Hepatitis â âinflammation of the liverâ â is often caused by viruses which affect millions of people worldwide and kill close to 1.4 million people every year.
Hepatitis is contagious. For example, the Hepatitis B virus spreads through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. People can also get infected by coming in contact with a contaminated object, where the virus can live for up to 7 days. Hepatitis B can range from being a mild illness, lasting a few weeks (acute), to a serious long-term illness (chronic) that can lead to liver disease or liver cancer.
Fortunately, Medicare can help keep you protected from the most common types of viral hepatitis strainsâHepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers Hepatitis B shots, which usually are given as a series of 3 shots over a 6-month period (you need all 3 shots for complete protection).
Medicare covers a one-time Hepatitis C screening test if your primary care doctor or practitioner orders it and you meet one of these conditions:
Youâre at high risk because you have a current or past history of illicit injection drug use
You had a blood transfusion before 1992, or
You were born between 1945 and 1965
July 28 is World Hepatitis Day. Worldwide 400 million people are living with Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C. Find out how you can prevent hepatitis and save 4,000 lives a day by visiting the World Health Allianceâs World Hepatitis Day web page.
Did you know Medicare and Medicaid turn 50 this week? The landscape of health care in America changed forever on July 30, 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark amendment to the Social Security Act, giving life to the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Medicare and Medicaid save lives. They help people live longer and provide the peace of mind that comes with affordable health care thatâs there when you need it.
Itâs easy to forget that before 1966, roughly half of all seniors were uninsured and many disabled people, families with children, pregnant women and low-income working Americans were unable to afford the medical care they needed to stay healthy and productive.
Today, Medicare and Medicaid cover nearly 1 out of every 3 Americansâthatâs well over 100 million people. Itâs highly likely that you, someone in your family or someone you know has Medicare, Medicaid or both. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of these lifesaving programs lets us reflect on how they transformed the delivery of health care in the United States.
More than 55 million Americans depend on Medicare to cover hospital stays, lab tests and critical supplies like wheelchairs, as well as prescription drugs. Medicare also covers 23 types of preventive services, including flu shots and diabetes screenings. Some of these services are free, and for others you only have a small copayment or pay the deductible.Medicaid provides comprehensive coverage to more than 70 million eligible children, pregnant women, low-income adults and people living with disabilities. It covers essential services like annual check-ups, care for new and expecting mothers, and dental care for kids from low-income families.
How has Medicare or Medicaid (or both) helped your life or the life of someone you care about? Whether youâve just enrolled or have been covered for decades, weâd love to hear from you. You can share your Medicare or Medicaid story through our Medicare.gov website, or connect with us on Twitter or our newly-launched Facebook page.
Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover everything. If you need certain services that Medicare doesn’t cover, you’ll have to pay for them yourself unless you have other insurance that covers these services.
Even if Medicare covers a service or item, you will have to pay your deductibles, coinsurance, and or copayments.
Some of the items and services that Medicare doesn’t cover include:
Long Term Care
Routine Eye Exam (vision exam or exam related to prescribing glasses)
Are you the kind of shopper who reads reviews or looks at ratings before you make a purchase? Wouldnât it be helpful to have the same kind of ratings when choosing a home health agency?
Choosing a home health service can be overwhelming. Agencies differ in the safety and quality of care they provide. Thatâs why weâve made it easier to use the information on our Home Health Compare site by adding quality of patient care star ratings.
Compare websites are a valuable source of information about the quality of health care providers and facilities. The quality of patient care star ratings weâve just added to the Home Health Compare website summarize each agencyâs performance across 9 quality measures, including things like:
Agencies get a rating from 1 to 5 stars, with 1 as the lowest score and 5 as the highest. Agencies get a higher star rating when they follow recommended care practices for more patients, and when more of their patients show improvement.
Sharing patientsâ experience of care through star ratings is just one example of how weâre committed to helping you make health care decisions based upon available information. We just made it easier to use the information on our Hospital Compare site by adding star ratings for patientsâ experience of care. Our Nursing Home Compare site already uses star ratings to help consumers compare nursing homes and choose one with quality in mind. Physician Compare has started to include star ratings in certain situations for physician large group practices, and we added star ratings to our Dialysis Facility Compare site to help to make data on dialysis centers easier to understand and use.
The methodology for calculating the Quality of Patient Care Star Rating is based on a combination of individual measure rankings and the statistical significance of the difference between the performance of an individual HHA on each measure (risk-adjusted, if an outcome measure) and the performance of all HHAs. An HHAâs quality measure values are compared to national agency medians, and its rating is adjusted to reflect the differences relative to other agenciesâ quality measure values. These adjusted ratings are then combined into one overall star rating that summarizes performance across all 9 individual measures. The details of the calculation are included in the methodology report referenced above.)
A healthy life is a good life. The Medicare benefits youâve earned ensure that you can receive the care you need, when you need it.
And, when it comes to Medicare benefits, the most important thing to remember is to apply for them at age 65.
On your behalf, advocacy groups asked us to place a greater emphasis on information about enrolling in Medicare at age 65, and specifically, about the potential problems that arise if you donât.
In the past few months, in conjunction with the White House Conference on Aging, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Social Security Administration have strengthened many of our communications products to ensure that all people nearing age 65 hear the following message:
Three months before your 65th birthday, you should apply for Medicare benefits. At that time, youâll be asked to elect if you also want Medicare Part B that helps pay for doctorsâ services and many other medical services and supplies that hospital insurance doesnât cover. If you donât sign up at age 65, and you then decide to enroll later, you may pay a lifetime late enrollment penalty and you may have a gap in medical insurance coverage. There are exceptions, but play it safe, and ask your Medicare or Social Security representative about your personal situation.
To make this message clear, our two agencies have already:
Updated the text accompanying Medicare cards to emphasize the importance of enrolling in Part B when youâre first eligible to avoid paying a penalty for as long as you have Medicare coverage.
Medicare celebrates its golden anniversary on July 30th. 50 years ago, on July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare law into effect. The program started in January of 1966, when millions of Americans 65 and older signed for Medicare Parts A & B. It has protected millions of people from poor health, premature death and bankruptcy!
There have been changes made to Medicare since 1965. President Nixon made the first major change to Medicare when he signed a law expanding coverage to include people under 65 with disabilities, and people with End Stage Renal Disease. Years later, it was expanded to include people with ALS.
The next big change came when President George W. Bush signed the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, which added the optional prescription drug benefit (Medicare Part D).