Save lives—become a donor

Right now, there are over 118,000 people waiting for life-saving organ transplants, and many more who need cornea, tissue, bone marrow, blood, and platelet donations. Registering as a donor means you can help save up to 8 lives through organ donations and help countless others.

There are 2 ways to become a donor:

  1. Deceased organ donors—can donate both kidneys, liver, both lungs, heart, pancreas, and intestines.
  2. Living organ donors—can donate one kidney, one lung, or a portion of the liver, pancreas, or intestine.

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.

Celebrate National Donor Day on February 14th by giving the gift of life—sign up to become an organ donor today.

This Valentine’s Day, give your heart the gift of love

Although popular love songs might tell you otherwise, a broken heart can’t kill you—but heart disease can. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, taking about 610,000 lives each year—that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

You might not be able to avoid Cupid’s arrow, but you can take steps to lower your risks and help prevent heart disease. Start by scheduling an appointment with your doctor to discuss whether you’re at risk for heart disease.

Medicare covers a cardiovascular disease screening at no cost to you every 5 years. The screening includes tests to help detect heart disease early and measures cholesterol, blood fat (lipids), and triglyceride levels.

If you and your doctor discover that you’re at risk for a heart attack or stroke, there are steps you can take to help prevent these conditions. You might be able to make lifestyle changes (like changing your diet and increasing your activity level or exercising more often) to lower your cholesterol and stay healthy.

February is American Heart month, so start showing your heart love by visiting the Million Hearts® Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center. Million Hearts is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by the end of this year. The resource center was developed in partnership with EatingWell magazine, and features lower sodium, heart-healthy recipes and family-friendly meal plans to help manage sodium intake, a major contributor to high blood pressure and heart disease. All the recipes include nutritional facts and average cost per serving information. Use the search and filter options to quickly find the right meal for yourself and your family.

While you’re celebrating family and friends this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to show your heart some love, too.

Keep an eye out for glaucoma

Are you at a high risk of getting glaucoma? Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes loss of vision—usually side vision—by damaging the optic nerve, which sends information from your eyes to your brain.

Fortunately, you can help prevent vision loss by finding and treating problems early—and Medicare can help. We cover a glaucoma screening once every 12 months for people at high risk for glaucoma. You’re considered at high risk if you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions:

  • Do you have diabetes or a family history of glaucoma?
  • Are you African American and 50 or older?
  • Are you Hispanic American and 65 or older?

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month—the perfect time to check on your eye health.

Watch our glaucoma awareness video to learn more.

Find cervical cancer early—get screened

About 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year. All women are at risk, but it occurs most often in women over 30. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest female cancers to prevent. There are 2 screening tests to find cervical cancer early.

Medicare covers the HPV test and Pap tests every 24 months for all women and every 12 months if you’re at high risk. The CDC recommends getting regular pap tests starting at 21.

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Watch our Cervical Health Awareness Month video and visit our cervical & vaginal cancer screenings page to learn more about these tests.

 

Stop the flu before it starts

Flu season is back, which means it’s time to protect yourself and loved ones by getting a free flu shot.

Flu viruses change from year to year, so it’s important to get a flu shot each flu season. It’s free for people with Medicare, once per flu season when you get it by doctors or other health care providers (like senior centers and pharmacies) that take Medicare.

National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 4–10. You can stop the flu before it stops you.

Wear your red ribbon for World AIDS Day

Did you know that 50,000 people in the U.S. get HIV each year? Of the 1.2 million people currently living with HIV in the U.S., 1 in 8 don’t even know they have it. Medicare covers HIV screening for people with Medicare 15-65 years old who ask for the test and pregnant women.

HIV is the virus that can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. Early testing and diagnosis play key roles in reducing the spread of the disease, extending life expectancy, and cutting costs of care. At least 1 in 3 people in the U.S. who test positive for HIV is tested too late to get the full advantage of treatment. However, thanks to better treatments, many people with HIV and AIDS in the U.S. are living longer. Testing is an important first step in getting HIV-infected people the medical care and support they need to improve their health and help them maintain safer behaviors.

Visit CDC.gov to learn more about their Act Against AIDS campaign. To find an HIV test site, visit Gettested.cdc.gov, or text your zip code to “KNOWIT” (566948).

December 1 is World AIDS Day, and with leadership and commitment, we can make an impact. Wear your red ribbon to show your support.

 

Today can be the day you quit smoking

Smoking tobacco can cause many health problems, like heart disease, respiratory diseases, and lung cancer —the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. About 40 million people in the U.S. still smoke tobacco, but quitting can help prevent these health problems. You can quit smoking today, and Medicare wants to help.

November isn’t just for Thanksgiving. It’s also Lung Cancer Awareness Month and the Great American Smokeout. While you’re preparing for the upcoming holiday season, don’t forget to talk with your doctor about quitting if you smoke. Medicare covers 8 face-to-face smoking cessation counseling sessions during a 12-month period. If you haven’t been diagnosed with an illness caused or complicated by tobacco use, you pay nothing for these counseling sessions, as long as you get them from a qualified doctor or another Medicare provider. Watch our video to learn more about Medicare’s benefits to help you quit.

Join the Great American Smokeout, and take the important step towards a healthier life.