Celebrate Earth Day—Medicare style!

More than 190 countries celebrate Earth Day on April 22—a day for encouraging awareness and action to help protect our environment. How can you make your voice heard this year? Let Medicare help! Sign up for a MyMedicare.gov account and take advantage of Medicare’s electronic resources to help you manage your health care and get rid of unnecessary paper.

Get your “Medicare & You” handbook electronically

Using opioids safely

Doctors may prescribe opioids, a class of drugs used to treat pain, after surgery or an injury. Although opioids can be an important part of treatment, they have serious risks like addiction, abuse, and overdose, especially if used continuously.

That’s why Medicare is working with doctors and pharmacists to perform safety checks to help you use opioids safely. Medicare is also using new drug management programs to look for potentially high-risk opioid use.

These checks and programs generally won’t apply to you if you have cancer, are in hospice, get palliative or end-of-life care, or if you live in a long-term care facility.

Know your diabetes risk—take this quick test!

One in three Americans is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, a serious disease that can lead to complications like kidney disease, blindness, and amputations. But type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to be permanent– you can delay or even prevent it with healthy lifestyle changes. Many people with diabetes don’t know that they have it, but Medicare covers screening tests so you can find out if you do.

Knowledge is power when it comes to kidney health

Did you know that approximately 90% of people with kidney disease don’t even know they have it? The best treatment is early detection when kidney disease can be slowed or stopped. 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, 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.

Make Healthy Choices—Medicare can help!

People with diabetes may have heard that carbohydrates aren’t good for them. However, many carbohydrates provide vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for the body, and can be part of a healthful diet for people with or without diabetes. If you need help choosing foods that will support your health goals, 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, individual or group nutritional therapy services, and follow-up visits to check on your progress. Find out if you qualify for these services.

Become an informed Medicare consumer

Each day, you make important choices about your finances, health, privacy, and more.

During National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 39, 2019, non-profit organizations and government agencies can help you take advantage of your rights and make better-informed choices.

Here are some things you can do to become an informed Medicare consumer:

  1. 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.

5 ways to help prevent colon cancer

Colorectal cancer is one of the leading cancer-related killers. It’s 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.

Colon cancer is generally treatable when caught early enough. 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 many preventive services including colorectal cancer screenings to help you detect and prevent colorectal cancer, and you’ll pay nothing for most of them.

Spring into action—practice prevention

Spring is a welcome reminder of new beginnings. Longer hours of daylight, blooming flowers, and warmer weather all point to a new season, and a new reason, to 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.

Become a donor—save lives

Every day, 20 people die while waiting for an organ transplant. Just one donor can save and heal up to 75 lives through organ and tissue donation. Today, there are more than 114,000 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:

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

Go red to support women fighting heart disease

Every minute, heart disease takes the life of a woman in the United States, even though nearly 80% of cardiac events can be prevented. 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 1st. Support the women in your life and #WearRedandGive.

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