- Created on 02 March 2013
Have you ever gone "symptom-surfing"? Instead of going to the doctor when you get a headache, you go online to figure out why?
You're not alone. In fact, with so much medical information on the web, lots of people are doing it.
The Pew Research Center says 59 percent of adults who use the Internet have searched for health information in the past year, and 35 percent say they've gone online trying to figure out what medical condition they or someone else might have.
The trick is not to become fixated on it. Obsessing over such information is actually a condition that experts call "cyberchondria."
Psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor said that the worst-case scenario for people combing the web for health information is they self-diagnose themselves.
"They look for self-treatment and they don't go in necessarily and see their doctor -- or go in and see their doctor too much and the fact is they don't have anything diagnosable," says Dr. Taylor.
However, you can find the right balance between being an informed consumer and being obsessed about your own health. Dr. Taylor said that she loves when her patients say "I found this online," but that you still need to be willing to talk to your doctor and take their advice seriously. Bringing in a list of questions based on your online research can help both you and your health provider discuss your ailment productively.
Where can you find reliable health information?
Some medical sites are more reputable than others, and provide helpful information for consumers. Dr. Taylor recommends sites that are institution- or government-based, such as the Mayo Clinic, WebMD, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Created on 02 March 2013
Answers To Some of The Most Commonly Asked Medicare Questions
Q: What are the actual changes to Medicare in 2013? There's been a lot of talk, but I want facts, and I'm confused about my benefits.
A: Medicare is stronger than ever now, and recent events have not changed your benefits. There are some changes for 2013, as there are every year. But Medicare is here for you, and in many ways has better benefits than ever before. Most of the improvements are due to the Affordable Care Act.
For example, Medicare's wide-ranging preventive services, many of which are provided to you with no out-of-pocket cost now, are unchanged.
In fact, Medicare Part B now has improved benefits for those trying to quit smoking in the New Year. Eight face-to-face counseling sessions for smoking cessation are now covered. Part B also offers obesity screening and counseling. In some cases, co-payments apply for these.
In 2013, people with Medicare Part B will also pay less out of pocket, for outpatient mental health treatment. The co-payment is now 35%, down from 50%. For the initial diagnosis, you'll continue to pay 20%. Medicare pays the rest.
And Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plans are now allowed to cover benzodiazepine and barbiturate medications, such as those used to treat chronic mental disorders, as well as cancer and epilepsy. Prior to this year, Part D coverage was not allowed for these prescription drugs, unless your plan paid the entire cost.
People with Medicare Part D plans will also see a greater discount for their medications, once they reach the coverage gap, or "donut hole." The discount has increased from 50 percent in 2012, to 52.5 percent for brand-name medicines your plan covers, and from 14% in 2012 to 21% for generic medicines, in 2013.
These discounts will be applied automatically at your pharmacy or mail-order supplier. You don't have to ask for them.
Those with Original Medicare will begin to see newly-designed, easier to understand quarterly Medicare summary notices starting later this year. The language is simpler, the print is larger, and there are clear definitions right on the form. There are also step-by-step instructions for you to check the form's accuracy, appeal anything that is wrong, or report potential fraud in your account.
It's one more way Medicare is safeguarding your benefits – and taxpayer dollars. The new forms will be phased in between February and June, depending on the state you live in.
Medicare premiums and deductibles have increased slightly in 2013. By law, the premium must cover a fixed percentage of Medicare's expenses. Premium increases are in line with projected cost increases. Medicare Part B premiums have gone up slowly over the past five years – an average of less than 2% per year. The Part B premium for most people in 2013 is $104.90 per month, up $5, and the annual Part B deductible is $147, an increase of $7, compared to 2012. The Part A deductible, if you are admitted to a hospital, is $1,184, an increase of $28.
For more information, call 1-800-MEDICARE, which is, 1-800-633-4227. Medicare's national toll-free helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or visit www.medicare.gov.
- Created on 01 March 2013
A bust of famed scholar Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, who was a professor of economics and history at Atlanta University from 1897-1910 was recently unveiled on the main campus of Clark Atlanta University.
On hand to view the artwork crafted by renowned African-American sculptor Ayokunle Odeleye are Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond (from left), CAU President Dr. Carlton Brown, W.E.B. DuBois family descendent Arthur McFarlane (with back to the camera), CAU First Lady T. Leverne Ricks-Brown (red coat with back to camera), and Odeleye.
- Created on 01 March 2013
More than two dozen residents of Clayton, Henry and South Fulton residents traveled to the state Capitol building last week to speak out against proposed cuts to services for the aging.
The residents, all members of the Riverdale, Jonesboro and South Fulton chapters of AARP, protested proposed state budget cuts affecting long-term care services that allow disabled and older Georgians to stay in their homes and communities. By
removing the services that make it possible for them to stay in their homes, the cuts would likely force hundreds to seek vastly more expensive nursing home care.
They traveled to the Capitol as part of AARP's Three Weeks at the Capitol lobbying effort. The annual campaign, which begins in late February and continues until mid-March, gives AARP residents from around the state the opportunity to speak to their representatives at the Capitol on issues that matter most to them.
"Older Georgians want to stay in their homes and communities as long as they can. They don't want to go to nursing homes. For a fraction of what it costs to provide nursing home care, we can provide the help they need to stay in the homes and communities they love," said Shirley Clark, president of the Jonesboro Chapter of AARP, and a member of Thursday's delegation.
"AARP works to make things better for society. That's why we take on issues that matter to Americans aged 50 and above," said Clark.
Proposed cuts to the state budgets for 2013 and 2014 will strip nearly $3.6 million from services for the aging. The cuts will make it harder for older Georgians and those with disabilities to continue living at home, keep the caregivers they rely on, and receive critical protection from financial exploitation and abuse.
AARP representatives and other opponents of the cuts argue that the cuts are also short-sighted financially.
Georgians needing long-term care have no alternative to nursing homes if they lose the services and support needed to remain in their homes. Expensive nursing home stays raise Georgia's Medicaid spending, which already tops $8.4 billion annually.
- Created on 27 February 2013
Becky Davis, former regional vice president for the world's largest global optical company, Luxottica, has launched her new company, MVPwork, a corporate consulting firm addressing the needs of small business owners.
"Fifty percent of small businesses fail within five years of starting up. My goal, my mission, and my passion is to reduce this statistic via proper leadership training. America cannot survive without the small business market, it drives our economy." Davis says. She will kick off her first small business training session on May 4 called "The P-Factor...a 3 part strategy to higher profits."
After 20 years of service to Fortune 100 Corporate Companies, Davis focuses her interest on Atlanta's small business owners. What prompted the change was her observation as a regional VP of smaller businesses lacking leadership abilities in their organization and therefore resulted in the company going out of business. She often wished she had gotten to them (smaller market) sooner.
"I believe can prevent these companies from closing their doors with proper leadership training!" she says.
According to CNN.com, the small business market is responsible for 65 percent of employment and economic growth in America. "By simply addressing Atlanta's issues first, I am actually addressing a worldwide issue. We must stop overlooking our bread and butter," Davis notes.
Davis is a published author, magazine contributor, and motivational speaker and has devised systematic strategies to increase a company's bottom line, just through the use of effective leadership. She introduces her latest series titled, "The Leadership Transformation Blueprint," designed with the small business owner in mind.
Davis is also an advocate of diversity and has collaborated with organizations such as Coca-Cola. She has received numerous accolades, appeared on many radio shows, and has been recognized as one of the "Powerful Women of Influence," along with women such as CNN journalist Soledad O'Brien, former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, and actress and philanthropist Jasmine Guy.