A Brief Guide to Medicare and Understanding Your Options

By Sharon Wagner, SeniorFriendly.info




Medicare is a blessing to many seniors, but navigating all of your options and deciding on a plan can be extremely overwhelming. How are you supposed to know which plan you need, which insurance companies to trust, and how to enroll? There are many things to consider when choosing your plan and nearly endless options when you look beyond the basic federal program. Hopefully, this guide can clear up a few things and point you in the right direction.

Finding Plans in Your Area

To start, it’s important to know what kinds of Medicare plans are available in your area. The government website Medicare.gov provides a handy search tool for finding Medicare Part C and Part D plans. This can help you narrow down your choices based on certain criteria, such as whether you need drug coverage and which pharmacies you would like included in your plan. Take a look at this useful step-by-step guide for help using the search tool.

Learning About Basic Medicare

Original Medicare, also called Medicare Part A and B, is the most basic coverage provided by the government for seniors 65 and older. Original Medicare covers things like hospital stays and outpatient doctor’s services. Most people will not have to pay anything for Part A, but everyone must pay a monthly premium for Part B. It’s also important to understand that Original Medicare will not pay for 100 percent of the services it covers; you will still have out-of-pocket costs from deductibles and copayments. This is why many people supplement their Medicare plans.

Understanding Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies and are similar to health insurance plans you may have signed up for in the past. In addition to everything covered by Medicare Parts A and B, Medicare Advantage plans offer additional coverage for things like hearing, vision, and dental. These plans may also include daily living assistance and lifestyle support, such as transportation or meal delivery services. US News explains the pros and cons of Medicare Advantage based on different criteria you may have.

You’ll notice that many Medicare Advantage plans have no premiums. These can be a good option for people who are healthy and looking to save money while still being protected from large medical expenses. These zero-premium plans typically have high deductibles, meaning you’ll have to pay more for your services before your plan will cover the rest. Choosing a plan with a higher premium may be a better option if you have a chronic condition or some other reason to require regular medical care.

Medicare Part D for Drug Coverage

Medicare Part D, which is also offered by private insurance companies, covers prescription drugs. You can add Part D to your Original Medicare plan. However, the majority of Medicare Advantage plans include Part D. According to Investopedia, the costs associated with Medicare Part D are fairly similar to the premiums, deductibles, and copayments of any standard medical insurance plan. Before picking a plan, it’s important to consider the particular drugs you need to be covered since certain plans cover different drugs. Using the Medicare.gov search tool mentioned above can help you find Part D plans that will cover your prescriptions.

Considering Medigap

Finally, Medigap is yet another option for supplementary coverage offered by private insurance companies. Medigap specifically covers the gaps in Original Medicare. This can be beneficial for people who anticipate future chronic conditions and are worried about expensive healthcare needs. There are several Medigap plans to choose from, so think carefully about the kind of coverage you need most. Some plans have coverage for travel emergencies, whereas others are better for covering the deductibles and copayments from your Original Medicare plan.

Getting the most out of Medicare means taking the time to learn about your plans and coverage options. Continue to do your research and check out some of the resources mentioned here. Although it will take some serious planning to evaluate your choices, consider your criteria, and anticipate your future care needs, this will help you secure your health for the future.

BSharon Wagner, SeniorFriendly.info
Medicare is a blessing to many seniors, but navigating all of your options and deciding on a plan can be extremely overwhelming. How are you supposed to know which plan you need, which insurance companies to trust, and how to enroll? There are many things to consider when choosing your plan and nearly

A Story of Recovery Thanks to Your Support

Posted on October 22, 2018


Every patient that Sagepoint works with faces their own unique challenges. We’re here to help them all. What keeps us going is the support of our community, people like you, and the opportunity to play a part in stories like this.

‘He’s Back to Doing Everything’

“I knew Sagepoint was there, but I really didn’t know much about it,” says Barbara Howell, a lifelong


While most of the care we provide at Sagepoint is for seniors, that’s not always the case. We thought you’d like to hear this story of a young married couple and the medical challenges they are overcoming– thanks in large part to the support of donors like you.

‘A 100% Miracle’

Karen Shifflett remembers her second wedding anniversary all too vividly. She sat at


To our friends and supporters of Sagepoint Senior Living, we thought that you’d like to know a little bit about what your donations make possible. This is Miriam Kimball’s story:

A Tale of Two Parents

When Miriam Kimball’s father grew increasingly fragile from Parkinson’s disease, she moved him from a Pittsburgh nursing home to Sagepoint. Her mother, Miriam Donnellon, soon became a fixture there.

Elderly woman sadly looking out the window, a black-and-white ph

When Dr. Christopher Callahan examines older patients, he often hears a similar refrain. “I’m tired, doctor. It’s hard to get up and about. I’ve been feeling kind of down, but I know I’m getting old and I just have to live with it.” This fatalistic stance

When an Elderly Loved One Needs Extra Help

Posted on December 29, 2016



Family members of aging adults typically travel one of two paths to becoming a caregiver: the sudden sprint, or the gradual march. The sudden sprint towards providing care for a loved one is often set off by an unexpected event—a stroke, a fall, complications from surgery—which acts as a catalyst, escalating your family member’s care needs practically overnight. The gradual march in the direction of caregiving

A Crash Course on Medicare

Posted on October 26, 2016



Has your loved one recently celebrated their 65th birthday? If so, then they now qualify for Medicare. Keep reading for a crash course on a few facts that you need to know about this program.

Medicare Eligibility is not Based on Income

Unlike Medicaid which is made available to individuals whose income falls below a certain income level, eligibility for Medicare does not depend on income.



As we’re approaching the holiday season, you may have opportunities over the upcoming months to visit family. These reunions often showcase how aging parents and other loved ones have changed over the course of the year. This time together can provide a wonderful chance for you to evaluate their health and quality of life and to recognize if any changes need to be made. Keep reading



October is National Physical Therapy Month and the perfect time to focus on the benefits of physical therapy, especially for seniors. Physical therapy provides a fantastic way for seniors to recover from injuries and continue to enjoy optimal health and quality of life. Keep reading to learn more about the many benefits of physical therapy.

Why Do We Need Physical Therapy

From providing relief for chronic pain

Senior Flu Prevention

Posted on September 28, 2016



No matter your age, getting the flu is no fun. Each year, between 5 and 20 percent of adults are diagnosed with the flu. Flu season is generally considered to be between the months of December and March, but outbreaks can happen as early as October and as late into the year as May. While most healthy adults fare just fine, older adults, especially those with

Sagepoint Launches Fourth Annual Photo Contest

We are excited to announce our fourth annual Images of Aging Photo Contest and hope you will enter! To enter, submit a photo of a senior(s) and their favorite pet. During the first week of March, you and everyone else can vote for your favorite entries. You can even share your uploaded photos with your friends to boost your votes. The winning photo recreation, as determined via Facebook/Instagram (likes), will receive $200 (USD) in the form of a gift card. Two additional winners, as determined via the Sagepoint Community and Sagepoint Staff, will each receive $50 (USD) in the form of a gift card. Entries must be submitted electronically via our submission form below. There is no entry fee, however individuals may only submit one (1) entry into the contest. The contest ends Wednesday, February 28, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. EST (U.S.).

Sagepoint Selected As 2019 Best of Senior Living Winner

Families’ Online Reviews Rank the Best of the Best of North American Senior Care

Sagepoint Senior Living Services was selected as a 2019 Best of Senior Living Award winner by SeniorAdvisor.com. The Best of 2019 Awards celebrate the communities and agencies that have consistently received outstanding feedback from families on the SeniorAdvisor.com website. Of the nearly 45,000 communities currently listed on SeniorAdvisor.com, just over 1,600 were recognized with this prestigious award. This exclusive designation places the winners in the top one percent of senior care providers according to those who matter most – their families.

President/CEO Andrea Dwyer remarks, “We are very honored to be recognized for our quality care. We certainly extend this recognition to all our wonderful employees who work hard each and every day to ensure that our residents receive the best service. As the only community recognized in Southern Maryland, we are very pleased by this acknowledgement.”

Winners of the SeniorAdvisor.com Best of 2019 Awards are located all over the country and represent the top tier of in-home care, assisted living, and other senior living providers in the country. The award places winners in the top one percent of senior care providers nationwide. Similar to over half of the winners, Sagepoint offers more than one type of care. Care options offered include: Home Care, Adult Day Services, Rehabilitation, Assisted Living, Long-term Care, and Memory Care.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resident Adoption Tree Now Up

Help Us Make the Holidays Even Merrier For Our Residents

LA PLATA, MD (November 19, 2018)

Sagepoint Senior Living Services is excited to announce that our Resident Adoption Tree is now up! We strive to make all occasions extra special for our residents and the Adoption Tree is a simple way to spread joy among our facility this Holiday Season. The program helps us ensure that every single resident will have something for them under the Christmas tree. The wish lists were developed by the residents themselves or with their needs in mind. Adopt a resident today and help us brighten their holiday this season!

Activities Director Erin Johnson remarks, “Our adoption tree is a fun way for members of the community to help seniors in need. It is the generosity of the members of our community that allow us to grant each resident a wish during the holidays. If you are able, we ask that you consider adopting one of our residents this year from our Resident Adoption Tree. We promise, it’s a fun way to give back!”

If you are interested in adopting a resident for the holidays, come in and select a resident off the Resident Adoption Tree or email Erin Johnson, Activities Director, at ejohnson@sagepointcare.org. Upon adopting a resident, you will receive the Resident’s Wish List and we ask that you return gifts wrapped in gift bags by Friday, December 14, 2018. The gifts will be delivered during our Annual Christmas Party.

In addition to resident adoptions, supplemental donations are also needed to ensure equality among the gifts received by each resident. These include personal items, bathroom accessories, and comfort and room decor. A full list can be found below.



Core Receives State Recognition for Board Service

Sagepoint Board Chair Recognized for Significant Board Service and Contributions

La Plata, MD (October 23, 2018) – The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism hosted the 35th Annual Governor’s Service Awards on Tuesday, October 16th, to celebrate the outstanding volunteer contributions of Maryland residents and organizations. This year, 170 nominations were submitted. We are proud to announce that our very own board chair, Carolyn Core, was recognized for her significant contributions to our organization! Carolyn’s service to both Sagepoint and the community we serve has gone above and beyond her board commitment and we are so very appreciative of her continual selfless service.

Since her time as chair of the board, Carolyn has initiated Sagepoint’s Advisory Committee; started an annual review of the performance of the board; increased the board’s diversity; prepared for the transition of the organization’s CEO; and taken the lead in orchestrating contact between Sagepoint and The University of Maryland’s Charles Regional Medical Center to implement effective relationships so that each individual in Sagepoint’s care is ensured the highest quality of care. Carolyn also played a vital role in the development of Sagepoint’s new assisted living community, the expansion of its existing rehabilitation center, and the recent kick-off of a philanthropy program.

“We are overjoyed to see Carolyne Core recognized for her board service that goes far above and beyond what is expected of our board members,” remarked Andrea Dwyer, Sagepoint Senior Living Services President and CEO. “In fact, Sagepoint is fortunate to have a team of many supremely dedicated board members and we are very grateful for all of their service; they are truly invaluable assets to this organization!”

For more information on the Governor’s Service Awards, visit: www.gosv.maryland.gov/governors–service-awards-recipients-2018.


 

A Story of Recovery Thanks to Your Support



Every patient that Sagepoint works with faces their own unique challenges. We’re here to help them all. What keeps us going is the support of our community, people like you, and the opportunity to play a part in stories like this.

‘He’s Back to Doing Everything’

“I knew Sagepoint was there, but I really didn’t know much about it,” says Barbara Howell, a lifelong resident of La Plata.

That changed in September 2015 when her husband of 43 years, Edward, suffered a massive stroke. After a brief hospital stay and a short time in an out-of-state rehab facility, Ed came to Sagepoint. He spent two months undergoing speech, occupational, and physical therapy.

“Everything improved,” Barbara said. “If I had to do it all over again, he would have come straight to Sagepoint.”

Today Barbara says, “his brain is wonderful,” and at age 81, he’s “back to doing everything.” His grateful wife calls the staff and aides “outstanding.”

“The place is as nice as could be,” she said. “Now that I know about it, it’s certainly a place I would go, too.”

We Need Your Help Once More

Because of the high costs of the care we provide and the limitations of government funding, we’ve set a goal to raise $1 million to enhance and expand care for our patients and residents by 2021. The first phase of this campaign we are calling Forever Grateful and our first goal is to raise $150,00 by the end of 2018. We know that you can’t give to every worthy cause, but as you consider your year-end donations, please consider donating to Sagepoint.

Another Story Made Possible by Your Incredible Support



While most of the care we provide at Sagepoint is for seniors, that’s not always the case. We thought you’d like to hear this story of a young married couple and the medical challenges they are overcoming– thanks in large part to the support of donors like you.

‘A 100% Miracle’

Karen Shifflett remembers her second wedding anniversary all too vividly. She sat at her husband’s beside in a hospital intensive care unit. Driving home from work in February 2013, John’s car was struck by a train in Brandywine, MD.

“After his first week in the hospital, the doctors told me to make arrangements for a nursing home- that he’d be a vegetable for the rest of his life.”

John, age 29, arrived at Sagepoint a month later. From the very beginning, Karen says, “the care was like nothing we had ever experienced. It was phenomenal.”

John arrived still very much in a “vegetative” state. After two months of speech, occupational, and physical therapy, he was eating a soft diet, sitting up, and responding to his family.

Today John continues to improve with the help of a walker and a wheelchair. He attends Sagepoint’s Adult Day Services every Saturday. Karen calls him a “100% miracle” and credits the staff and aides at Sagepoint.

“The time they put in with the therapy… they didn’t give up. They pushed him and they were always so positive. Just to know that he wasn’t alone meant everything to me.”

We Need Your Help Once More

Because of the high costs of the care we provide and the limitations of government funding, we’ve set a goal to raise $1 million to enhance and expand care for our patients and residents by 2021. The first phase of this campaign we are calling Forever Grateful and our first goal is to raise $150,00 by the end of 2018. We know that you can’t give to every worthy cause, but as you consider your year-end donations, please consider donating to Sagepoint.

Your Support Makes Stories Like This Possible




To our friends and supporters of Sagepoint Senior Living, we thought that you’d like to know a little bit about what your donations make possible. This is Miriam Kimball’s story:

A Tale of Two Parents

When Miriam Kimball’s father grew increasingly fragile from Parkinson’s disease, she moved him from a Pittsburgh nursing home to Sagepoint. Her mother, Miriam Donnellon, soon became a fixture there. Her daily visits cultivated close relationships with the staff, so close, in fact, she often invited staff members to her home for tea and cookies.

Years later after her father passed away, her mother needed care for severe dementia. Miriam Kimball again chose Sagepoint.

“Because my mom was in that frightened state, she was desperate for a friend,” Miriam Kimball said. “So many of the aides remembered her from when she cared for my dad. Even though my mother was not very lovable at times, they still provided her with loving care. The aides and nurses are simply outstanding human beings who will listen and help anytime, day or night.”

We Need Your Help Once More

Because of the high costs of the care we provide and the limitations of government funding, we’ve set a goal to raise $1 million to enhance and expand care for our patients and residents by 2021. The first phase of this campaign we are calling Forever Grateful and our first goal is to raise $150,00 by the end of 2018. We know that you can’t give to every worthy cause, but as you consider your year-end donations, please consider donating to Sagepoint.

Nicholson Named New Workforce Development Board Chair

Nicholson Named New Workforce Development Board Chair

La Plata, MD (October 8, 2018) – The Southern Maryland Workforce Development Board has elected Michelle Nicholson, Sagepoint Senior Living Services Director of Human Resources, as the organization’s new Board Chair. Unanimously elected during their September meeting, Nicholson will serve a three-year term as Chair of the Board.

Nicholson is an empathetic, innovative and deliberate human resources professional with over 10 years of progressive experience in human resources management. She is a thought leader with a proven track record of talent engagement and motivation, strategic human capital planning and employment law expertise. Nicholson received a Master of Arts degree from Webster University in Human Resources Management and a second master’s degree in Human Resources Development. Her formal training is an added benefit to her high degree of professional integrity and insightful strategy to build collaborating teams to improve organizational efficiency and human interaction. Her purpose is to uplift, inspire, encourage and support others to be their best self. She hopes to motivate others to strive for their secret and known dreams irrespective of challenges and obstacles.

“This is an exciting time for the Workforce Development Board,” says Ms. Nicholson. “I am looking forward to working with staff and my fellow Board members to tackle a number of priorities, including how we can reconnect opportunity youth to school and work, expand job training programs for ex-offenders, assist businesses in upskilling their employees, and updating the local strategic plan that embraces the new technology and training choices job seekers have now and will have in the future.”

The Workforce Development Board provides oversight and funding direction to Southern Maryland JobSource and has representatives from education, public sector leaders, organized labor, and leaders and advocates for workforce development. For more information about the Workforce Development Board, visit www.tccsmd.org.

Sagepoint Appoints New President and CEO

Andrea Dwyer Appointed President and CEO of Sagepoint Senior Living Services

 

La Plata, MD (June 1, 2018) – The Board of Directors of Sagepoint Senior Living Services has appointed Andrea Dwyer President and Chief Executive Officer. Dwyer will be responsible for providing leadership, strategic direction and management to ensure the mission and core values of Sagepoint are operationalized.

“We are very excited that Andrea has joined the Sagepoint team,” remarked Carolyn Core, Chair of Sagepoint Senior Living Services’ Board of Directors. “Having conducted a nationwide search, we believe Andrea’s extensive experience in senior living services combined with her significant career accomplishments, demeanor and enthusiasm will ensure Sagepoint’s future growth and success.”

“I am honored and excited to join the Sagepoint Senior Living Services community,” said Dwyer. “I am very impressed by Sagepoint’s commitment to their residents and believe we are uniquely positioned to continue to provide the highest quality of care and services to seniors and their families throughout Southern Maryland.”

Dwyer brings to Sagepoint Senior Living Services 20 years of experience in long-term care. She has been licensed as a Nursing Home Administrator since 1999 and has held executive leadership positions in continuous care, rehabilitation, and assisted living communities. Most recently, Andrea has served as Sagepoint’s Interim President, CEO and Licensed Nursing Home Administrator since January 2018. Dwyer earned her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Maryland and received her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies/Business from Towson University. Dwyer managed the organization successfully through the recent transition process including navigating Sagepoint’s new Rehabilitation Center to its much-anticipated opening this week.