Thursday, February 28, 2013
Which supplemental insurance?

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
My wife and I recently became eligible for Medicare. When that happened, we received numerous calls and letters about supplemental medical insurance. It was not an issue for us. As an Air Force retiree, it was not necessary because we have the military TRICARE program as supplemental insurance. However, the multiple requests made me stop and wonder. It is clear that Medicare does not cover everything so supplemental insurance is a good idea. However, if so many organizations are selling it so aggressively, it suggests that there is a reason for it. It is not likely that they are doing it because they are kind. It is more likely that they are making money in the process which would suggest that there is a lot of competition. When there is competition, it usually means that the customer should be able to get a good deal. For that reason, it makes sense to compare the various plans. There are 10 different kinds of plans available. Each of them has a letter name. The letters are Plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. All of the insurers have to offer plan A as a minimum. Whether they offer any of the other nine plans is up to the insurer. Plan A offer supplemental insurance for Parts A (inpatient) and B (outpatient) of Medicare. It also covers blood transfusion, hospice care and preventive care. Plan B provides additional coverage for the deductible portion of Part A Medicare. Plan C adds additional coverage for the deductible portion of Part B Medicare. It also covers foreign travel emergency care. It also adds an important component in terms of skilled nursing care at a skilled nursing facility. This would cover stays at facilities such as that. For example, individuals who have hip replacements or knee replacements can expect a period of their recovery to take place in a a skilled nursing care facility. Plan D is similar to Plan C except that it does not provide coverage for the deductible portion of Part B Medicare. Plans F and G are similar. They both add coverage for Medicare excess charges. Plan F also covers the deductible portion of Part B Medicare. For that reason, it is the most inclusive plan. Therefore, it is likely to be the most expensive one. Plan G does not cover the deductible portion of Part B Medicare. Plan K provides coverage for Part A Medicare. It also includes preventive care. However, it only offers 50% coverage for Medicare Part B, blood transfusions, hospice, skilled nursing care and Medicare Part A deductible. It does not cover Medicare Part B deductible, Medicare excess charges or foreign medical care emergencies. Plan L is similar to Plan K. The one difference is that it provides 75% coverage for those items that are covered at the 50% level for Plan K. Plan M covers everything except Medicare Part B deductible and Medicare excess charges. It only covers Part A deductible at a 50% level. Plan N covers everything except Medicare Part B deductible and Medicare excess charges. It covers Part A deductible where Part M does not. This may sound confusing. However, you can find it in chart form on the following website: You might wonder which plan is best for you. The answer is "it depends." If you are in poor health when you become Medicare eligible, you might decide that you need more coverage than the average person. If you have enough money to spend on health care insurance, you might decide that you want to spend it on a more comprehensive plan. If you are healthy and cannot afford a lot of coverage, you might decide to go with a plan that offers relatively little coverage. Deductibles are fixed amounts. Therefore, you can be able to calculate out each year what your deductible will be. If you can afford that amount, you probably do not need to buy coverage for deductibles. Copayments on the other hand can get very expensive. For example, copayments for prolonged hospitalizations (over 60 days) in 2013 would be $296 per day. Most people do not stay in the hospital that long. However, one long stay could quickly ring up a huge bill. Copayments for Part B are at a 20% level. Some people might think that since Part B is outpatient, there cannot be much of a bill. However, they forget about the fact that there are many expensive things that are outpatient in nature. These include outpatient surgery center procedures. These also include overnight stays in a hospital. These are called outpatient observation stays. They are not admissions. The bottom line is that researching Medicare supplemental plans is complicated. Finding out the right plan for you is complicated. The likelihood is that it is a smart idea to sign up for one of these plans. The problem will be in deciding which one is right for you.

Collison receives award Bayhealth Kent General Specialized Pharmacy Technician Dottie Collison, CPhT, was named Kent General's 2012 Employee of the Fourth Quarter. The award honors Collison's consistently outstanding performance and willingness to go beyond her job function to serve her department and the hospital. Collison also serves on the hazardous waste committee, social committee, Planetree advisory committee, and Planetree cleanliness task force and is the Pharmacy's department safety officer. The Employee of the Quarter Award is designed to recognize outstanding service, teamwork, and commitment to patient care. Recipients are given a $100 gift card, a plaque to display in their offices, and use of a special parking space. Honorees automatically become finalists for Bayhealth's Employee of the Year Award.

Free early literacy screenings Nemours created Nemours BrightStart! which develops unique programs and tools targeting preschool aged children at risk for reading failure. Reading failure affects 30 percent or more of our nation's children and is linked to health outcomes, making it a major child health issue. To address this persistent national problem, specially trained NBS!staff provide free screenings in child care centers, libraries, schools and other community locations to help identify children who are behind their peers in reading readiness skills. These screenings take about 10 minutes per child and measure critical language and print awareness skills. Nemours BrightStart! free early literacy screenings are offered the first Tuesday of each month by appointment at Nemours Pediatrics, 49 Fallon Ave., Seaford. Contact Shebra Hall, community initiatives coordinator at 3024449115 (office) or 3023774325 (cell) to schedule an appointment.

Local surgeon earns recertification Dr. David J. Cloney, M.D. FACS, a Bayhealth Medical Center surgeon since 1997, has received recertification as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice. Dr. Cloney attended medical school at the University of Bologna in Italy and did his residency in Youngstown, Ohio. He also serves as a clinical proctor for Physician Assistants from Drexel and Arcadia universities.

Bayhealth opens new dialysis unit Bayhealth is pleased to announce the opening of a new dialysis unit that incorporates the latest technology and offers a comfortable, safe, and private environment for patients. Now in our 30th year of providing hemodialysis to acute and chronic kidney failure patients in our community, Bayhealth is meeting current needs as well as laying a foundation for the future by expanding our facilities and recruiting additional medical staff. In 2013, we expect to provide over 3,100 dialysis treatments. The new unit features six bed treatment bays and three chair treatment bays, an isolation room for special care, a dedicated waiting room, an exam room, and a physician's office. Members of Bayhealth's dialysis team gathered to cut the ribbon. The unit is expected to welcome its first patients in the coming weeks.

PRMC seeks input from residents Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury is conducting a community health needs assessment to determine what services and health issues are most important to Delmarva residents.

As part of the assessment, PRMC is inviting the community's participation in the project via a quick, confidential online survey, accessible at or at The survey poses nine simple questions relating to healthcare on Delmarva. Residents of Accomack, Dorchester, Somerset, Sussex, Wicomico and Worcester counties are all welcome to participate. The deadline is March 15. Peninsula Regional urges community members to make their voices heard and help shape the future of healthcare on the Eastern Shore via this questionnaire.

Miss First State chooses platform Kaitlin Repella, a local Delaware teen who was crowned Miss First State in December 2012 is using her newfound fame to spread the mission of the American Lung Association in Delaware and bring awareness of the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke. Repella chose the American Lung Association in Delaware as her platform for the competition because her grandfather passed away from lung cancer. Repella, a student at Delaware Tech, hopes to participate in the Miss Delaware competition this June.

Creative Couture Fashion & Art Show The Auxiliary of Bayhealth Milford Memorial Hospital invites you to a Creative Couture Fashion & Art Show on Thursday, March 21, at Abbott's Grill in Milford. The event opens at 11:30 a.m. with a Meet the Artists reception, featuring various artists from the Mispillion Art League of Milford. Each artist is donating a small work which will be placed on each table and taken home by a lucky person seated at the table. Cards by each of the artists will also be available for sale, and three artists will be offering to do commission work. The boutiques Coolspring Cottage of Coolspring, Twilla's of Lewes and Jane and Georgie of Rehoboth will have models for the fashion show. Tickets for a 50/50 raffle will be for sale, as well as drawings for a $50.00 gift certificate to Abbott's Grill and a $150 gift certificate from Jane and Georgie. Abbott's Grill will offer a buffet lunch at noon for all to enjoy. Cost is $35 per person. Tickets may be purchased at Reflections Gift Shop at Milford Memorial, through any member of the Milford Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Board or by calling Cynthia Jones at 2701842. All proceeds benefit Bayhealth Milford Memorial.

2013 Walk MS dates The Delaware Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has announced the 2013 Walk MS dates and is inviting all Delawareans to join the movement. Each year thousands of loved ones, friends, and neighbors throughout Delaware – from Wilmington's Riverfront to Sussex County's Baywood Greens – lace up and step out in solidarity, with hopes of creating a world free of MS. Last year, over a quarter million dollars was raised to help out the 1,550 Delawareans living with multiple sclerosis. The Twilight at Heritage Shores walk in Bridgeville will be held on May 31 and the walk at Baywood Greens will be held on June 7. To register, visit or call 3026555610.

EndofLife Coalition awards dinner Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, will be the keynote speaker at the Delaware EndofLife Coalition's 5th Annual Excellence Awards Dinner on Thursday, March 21. This event honors the outstanding professionals throughout the state who make a significant difference in the care of individuals dealing with endoflife issues. The dinner costs $65 and will be held at the Deerfield Country Club, Newark. These awards recognize physicians, nurses, certified nurse assistants, counseling professionals and community organizations for their significant contributions to the betterment of patients and their families at the endoflife. Sponsorship packages are available and nominations are still being accepted, visit Plan to attend the celebration and meet Crystal Rush, Miss Delaware International. To register visit

Alzheimer's Caregiver Support Group Cadia Rehab Renaissance near Millsboro is hosting and facilitating an Alzheimer's Association Caregiver Support Group that meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. All meetings are open to the public and interested parties are invited to attend. Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. One person out of eight who reaches the age of 65 will develop Alzheimer's, as will one person out of every two who reaches the age of 85.

CPR classes offered Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child, or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroombased, video, and instructorled CPR course offers families, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and receive a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency because of job responsibilities or regulatory requirements. Cost is $45. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 6296611, ext. 8919. Preregistration is required.

Walk for Autism is April 20 As a statewide agency whose mission is to create better lives for people with autism, Autism Delaware is expanding to provide the range of services needed by all Delawareans living with autism spectrum disorders over their lifespans. To this end, the nonprofit agency relies on volunteers, donations, and fundraising. "Our next big fundraiser in southern Delaware is Walk for Autism on April 20 at Cape Henlopen State Park," says Lisa Albany, the committee chair. "Our goal is to raise as much as possible to provide services through Autism Delaware that benefit individuals with autism spectrum disorders. We need volunteers to help run the event plus business and corporate leaders to sponsor it." "The need for autism services and support is rising rapidly," adds Autism Delaware Executive Director Teresa Avery. "The CDC now says that one in 88 children is identified with an autism spectrum disorder. In 1991, the Delaware Department of Education reported 152 public school students with autism – and 982 in 2010. That's a 546 percent increase over 19 years. For more information, visit

Program seeks mentors The Delaware Kids Connection Mentoring Program seeks mentors for students at Laurel Intermediate and Middle School, Seaford Middle School and the DAPI School for pregnant teens. Last year mentees raised their GPA's by 11% and mentors spent over 1,100 hours with their mentees during the year. To mentor, fill out an application online or in person, go to a training session and complete a background check. Potential mentors should contact the Delaware Adolescent Program, Inc. (DAPI) at our Stockley Campus 3022970370, ext. 17 to talk to Glenn Phillips Sr. or, email for more information.

Parkinson's support group meets The Nanticoke Parkinson's Education and Support Group will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on the third Monday of each month, from 10 to 11:30 a.m in the ballroom at the Nanticoke Senior Center. The public is welcome to attend the meeting and stay for lunch and a social time after the meeting.

HIV/AIDS Support Group A new support group for HIV/AIDS will meet every other Wednesday, at 7 p.m., in the Branford Lounge at Epworth UMC at 19285 Holland Glade Rd., Rehoboth Beach. The group is sponsored by Epworth UMC, CAMP Rehoboth, the AIDs Delaware and Delaware HIV Consortium. For more information, contact David at