Did You Get Something That Looks Like a Medicare Card in the Mail?

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The envelope says its from Medicare. The card inside looks very official. It’s got your name on it, and a bunch of numbers and letters that don’t look at all familiar.

But – can you trust it? Is this new Medicare card for real?  Can you use it with your doctor and other medical needs?

Why on earth, after all these years, would they just send you a new Medicare card for no apparent reason?

The answers are yes, yes, yes…. and for ...

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Black Box Warnings May Save Your Life

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This often comes as a major surprise for patients: that when a prescription drug is known to be effective, and is approved by the FDA for some patients, that doesn’t mean it’s effective and safe for all patients.

It’s true that some people may be allergic, or the drug might have been prescribed to treat the wrong diagnosis, or the patient may not take the drug properly and over (or under) dose….

…But those situations are not what I’m addressing in this ...

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No Diagnosis? It May Not Matter

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Years ago I watched a movie called Serendipity.  It starred Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack. It was a “romcom” – and adorable – and it occurs to me that it sets the stage for today’s post.

The story was about two young people who met in Bloomingdales while shopping, and through a series of events, they were attracted to each other, but never exchanged names. They then lost track of each other. Over the years they continued to ...

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5 Little Words Save Money on Healthcare

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‘Tis the season of making health insurance choices, and the nexus of money and healthcare is on our minds. We’re focused on making sure we find a policy that covers us, but doesn’t over-cover us so we pay too much. It’s about those things that can be planned (the drugs we take, the regular medical appointments we keep). Plus an extra accounting for those things we may not plan for, but may have to deal with, like accidents, or grave ...

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Here – Let Us Help You Pay Us Way Too Much!

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Just when you think you’ve heard it all…. Now hospitals are “helping” their patients with finances, too.

If you don’t give that much thought, then it seems like a great idea. “We recognize you owe us more money than you can afford, Mr. Johnson. So we’re going to help you figure out how to pay for it!”

Yes, according to Stat, Financial counselors help patients navigate costly care, you, too, can sit with a hospital’s financial counselor to see ...

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“Do Not Quote Me”

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A few years ago I was at a picnic with a friend who is an orthopedist. The question was raised about whether advice given by doctors is always in the best interests of the patient.

“Do not quote me,” was how he began his reply. At least that alerted me that he would give an honest opinion.

What followed were a half dozen examples of times he had been forced to adjust his recommendations to patients because a number of hurdles stood ...

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My Sibling Has Disabilities, My Parents Have Died – Now What?

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This is such a difficult scenario, yet it happens every day.

A child, perhaps mentally or physically disabled from birth, or one who might have suffered an accident earlier in life, grows into adulthood, having been cared for by very loving parents who did everything they could possibly do to care for their child.

As everyone grows older, eventually both parents die, leaving behind the child with disabilities, now an adult, who has outlived his or her parents. Maybe the parents have ...

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The Dangers of Having Great Health Insurance

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On occasion, in a conversation with new acquaintance, they’ll ask me what I do for a living. I tell them I established and run the most comprehensive directory of independent, private health and patient advocates and care managers online, supported by a marvelous professional organization whose members populate the directory.

“Independent and private?” they ask me. “I don’t need an advocate like that because I have great health insurance!”

“Oh but you’re wrong!” I ...

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Will the Waiter Spit In Your Soup?

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You’ve heard this fear before – that if you are too demanding of your waiter, or challenge him or her in any way, then he might spit in your soup as a form of revenge.

Unfortunately, too many of us think the same of our doctors. As if, if we are difficult patients, then the doctor might metaphorically spit in our treatment soup; in other words, not provide for us what we need.

Whether or not you realize it, you may be ...

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How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Independent Advocate?

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Did someone say HIRE?

Yes – hire. Independent health or patient advocates provide services you’ll usually pay for from your pocket, not covered by insurance.

You might ask – Hey! Why aren’t they covered by insurance – or free?  We’ve discussed that previously, explaining that you WANT to pay for the service yourself, or at least let someone who has your best interests at heart be the payer. A loved one, or an employer – they do have your best ...

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