Showing posts with label doughnut hole. Show all posts
Showing posts with label doughnut hole. Show all posts

Friday, June 22, 2012

'Much A Do'-Nut About Nothing

Ahhh - TGIF! As I pondered the topic of today's blog - I switched gears.  I decided it would not be serious, because sometimes life just needs to be NOT serious!  Plus, we gave you much to think about yesterday with "The Dreaded Medicare Donut Hole."  The Medicare Donut Hole is one donut hole that cannot always be avoided, but over the next couple of weeks, but we hope to point you toward some resources that might help with Medicare Part D.

Now - on to more pleasant topics - the actual donut.
Medicare part D health articles
The donut dilemma: Medicare donut hole or actual donut hole can cost you.

Although I am typically not a partaker of donuts, the fact that I will be traveling across the wonderful state of Pennsylvania this weekend got me thinking to my destination and what awaits on the other end.  There is a small place - what some would consider "a hole in the wall" back in a small town in Western Pennsylvania that offers up the most delicious doughnut that I have ever tasted.  The homemade kind that is soft and light and airy.  My favorite is the cinnamon coffee roll that is bigger than my hand with a maple glazed icing that is to die for.  These creations of Clark's Donuts are definitely 'Much a Donut about Something.'

 But, I digress.  Typically a health conscious woman except for the occasional Clark's donut, I decided to see what the Web and research had to say about donut nutrition facts and health.  Of course there were health articles and blogs and more of those touting the goodness of donuts, while others like Carla Wolper, a nutritionist at the New York Obesity Research Center who had this to say about the donut, "When it comes to health, the only thing good about them is the hole."

Donut nutrition facts
Krispy Kreme glazed donut = 237 calories.
I also discovered that the USDA 2005 dietary recommendations gave a thumbs up on "discretionary calories".  So what does that mean for you?  If you eat a 2,000 calorie a day diet, then you can have 237 discretionary calories, which is almost the calories in a Krispy Kreme glazed donut (according to the CalorieLab website).  Although portion control is recommended on any diet by doctors and dietitians, I would venture to guess that an occasional donut will not harm you.  A donut a day however is not what the doctor ordered. 

Which led me to a search on donuts and medicine.  This merely resulted in a listing of donut stores in several towns called Medicine (Medicine Park, OK and Medicine Lodge, KS).

Try, try again.  What I did discover was research from the Journal of Humanpsycopharmacology suggesting that "the synergistic effects of caffeine and glucose can benefit sustained attention and verbal memory." (Copyright 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.) A good thing right?  Good food equals good thoughts?  Not sure that this is what it meant, but if you want to read more go to the Wiley Online Library where the study is printed.

Of course, you can counter that with a study published by the Public Health Nutrition Journal and the US National Library of Medicine, regarding a study by the University of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria and the University of Navarra, that assessed the relationship between fast foods and processed pastries to a 37% risk increase for depression.  

So before you have your Saturday morning run to the local bakery for donuts and coffee, consider this blog.

Today was just some "food for thought."  (I couldn't resist.)  But you must make your own determination of whether or not when it comes to the illustrious donut, if there is 'Much a Do'nut about Nothing.

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Dreaded Medicare Donut Hole

Donut hole:  I love donuts! Mmmm what a sweet circular treat and breakfast staple.  Chocolate, glazed, cinnamon, powdered sugar--there is a plethora of flavors. 

But...from a personal experience here in the call center, I can tell you there is ONE donut hole flavor that doesn't taste or look appetizing at all for people on Medicare Part D.  This time of year, we get so many calls from people falling into the ominous Medicare Donut Hole. 

Can you imagine what it is like to be on a fixed income?  Watching gas prices go up and down, worrying about unexpected expenses, and waking up one day to find that instead of paying 25% for your medicine, it's now 100% out of YOUR pocket!?

For those who aren't familiar, Medicare is a federal health insurance program for Americans 65 and older, people with end stage renal disease, and younger people with disabilities. 


medicare part D
Nothing sweet about the Medicare donut hole.
There is an optional component to Medicare, called "Part D," which is a co-pay prescription coverage plan offered at an additional cost to help people pay for their prescription medications.   However, every year, Medicare Part D recipients fall into a coverage gap (aka donut hole). 

What happens in the donut hole?  Nothing sweet.  

All of a sudden, individuals with Part D go from paying a 25% copay for their much needed medications to paying full retail price. 

Here are a few tips to prepare yourself: 

1. Read the fine print.  I once read somewhere, the only constant thing about Medicare is change.  I couldn't have said it better myself! Make sure you read your coordination of benefits agreement. Read the fine print to make sure everything is in order and if you have questions, ASK!  Also make sure all your medications are covered. Just because your medications were covered last year, doesn't necessarily mean they are covered again this year. 

2. Plan ahead.  If you know you are going to hit the donut hole, ask your pharmacist early in the year what the monthly payment for your current medications will be once you are in the donut hole, including the rebates for brand names and generics.  See if that will be enough to get you out of the donut hole and qualify you for catastrophic coverage.  

If you aren't sure you will hit the donut hole, ask your pharmacist to help you calculate your prescription costs to see if you will or will not. 

3. Be aware of your calendar. Open enrollment for Medicare usually begins every October. Leave yourself enough time to review each plan to see which one is better tailored for you.  

4. Don't be shy. Always consult your pharmacist or plan provider should questions arise. For specific questions, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit the official U.S.  government site for Medicare at www.medicare.gov

Visit our blog next week to look for what options and resources you have once you or loved ones have fallen into the dreaded Medicare donut hole.

Krysta W.