Medicare Drug Program: Changes Ahead (Please Finish)

It is possible that about 2 million Medicare participants could be switched over to a different insurance plan for their prescription drugs next year. Some may have to even shop around to avoid the double-digit premium increases coming. Starting from November 15, open enrollment periods may see some increased action through the last day of the period on December 31.

“Everybody needs to shop around every year,” said Patricia Nemore, senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy.  “Just because you like your plan this year doesn’t mean that plan will work the same next year.”

Often plans change their coverage each year.  They change which drugs they will cover, for safety reasons, as well as the premium they will charge per month to remain competitive.

Successful Meals with Alzheimer’s Patients

Those of us who’ve provided care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease [] know about the challenges of maintaining proper nutrition — let alone getting through a traditional sit-down meal. In response, many give up on getting together around the table, opting for simple handheld snacks or takeout. But with some planning, tableside meals can be an invaluable daily source of personal connection and positive reinforcement.  A few simple principles can help you make mealtime more practical and less stressful for you and your loved one: As much as possible, limit noise and other distractions in the dining area. T ry to provide a calm setting free of unexpected interruptions.  Depending on your loved one’s cognitive abilities, promote independence by providing some degree of food choice. If your loved one has difficulty with standard flatware, a wide range of special utensils[] can help. Simplify presentation.  Remove unnecessary table items to minimize confusion. Solid-colored placemats and dishes may help your loved one focus on eating.  Don’t pressure.  Impatient prodding can make your loved one even less eager to dig in. Demonstrate successful eating and provide gentle encouragement. Above all, be flexible when a meal doesn’t go as you’d hoped.  Just as young children’s mealtime capabilities change over time, so will your loved one’s.  For example, you may need to cut food into bite-size pieces, either now or down the road.

The Human and Financial Toll for Working Caregivers: From the Desk of CEO Kevin Sypniewski

In our workplaces all around us, though sometimes unseen, caregivers are faced with the task of trying to balance work and children while caring for an adult friend or family member. We know there are only so many hours in a day to squeeze in work and all of life’s other responsibilities. The result is that personal health and well-being almost always fall by the wayside. In the National Alliance for Caregiving and the Mature Market Institute study referenced below, the health related problems and employer health costs are finally quantified.   Simply put, working caregivers are far more likely to drive up health costs than non-caregivers.  Considering the demographics of our population, it will continue to present an increase cost for health plans and financial burden for corporate America.  Our team here at AGIS stands ready to help you address this issue proactively with your clients and prospects. Thank you for your time, and we look forward to the possibility of working with you.

Caregiving Employees’ Health Problems Can Cost U.S. Companies $13.4 Billion Yearly Most employers are promoting “health and wellness” programs to contain their healthcare costs and to improve employee productivity. Diabetes maintenance programs, cardiac programs, weight loss programs and smoking cessation program are some of the more common. While struggling as an overburdened, depressed caregiver year over year, it is not very likely that an employee can or will participate meaningfully in one of these health and wellness programs.  AGIS’ employee surveys reveal that 44% of employees report being involved in a caregiving event either currently or recently.  This is after they have received education making them aware of all the tasks included in ‘caregiving’.  They just think they are “helping out” with their parents or family members. With caregiving having a 44% prevalence rate in the workplace, shouldn’t we do something to address the healthcare toll that caregiving takes on the workforce? As seen in the Caregiver Healthcosts study caregiving significantly increases the rates of cholesterol problems, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, kidney disease and heart disease. Proactively addressing caregiver awareness and education is critical to managing overall employee health costs and productivity losses. Remember that the number one problem with caregiving is that caregivers don’t self-identify.