Posts Tagged ‘Medicare’

An international group of scientists has identified three genetic regions that predispose Asian women who have never smoked to lung cancer. The finding provides further evidence that risk of lung cancer among never-smokers, especially Asian women, may be associated with certain unique inherited genetic characteristics that distinguishes it from lung cancer in smokers.

Learn about American Indian Populations, Tribes and Languages:

American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month goes back to 1916. Learn about populations, tribes and languages.

Many members of the military with student loans are spending way too much to pay off those loans. They are not accessing the student loan repayment protections and forgiveness benefits that have been granted to them under federal rules.

Unfortunately, those rules are extremely complex, and not all loan servicers are properly handling the loans or advising their clients. A report by the Consumer Financal Protection Bureau (PDF) shows that many servicemembers are paying thousands too much over the life of their loans.

The Action Guide for Servicemembers with Student Loans (PDF) shows you step-by-step how to take advantage of the repayment protections mandated by Congress.

Lower Your Interest Rates

If you’re an active duty servicemember, you are eligible to have the interest rate reduced by 6 percent on any loans you took prior to the start of your active-duty service.

Manage Federal Loans

Income-based repayment (IBR) and public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) are two options servicemembers should consider to help repay their loans.

IBR determines your monthly payment amounts based on your income and the size of your family.

PSLF forgives any remaining loan balance after you’ve made 10 years of on-time payments while working full time in public service.

If you’re on active-duty, you may also be eligible to defer your loan repayments for 180 days after your service ends.

Manage Private Loans

You’ll have to review the terms of your private loans carefully to find what options are available to you. Some companies may let you defer payments while you’re on active duty service. However, interest may continue to accumulate, increasing your overall debt amount. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends making payments on your private student loans if you can.

Learn more about how to manage your loan repayments and what options are available to you (PDF).

This is one of the eight tentacled snakes born at the National Zoo last month. The birth of the snakes was a surprise to zookeepers because the parents have not given birth to viable offspring in the last four years, despite past breeding attempts.

This species of snake is aquatic and gets its name from the tentacles on its nose that the reptiles use to sense fish in the water around them.

Photo from the National Zoo.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, announces that Kenneth Kendler, M.D. will deliver the 17th Annual Mark Keller Honorary Lecture. Kendler is a world-renowned expert on the genetics of psychiatric and substance abuse disorders. His presentation is called “The Genetic Epidemiology of Alcohol Use Disorders: A Current Perspective.”

Admission to National Parks is Free this Weekend:

You can visit any national park this weekend for free. Find a national park near you.

When planning ahead in these uncertain financial times, it’s important to think about long-term care for yourself and your loved ones. Long-term care (LTC) is a range of services and supports you may need to meet your health or personal needs over a long period of time. These services might include emergency response systems, senior centers, assisted living, nursing homes, transportation services, and many more.

Most long-term care assists people with activities of daily living like dressing, bathing and using the bathroom. Other common long-term care services include helping with housework, cooking, shopping, or even managing money.

Long-term care can be provided at home, in the community, in assisted living or in nursing homes. And it’s not just for seniors—if you have a significant health challenge, you may need long-term care at any age.

While there are a variety of ways to pay for long-term care, it is important to think ahead about how you will fund the care you may need. Generally, Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term care, but only for a medically necessary skilled nursing facility or home health care.

Long-term care insurance may be an option to help you and your family prepare ahead of time for the potential need for long-term care. There are a variety of plans available that vary in cost depending on what services you want covered and the age you begin coverage. Before you choose a plan you should take into account where and what kind of care you might need.

Be sure to take some time this month to check out your options and plan ahead, so you can rest assured that you and your family get the care you need. And if you’re a caregiver now for a family member with health challenges, find more resources and support.

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird photographed at the Quabbin Reservoir near South Athol, MA.

Photo by Bill Thompson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Image description: A full moon rises over Mt. Everts in Yellowstone National Park.

Photo by the Yellowstone National Park Service.

Researchers will study pre-symptomatic lung disease in infants and young children with cystic fibrosis (CF), under a new grant program of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Results could reveal how CF develops, which in turn could lead to interventions that delay or prevent disease progression. The studies also could provide critical information to help resolve competing theories on the origin and progression of CF-associated abnormalities.

Most people prepare for job interviews and plan before going on a trip or taking an exam. But how many people actually get ready before going to the doctor’s office?

Preparing for a doctor’s appointment will help you make better decisions about your health, especially if your diagnosis requires medicines or surgery. The following tips will help you get ready for your next appointment and take a more active role in improving your health.

Write down your symptoms/questions: Be honest and accurate when describing your symptoms, especially if your symptoms vary in frequency and intensity. Write them down in detail on a piece of paper and take it with you to your next appointment. You can also write down any questions you want to ask the doctor. Writing everything down will help you avoid forgetting things.

Ask questions about your tests: Your doctor might ask you to take one or more tests before making a diagnosis. Ask about the purpose of the test to understand how the results might impact your health. Also, remember to ask about the cost of the tests, whether they are covered by your insurance, and who will explain the results and when.

Understand your diagnosis: The doctor will be ready to make a diagnosis once she fully understands your symptoms and has the results from your tests. She might prescribe medications or other types of treatments. It’s important that you fully understand your diagnosis and treatment, and your doctor’s recommendations, so ask questions. If more questions come up while you’re at home, write them down and call your doctor or ask about them during your next doctor’s appointment. This will help you make better decisions about your health.

Get a second opinion: In some cases, you may want to get a second opinion after receiving a diagnosis or certain treatment options. In fact, most doctors like the idea of second opinions, just let them know you intend to get one. Second opinions can give you peace of mind. However, you may want to check your insurance policy to see if it’s covered.

Use an interpreter: Having good communication with your doctor will help avoid misunderstandings that could result in a wrong diagnosis. If English is not your first language and you’re more comfortable speaking in your native language, consider using an interpreter. Call your doctor to see if interpretation services are available. If not, go with someone who can help you with the language barrier. Be mindful when using children as interpreters as you might need to discuss things that are not appropriate for them. has more tips and resources on how to talk to your doctor so that you are ready for your next doctor’s appointment.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers have discovered a significant new mechanism of action for a class of chemotherapy drugs known as poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors, or PARP inhibitors. They have also identified differences in the toxic capabilities of three drugs in this class which are currently being tested in clinical trials. The study, by scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of NIH, and their colleagues, appeared in Cancer Research, Nov 1, 2012.

Don’t Forget about Ballot Measures on Election Day:

Use this map to find your state’s election website and learn about ballot measures in your area.

Image description: A cloud forms as an F/A-18 Hornet aircraft accelerates up to supersonic speed. Aircraft flying this fast push air up to the very limits of its speed, forming what’s called a bow shock in front of them. Similar bow shocks are also found in a variety of forms in space, and new research suggests they may contribute to heating of the material around them. Learn more about plasma waves from NASA.

Photo by Ensign John Gay, U.S. Navy.

Researchers have found 71 new human genes associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, two chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) that affect the small and large (colon) intestines of nearly 2.5 million people worldwide. This study brings the total number of known genes associated with IBD to 163.

People have increasing opportunities to participate in genetic testing that can indicate their range of risk for developing a disease. Receiving these results does not appreciably drive up or diminish test recipients’ demand for potentially costly follow-up health services, according to a study performed by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and colleagues at other institutions.

Older adults who drank coffee — caffeinated or decaffeinated — had a lower risk of death overall than others who did not drink coffee, according a study by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and AARP.

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