Monthly Archives: October 2015

Stop Scammers: 5 Tips to Protect Yourself during Open Enrollment

Scammers are ready to take advantage of those who may not realize they are giving personal and financial information to fraudulent people. Here we offer 5 tips to help to protect their identity and finances this enrollment season:
1. Trust your instincts. If it feels off, then it probably is a scam. When someone calls you on the phone claiming to be a government employee and needing to know your
personal information, such as asking for you to verify your Social Security number or requesting credit card information – STOP! No federal worker will call you asking for this information. Do not give out this information, especially over the phone.
2. Keep Medicare cards private and in a safe place. Treat your Medicare card the way
you would your Social Security card—in a safe place, and only on your person when you absolutely need it. For example, if you’re going to see a doctor or a pharmacy for the first time, bring your card to verify your coverage. Other than that, it should be kept in a safe place, not in your wallet.
3. Discern legitimate mail from scam mail. Mailings and letters from government
agencies, such as Medicare and Social Security, will have an official government seal and/or logo on it. Keep this mail, don’t overlook it. Other flyers, letters, or postcards claiming to be from “Medicare” that don’t have these seals/logos should be set aside. Do not respond to them unless you can verify that they are legitimate.
4. When in doubt, call them out. When someone calls you and asks for personal health or financial information, do not feel obligated to respond. Ask them for their name, number, address, and the name of their agency/company. Tell them that you first need to verify who they are representing. Someone who is legitimately trying to assist you will provide you with the information and understand your need to be a safe consumer.
5. Report it. For every one person who reports a fraudulent scam, there are likely 10 other people who experienced the same thing but either were afraid to speak up or
didn’t know who to call. Beyond telling a friend or a family member about your
experience, report when you believe that you have been the victim of a scam to an
official including the police and the Federal Trade Commission, so appropriate action can be taken and to help prevent others from becoming victims. You can file a complaint online, using FTC’s Complaint Assister. You can also report suspected fraud to your local Senior Medicare Patrol office at 877-272-8720 or their web site at http://www.smpresource.org.

Flu Season

While flu seasons can vary in severity, during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease.

Actions To Take This Flu Season:

  1. Get Your Flu Shot
    The best way to prevent the flu is with a flu vaccine.  Vaccination is especially important for people 65 years and older because they are at high risk for complications from flu. Flu vaccines are often updated to keep up with changing viruses and also immunity wanes over a year so annual vaccination is needed to ensure the best possible protection against influenza.People 65 years and older have two flu shots available to choose from – a regular dose flu vaccine and a newer flu vaccine designed specifically for people 65 and older with a higher dose. (The nasal spray vaccine is not approved for use in people older than 49 years.) The “high dose vaccine” contains 4 times the amount of antigen as the regular flu shot and is associated with a stronger immune response following vaccination (higher antibody production).
  2. Practice good health habits including covering coughs, washing hands often, and avoiding people who are sick.
  3. Seek medical advice quickly if you develop flu symptoms to see whether you might need medical evaluation or treatment with antiviral drugs. It’s very important that antiviral drugs be used early to treat flu in people who are very sick with flu (for example, people who are in the hospital), and people who are sick with flu and have a greater chance of getting serious flu complications, like people 65 and older (see box for full list of high risk persons/conditions).

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

for more information or to track the flu in our area go to flu.gov