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Welcome to Medicare

Cate Kortzeborn

Cate Kortzeborn

By Cate Kortzeborn

Have you recently enrolled in Medicare, or will you in the near future?

If so, let me be the first to say, welcome! What should your first step be as a new Medicare beneficiary? I recommend taking advantage of the “Welcome to Medicare” preventive-care benefit.

During the first 12 months that you have Medicare Part B, you can get a “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit with your doctor. This visit includes a review of your medical and social history related to your health. Your doctor will also offer education and counseling about preventive-care services, including certain disease screenings, shots, and referrals for other care, if needed.

When you make your appointment, let your doctor’s office know that you’d like to schedule your “Welcome to Medicare” visit. You pay nothing for this if your doctor or other qualified health care provider accepts Medicare payment rates.

If your doctor or other health care provider performs additional tests or services during the visit that aren’t covered under this preventive benefit, you may have to pay coinsurance, and the Part B deductible may apply.

Here’s what your doctor will do during your “Welcome to Medicare” visit:

  • Record and evaluate your medical and family history, current health conditions, and prescriptions.
  • Check your blood pressure, vision, weight, and height to get a baseline for your care.
  • Make sure you’re up-to-date with preventive services such as cancer screenings and shots.
  • Order further tests, depending on your general health and medical history.

Following the visit, your doctor will give you a plan or checklist with free screenings and preventive services that you need.

You should do a little preparation before you sit down with your doctor. Pull together your medical records, including immunization records. Even if your current physician does the visit, gather as much medical information as you can to make sure nothing is overlooked.

Try to learn as much as you can about your family’s health history before your appointment. The information will help you and your doctor understand what screenings you should get and what to watch for in the future.

And bring a list of any prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements that you currently take, how often you take them, and why.

If you’ve had Medicare Part B for longer than 12 months, you can get a yearly “Wellness” visit to develop or update a personalized plan to prevent disease or disability based on your current health and risk factors.

Medicare covers this visit once every 12 months.

Your doctor or other provider will ask you to fill out a questionnaire, called a “Health Risk Assessment,” as part of this visit. Answering these questions can help you and your provider develop a personalized prevention plan to help you stay healthy and get the most out of your visit. The questions are based on years of medical research and advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When you make your appointment, let your doctor’s office know that you’d like to schedule your yearly “Wellness” visit.

Note: Your first “Wellness” visit can’t take place within 12 months of your enrollment in Part B or your “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit. However, you don’t need to have had a “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit to qualify for a “Wellness” visit.

As with the “Welcome” visit, you pay nothing for the yearly “Wellness” visit if your doctor or other qualified health care provider accepts Medicare payment rates.

If your doctor or other health care provider performs additional tests or services during the same visit that aren’t covered under this preventive benefit, you may have to pay coinsurance, and the Part B deductible may apply.


Cate Kortzeborn is Medicare’s acting regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

They Talked Back!

The Chicken Man

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- The “Chicken Man” joined “The Lighthouse For The Blind” in vouching for “Captain Mike’s” Fishing Association. A Congressional candidate explained why and a major Juneteenth event was announced during Sunday’s Empire Talks Back” (ETB) radio show.

ETB guests pictured above are (L to R): “The Chicken Man” Albert Okura, Founder of Juan Pollo Chicken; Emily and her grandmother Sandra Wood, the Executive Director I.E. Lighthouse For The Blind;“Captain Mike” of the California Fishing Association and Trudy Coleman, Chairperson of the Pomona valley Juneteenth Festival. Congressional candidate, Kaisar Ahmed is not in the photo but is on the show.

ETB is broadcast each Sunday morning at 10 a.m. on KCAA 1050-AM Radio. You can hear and see Sunday’s show via the following link www.ustream.tv/search?q=empire+talks+back.

 

Heroes Assemble at the San Bernardino County Library

348sThe San Bernardino County Library invites you to strengthen your superpowers and participate in our Summer Reading Program: Heroes Assemble!

Throughout the summer, we will be hosting amazing programs and activities as well as giving away fantastic rewards at all 32 of our branch libraries. Participating is easy: fly in to your local San Bernardino County Library to sign-up and become part of this read for rewards program to earn exciting weekly incentives. Reading for rewards is just the beginning. The Library will be hosting various super hero-themed programs including storytime, crafts, discovery time as well as awesome performers who provide exciting, entertaining and educational shows the whole family can enjoy. The Summer Reading Program is open to all ages so come on in and sign up the entire family. The best part – this program is absolutely free!

The fun doesn’t stop there. The County Library will offer special drawings for children and teens who meet the County Library Reading Challenge. The children’s challenge is to read at least 45 books or the equivalent in pages and minutes to receive a ticket. For teens, the challenge is to read at least eight books or the equivalent to get a ticket. New this year: each kid and teen who reached the challenge will receive a ticket for a chance to win a Kindle Fire 7” tablet at their branch library. Also, for every 25 items checked out this summer, receive a ticket for our countywide drawing to win one of the grand prizes which include Samsung Galaxy Tablets, a WiiU gaming system, a super hero-themed bike, and a kids Spider-Man Dune Buggy.

Check out the San Bernardino County Library website for details on the kick-off events and program information. Come sign up for the program and be a part of our Summer of Reading Challenge to increase summer reading participation among youth by 15 percent throughout the county.

The San Bernardino County Library System is a dynamic network of 32 branch libraries that serves a diverse population over a vast geographic area. The County library system strives to provide equal access to information, technology, programs, and services for all people who call San Bernardino County home.

The library plays a key role in the achievement of the Countywide Vision, by contributing to educational, cultural, and historical development of our County community.

For more information on the San Bernardino County Library system, please visit www.sbclib.org/ or call (909) 387-2220.