Thursday, August 05, 2010
Medical insurance for retirees

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

There was a study done in Europe a few years ago, which looked at the lifetime medical costs of individuals and compared smokers to non-smokers. The interesting thing about the study was that smokers spent less in medical care over the course of a lifetime because they died sooner and did not have years of medical costs. A more recent study in the United States looked at lifetime medical costs, comparing individuals who lived a long life to those who did not. Over all the extra years, medical costs were more substantial. For that reason, those who lived longer had higher lifetime medical costs than those who died at a younger age. These facts may come as a surprise. You would think that not smoking and being healthy would save you money in medical costs. This would be true if you looked at the costs per year. However, living longer gives you more years of cost. So, over time you actually spend more money. The lesson in this is that even healthy individuals need to pay attention to medical insurance as they age. Medicare does not cover everything and this is especially true for hospitalization, which has a high co-pay. In order to help with these extra costs, additional medical insurance can be purchased. That supplemental health care insurance sometimes goes by the name of Medigap insurance. As people near retirement, they need to look at a retirement budget and Medicare insurance is always a part of that budget. However, the need to provide coverage for things that Medicare will not cover is often not included in the budget. Health Care reform will result in changes in medical insurance, which will create a more complex insurance situation for many people. Individuals who are Medicare eligible will be no exception. They will have to continue to decide on whether to just get Medicare Part A or to include Part B. Having both is the right way to go. They will have to look at the drug plans offered by Medicare and decide on supplemental insurance. In addition to making the decision about supplemental insurance, they will also need to budget for it. This is one more piece of deciding on how to spend health care dollars after retirement age.

Tull receives excellence award Delaware Hospice's Tracy Tull, RN, CHPN, of Seaford received the 2010 Excellence in Nursing Award for hospice nurses at the Delaware Nurses Association's annual awards recognition dinner. In nominating Ms. Tull, Delaware Hospice's COO & vice president, Dr. Margery White, remarked, "Tracy holds the highest standards for herself and our organization.As the leader in education and compliance for a statewide hospice, she demonstrates professionalism, clinical expertise, as well as practical knowledge of compliance issues, and infection control issues." Several Delaware Hospice nurses were nominated for the Excellence in Nursing award including Betsy Bruemmer of Wilmington, Kelly Jones of Harbeson, Latrina Atwater-Jones of Bear, Cathy Osgood of Magnolia, Donna Pritchett of Dover, Kristina Sechrest of Delmar, Marlene Tice of Kenton and Judi Tulak of Salisbury, Md.

BBQ & Antique Car Show Methodist Manor House will hold the 2nd Annual Chicken BBQ & Antique Car Show to benefit Delaware Hospice on Saturday, Sept. 11, from noon to 3 p.m., at 1001 Middleford Rd., Seaford. Guests will also enjoy a live broadcast of Eagle 97.7, bake sale, craft table, gift shop and Manor House Thrift Shop. Cost is $8 per chicken platter. Tickets may be purchased from the receptionist at Methodist Manor House.

Heart Walk 2010 Kick-Off Join us on Friday, Aug. 6, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., for the kick-off of the 19th Annual START! Sussex County Heart Walk hosted by Delaware National Bank, located at 20135 Dupont Blvd., Georgetown. A complimentary continental breakfast will be provided. Team Captain kits with all Heart Walk materials for the Oct. 2nd walk will also be distributed. Walking 30 minutes a day greatly reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. Taking steps for those who can't will generate crucial dollars to fund research and education. Please join us in the Sussex County Start!

First Aid classes offered Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community First Aid classes to anyone interested in learning first aid on Tuesday, Aug. 10, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn basic first aid that will enable them to administer help during the first few moments until emergency responders arrive. Classes are open to participants ages 13 and up. The course covers cognitive learning, role-playing and skill practice. Cost is $30. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days before the start of class. Late registrations (if seating is available) will be an additional $5 fee. To register, or for more information, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Alzheimer's Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Alzheimer's Support Group meeting is Tuesday, Aug. 10, 1:30 p.m., at LifeCare at Lofland Park's, first floor Resident Lounge, 715 East King St., Seaford.

The group is designed for family members and those providing care to individuals with Alzheimer's. The meetings consist of guest speakers to provide education, community resources and emotional support to those who have been affected by Alzheimer's and memory loss. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact LifeCare at Lofland Park at 628-3000, ext. 8302.

Healthy recipes contest Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and the Western Sussex Farmers Market are looking for your heart healthy recipes that use local seasonal produce. Submit your heart healthy recipes for a chance to win. On Saturday, Aug. 21 at 10 a.m., three entries will be prepared and shared at the Western Sussex Farmers Market (located at the Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club) and will win a Nanticoke Memorial Hospital gift basket. Each recipe must: 1.Be your own original creation and not based on any other published recipe. 2.Include a list of all required ingredients including measured amounts (teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, etc.) 3.Include preparation and cooking instructions including cooking times and temperatures. 4.Include the number of servings per recipe. 5.Include at least one selection of local fresh seasonal produce. 6.Be a recipe easily reproducible by others. All recipes will be evaluated on originality, use of seasonal produce, being "heart healthy," texture, visual appearance and taste. Submission deadline is July 31. For complete contest rules, e-mail, visit, or call 629-6611, ext. 8948.

Autism Delaware tournament Sign up for Go Fish, a bass fishing tournament to benefit Autism Delaware's southern location and the advocacy, education and support services they provide to improve the lives of people with autism and their families. Go Fish will be held on Sunday, Sept. 19, at eight ponds throughout Kent and Sussex counties, and will be followed by a celebration at Milford's Bicentennial Park. Anglers of all ages and abilities are welcome. Each team of two can register for $40 and will receive an information and fundraising packet. Prizes, including a grand prize of $500 and special youth prizes, will be awarded at the celebration. The public is welcome to attend the celebration which will include fun for all ages with music by Code Blue, food from Go Fish of Rehoboth and kids games. Nominal fees will be charged for games and food for those not participating on a fishing team. Pro bass fisherman Mike DelVisco will fish in the tournament Sunday and participate in the celebration. There are 160 slots for fishing so register today by visiting or calling 422-2255.

Cancer support group at Nanticoke The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a General Cancer support group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. The support group meets in the second floor conference room of the Cancer Care center on the third Monday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The Wellness Community is dedicated to helping people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support and hope. Facilitators are trained mental health professionals with a master's degree or more. For more information or to register, call 645-9150. All support groups are free of charge. This program is made possible by the support of the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. For more information, visit

Bereavement support group Compassionate Care Hospice, The Wellness Community-DE and Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will collaborate to present a monthly bereavement group, The Next Step. The group focuses on issues of loss that continue beyond the early stages of grief. Mary Van House, bereavement coordinator, will facilitate the group at 10 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month, at the Nanticoke Cancer Care Center, second floor conference room. To register, call Lisa at 629-6611, ext. 2378.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. The program is facilitated by Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center professional staff - Terri A. Clifton, MS, NCC, Cancer Care coordinator; Mary Brown, RN, DSN, manager Cancer Care Center; and Wendy Polk, nutritionist - with assistance from Lois Wilkinson, DBCC special projects manager, who helps facilitate the program at Bayhealth. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.