How your state lets insurance companies screw you

ScrewedYou did everything right. You picked a doctor within your health plan network. You made sure the hospital was in your network. Yet you suddenly face a bill for thousands of dollars for doctors or anesthesiologists who were not in your network. Bait and switch, anyone?

Only about a quarter of the states have even the smallest protection for this. A few states — California, Connecticut, Florida and New York — have passed laws since 2015 giving stronger protections. If you live in another state — your politicians care more about donated campaign money from insurance companies than they care about you.  Continue reading “How your state lets insurance companies screw you”

You’ll be back in the hospital within 30 days, unless…

hospitalBed_shutterstock_1090717301According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 20% of all medicare patients who experience a hospital stay will find themselves right back in the hospital within 30 days. And it won’t be from your original health problem. That’s 2.6 million of us a year(!)

About 64-71% of readmitted seniors are back in for something new — commonly including a wide range of problems such as “heart failure, pneumonia, COPD, infection, gastrointestinal conditions, mental illness, metabolic derangements, and trauma.” Doctors are recognizing that the hospital experience itself is making you sick, and are calling it Post-Hospital Syndrome.  Continue reading “You’ll be back in the hospital within 30 days, unless…”

Suddenly Schizophrenic at 78 – A Medical Mystery

Have you ever feared you might go insane? Perhaps you had a relative it happened to? Perhaps you worried about genetics?

In my case, it was an aunt of mine. I’ll call her Helga. When I was young, we’d see her for family holidays. She was fine then, married to a man she adored. She was an artist, a good one, who sold her paintings and taught art students on the side. I was impressed because she had a career at a time when that was extremely unusual. She had a daughter I liked and a chihuahua I hated (probably the only dog I’ve ever met I didn’t like).

Then I grew up and moved east and didn’t see her for almost three decades. Some time after her husband died in 1985, Helga became paranoid. She started thinking the neighbors were talking about her. Soon she was convinced they were shooting at her.  Continue reading “Suddenly Schizophrenic at 78 – A Medical Mystery”

Your Doc Doesn’t Know Which Drugs or Procedures to Give You

WorriedDoc_shutterstock_194691182And it’s not his or her fault. According to the NY Times, doctors have to “guess” whether or not you should be taking a certain drug. And, if so, what your dosage should be. And what your likely side effects will be. They also don’t know which medical procedures that work fine on younger people will not work well for you. Ditto your response to different medical devices.

Why? Because drug companies, hospitals, and medical device manufacturers don’t bother to test their products on the elderly. Even — believe it or not — medicines, procedures, or devices particularly targeting seniors! And the National Institutes of Health won’t make them.  Continue reading “Your Doc Doesn’t Know Which Drugs or Procedures to Give You”

Your brain is shrinking: How to protect yourself!

Brain shrinkage is normal as we age — it happens to us all. It sometimes correlates with reduced mental faculties — but not always. Despite that, some doctors, hospitals, and attorneys can (and have!) used this normal shrinkage as “proof” of mental deterioration. Here’s how to protect yourself from both the shrinkage and from those who would use it against you.

brain parts shutterstock_554925634-2
Shutterstock

Continue reading “Your brain is shrinking: How to protect yourself!”

Does rooting for a losing team make you (more?) depressed?

mr_met_sad_400x400I’ve been depressed the past two weeks. My team (the N.Y. Mets) has gone on an historically terrible stretch — losing more games in more terrible ways than any other team in baseball ever has(!)

So I looked up depression and seniors — all ready to post about the dangers of rooting for a losing team at a time in our lives where we are more susceptible to depression. And what did I find? Lies and coverups about whether aging leads to depression! Continue reading “Does rooting for a losing team make you (more?) depressed?”

Protect yourself from pharmacy ageism & greed

Pills_shutterstock_1032081463Have you turned 70 yet? If so, did you change from a smart, capable human being  into a blithering incompetent that very day?

Me neither.

Yet my pharmacy decided that’s exactly what happened to me. They started sending me robo-telephone calls telling me a prescription of mine was past due to be refilled. Just because I was now 70. Calls they didn’t make when I was 69.  Continue reading “Protect yourself from pharmacy ageism & greed”

Hate exercise? Motivation “tricks” that actually work!

HateExercisingYes, we all know we should be exercising. Study after study tells us exercise will protect our hearts and our brains. It’s shown to prevent/delay dementia, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and (it seems) almost anything else that could befall us.

So why did I spend the last 5 months not exercising at all? It’s not inconvenient. I have a treadmill, weights, a mini-trampoline, and even a karate punching/kicking bag. They’re in my basement den, and I passed them every time I went to and from my car in the garage.

And yet… there they stood. Ignored. Perhaps you’re doing the same? Continue reading “Hate exercise? Motivation “tricks” that actually work!”

NEVER go into a nursing home to recover. You may never escape!

There is a lot written about nursing homes involuntarily discharging “difficult” residents. But nobody seems to be writing about the opposite problem!

My father was admitted to a nursing home (rated best in the area) for “therapy” after a week in the hospital. The nursing home (and his complicit doctor) both turned a functioning attorney into a blithering idiot who saw butterflies buzzing around him. And they threatened his wife when she tried to get him discharged.  Continue reading “NEVER go into a nursing home to recover. You may never escape!”

Prevent (or delay) Alzheimers or dementia?

Are you terrified of Alzheimers? I am.

Alzheimers was just a word to me until about 11 years ago. I even joked about it. “Early Alzheimers” I would joke if I forgot something. But 11 years ago…

  1. My father, who had been complaining about his memory for decades (while still working full-time), was suddenly so bad he couldn’t remember his kids.
  2. I started teaching full-time. I’d never had to present to this tough an audience. Present to business leaders? No problem. Present to 19-22 year-old college students — Whew!!
  3. I turned 60.

Continue reading “Prevent (or delay) Alzheimers or dementia?”