Health briefs for Nov. 9, 2013: VNA to offer free cardiovascular screenings Nov. 11

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Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association will provide free cardiovascular screenings from 8 to 5 p.m. Monday at its Craig building at 745 Russell St. The screenings will include several aspects of cardiovascular health, such as total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, blood glucose and body mass index.

Those interested in receiving a screening must make an appointment by calling 970-875-1880.

VNA to offer diabetes weight loss program

Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association will host a free Stop Diabetes, Start Living class from 8 to 9 a.m. Thursdays starting Nov. 14. The 16-week weight loss group will include weekly weigh-ins, fat gram goals per week and is designed for 5 to 7 percent weight loss for those on the program.

For more information, call 970-871-7634.

Moffat County Council on Aging to host meeting

The Moffat County Council on Aging and the Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Colorado will host a summit from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Nov. 18 in Room 175 at the Craig campus of Colorado Northwestern Community College. Moffat County residents are encouraged to participate in the meeting, which will discuss the possible future of a senior center in the area where seniors can meet, socialize, exercise and more.

The summit will be facilitated by CNCC President Russell George and Corrie Ponikvar, executive director of Moffat County United Way. Refreshments also will be provided.

The senior bus will be available, and CNCC will transport guests from the west parking lot to the Academic Building, and passengers can be dropped at the south entrance using the drop-off/emergency access road.

RSVPs can be sent to mary.morris@cncc.edu. For more information on the summit or to arrange transportation, call 970-824-1135.

Steamboat Springs program offers advice to cancer patients

Yampa Valley Medical Center will host a free presentation from noon to 1 p.m. Friday at Integrated Health, 3001 S. Lincoln Ave., Suite A, in Steamboat Springs, as part of the Integrated Health series, “Whole Person Wellness for Cancer Patients.”

The seminar will include information about how to cope with the holidays. Under normal circumstances, the holiday season is emotion-filled, and for cancer patients, it is even more so. Learn techniques to manage stress and create a holiday plan that is realistic and supportive for you and your family.

For more information, call 970-875-2731.

VNA hosts flu clinics

Northwest Colorado Visting Nurse Association will host drop-in flu clinics at various Craig locations in the coming weeks.

Representatives will be administering flu shots and FluMists from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Nov. 21 at Sunset Elementary School.

Treatments also will be available from noon to 2 p.m. Monday at the VNA’s building at 745 Russell St.

The cost is $25 for a flu shot, $35 for a FluMist. Cash, check or insurance with card are accepted. All ages are welcome, but children younger than 18 must be accompanied bu a parent or guardian.

For more information, call 970-871-7624 or visit www.nwcovna.org/flu.php.

Medicare patients can alter plans through Dec. 7

Open enrollment for Medicare Part D prescription plans and Medicare Advantage health plans is underway and continues until Dec. 7. Current Medicare beneficiaries interested in changing to a different plan must make a decision by Dec. 7.

New plans become effective Jan. 1, 2014.

“This is a critical time for consumers on Medicare to review their coverage and make sure it meets their needs,” said Marguerite Salazar, Colorado Commissioner of Insurance, in a press release from the Colorado Division of Insurance.

People should evaluate their Medicare plan each year and because plan prices, benefits and networks change, even people who are happy with their current plan should use this time to review their coverage. The Plan Finder tool at www.medicare.gov can be very helpful in comparing one plan to another.

Colorado consumers can call their local State Health Insurance Assistance Program at 1-888-696-7213 for help. SHIP is housed in the Colorado Division of Insurance and provides personal assistance to anyone in Colorado.

Consumers also can contact Medicare directly at 1-800-633-4227.

“SHIP is a key component to our mission of consumer protection,” Salazar said. “The counselors’ expertise is a great consumer resource. It’s free, unbiased and no one is trying to sell you anything.”

Unfortunately, open enrollment also brings the risk of unscrupulous sales activities. Here are a few key facts to remember as Medicare beneficiaries review their plans.

• Legitimate insurance carriers do not sell Medicare plans door-to-door.

• Contacting you by phone is inappropriate unless you requested it or you already are the carrier’s customer.

• Insurance carriers should not start selling one product and then switch to another unless you requested this sales approach in writing.

• If an event is advertised as “educational,” no sales pitch should be made at the event.

For more information on SHIP, visit www.dora.colorado.gov/SHIP or call 1-888-696-7213.

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