4901 Thompson Pkwy, 4850 Hahns Peak Dr, Loveland, Colorado, 80538
Counties Served: Colorado -Medicare Advantage Plans
Have you considered managed care versus integrated care? What is the difference? Do I have what I need? When it comes to choosing the best Medicare plans for yourself or a loved one HMOs (Health Maintenance Organization) are often a viable choice due to affordability, predictability, and financial safety. All HMOs operate based on the concept of managed care but not all have integrated care. It is important to be aware of the difference.Lets start with managed care. This is when health insurance organizations contract with select providers, pharmacies, and hospitals in their service area to create a network that allows for better control of costs. As a result of this arrangement, members agree to seek non-emergency/non-urgent care with network providers in exchange for lower costs of care. The primary advantage of the managed care aspect associated with HMOs is the focus on the cost of care which benefits the member and the health plan. Integrated care, however, is when the health plan and providers work together, in close coordination and collaboration, they have a shared focus on the patient experience, quality of care in and cost of care. The additional focus on patient experience and quality of care is often associated with ease of access or robust IT tools resulting in easier communication across the care continuum. STAR ratings are solid indicators regarding performance for quality of care for health plans. When it comes to IT, youll want to ask what electronic communications options exist with the health plan you are considering. If available, they may allow for better communication to patients and providers, as well as between providers. There is so much more to learn about with respect to integrated care be sure to ask your potential health plan what tools or resources are available that promote integrated care. Some health plans with impress and overwhelm you and some may not be able to give you a straight answer. Think of it this way: all integrated care HMOs have managed care, but not all managed care HMOs have integrated care. Be sure to ask the right questions so you can make the right decision.Editors Note: This article was submitted by Matt Engstrom, MBA. Matt is a Medicare Sales Manager at Kaiser Permanente and may be reached at 303-338-3353
Some Medicare health plans have more star power than others. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rates Medicare health plans on a 5-star quality rating to help people make better informed decisions on their health care. Plans are rated on a 1 to 5 scale, a plan with 5 stars is considered excellent while a 1-star plan reflects a poor performance. Every year, CMS rates Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans based on major categories that include preventive care, chronic care, prescription drug services, customer service, and member satisfaction. CMS designed the rating system to help people compare Medicare health and drug plans based on quality and performance. This measurement tool can help identify the best-performing Medicare health plans available to you. A plan with high ratings has demonstrated that it provides a high level of customer service and effective care for managing diabetes, heart disease and preventive care. Quality ratings are one important way to evaluate a Medicare health plan. Affordability, coverage, convenience, and seamless care are other key factors to consider. The value of coordinated care and coverage together puts you at the center of care to improve and simplify the care experience. In Colorado, there are only a few select Medicare health plans that have the highest possible rating of 5 stars and offer affordability, convenience, and seamless care. If there is a 5-star-rated Medicare health plan offered in your area, you may take advantage of a special enrollment period to join that plan. You can use this special enrollment period only once between December 8 and November 30 of the following year. When choosing a Medicare health plan, the star quality ratings provide additional info to help choose the right Medicare health plan for you.Editors Note: This article was submitted by Matt Engstrom, MBA Kaiser Permanente Medicare Sales Leader, H0630_20204_C. He may be reached at 303-338-3353 or by email at Matthew.B.Engstrom@kp.org
Many people expect to live to age 90 and beyond. The chances of developing Alzheimers (the most common type of dementia) or other types of dementia increase as we get older. Many of my patients ask me, How do you keep your brain healthy? It would be nice if there were a simple supplement or medication to prevent dementia, but unfortunately, this is not the case. The good news is there are things you can do to improve your overall health and well-being as you get older, and these things also help keep your brain healthy.First, its important to take care of your physical health. Avoid tobacco or too much alcohol. For people over 65, that means no more than one drink per day. Some medications, including over the counter, can harm the brain, so review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist at least once a year. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol, work with your health care team to keep these conditions under control. Enjoying a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is also helpful."Second, get plenty of physical activity this is one of the best things you can do for your brain health. With more physical activity, youll feel better, sleep better, have less stress, and have more energy. Choose an activity that you enjoy and invite a friend or family member to join you. If you are just starting out, go slow and gradually increase, with a goal to get to at least 30 minutes of moderate activity (like a brisk walk), at least five days a week.Third, learning new things helps form new connections in your brain. Dusting off an old musical instrument, learning a new language, or solving puzzles are examples of fun activities to try.Finally, its essential to stay socially connected. Spend time nurturing friendships and family relationships. The same things that make life enjoyable are also the things that help to keep your brain healthy. Editors Note: Article submitted by Tracy Lippard, MD. Dr. Lippard is a Geriatric Medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente and may be reached at 303-338-4545, or by email at email@example.com.