News to Use for Agents in the Senior Market

A Publication of Senior Marketing Specialists
Week of March 13, 2017


tmbubble  One in 10 people age 65 and older (10%) has Alzheimer’s Dementia

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease worsen over time, although the rate at which the disease progresses varies. On average, a person with Alzheimer’s lives four to eight years after diagnosis, but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors.

Mild Alzheimer’s disease (early-stage)
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, a person may function independently. He or she may still drive, work and be part of social activities. Despite this, the person may feel as if he or she is having memory lapses, such as forgetting familiar words or the location of everyday objects.

Moderate Alzheimer’s disease (middle-stage)
During the moderate stage of Alzheimer’s, individuals may have greater difficulty performing tasks such as paying bills, but they may still remember significant details about their life.

Severe Alzheimer’s disease (late-stage)
In the final stage of this disease, individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, to carry on a conversation and, eventually, to control movement. They may still say words or phrases, but communicating pain becomes difficult. As memory and cognitive skills continue to worsen, personality changes may take place and individuals need extensive help with daily activities.

Inside the Brain: An Interactive Tour. The Brain Tour explains how the brain works and how Alzheimer’s affects it. http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_4719.asp?type=alzFooter
2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Video: http://www.alz.org/facts/overview.asp

Why is this important? As an agent, you can help your clients with the disease, caregivers and families by becoming involved on a local level with organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association. The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Find your local chapter here: http://www.alz.org/apps/findus.asp


tmbubble  12 Yes/No Questions To Ask When Choosing a Home Health Agency

1. Medicare-certified?
2. Medicaid-certified (if you have both Medicare and Medicaid)?
3. Offers the specific health care services I need (like skilled nursing services or physical therapy)?
4. Meets my special needs (like language or cultural preferences)?
5. Offers the personal care services I need (like help bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom)?
6. Offers the support services I need, or can help me arrange for additional services, like Meals on Wheels, that I may need?
7. Has staff that can provide the type and hours of care my doctor ordered and start when I need them?
8. Is recommended by my hospital discharge planner, doctor, or social worker?
9. Has staff available at night and on weekends for emergencies?
10. Explained what my insurance will cover and what I must pay out-of-pocket?
11. Does background checks on all staff?
12. Has letters from satisfied patients, family members, and doctors that testify to the home health agency providing good care?

Visit Home Health Compare at www.medicare.gov/homehealthcompare for more information.
How Medicare covers Home Health services: https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/home-health-services.html

Why is this important? Medicare can be confusing for even the most seasoned agents. Your clients can easily feel there is no harm in delaying Part B enrollment.


tmbubble  Limiting Charge

In Original Medicare, the highest amount of money you can be charged for a covered service by doctors and other health care suppliers who don’t accept assignment is called a limiting charge. The limiting charge is 15% over Medicare’s approved amount. The limiting charge only applies to certain services and doesn’t apply to supplies or equipment.

Information on Medicare assignment: https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/part-a-costs/assignment/costs-and-assignment.html

Why is this important? Only Medigap plan options F and G offer coverage for Part B excess charges. Helping your clients understand limiting charges and to find providers who accept assignment can be a key to customer satisfaction with your plan recommendations.


tmbubble  Medigap in Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin

If you live in one of these 3 states, Medigap policies are standardized in a different way. Follow the links to learn the details.

Massachusetts: https://www.medicare.gov/supplement-other-insurance/compare-medigap/massachusetts/medigap-massachusetts.html
Minnesota: https://www.medicare.gov/supplement-other-insurance/compare-medigap/minnesota/medigap-minnesota.html
Wisconsin: https://www.medicare.gov/supplement-other-insurance/compare-medigap/wisconsin/medigap-wisconsin.html

Why is this important? As agents continue to expand their practices geographically crossing state lines is common. If you enter a new market it is vital you understand the plans available in that state.


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