Medicare Memo: Have Fun in the Sun—Safely

Spring is here, and summer’s right around the corner. That means tending the garden, picnicking outdoors, and playing outside with the grandkids. It also means it’s time to talk about skin cancer.

Skin cancer should be a serious concern for everyone. It’s the most common type of cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year.

Anyone can have skin cancer, but seniors are particularly at risk. As with most other types of cancer, your risk of getting skin cancer goes up as you age. Also, many seniors today were active sunbathers in the 1970s, before the risks of sun exposure were widely known.

Practice Prevention: You and Yours

The good news is that there are lots of ways to have fun outside while playing it safe. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and those you love:

  • Avoid the sun in the middle of the day. For most people in North America, the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., even on a cloudy day.
  • Wear sunscreen—all year long. Choose one that feels comfortable to you and has an SPF of at least 15. Apply it on all your exposed skin, including the back of your hands and neck. Reapply it after swimming or sweating heavily.
  • Wear protective clothing. Look for dark, tightly woven clothing that covers your limbs. A hat with a broad brim and sunglasses are good choices, too.
  • Avoid tanning beds. They can give off harmful UV rays that can raise your cancer risk.
  • Know your medications. Some common prescription and over-the-counter drugs can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. These include antibiotics, ibuprofen and certain high blood pressure and diabetes medications. Be extra careful if you’re taking one of these.
  • Get vitamin D safely. Medical experts are looking into how getting less sun may mean less vitamin D for some people. Talk to your doctor about getting enough vitamin D from what you eat or from supplements.
  • Start ‘em young. Most of the safety tips in this list work for your loved ones, too. Take extra care to protect young children in your care, since early exposure can lead to higher risks of cancer later on. Staying in the shade is the best bet for babies under six months, since they can’t wear sunscreen yet and can burn easily in the sun.

Keep Alert: Early Detection is Key

Detecting cancer in its early stages often makes it easier to treat before it gets worse. So make sure you’re doing skin cancer self-exams every month. If you see new moles or growths, or changes in ones you already have, make sure to tell your doctor. You can also check with your doctor to see whether your annual Medicare preventive visit (covered by Medicare Part B) includes a skin cancer check, depending on your risk factors.

–This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear – Turning 65 ? Looking for reliable Medicare Insurance? or Looking to get better rates. The Litchfield Insurance Agency assists the Beaver Medical Group in Redlands. Whether it be Medicare, Health, Life. We will find the right plan for you. Serving Redlands, Banning, Yucaipa and the Inland Empire. Call us at 888-891-5557 today!

Remember to Get Your Medicare Yearly Wellness Visit


Medicare Wellness visits are important for every age. I think Ben Franklin said it best.  See the article below.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When Ben Franklin first said this over 200 years ago, he was talking about more than disease. But given the medical advances since then, even the health-conscious Franklin might be amazed at what’s possible today.

Medicare is doing its part to honor Franklin’s message. First offered in 2011, a Yearly Wellness Visit is now covered under Medicare Part B. There is no copay or deductible for this visit, and you must have had Part B for at least 12 months to qualify. If you took advantage of this benefit in 2011, your next Wellness Visit must be at least 12 months after your last one.

What to Expect at Your Wellness Visit

The Wellness Visit is focused on prevention. You and your doctor work together to assess and understand your current health status and to identify ways to improve your health. You’ll develop a personalized plan to help prevent disease based on your health and risk factors. The visit also serves to help detect any potential health problems early so they can be treated.

At the visit, your doctor will measure your height, weight, blood pressure and other health indicators as needed based on your health status. He or she will test your cognitive abilities and review and update your:

  • Medical and family health history
  • Medications list, including supplements
  • Health risk profile
  • Health screening schedule
  • Referral services list

If you get additional tests or services during the same visit that aren’t covered under the preventive benefits, you may have to pay coinsurance and the Part B deductible may apply.

Here’s to Your Health

Be sure to see your doctor for a Medicare Wellness Visit in 2012. This one ounce of prevention just may be the best New Year’s resolution you can make.

–This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear – Are you a senior age 65+ looking for Medicare Supplemental Insurance? Call 909-790-7748. We will explain your options and find the right plan for you.