain.
Carrying extra body weight can lead to serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
If you need help getting started, MyPlate MyWins offers tips on how to make small changes to improve your diet and find healthy food choices wherever your day may take you. Also, the resources at Eat Right® can help you improve your eating style while reducing food waste.
Celebrate National Nutrition Month by making good food choices and adding regular exercise to your lifestyle. Small changes can bring good rewards.
Each day, you make important choices about your finances, health, privacy, and more.
During National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 4–8, 2018, non-profit organizations and government agencies can help you take advantage of your rights and make better-informed choices.
Here are 5 things you can do to become an informed Medicare consumer:
- Know your rights. As a person with Medicare, you have certain rights and protections designed to help protect you and make sure you get the health care services the law says you can get.
- Protect your identity. Identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information without your consent to commit fraud or other crimes. Keep information like your Social Security Number, bank account numbers and Medicare Number safe. To help protect you from identity fraud, starting in April 2018, Medicare will mail new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare. Your new card will have a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you. Get more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft.
- Help fight Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud takes money from the Medicare program each year, which means higher health care costs for you. Learn how to report fraud.
- Get involved with other seniors with the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). The SMP educates and empowers people with Medicare to take an active role in detecting and preventing health care fraud and abuse.
- Make informed Medicare choices. Each year during the fall Open Enrollment Period (October 15–December 7), review your plan to make sure it will meet your needs for the next year. If you’re not satisfied with your current plan, you can switch during the Open Enrollment Period.
Visit NCPW.gov to learn more about the campaign, see which agencies and organizations are able to help you, and to find out if there are any activities happening in your area. Also, check out our videos for tips on preventing Medicare fraud.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people 50 and older.
The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 50. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer—that’s why it’s so important to get screened. You don’t have to do it alone—Medicare covers colorectal cancer screenings to help you detect and prevent colorectal cancer, and you’ll pay nothing for most of them.
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so this is a great time to do 5 things to stop this cancer in its tracks.
- Get screened
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Don’t drink too much alcohol
- Don’t smoke
Do what you can so you’re not one of the 140,000 Americans diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year, and let Medicare help.
Spring is a season of new beginnings and growth, bringing us longer hours of daylight, sprouting tulips, and warmer weather. It’s the perfect time to renew your commitment to better health, and practice preventive care. Preventive services are valuable to your wellbeing, because they can help you keep from getting sick and find health problems early, when treatment works best. Taking advantage of them is a crucial step in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and every little bit helps.
When you have Medicare, you have access to a variety of preventive tests and screenings, most at no cost to you. If you’re new to Medicare, we cover a “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit during your first 12 months of Part B coverage. This visit includes a review of your medical and social history related to your health and education and counseling about preventive services, including certain screenings, shots, and referrals for other care, if needed.
If you’ve had Part B for longer than 12 months, you can get a yearly wellness visit to develop or update a personalized prevention plan based on your current health and risk factors. In addition to these important wellness visits, Medicare covers screening tests for diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, and obesity management, just to name a few. Check out our complete list of Medicare-covered preventive services and watch our preventive benefits video.
As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Start this spring by practicing preventive care, so you can you stay healthy and live longer.
Each year, about 8,000 people die waiting for an organ transplant, and just one donor can save and heal up to 75 lives through organ and tissue donation. Today, there are more than 120,000 patients waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant and many more who need cornea, tissue, bone marrow, blood, and platelet donations.
There are 2 ways to become a donor:
- Deceased organ donors – can donate both kidneys, liver, both lungs, heart, pancreas, and intestines.
- Living organ donor – can donate one kidney, one lung, or a portion of the liver, pancreas, or intestines.
Over 80% of people on the transplant list need a kidney transplant, usually due to permanent kidney failure or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Medicare covers kidney transplants for both the person getting the transplant and the donor. If you’re getting the transplant, you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for doctor services. You pay nothing if you’re the living donor.
National Donor Day is February 14th. Give the gift of life this Valentine’s Day, and sign up to be an organ donor.
Did you know that every minute, heart disease takes the life of a woman in the United States? Heart disease doesn’t affect every woman in the same way, but there are signs to look for and ways to help prevent it.
Medicare covers cardiovascular disease screenings every 5 years for people with Part B. Quitting smoking also helps lower your risk of heart disease, and Medicare covers smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling for people with Part B.
National Wear Red Day is February 2nd. Support the women in your life and #WearRedandGive.