Tag Archives: holidays

Happy Medicare New Year

Steps to a Happy “Medicare” New Year

Winter preparations are done. Winter festivals have ended, and end-of-year holiday celebrations are over. Just when you think you can sit back and relax, there is still one last item you may need to consider.

If you made any Medicare changes during the past Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7), there are some actions you can take that may help you have a happy Medicare new year.

If you enrolled in a new plan or your plan had changes during the Annual Enrollment Period, you should make sure you’ve received your new member ID card. This card contains the newest info for your 2019 care. Be sure to show your new ID card to the doctor’s office and pharmacist on your first visit of the new year so that they have your newest information on file. It’s also worth mentioning that with the new cards for the new year can come new deductibles (depending on the plan you choose), which start over at the beginning of the year.

If you decided to stay with Original Medicare, you’ll still use your Medicare card for hospital and doctor services. If you have not received the new Medicare card that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began issuing in April 2018, be on the lookout because they are all scheduled to be mailed by April 2019.

If you joined a Medicare prescription drug plan that works with Original Medicare, then the plan will mail you a card so you can fill your prescriptions. If you joined a Medicare Advantage plan (like an HMO, PPO, or POS), you’ll also get a new card to use for both healthcare visits (doctor and hospital) and for picking up your prescriptions.

If you need medical care or need to fill a prescription before you receive the ID card but after the effective coverage date, you may be able to use other proof of plan membership. Some examples are the welcome letter you got from the plan or even your enrollment confirmation number and the plan name and phone number.

If you elected to have your plan premium withheld from your Social Security check, don’t be alarmed if you don’t see it deducted right away. It may take up to 3 months from the time you made the premium withhold request before you start seeing your premium withheld from your Social Security payment.

The 2019 year is a great time to take advantage of your one-time “Welcome to Medicare” or annual wellness visit your plan offers to you. This benefit is usually no cost to you! It is designed as a preventive measure to help you take charge of your health, be advised of future needed preventive services, and establish a baseline for personalized care. And speaking of preventive measures, many Medicare Advantage plans come with a fitness benefit or provide access to physical fitness activities at no cost to you.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2019!

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

Holiday Party Food

Holiday Party Food

It’s time for nonstop holiday get-togethers, and if you’re trying to be healthy, it can be a challenge. These healthy holiday party food recipes can help.

Assemble this Overnight Breakfast Casserole with Bacon and Sweet Potatoes tonight for an easy breakfast tomorrow morning.

Image and Recipe via Sweet Peas and Saffron

 

This Caprese Christmas Wreath is a cinch to whip up for a last-second dish to bring to today’s holiday gathering.

Caprese Christmas Wreath

 

Need a healthy treat for the kids to snack on at get-togethers this week? Try this Christmas Frozen Yogurt Bark.

Christmas Yogurt Bark
Image and Recipe via Healthy Little Foodies

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad is a beautiful holiday lunch or party side.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad

 

Snack smart at your gatherings with these Crispy Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas.

Crispy Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

Crispy Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

 

Whip up Wild Mushroom Crostini for easy and healthy party finger food.

Wild Mushroom Crostini
Image and Recipe via Fitness Magazine

 

Skip the antipasto platter and serve these Antipasto Salad Kabobs at your party.

Antipasto Salad Kabobs

Holiday Safety Travel Tips

Holiday Safety Travel Tips

As you gear up for December travel, these holiday safety travel tips can help you stay healthy as you visit loved ones.

Stay healthy before, during, and after your travel with these simple healthy holiday tips.

‘Tis the Season to Be Merry and Healthy with Healthy Holiday Tips!

 

Making a drive this holiday season? Make sure you’re prepared.

Vantage Point: The Gift of Preparedness

 

Sudden snowstorm popping up on your holiday drive? Be prepared and know how to drive in the snow with these winter driving tips from AAA.

Fly nonstop whenever you can. People are more likely to get stranded at airports during holiday storms in layover cities. If you’re worried about being stranded, book a hotel reservation you can cancel ahead of time so you’re not scrambling when the storm hits.

Don't Get Stranded During Holiday Travel

 

Keep your phone or devices charged so that you can keep track of delays and the weather, call loved ones for help, or book emergency hotel reservations. Keep your chargers and a charging battery handy if you have battery issues.

Traveling with Your Charged Device

 

Follow the airline and airports on social media and check their feeds before and during your travel. You’ll be the first to get info about delays and gate changes, and they may be able to help you if you contact them with travel issues.

Airline and Airport Social Media Help

 

If you have an emergency while traveling this holiday season, know that you’re covered as a Health Alliance member with our partner Assist America.

Covered During Emergencies While Traveling

Gluten-Free Baking Week

Gluten-Free Baking Week

It’s Gluten-Free Baking Week, and if you or a loved one has a wheat allergy or Celiac disease, these light gluten-free recipes are perfect for the holiday season.

Get started with going gluten-free while baking with this Beginner’s Guide to Gluten-Free Flour.

Beginner’s Guide to Gluten-Free Flour
Image and Recipe via Potluck at Oh My Veggies

 

Gluten-Free Vegan Garlic Herb Focaccia Bread is perfect for munching before the big meal.

Gluten-Free Vegan Garlic Herb Focaccia Bread
Image and Recipe via Sarah Bakes Gluten-Free

 

Lighten up the holiday cookies you share with these Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles.

Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles
Image and Recipe via Fake Ginger

 

Gluten-free Chai Spiced Quick Bread is a cozy sweet treat, perfect for serving with tea.

Chai Spiced Quick Bread

 

Hearty holiday breakfast is covered with this gluten-free Broccoli Quiche with Bacon.

Broccoli Quiche with Bacon
Image and Recipe via Paleo Running Mom

 

This gluten-free Cherry and Almond Cake with fresh cherries is perfect for your family potluck.

Cherry and Almond Cake
Image and Recipe via Kitchen Sanctuary

 

Get ready to impress guests with this gorgeous gluten-free Vegan Gingerbread Bundt Cake.

Vegan Gingerbread Bundt Cake

Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

It’s Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, and the ability to drive safely can be affected by changes in our physical, emotional, and cognitive health. Although these changes are part of normal aging, they can affect each individual at different rates.

Just as one plans for retirement, it’s important to plan for your transportation needs.

Planning for Future Transportation

 

December is the perfect time to have a conversation with loved ones as you come together for the holidays.

Talking to Family About Driving As They Age

 

When an older driver decides it’s time for a check-up, useful driving fitness education tools can help identify challenges and help them adjust.

Evaluate Your Ability to Drive As You Age

 

Driving intervention plans, drawn up between a client and therapist, can help older individuals drive safely for as long as possible.

When someone needs to adjust to keep driving or can no longer drive, family and friends can help with resources for independent transportation in the community.

Planning for a Future Without Driving

 

Exploring alternative types of transportation can help older adults stay independent. Options can include community networks, public transit, and ride sharing apps.

Resources to Stay Independent

 

Vision problems and certain medications can also cause issues driving early. Talk to your doctor to get help.

Health Issues and Driving As You Age

Buckwheat Month

Buckwheat Month

It’s Buckwheat Month, and this ingredient can help you go gluten-free and take the place of ingredients like oatmeal and quinoa. Plus, it’s delicious! Give it a try with this week’s healthy buckwheat recipes.

This easy Overnight Coconut Buckwheat Porridge is perfect for busy families.

Overnight Coconut Buckwheat Porridge {VIDEO}

 

This Warm Buckwheat and Beetroot Salad is a beautiful and hearty side dish for any meal.

Warm buckwheat and beetroot salad

 

Whip up these Crispy Buckwheat Breakfast Flatbreads for this weekend’s brunch.

Crispy Buckwheat Breakfast Flatbreads
Image and Recipe via Gather and Feast

 

Buckwheat Crepes are a light take on this kid-friendly favorite.

Buckwheat Crepes {Gluten-Free}

 

Cut out the flour with these Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies this holiday season.

Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)

 

Go gluten-free and skip the takeout with this easy and delicious Buckwheat Pizza.

Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pizza

 

These Apple, Almond, and Buckwheat Muffins will be a hit with the family for breakfasts on the go.

Image and Recipe via Green Kitchen Stories

Fond Memories of the Spirit of Christmas

Long View: Princess of Christmas Past

As a child, my favorite time of year was Christmastime. It was not just Christmas day, but the whole season surrounding it. The spirit of being joyful, grateful, loving, and caring was something I thought should exist all year long.

The spirit of giving was my favorite of all. Everyone felt like a prince or princess waiting to receive their heart’s desire. It gave me joy to give someone a gift and see the expression on their face when they opened it, especially when it was thoughtful or something they really needed or always wanted.

The season also came with beautiful and vibrant decorations. Some of my favorites were the candy canes and stockings. I remember the candy-filled, clear plastic candy canes with the solid red hook. They could be filled with any kind of candy, from gumballs to M&M’s or even Sweet Tarts or jelly beans.

I also remember the red see-through netted stockings filled with both candy and small toys. I thought to myself, “Why would they make a stocking where I can see the goodies in it but then tell me I can’t open it until Christmas?” It was too tempting to not try and sneak some candy out of it ahead of time. Although I was anxious to open it, the wait built patience. And patience is a virtue.

More of my favorite memories include choosing our real, live Christmas trees. My daddy insisted that we get a real tree and not an artificial one. “Nothing can replace the scent of fresh pine in the house,” he explained. 

Our tree was even more special because it was decorated with not only store-bought decorations of lights, bulbs, and tinsel, but also ornaments I had made at school. And the tree had to be as tall as the ceiling with either a shining start or an angel on top.

My most memorable times at Christmas were when my family came together at my grandma’s and granddaddy’s house on Christmas Eve. I got to see all of my cousins, aunts, and uncles. Of course there was lots of food. My favorites were the turkey, dressing, and peach cobbler.  Everything was homemade, and I could tell it was made with love.

It’s my goal to carry the spirit of being joyful, grateful, loving, and caring into the present and the future. With or without the candy canes, stockings, or decorations, the memories of family and love are most important to me.

The material things pass away. The candy is consumed.  The stockings are thrown away. The light bulbs eventually burn out. The tinsel gets tangled, and the pine needles on the real tree dry out. But memories of family love will continue to live in our hearts.

Everyone here at Health Alliance wishes you and your family a joyous holiday season and a very Merry Christmas. Share your memories with someone you love, especially those older princes or princesses in your family who have years and years of fond memories on their minds this time of year.

Sherry Gordon-Harris is a community liaison at Health Alliance. She is a wife and mother of 2 boys and enjoys traveling, collecting dolls, and hosting princess parties and princess pageants.