Health In the NewsTHE CRYSTAL LADY'S


Health In The News
by Joan Estelle High



Medicare and Private Insurance Plans
By Joan Estelle High

Every year, as a senior citizen on Medicare
I am require to make a choice between Medicare and Private Insurance Company.
I can stay put and just kept the combination I am already signed up for.
Other wise,  I am require to read  an unlimited number of  confusing health plans .
Then after I wade through all these piles of  paper,
I am suppose to send my choice in good for a year.
However sometimes things get screwed up
and  when a  private company makes a mistake,
which must be very rare,
 there does not  seem to be a way to straighten out the mess

Medicare itself has been a life saver for us as we are just on the edge of poverty.
 Until our total income is reduced by the cost of the health programs ,
It reduces our income by almost  $600.00 a month.
That is about 30 % of our income.
After  they take out the cost of our Medicare and the cost of the prescription plans,
We still  must also find a way to pay for the insurance for the Medicare gaps.
 Fortunately  my husband has all three programs.
For some reason when I applied for the third insurance,  Blue Cross, never responded
So I did not get enroll in a Medicare gap policy.
 He has serious health problems,  but most of his medical bills
are paid once the deductible is met.

In  November I started investigating some of the plans Humana sells.
I thought that I asked all  the right questions.
Their  agent, Mr. Davis  seemed  helpful.
I finally settled on a PPO program.
 I told Mr. Davis  I did not want a deductible on the prescriptions
and I  definite would not take the plan if I had to be in  a “network”
I sat and listened  to him call the Hamana  office to verify that my local doctor.
was in their network. That was verified so I signed up.

So  I received a Humana  insurance  card
It was on my first doctor appointment
that I found out that the  doctor  they had signed me up for was not the  local doctor that
 I was using.  My doctor was not in their network.
 In stead of a $15.00 co-payment,
 I  have a $500.00 deductible and a 40 % copayment.
Also since then I have found out that my prescription plan
 not only has a $125.00 deductible but only pays on generic drugs.
 I had to quit my brand blood pressure,
I got put on a generic that only costs $ 4.00 .
Now I am on 3 generic blood medicine to try to control my blood pressure. Figures!
To make the mess worse I have been told that my Dr. office has been bought by the local hospital and that Hopkins County Hospital is not in Humana’s Network . 
I can still use the hospital but it will cost me $500.00 plus 40 % of the hospital bill.
My doctor was never in their network
and the doctor they assigned to may be in Kilgore Texas.
They have  offered to find me a new doctor. Suggested that I should try and sign up
my doctors office with Humana and I can use a unknown hospital in another town.
Which means I would have to have a doctor in another town.
this is pure P.S.

I am a fairly intelligent woman of advance age
and if this company can screw me up how do
they think that some  older people can handle so much information.
I can quit Humana and go back on Medicare,
 however then I won’t have a prescription plan.
I also am pass due for some important tests
but without proper insurance I cannot  have them this year.

Please tell you congressman that they have to simplify this and make the choices easier.
Anybody that thinks a profit making
 insurance company
 is going to be able to handle our health problems Is sadly mistaken.
They are more screwed up then the government that gave this cash cow to them.




News To Watch
Keep an eye on this one. They want to over haul Medicare.
If I understand what I read they want to take Medicare private with a type of
voucher system that would put this program into the hands of insurance companies.
Seniors would get higher costs and less care. The insurance companies, who are
business to make money, would rake the money in by the buckets.|
This plan would also effect Medicare grants to states.

The opinions stated on this page are mine unless stated to belong to another person.
I just tell it like I see it!
You are free to disagree with me!

If you have any information or comment please feel free to contact me.


Alcohol and Caffeine
by Joan Estelle High

Apparently the latest fad of adding Caffeine to Alcoholic drinks is stirring up quite a bit of talk here in Texas as it has already caused four other  states to ban the beverages. Washington, Michigan, Utah, and Oklahoma have already banned them.

 Last week some teenager from the Dallas area  were out joy riding and drinking.
The end results was the death of a 14 year old girl who was thrown from the vehicle ,
when the 14 year old driver crashed the vehicle. Another passenger age 16 was not hurt. Now the boy driving is charged with intoxication manslaughter charges.
Although  these kids were underage they managed to buy
this concoction at a local convenience  store.

 The Food and Drug Administration is looking in to these canned drinks to determine if caffeine is an unsafe additive to alcoholic drinks. As of last year they were advising manufactures that they were studying if the practice was unsafe.

If you have teenagers or college age  children you need  to keep an eye out for  these products as they are very appealing to under age drinkers.  There is some evidence that students who combine caffeine and alcohol are more likely to end up with  related injuries.  One of the main problem is the size of the drink. 
The 23.5ounce  fruit flavored drink has 12 percent alcohol. It is like drinking 4 beers.
When the caffeine wears off it packs a punch like a mule.
One of the manufacture said they would pull  be pulling  "Four Loko" off the market
  and remove the caffeine.  Other brands are  "Moonshot, Max and Joose"


News For Breast Cancers
By Joan Estelle High
It is a very scary thing for a women to find a lump in her breast tissue. Getting a
mammogram is  usually the next step.  Getting  Mammograms  yearly  is causing
some disagreement between  the health care professionals. That and PSA tests for
men's prostate problems maybe given further study.  When you are young with
firm breast mammograms range from uncomfortable to hurt. I used to think that
the man that invented them should have his testicle x-rayed that way. The problem
with them is false negative, they miss some cancer, false positives they find other things
than cancer and they expose women to more radiation than was originally thought.
If something suspicious is found the next step is getting a biopsy.

In the past and currently the treatment for breast cancer
 has been a trial by fire for women.
Although there are a few men who get breast cancer this disease is life threaten mostly to women. I remember as a young women hearing the screams of a neighbor lady who
was suffering some thing awful with breast cancer. Surgery had left her arm swollen to twice the size.  Thank God we have come a long way down the road,  from those days 60 years ago.   Now there is a 90 percent survival  rate,  if the cancer is found early.
Yet only lung cancer  kills more women each year.

Mastectomies are not the only treatment used today. Surgery, chemo, Radiation,
immunotherapy , vaccines can be part of the treatments as well. They are looking
at possibility that some of the bone drug used  for bone thinning osteoporosis may
be adapted to use in preventing breast cancer in healthy women. At this time these
medicines  have sided effects that can cause bone and joint pain.  In rare cases
they have caused the patient being treated to have their jawbone decay.

A interesting study that sounds like something from a Sci. Fi.  story is
using microwaves  with chemo to shrinks breast cancer which may eliminate
the need for mastectomies  up to 90 %,  in as little as 5 years.
This could be a major break through in preventing  lost of a women's breast.
Clinical trials are scheduled for this coming year.
 (Don't try this at home. It is not an microwave oven as you know it.)

Researcher looking for the cure and prevention of breast cancer have to take
a lot of different  factors involved. Age, weight, smoking, diet can all be part of the
problem. Women who drink regularly have a 50 percent greater chance of getting
breast cancer than women who do not drink. Of course drinking also increase your
rate of liver, head and neck, esophageal cancers as well. So even if you have
heard that light drinking might help your heart, the damage it does to other organs is worth thinking about. The risk facto is directly tied in to genetic factors.


January Update 
Health Reform

by Joan Estelle High


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