You become eligible for Medicare once you turn 65. Medicare plans are broken into multiple parts, and it is important to understand the basics before you sign up, as making the wrong choice can prove to be expensive later. 

To start, let’s take a look at the options out there:

Original Medical comprises Part A & Part B.

  • Part A: Covers hospital care, skilled nursing, hospice, and home health care up to a certain extent. 
  • Part B: Covers doctor visits, preventive care, outpatient care and hospitals, home health care up to a certain extent. 
  • Part C: Also known as the Medicare Advantage plan is offered by private companies and includes all Part A and Part B benefits. Some of the plans include vision, dental and hearing, and Part D drug coverage.
  • Part D: Covers prescription drugs.

Part A is free if you or your spouse have at least ten years of Social Security work history. It can cost up to $413 per month if you don’t have the requisite work credits. 

In addition to original Medicare (Parts A and B), most people opt for a Medigap plan from the ten choices available to cover out-of-pocket costs. This supplemental policy is offered by private insurers and costs vary considerably. They help you pay for what Medicare doesn’t.

Medicare Advantage plans have low or no monthly premiums, but you’ll have access to fewer doctors and hospitals. 

Most people find themselves with two choices – sign up for original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C). Keep in mind that both options include deductibles, copays, and coinsurance – where beneficiaries pay a percentage of the bill.

If you’re relatively healthy, a Medicare Advantage plan may be cheaper, and possibly your best option if you absolutely can’t afford a Medigap supplement. That said, those who can afford it may want to choose traditional Medicare with a supplement because it provides access to top specialists.

No matter what your retirement age, you can sign up the three months before your birthday, during your birth month, or in the three months after it. Even if you’re still working, it is crucial to sign up during these seven months, or you may face a long-term penalty.

Your chances of beating cancer are higher when it is detected early. But more often than not, we tend to ignore symptoms or are simply unaware of what they could indicate. Listed below are some general symptoms of cancer worth knowing about. See a doctor if you notice any of these symptoms lasting for long periods or getting worse.

  • Unexplained Weight Loss: An unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more may be the first sign of cancers of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus, or lung.
  • Fatigue: Extreme tiredness can be an early indicator of leukemia. 
  • Pain: Back pain can be a symptom of cancer of the colon, rectum, or ovary while persistent headaches may indicate the presence of a brain tumor. 
  • Skin Changes: Changes in the color, size, or shape of warts, moles, or freckles, hyperpigmentation, yellowish skin and eyes, redness, itching, or excessive hair growth may be symptoms of skin cancer or other cancers. 
  • Changes in Bowel Habits: Long-term constipation, diarrhea, or change in stool size are possible indicators of colon cancer. 
  • Changes in Bladder Function: Experiencing pain or having to pass urine more or less often than usual may be symptoms of bladder or prostate cancer.
  • Sores that are Slow to Heal: A long-lasting sore in the mouth could be oral cancer. 
  • White Patches: White spots inside the mouth and on the tongue may be leukoplakia that if left untreated, can develop into mouth cancer.
  • Abnormal Bleeding: Coughing up blood may be a sign of lung cancer. Vaginal bleeding may indicate cancer of the cervix or the endometrium. Bloody urine could indicate bladder or kidney cancer while bloody stool may indicate colon or rectal cancer. Breast cancer can cause bloody discharges from the nipples.
  • Lumps in the Breast or Other Parts of the Body: Cancers occurring in the breast, testicle, lymph nodes (glands), and the soft tissues of the body can be felt through the skin. Check for lumps or red or thickened skin.
  • Nagging Cough: Persistent coughing may be a sign of lung cancer.
  • Hoarseness: An abnormal change in your voice may indicate cancer of the larynx or thyroid gland.

Along with using an inhaler or taking medication, air purifiers can help people suffering from asthma breathe a little easier. While many air purifiers in the market claim to strip the air of allergens and environmental triggers and help with long-term asthma relief, here are our top picks:

Rabbit Air MinusA2 Air Purifier

If you’re looking to purify the air in medium to large rooms, this is your best bet. Its special 6-stage air cleaning process filters out asthma-inducing toxins.

The True HEPA filter captures the finest particles, and users also have the option to add an additional layer of protection by choosing between a set of four customized filters including Germ Defense, Toxin Absorber, Odor Neutralizer, and Pet Allergy Reducer.

The air purifier can be wall-mounted or set on the floor, is inexpensive, and powerful enough to purify an area up to 700 square feet.

Blueair 203 Air Purifier

This device has a special verification by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

It traps 99.97% of asthma-inducing particles down to 0.3 microns using a True HEPA filter and is cheaper than our first pick.

It can only purify an area of up to 240 square feet, so it’s ideal for a small bedroom. Thanks to its sleek design and small size it doesn’t take up a lot of floor space and is easily portable.

IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier

Ideal for people suffering from severe asthma, this air purifier’s advanced HyperHEPA filter traps 99.95% of particles down to 0.003 microns. It can purify the air in spaces up to 1,125 square feet and is also equipped with a special V-5 Cell Gas and Odor Filter.

Although expensive, it removes a wide range of chemical pollutants and household odors, making it a great choice for asthmatics.

Honeywell HPA300 Air Purifier

This air purifier covers up to 465 square feet, making it ideal for most living rooms and bedrooms. It’s also great for open apartment spaces and comes highly recommended by allergists.

The Honeywell HPA300 circulates the air in the room five times per hour. Three internal True HEPA filters filter 99.97% of contaminants down to 0.3 microns out of the air. An activated carbon filter helps reduce chemical gases that can irritate your lungs.

Levoit Vista 200 Air PurifierLevoit Vista 200

This compact, lightweight air purifier is ideal for personal use, travel, or a small room.

The internal air filter draws air in from every side of the machine to eliminate allergens, dust, and other asthma triggers.

It’s virtually silent on the lowest fan speed and quite affordable.

Keeping a constant eye out for signs of low blood sugar and managing diabetes on a day-to-day basis can be challenging at times. But chasing healthy glucose levels shouldn’t get in the way of chasing your dreams.

Follow these tips to live your best life and keep your diabetes under control:

  • Keep Calm: Stress can cause your blood sugar to rise, so find enjoyable activities like walking or gardening that can help you relax.
  • Skip the Bar: Processing alcohol leaves the liver with little time to release stored sugar in response to low blood levels, so cut down on your alcohol consumption.
  • Change Your Plan According to Your Stage of Life: Your medication, meal plan, or exercise level will have to change to accommodate the body’s hormonal changes, as these can cause your blood sugar to fluctuate.
  • Be Aware of What Medications You’re Taking: Medication may affect your blood sugar level in several ways – especially if sweetened.
  • Be Mindful of Oral Hygiene: Diabetes lowers your ability to fight infection from bacteria in the mouth, putting you at greater risk for gum disease. 
  • Plan Ahead Before Traveling: Traveling can disrupt your normal routine, so talk to your doctor about how to adjust and ensure you have enough medication till you return.
  • Add Your Own Sweeteners: Reduce the sugar in your diet by sweetening your food yourself. This will give you more control over your diabetes nutrition strategy, and help you cut down calories and carbs.
  • Get Yourself Vaccinated: Diabetes makes you more vulnerable to infection and illnesses including the flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis B. So, make sure you’re immunized against them. 
  • Stay One Step Ahead: Monitoring your glucose level continuously is essential to be able to manage your diabetes better since it enables you to quickly address high or low sugar levels.
  • Don’t Be Tempted to Break From the Plan: Especially on days that you’re feeling good, which may actually be a sign that the plan set with your doctor is working. 

With these simple tips, you’ll be able to manage your diabetes better, improve your energy, and reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack, nerve damage, kidney failure, blindness, gum disease, and other health complications.

Your hearing aids allow you to experience life to the fullest every day. The following preventative maintenance and care tips can help prevent malfunction and ensure things stay that way.

Store In A Dry Place

Hearing aids contain some very sophisticated technology and circuitry in a tiny shell, which can be damaged if exposed to moisture. If you live in a humid area, consider storing your devices in a specialized hearing aid dehumidifier. If they come in contact with water, dry it immediately using a towel.

Even with water-resistant hearing aids, it is recommended that you remove them when showering or swimming.

Check The Batteries Often

If left in for a long time, batteries can corrode and damage your hearing aid. Remember to leave the battery door open when devices are not in use to prevent moisture from staying trapped in. If you aren’t going to be using your hearing aids for a few days, temporarily remove the batteries. Also, clean the battery contacts in your devices with a dry cotton swab to avoid poor connection and lower performance.

Keep Devices Free Of Earwax

Earwax causes decreased performance in hearing aids. Make sure to clean yours every night before going to bed using a dry cotton swab or a soft toothbrush. This little step will help you prolong the life of your hearing aids.

Change Your Wax Filter

The wax filter prevents wax from reaching and damaging the internal components of your hearing aid. Replace it whenever you begin to see buildup. Ask your local hearing healthcare provider to help you pick the right replacement and show you how to change it for your specific device.

Handle Your Hearing Aids With Care

Although hearing devices these days are a lot more durable, they should never be kept within the reach of children or animals. Always hold them securely to avoid dropping them, and set them on a soft towel when changing the batteries or cleaning them.

Schedule Routine Professional Cleanings

Make sure to get your hearing aids properly checked by a professional every 4-6 months. They might be able to spot potential problems, fix things, and make adjustments to your devices to better suit your needs.

Being mindful of your daily habits, using the right oral care products, and taking the necessary steps to care for your teeth are all crucial to preventing cavities and other dental problems. Here’s how you can care for your teeth.

Brush Your Teeth Before Bed

It may sound obvious – but a lot of people forget to brush, let alone floss at bedtime. If you aren’t doing it already, this should be your first step in taking better care of your pearly whites – it gets rid of the germs and plaque that accumulate throughout the day.

Take Your Time To Brush Properly

Doing a poor job of brushing your teeth is just as bad as not brushing – it can lead to plaque buildup and gum disease. Move the toothbrush in gentle, circular motions and make sure you’re reaching all the corners!

Use A Fluoride Toothpaste

Make sure you choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride over a toothpaste in your favorite flavor. It fights germs that cause tooth decay and creates a protective barrier around your teeth.

Floss Once A Day

Treat flossing like you treat brushing – besides getting out those annoying particles of food stuck in between your teeth, it also stimulates the gums, reduces plaque, and helps lower inflammation. Ready-to-use dental flossers and other tools can help make flossing easier for young children and older adults with arthritis.

Don’t Forget To Use Mouthwash

Rinsing with mouthwash reduces the amount of acid present, cleans hard-to-brush areas, and remineralizes your teeth. They are useful as an adjunct tool, especially for children and older people.

Drink More Water

Drinking water after every meal can reduce the negative effects of sticky, acidic foods, and beverages.

Eat The Right Foods

Eating crunchy fruits and vegetables, especially at a younger age, strengthens your jaws and teeth. You should also try to avoid sugary and acidic foods that erode the enamel of your teeth and cause cavities.

Visit Your Dentist Often

Even people who brush and floss dutifully need to see a dentist for cleanings and checkups twice a year. Doing this ensures that any potential issues are spotted in time and you can receive preventive care or primary treatment.

Unlike home or auto insurance, there’s no way to place a value on your health and the health of your family.  Which is why many people often find themselves asking, ‘How much health insurance do I need?’

Before America’s first public health insurance marketplace was created by Obama’s Affordable Care Act, it was really hard to compare plans. These days, however, shopping for policies is a lot easier. The steps listed below should help you find the right coverage:

  • Assess Your Risk: Do this by asking yourself questions like: Are my lifestyle choices unhealthy or how’s my overall health?
  • Figure Out Your Health Care Consumption: Calculate your total copays for doctor visits and specialty/urgent care, lab tests, prescription drugs, etc., in the last year.
  • Survey Your Options: If you opt for employer health insurance, make sure you fully understand the plans offered. You don’t want to sign up and find that visits to your family doctor aren’t covered by the plan you chose. If you’d like to check more options, compare individual plans offered by private insurance companies.
  • Identify Priorities: If you suffer from a chronic health condition, lower deductibles and copays or lower premiums may matter more. Consider if you can benefit from a high-deductible plan. You don’t want to have a low deductible and overpay for premiums.
  • Find The Right Fit: Once you’ve narrowed down the options, closely compare the details of different plans to see which plan is most likely to meet your needs. Make sure to pick one that offers good value.
  • Get Another Opinion: For a first-time purchase, asking an insurance agent for their advice might be a good idea. This will help you make sure you’re on the right track before signing on for coverage.

Typically, employer-sponsored group plans cost less than individual insurance policies because the employer pays part or all of the premium. However, insurers tend to hedge their risk by offering cost-sharing contracts with little or no customization, so sometimes the only thing you may get to choose is how many people you can add as dependents.

Whichever route you decide to take, make sure the plan you invest in offers enough coverage to help you and your family deal with unexpected illnesses or accidents or manage chronic health conditions without having to pay astronomical healthcare bills.