News from the Reference Desk Category: Health

The New Medicare ID Cards

In the last few months, new Medicare ID cards have been sent to recipients across the United States.  As several policies change and the amount of scams targeting Medicare users increase significantly, staying informed is paramount to maintaining good health and safe accounts.  Take a look at these AARP articles detailing information about the new IDs and potential scams centered around them:

MEDICARE ID CARDS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

MEDICARE ID SCAMS

Beware of New Medicare Card Scam!

Getting Help to Stay in Your Home

Many individuals would like to stay in their homes as they grow older but need help to make this happen.  For people living in the Northwest Suburbs that help is now available.  North West Housing Partnership is administering the CAPABLE (Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders) program.  The goal of this program is to help senior citizens remain in their homes as long as possible.  This is a pilot program modeled on one developed at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and is the first of its kind in the Chicago area. The program helps seniors who are cognitively intact and able to stand (with or without assistance) to overcome barriers to independent living.  CAPABLE includes the services of an occupational therapist, a registered nurse and a vetted and insured handyman.  Seniors in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Mount Prospect, Palatine and Rolling Meadows are eligible to receive a limited number of at home visits and up to a day of repairs by the handyman.  These services occur over a four-month time frame.  The only costs are for the handyman work and materials.  To apply for the CAPABLE program, seniors or their caregivers must contact North West Housing Partnership by calling (847) 969-0561 or by emailing Robyn Sandys, the executive director of North West Housing Partnership, at robynsandys@nwhp.net.

EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens

Now that the days are at their longest and the sun’s rays are the most direct, proper use of effective sunscreen is essential and insures that summer fun in the sun does not cause skin damage. To select the most protective products as well as the least harmful, consult the Environmental Working Group’s annual Guide to Sunscreens.

From the EWG website:

The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.
We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.
Since 2007, when EWG published its first Sunscreen Guide, many sun protection products sold in the U.S. are safer and federal regulators have cracked down on some of the worst phony marketing claims. But our investigation of more than 880 beach and sport sunscreens, 480 moisturizers and 120 lip products with SPF for our 11th annual guide found that serious concerns remain.

Health Databases

We recently let go of a subscription to our web resource Consumer Health Complete. However, in anticipation of this, we have bulked up the Gale Virtual Reference Library health books. You can easily search through trusted 150 or more trusted titles in health and wellness. Here is the link to that: GVRL Medicine Books. We also have Consumer Reports for nearly continuous coverage of their reliable research into health fads, prescription drugs, understanding health insurance, finding comfortable mattresses, and much more. Here is a link to that: Consumer Reports. If you think we should get more health books for GVRL, please let us know because we are always looking to improve the collection.

Insurance Enrollment Assistance

It’s the time of year when many health insurance decisions must be made. If you need assistance in determining the best options, here’s some help:

Medicare Open Enrollment:

The Medicare Open Enrollment period began on Oct. 15 and runs until Dec. 7. The Illinois Dept. on Aging offers assistance through the department’s Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP.) Their counselors can explain the drug, health, and supplemental plans that are available. The nearest SHIP sites are at Arlington Heights Senior Center (847/253-5532) and Wheeling Township (847/259-7730.) For additional SHIP information, call 800/252-8966 or click here.

The Village of Mount Prospect Human Services Department also offers assistance for Medicare Part D (prescription drugs) enrollment. Call 847/870-5680 to set up an appointment.

Affordable Care Act Marketplace:

The enrollment period for uninsured people to sign up for coverage through the Illinois Marketplace runs from Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015. If you want your insurance coverage to start on Jan. 1, 2015, you must enroll by Dec. 15, 2014.

The Library is offering several programs to assist those using the Illinois Marketplace. Representatives from Get Covered Illinois will present an overview program,” Affordable Care Act Update,” on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. The Library will also host two enrollment events with trained navigators from Get Covered Illinois to provide assistance in navigating the site and signing up for insurance. The enrollment events are on Dec. 13, 2014, and Jan. 31, 2015,  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 847/392-8682 ext. 227. Walk-ins are also welcome.