Insurance plans help seniors deal with summer heat

This summer has been the hottest on record around the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 650 people die from heat-related illnesses each year in the US, although the actual numbers are higher and rising. Older adults are more vulnerable to heatstroke and are more likely to be affected, but insurance benefits and community products can help you cope with heatstroke.

Older adults are more likely to suffer from heat-related illnesses, such as fatigue and fever, because:

  • They cannot change their body temperature quickly.
  • Some medications interfere with body temperature.
  • Some chronic diseases interfere with body temperature regulation.

Along with this, your heart works harder, you become dehydrated (and risk damage to your kidneys), and asthma and chronic lung disease can get worse in hot weather.

Special benefits for the terminally ill

“Starting in 2019, Medicare Advantage plans will be able to offer benefits for their plans that are related to health causes,” said Mallory Freitag Hejja, director of the Medicare Benefits Program. Houston-Galveston Area Council. “This includes support and things like maintenance, feeding, pest control and transportation.”

Air conditioning and air conditioning units can also be dug under these additional plans, called Special Benefits for Patients with Chronic Diseases. By federal law, additional benefits “must be expected to improve or maintain the health or overall performance of enrollees with chronic illnesses.”

In addition, individual insurance companies have the option of offering a variety of chronic benefits aimed at improving the health and functioning of those with chronic illnesses who are at risk of hospitalization and advanced care. Benefits are extras offered by Medicare Advantage and range from groceries to helping service dogs.

Cigna offers free rides to cold storage

This summer, Cigna Medicare Advantage beneficiaries can call the number on the back of their customer ID to get a ride to a refrigerated or air-conditioned community center.

The ride is free for those enrolled in the transportation benefit, which includes transportation year-round to hospitals, doctors’ offices and pharmacies.

“Cigna is committed to helping seniors stay safe and healthy, and free rides in the cooler are one of the most important ways to prevent summer heat-related illnesses,” said Dr. Joseph B. Sobel, MD, chief medical officer of Cigna Medicare. .

Grants and subsidies

Good maintenance has chosen another way to help fight the heat. Through its Extended Health Care Benefit, Wellcare offers $50 to $125 Visa debit cards, called “Flex Cards.” Eligible individuals can use these cards to pay eligible bills or telephone bills.

Advice from Medicare experts

“We have seen additional benefits like this (of transport) to be very useful for the beneficiaries we work with,” said Freitag Hejja. “However, we always advise beneficiaries not to choose a plan based on the extras they give. It is very important to make sure that the donors that the beneficiaries see are online with the plan and that their tips are funded.”

For unbiased assistance in planning your Medicare plan, you can contact us State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), Freitag Hejja said. Counselors help Medicare-eligible individuals, their families and caregivers navigate the many Medicare insurance options and provide unbiased advice.

Freitag Hejja also encourages people to stay in touch with their homeland Aging & Disability Resource Center finding a cooler or receiving an air conditioner. Some people can get help with their electricity bill through Low Energy Home Energy Assistance Program.

TRICARE — a health care program for service members, retirees and their families — took to Twitter this summer to educate and combat heat-related illnesses. TRICARE encourages enrollees to check in with elderly family members, neighbors and community members during hot and humid weather. A quick check-up can save a life:

  • Is the air conditioner working and is the house cool enough?
  • Is the person drinking enough water?
  • A person shows everything signs heat illness, such as nausea, headache, cramps, dizziness, confusion, cold skin or hot dry skin, fast heart rate?

Ways to reduce heat

  • Stay indoors if possible.
  • Use an air conditioner or go to an air-conditioned area such as a cooler, library, or large space.
  • Wear loose, breathable, light clothing.
  • Drink plenty of water (don’t wait until you feel thirsty).
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Pace yourself and avoid boring activities.
  • Wear a hat or stay in the shade if you want to go outside.
  • Check with family and friends and ask them to do the same for you.