FOR YOUR HEALTH: Breathe Easier, Have Your Kids Tested For Asthma

(NAPSI)—The school year can be a hectic time for the families of America’s estimated 57 million schoolkids—but it’s also a good time for parents to bring their children to the doctor to get tested for asthma.

Asthma Affects Academics

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Asthma is a leading cause for chronic absenteeism, which is defined as missing 10 percent or more of school days for any reason, excused or unexcused. It detracts from learning and is a proven early warning sign of academic risk. This affects young children in particular in ways that can shape academic outcomes for their entire school career.

Understanding Asthma

Asthma causes swelling and narrowing of the airways that carry air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. Allergens or irritating things entering the lungs trigger asthma symptoms. There’s no cure, but it can be managed with proper prevention of asthma attacks and treatment. More than 25 million Americans have asthma, 7.7 percent of adults and 8.4 percent of children. Additionally, diagnosed asthma cases have increased since the 1980s.

Asthma Symptoms

Asthma symptoms vary from person to person. A person may have infrequent asthma attacks, have symptoms only at certain times—while exercising, for example—or have symptoms all the time.

Asthma signs and symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks are worsened by respiratory viruses.

If your child shows any of these symptoms, it’s even more important to have him or her visit a pediatrician for testing.

How Asthma Is Diagnosed

In order to accurately diagnose asthma, a doctor will take a detailed medical history of the patient, conduct a physical exam, and test lung function with spirometry. A spirometry test measures the volume and speed of air that a patient can expel from the lungs, this helps determine the type of asthma and the optimum treatment plan.

Asthma Treatment

Treatment generally involves a blend of medication and avoiding triggers such as pollen, chemicals, extreme weather changes, smoke, dust mites, stress and exercise.

The good news is your child can live a normal life with asthma as long as it’s properly managed and monitored. Even many professional athletes have asthma.

More good news is that doctors now have better equipment than ever to help them accurately diagnose the condition. For example, the EasyOne® Air Spirometer created by ndd Medical Technologies and available through Henry Schein Medical, helps doctors make diagnoses confidently. Built for healthcare providers large and small, it uses TrueFlow™ ultrasound technology for unprecedented accuracy and reliable diagnosis.

A portable stand-alone spirometry solution helps doctors stay flexible. The device is extremely robust and calibration-free TrueFlow technology provides a lifetime of worry-free operation. The color touch screen lets doctors view real-time curves, easily enter data, and navigate using a premium touch screen interface while it easily connects wirelessly via Bluetooth for real time incentives, data exchange, and electronic medical record connectivity.

It’s just one of the many medical devices available through Henry Schein Medical, a provider of medical and surgical supplies to health care professionals.

Learn More

For further information, parents and doctors can go to www.henryschein.com/spirometry and https://www.allergyasthmanetwork.org/.

Vaping may put you at greater risk to contract the flu

by Nancy Bostrom

If you think vaping is bad for your heart and your lungs, a new study shows it can also up your chances of getting the flu, especially if you are a woman.

As we enter the official flu season, local doctors with American Family Care (AFC) are warning patients about the health dangers of vaping as well as other habits that could put you at a higher risk of picking up flu infested germs over the next few months.

WHY VAPING INCREASES YOUR CHANCES….

Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine reveals puffing on an e-cigarette disrupts your normal immune response to viral infections, like flu. The study also concluded that vaping really can take a toll on a woman’s immune system.

A study that appears in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) found e-cigarette vapors can trigger substantial inflammation in the lungs making them more likely to get infected by bacteria or viruses like the flu.

The CDC has issued a health advisory encouraging medical providers to educate patients about an escalating outbreak of severe lung disease. Federal health investigators are looking into at least 450 possible breathing illnesses associated with vaping, including five deaths.

“These studies and all the recent reports of vaping related respiratory illnesses across the country, amplify the dangers of e-cigarette use during flu season. The red flags continue to pop up, vaping is a health hazard and doing it this time of year puts you at high risk to catch the flu,” says Dr. Benjamin Barlow, chief medical officer of American Family Care, a national healthcare network with a local medical facility. “The number one defense during flu season is getting a flu vaccine, but you also need to avoid habits, like vaping, that can up your chances of getting the flu.”

OTHER HABITS TO AVOID DURING FLU SEASON

Going Low Carb – Ditching bread and certain fruits is at the center of several low carb diets, but whole grains are good for your gut during flu season. Rice, oats and buckwheat can build healthy bacteria in your stomach. Research by the American Physiological Society concluded a substance found in fruit and vegetables called quercetin reduced the likelihood of flu in mice.

Doing It All – If you are starting to feel sick, don’t try to be a superhero and do it all. No one wants to be exposed to your germs. Stay home from either work or school and don’t even run errands like to the drug store to get medicine. When you have a fever, you should always stay home at least 24 hours AFTER your fever is gone.

Stressing Out – A heavy load at work or school can create a mountain of daily challenges. When you let stress take over, you are more susceptible to getting sick. A study by Carnegie Mellon University found long-term stress could weaken someone’s ability to fight infection.

AFC physicians advise it’s also important to take a few everyday preventive measures to boost your chances of avoiding the flu.

5 HABITS THAT HELP YOU AVOID THE FLU

  1. Avoid sharing pens. Whether at work or signing a credit card receipt at a store, never pick up a public pen because they’re covered with other people’s germs. Keep a pen handy for any situation that could pop up.
  2. Knuckle it. When using a debit card machine, get into the habit of punching in your card pin with a knuckle instead of a fingertip. This way if you rub your eye or mouth with your fingertip, you’re not transferring germs.
  3. Play it safe at the pump. Drivers must get gas for their vehicles no matter what, sick or not. Protect yourself at the pump, grab a paper towel before picking up the gas nozzle. You can also use the paper towel as a barrier when punching in your debit/credit card info.
  4. Shake and Wash. People are more germ-conscious these days so avoiding a handshake is not as rude as once thought, especially during flu season. If you must do it, wash or sanitize with your hands immediately.
  5. Hands off, please! You are constantly using either your phone or computer tablet to show friends and coworkers pictures or videos. This means other people are putting their germs on something you are constantly touching. Get into the habit of wiping your phone down with a disinfecting wipe to cut down on spreading germs. OR just text your friends photos and videos!

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Breathe easier

(NAPSI)—Many people may be surprised to learn that some things used to keep their homes looking good and feeling fresh—scented candles, air fresheners, cleaning products, paint, furniture—actually contribute to indoor air pollution.

The Problem

These items—and many others—produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which, the EPA says, can irritate skin, eyes, noses and throats and cause headaches, nausea and dizziness. Extended exposure, the EPA warns, can even cause asthma, liver, kidney and nervous system damage.

Some Answers

Fortunately, you can reduce your exposure. Here’s how:

  • Improve your ventilation.
  • Store products containing VOCs outdoors.
  • Seal surfaces containing dangerous compounds.
  • Keep your HVAC air ducts clean.

Indoor air gets pulled into the system and contaminants can build up in the ductwork. Getting your air ducts properly cleaned can improve the ventilation throughout your home and lessen the number of pollutants in the air you breathe.

Be sure the duct cleaning company is a member of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). They pledge to a Code of Conduct and clean according to strict standards.

Learn More

For further facts, see www.BreathingClean.com. To find a NADCA member nearby, visit the Find a Professional Directory there.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: The American Dream All Over The World

(NAPSI)—Most people know someone who has dreamed of leaving the rigidity of a 9 to 5 job to pursue the flexibility of entrepreneurship. The majority don’t pursue that avenue, and the reasons vary, including financial obligations, time constraints, or fear of the unknown.

In fact, two in five Americans dream about the day they can tell their boss they quit, but it’s not necessarily because they hate their job—instead, it’s because 67 percent have dreams of being an entrepreneur, according to new research commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition.

And people really do feel their ideas can change the world—results show that, of those who aspire to open a business, 68 percent believe their idea would be revolutionary for the industry.

People often associate entrepreneurship with “The American Dream,” but according to the research that surveyed 23,500 respondents—spanning 24 countries and including 2,000 Americans—looking at the entrepreneurship dreams of people around the globe, as well as their motivations and the challenges, the entrepreneurial dream is shared globally.

“Starting a business from the ground up can be daunting but the opportunity to pursue your own passion can be a liberating and exciting experience,” said John DeSimone, co-president and Chief Strategic Officer, Herbalife Nutrition.

The International Survey

Across the globe, 64 percent of respondents cited their top reason to start a business was to follow a passion. For Americans, this was followed by becoming their own boss (59 percent), supporting their family (51 percent) and wanting to solve a problem/improve the world (36 percent).

The survey found that 52 percent of aspiring American entrepreneurs have already taken steps to open their business. But that doesn’t mean there’s an easy road in front of them: With all the barriers business owners face, 81 percent of Americans interested in starting a business feel overwhelmed by the prospect.

And 76 percent feel they may never have the opportunity to follow their dream, compared to 69 percent globally. Interestingly enough, 67 percent of Americans believe women face different challenges than men when it comes to opening a business, including “defying social expectations, dealing with limited access to funding and struggling to be taken seriously.”

The biggest barrier to entrepreneurship across the globe was found to be the initial cost of opening a business (65 percent). To finance the initial costs, Americans say they would use their own money (67 percent), followed by investors (36 percent) and money from family (34 percent).

Where Is the Opportunity?

As the gig economy explodes, more and more people are picking up a side gig to supplement their income, and that often involves selling products. As it stands, the side gig looks to be set to spread widely among all generations, perhaps becoming key income support for everyone from twenty-somethings to those who have supposedly long retired.

In fact, about a quarter of all Americans—that’s 81 million people—participate in the sharing economy, according to the Pew Research Center. Of that, a record 18.6 million Americans now make a living or supplement their income with direct sales, according to the latest data available from the Direct Selling Association.

As a result of the flexibility afforded by the gig economy, direct selling is proving to be an increasingly appealing option for people in search of the entrepreneurial opportunity of making part-time or full-time income. Direct selling is an industry that has always championed the power of free enterprise and a flexible, entrepreneurial approach to work. Now, more than ever, American innovation and dynamic change have pushed this important model to the forefront of the collective economic future.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: How To Never Miss A Day Of Your Medication

(NAPSI) — Most people can’t go a day without a cup of coffee or checking their e-mail. But with the demands of everyday life it’s not surprising that about 50 percent of patients sometimes fail to take their daily medications as prescribed.

According to a new survey by WebMD, over the past six months one-third of respondents either sometimes or most of the time missed taking their medication as prescribed even though 76 percent know it can cause their condition to worsen or symptoms to return.

When asked why they’d missed a dose, 66 percent of survey respondents said that they forgot, 38 percent said they experienced side effects, and 26 percent weren’t able to get to the pharmacy to refill their prescription on time.

“Not following a prescription correctly can seriously impact your health,” said Jamal Downer, a Walgreens pharmacist. “Your local pharmacist is an expert who can help you understand your medications and provide tips on how to use tools like smartphone apps that make it easier and more convenient to stay on track.”

Steps to help you take your medications include services online, through apps and in store:

  • Getting help whenever you need it: A pharmacist is an integral part of your support team, and now they are available anytime via phone. Walgreens Pharmacy Chat service provides 24/7 access to pharmacists who can answer questions to help you better understand your medications, including side effects and how the other medicines you take and food you eat may interact with another drug.
  • Setting reminders: Whether you need a quick prompt to take your pill or a text alert that your refill is available, calendar notifications and free tools like a pill reminder can help ensure you always have your medication on hand.
  • Simplifying your refills: Pharmacists can also coordinate your prescription refills to a single pickup date with the Save a Trip Refills® program for free. Refilling your prescription can be made more convenient by switching to a 90-day supply or setting up automatic refills.
  • Making refills convenient: Just like you can order purchases online from your phone, you can have refills shipped directly to your home. With Walgreens Express™, patients can prepay and pick up prescriptions in a dedicated line or get their eligible medications delivered.

From pill reminders to tools for conveniently managing your condition, the answer to improved health and saving money could be in the palm of your hand. Download the Walgreens app or ask your local pharmacist how they can help you stay on track with your medications.

For more information, go to http://bit.ly/redphone-wakeup.

FOR YOUR HEALTH – Healthful School Lunches: What Parents Need To Know

(NAPSI)—The healthfulness of school lunches is one of the top three parental concerns of this school season, according to a recent survey conducted by OnePoll.

The survey covered a number of parental worries for their school-aged kids, including their safety, whether they’ll make new friends, quality of education, and homework load. However, 44 percent of respondents prioritized healthful school lunches after the quality of their children’s teachers, and ahead of the cost of school supplies.

Taking a deeper look into school lunches, the survey also found that the average child buys lunch about three times a week and, while healthful eating is a top concern for parents, 36 percent admitted they don’t typically know what their child eats at school.

Making Good Nutrition A Part of Kids’ Everyday Life

What with pizza, mystery meat, and the variety of fried options offered at school, most parents say their child eats healthiest when at home or when they pack their kids’ lunches themselves. Unfortunately, the survey also found that 45 percent of parents admit that they don’t always have time or have forgotten to prepare a sack lunch for their kids to take to school.

“Parents have enough to worry about and what their kids are eating in school should be the last thing they have to think about. Yet, unfortunately, parents have deep fears about what their kids are eating in lunchrooms across the country,” says Dr. John Agwunobi, pediatrician, co-president and Chief Health and Nutrition Officer at Herbalife Nutrition. “We all have a responsibility to ensure our kids are getting the most nutritious meals possible, and I applaud school districts around the country that are working with parents to improve both the nutrition levels and taste of school meals.”

According to the survey, only about a quarter of parents know both the nutrient and calorie value of the foods their children eat for lunch, whether homemade or purchased.

The Importance of Knowing Nutritional Value of Food

Building a balanced meal—including dairy, vegetables, fruits, grains and protein—doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. What is most important is making sure that the calories your children consume are jam-packed with the nutrients they need for energy and growth—a concept known as “nutrient density.” Emphasizing nutrient-dense foods is a great way to rethink how you pack your kids’ lunches—and how you plan meals at home, too.

Simply put, nutrient-dense foods are those that pack a lot of nutrients relative to their calorie cost. When choosing between two food items with the same calorie amount, one food choice could provide your body with the protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins or minerals it needs every day, while another choice may provide empty calories from sugar and saturated fat with no other significant nutrients.

Ideally, a meal should be made up of mostly nutrient-dense foods, with fewer “calorie-dense” foods—such as fats and sugars—which are high in calories relative to the nutrients they contain.

When parents do pack a lunch, the survey reported, tasty food is their top priority (64 percent), as well as foods that parents know their child will eat (64 percent), followed by healthy options (62 percent). Some ideas for nutrient-packed, healthful foods that most kids will enjoy include omega-3-rich tuna fish, sweet and crunchy carrots, strawberries packed with potassium and vitamin C, and nuts, which can replace chips to satisfy cravings for salty, crunchy items. However, the survey also found that the peanut butter and jelly sandwich continues to be the staple menu item most parents pack for their children. To make it more nutrient dense, parents can simply replace the white bread with whole grain bread and use a low- or no-sugar-added peanut butter and jelly, to make the sandwich more healthful, with better nutritional value.

Learn More

For more facts and tips on healthful and tasty options for yo`ur kids’ lunches, visit www.iamherbalifenutrition.com.

FOR YOUR HEALTH – New Study Uncovers ‘Hidden’ Epidemic In Health Care: Hospital Drug Diversion

(NAPSI)—Hospital drug diversion, in which health care workers divert opiates and other controlled substances away from patients for personal use or sale, is a largely underdiscussed challenge. To better understand health care diversion perceptions, behaviors and solutions, the BD Institute for Medication Management Excellence commissioned KRC Research, a global public opinion research consultancy, to conduct a national survey of more than 650 hospital executives and providers. The findings, released in a new report, were eye opening.

1. The Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) Effect

The survey showed that health care executives and providers may be in denial about substance use among hospital employees and the prevalence of hospital drug diversion. While 85 percent of providers express concern about diversion, and 50 percent report they have observed suspicious activity, fewer than 20 percent believe diversion is a problem in their own facility. Further, despite evidence to the contrary, 26 percent of executives and 29 percent of providers surveyed believe substance use disorder is less prevalent among hospital employees than in the general population.

2. Workplace Stress May Be a Related Issue

In the survey, 58 percent of nurses and 52 percent of anesthesiologists say their jobs are highly stressful. Among providers, 78 percent know a peer who may be stressed “to the breaking point.” And, though 74 percent of providers are comfortable seeking help to manage stress, only 39 percent of all respondents have actually sought assistance.

3. Better Training Could Help Solve the Problem

Nearly 60 percent of providers said they have either taken a diversion training course, talked about it in a work meeting, and/or received information from their hospital. However, 40 percent report they have not had any formal training, and more than a third have not received diversion information from their hospital or discussed it at work. Among those who had not received any training or communication, 60 percent would like that to change.

4. Hospitals Need Better Technology to Detect Diversion

In the survey, 32 percent of executives say they are spending too little on specific measures, such as tools that deliver more accurate data to reduce false positives, machine learning, advanced analytics, and mandatory diversion training. However, the vast majority of executives and providers believe that, with enough resources, they can mitigate diversion risk.

This new report—“Health Care’s Hidden Epidemic: A Call to Action on Hospital Drug Diversion”—should not be the last word on diversion. Rather, it should spark a national conversation, spur much-needed research, and ultimately lead hospitals and health systems to adopt comprehensive diversion prevention programs. Through technology, communication and training, cultural shifts and other means, diversion risk can be addressed in a meaningful way.

For more information, including the report, a resources guide and other assets, please visit BD Institute for Medication Management Excellence at www.bd.com/diversion-report.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Find Resources For Social Security Disability Beneficiaries Who Want To Work

(NAPSI)—When Laura set a goal of becoming a certified orthotist and prosthetist to help people who, like her, experienced limb loss, she was concerned that earning the income she would need to afford the necessary training and education would affect her Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from Social Security. But working with Social Security’s Ticket to Work (Ticket) program and using other Social Security Work Incentives helped her create a path to success.

Ticket to Work Program

The Ticket program supports career development for people age 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits, either SSI or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and want to work. Through this free and voluntary program, participants select a service provider to help them prepare for and find a job.

If you, like Laura, have a career goal and receive Social Security disability benefits, whether it’s SSI or SSDI, you might have questions about how work will affect your benefits. The Ticket program can help you find the answers.

From the Comfort of Your Own Home

Free, monthly Work Incentives Seminar Event (WISE) webinars offer you the opportunity to learn from the comfort of your home. Each month, the Ticket program team discusses the supports and services that are available through the program and shares resources that can help you on the path to financial independence through work.

You will learn about Work Incentives and discover how you can transition to the workplace without immediately losing your Medicare and/or Medicaid and, in some cases, your cash payments from Social Security. Each month, presenters also explain how you can access free supports and services such as career planning, job placement assistance and ongoing employment support. You can also find information and ask questions about different types of work goals, including starting your own business, working for the federal government or planning for financial independence once you start earning income.

WISE webinars are held on the fourth Wednesday of each month. You can learn about this month’s topic and register online at https://choosework.ssa.gov/wise. Or call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1 (866) 968-7842 or 1 (866) 833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

Learn more about Laura and others who have used the Ticket program to succeed by visiting https://choosework.ssa.gov/success-stories.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: What to do if you lose your health insurance

Transamerica Center for Health Studies

(NAPSI)—Losing your health insurance can be stressful and confusing as you explore the options for new coverage. To recover, it is important to understand all your options, their costs and potential restrictions before purchasing new coverage. Careful planning can help you find the coverage that best meets your needs.

If you are in the market for new insurance, you are not alone. Nonprofit Transamerica Center for Health Studies’ annual consumer survey found that over one in three (35 percent) insured adults acquired new health insurance in the past 12 months. And a strong majority (61 percent) of uninsured respondents said cost prevents them from obtaining health coverage.

Do you need health insurance? While the Internal Revenue Service no longer penalizes individuals on their federal taxes if they do not have health insurance, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont and the District of Columbia all require residents to be insured or pay a tax penalty. Other states are considering adopting a health insurance mandate as well, so be sure to check these tax requirements. Even in states that do not require it, health insurance can help protect you (and your loved ones) from high medical costs, expected or not.

It is a very difficult situation when you lose your health insurance—whether you lost your employer-based coverage, can no longer afford your current premium on individual coverage, lost your parents’ or spouse’s coverage, experienced a divorce, or have a new addition to your family. At that moment of uncertainty and concern for your health, what are your options for new health insurance coverage?

Join Your Parents’ or Spouse’s Plan

If you are under 26 years old, you may be added or remain on your parents’ health insurance (if it covers children). Adult children can join or remain on a parent’s plan even if they are married; not living with their parents; attending school; not financially dependent on their parents; or eligible to enroll in their employer’s plan.

If you are married and your spouse’s employer-based coverage covers dependents, you can be added to that health insurance. This change to your spouse’s employer-based coverage may be limited to the company open enrollment period once each year.

Shop the Exchange

Another place to look is your state’s Health Insurance Exchange. About 80 percent of customers purchasing a health plan through the Exchanges qualify for a subsidy on their premiums, depending on their income level. Health Insurance Exchanges are the only place to offer these subsidies, which are available for singles with a 2019 annual income between $12,140 and $48,560, or income between $25,100 and $100,400 for a family of four. (Income limits are different in states that offer “expanded” Medicaid coverage, meaning a wider number of low-income residents can qualify.) You can check for basic information about your state’s Exchange on our website: www.TransamericaCenterforHealthStudies.org.

It is important to know that you have up to 60 days after losing your previous insurance or experiencing a life event (new baby, marriage, etc.) to purchase coverage in an Exchange. Otherwise, you have to wait until the Exchange open enrollment period each fall to sign up.

Determine Eligibility for Medicaid

If you are lower income or unemployed, you may qualify for Medicaid in your state. Generally, the income limit is about $12,140 for singles and $25,100 for a family of four, though state requirements vary. Medicaid provides full health coverage with little or no out-of-pocket cost to you and your family. Some states have work/community engagement requirements for adults. You can check a state’s Medicaid income qualifications and requirements on our website: www.TransamericaCenterforHealthStudies.org.

Buy Direct

You can also purchase health insurance directly from an insurance provider. Health plans with the “essential health benefits” required by the Affordable Care Act can be purchased directly from health plans, often on the website. You might also consider working with an insurance broker who can help you understand the different plan options available to you and the levels of coverage.

Consider Gap and Short-Term Insurance

Some health insurance products that do not qualify as major medical health insurance are also available. They are sometimes called gap insurance, but you should know the limitations of these plans before purchasing.

  • Critical illness insurance provides a cash payment if you are diagnosed with cancer, have a heart attack, suffer a stroke or another serious and costly illness.
  • Accident insurance gives you a cash payout if you are in an accident. A plan may have daily payouts for specific events, such as a cash payment for every day you spend in the hospital.
  • Short-term health insurance plans also do not comply with the Affordable Care Act, but they can provide you with health insurance if you need a stopgap until obtaining full coverage. Short-term health plans can provide catastrophic health coverage but some states limit their availability. It is important to note that short-term medical plans are not required to cover mental health services, outpatient prescription drugs, substance use disorder treatment, maternity care or other essential health benefits. Moreover, short-term plans do not cover pre-existing conditions and may deny you coverage based on your past medical history.

Before you sign up for health insurance again, do your homework and shop around. That is the best way to make sure you find the best option for your needs.

Transamerica Center for Health Studies, a division of the nonprofit private foundation Transamerica Institute®, is focused on empowering consumers and employers to achieve the best value and protection from their health coverage, as well as the best outcomes in their personal health and wellness. www.TransamericaCenterforHealthStudies.org.

FOR YOUR HEALTH – Uniformed Services Members: Protect Your Family With The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

(NAPSI)—The prospect of needing long term care may be far from your mind today, but be aware, circumstances can change. A long term care event can happen at any age, and the potential financial and emotional strain that comes with it can affect you and your loved ones.

Millions of Americans require long term care during their lifetimes*. This includes needing either cognitive or physical assistance with simple tasks such as bathing, eating and dressing—trivial things most people do every day without a second thought. Unfortunately, traditional health insurance plans—including TRICARE For Life—do not pay for the chronic, ongoing assistance with daily living that is most often associated with long term care.

In fact, the long term care benefits offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are tied to specific triggers, including service-connected disability, available funding and even your ability to contribute to the cost of care. Long term care can be expensive and service members often rely on the VA to cover the associated costs. Depending on your eligibility status in the VA program, the level of coverage available to you may not be enough. For this reason, you may want to research stand-alone long term care insurance such as a plan offered through the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP).

Since its launch in 2002, the FLTCIP has offered active and retired members of the uniformed services the opportunity to help take control of their future long term care needs. Designed to provide solutions for a range of financial situations, this employer-sponsored program provides comprehensive coverage for more than 270,000 enrollees.

Many members of the federal family are eligible to apply for coverage under the FLTCIP, including active and retired members of the uniformed services. Certain qualified relatives are also eligible to apply even if you do not. Qualified relatives include your spouse, domestic partner, parents and parents-in-law, and adult children.

Coverage under the FLTCIP

The FLTCIP can lessen or even eliminate an individual’s reliance on a loved one to provide hands-on care. Consider these important benefits:

  • The FLTCIP offers coverage in a variety of settings—at home or in a facility, such as an assisted living facility, an adult daycare, or a nursing center—and your choice of caregiver.
  • If home care is your preference, the stay-at-home benefit includes a range of services that support care in your home, helping you maintain your quality of life in familiar surroundings.
  • Informal care provided by friends and family members, as long as they do not live in your home at the time you become eligible for benefits. Benefits for care provided by family members are limited to 500 days.
  • The program’s care coordination services offer enrollees and their qualified relatives information about long term care resources, such as local care providers and relevant community programs, as well as valuable support to your family and friends.

Talk candidly with your family members and tell them about the FLTCIP. Starting the conversation prior to needing care can help you prepare for the unexpected. Visit LTCFEDS.com/militaryfamily to learn more about the benefits of applying for the FLTCIP.

For personalized assistance, call (800) LTC-FEDS (800) 582-3337/TTY (800) 843-3557 to speak with a program consultant. He or she will answer any questions you may have and can walk you step by step through the plan design and application process.

You should also know that certain medical conditions, or combinations of conditions, will prevent some people from being approved for coverage. You need to apply to find out if you qualify for coverage.

More about the FLTCIP

Established by an act of Congress in 2000 and overseen by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the FLTCIP is designed to meet the specific needs of the federal family. The long term care insurance under the FLTCIP provides industry-leading benefits and offers flexible options that allow enrollees to tailor coverage to meet their needs.

The FLTCIP is sponsored by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, insured by John Hancock Life & Health Insurance Company, and administered by Long Term Care Partners, LLC.