By Terrion Kirkwood, intern, Allsup
A very special day is fast approaching. No, it is not my birthday or a gift-giving holiday. On July 30th, the U.S. can celebrate the triumphs of Medicare, which is 50 years old.
Medicare was created with the idea that everyone has an opportunity to receive good healthcare and protection against the economics of sickness. Its vision has remained the same despite its ever-evolving nature. Medicare is many things to many people. So what do young adults think?
Thought No. 1: A Government Program. Elderly People.
The textbook definition of Medicare, courtesy of Medicare.gov, is: “…the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD).”
The most common misperception about Medicare is that it is only for elderly people. Data collected by Medpac indicates that 16.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are less than 65 years of age. Furthermore, healthcare expenses for this age group account for 21 percent of Medicare’s costs.
As an Allsup Medicare Advisor® intern, I often see Medicare survey responses state, “I am not 65,” which is the age required to qualify. However, young adults, like me, may qualify for Medicare if they have a disability.
Thought No. 2: Medicaid.
Young adults can often confuse Medicare and Medicaid, or consider them the same program.
This common misconception is due to them having similar names. Both programs share similar prefixes and target industries (healthcare).
Medicaid, however, is aimed at low-income individuals who need assistance. Medicare, on the other hand, focuses on providing insured healthcare to seniors and people who have a severe disability.
Anyone who has earned 40 work credits is eligible for Medicare regardless of income level. These credits are obtained, usually, by 10 years of work. Some people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid are called “dual eligibles.” If you have Medicare and full Medicaid coverage, it’s likely most of your healthcare costs are covered.
Thought No. 3: A Tax. A Hindrance To My Paycheck. An Entitlement.
Medicare is a hot-button issue that is vigorously debated in Congress. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicare makes up 14 percent of the U.S. federal budget. Medicare routinely takes 1.45 percent out of each paycheck.
When I began my journey with Allsup, Medicare was just a government program that assisted the elderly. I recognized its impact on my finances upon glancing at my paychecks. It was merely another tax—taking away money. Now I, thankfully, view it as an investment in my future well-being. The gift of future healthcare is complex, but I know it is beneficial.
Though it may not be on the radar of most young adults, it is a milestone worth remembering. Happy 50th Anniversary Medicare.
Allsup provides an infographic celebrating “50 Years of Medicare Accomplishments,” in collaboration with the Caregiver Action Network.
Click here for a video celebrating 50 years of Medicare.
For more information about choosing Medicare plans, contact a Medicare specialist with the Allsup Medicare Advisor at (866) 521-7655, or go to Medicare.Allsup.com.
“Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.” — President George H.W. Bush
President George H.W. Bush believed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) would bring great change to the nation.
With the ADA approaching its 25th anniversary, I was astonished when I recognized the impact it has had on the United States. Change is seldom easy, and the ADA was no exception.
The ADA faced opposition from many businesses because they thought it would create excessive expenses. Because of this and other resistance, it took years for it to become a reality. In 1986, the National Council on Disability drafted the first version of the bill. Two years later, it was proposed to Congress. Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin produced the final draft and became a driving force behind the legislation.
But he couldn’t do it alone. Enter a group of activists called the Capitol Crawlers. On March 12, 1990, more than 60 people with disabilities abandoned their crutches, wheelchairs, and power chairs at the bottom of the Capitol building steps. Then they began their ascent up the 100 steps to the entrance, pulling and dragging their bodies the entire way. Later that year, President George H.W. Bush signed the bill into law with Sen. Harkin delivering the introduction speech in sign language.
Building Up Lives, Tearing Down Barriers
Being five years younger than the bill itself, I grew up almost oblivious to its impact. Every business I have ever been to has had disabled parking. Every public building has had an entrance with a ramp. Every job application I have filled out has had a question about reasonable accommodations.
It is impossible to imagine a world where this is not so, but that is precisely how it was before the ADA.
I am personally grateful the ADA was passed, primarily for how it benefits friends and family, such as my grandmother. At 83, she still remembers everyone’s name and is constantly making witty comments, but she also has a disabled parking pass hanging from her rearview mirror.
It is difficult for her to get from place to place. It might even be impossible if it wasn’t for that parking pass. Even though we park in the disabled spot, by the time we walk in the front door of a restaurant—it is clear on her face that it took her a great amount of energy. She relies on her cane and sighs with relief as we reach our seats.
That’s why I thank everyone who helped create and implement the ADA.
Happy 25th birthday. Keep building up lives while tearing down those shameful walls of exclusion.
Allsup has helped more than 250,000 individuals with severe disabilities successfully obtain their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, based on medical evidence and their work history. Click here for a free SSDI evaluation or call (800) 678-3276.
By The Old Sarge
Battles for members of the military come in different forms—and veterans of the U.S. Air Force just won one of theirs.
For years, military personnel who flew aircraft during the Vietnam War argued that they should receive healthcare and VA disability compensation related to Agent Orange exposure on those missions.
A big part of this push came from veterans themselves. Maybe you’ve seen some of these veterans telling their stories and sharing the health impact of those missions.
The U.S. Department of Veterans estimates up to 2,100 former service members may qualify for healthcare and disability payments.
The new federal rule took effect Friday, June 19, and it covers personnel who flew or worked on Fairchild C-123 aircraft in the U.S. from 1969 to 1986. The VA provides more details on its website.
Risks And Rewards Of Service
Military service brings with it a lot of risks and rewards. Hundreds of these individuals took the risks, and it is the right thing to do to recognize the cost to them and their families.
Hundreds of former service members have been dealt a severe impact to their health and activities of daily living through exposure to Agent Orange. Diseases including diabetes, Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, lung and respiratory cancer are among those connected to Agent Orange exposure.
My own time in service was with the Air Force, and I probably know some of the guys who will benefit from the VA’s rule change. It’s also good to know that Allsup can help many of these Air Force veterans through this process, now that their sacrifice has been acknowledged.
This is a remarkable achievement for all those advocating for the rule change—another hard fought battle won.
Click here for more about the Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal Service®, or call (888) 372-1190 if you are filing a VA disability appeal.
By Tai of Allsup
I don’t know if kids still say it, but when I was a young adult, the word “dis” was slang for disrespect, as in “Don’t dis your elders.”
When it comes to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the “D” stands for disorder. But some people say “reaction” should be used instead. The reason: They consider the term disorder a “dis” to those who have endured trauma.
In other words, the word “disorder” implies that there is something abnormal about post-traumatic stress. But would changing the terminology from post-traumatic stress disorder to post-traumatic stress reaction make a difference in how the condition is viewed?
Terminology, Trauma And Stigma
Terminology can make a big difference in public perception, as well as personal acceptance. Knowing that you need help dealing with normal reactions is much different from thinking that something is “out of order” with you.
According to the National Center for PTSD, following trauma, most people experience stress reactions, including difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated and angered. When these symptoms do not improve over time and they disrupt everyday life, that’s when it may be considered PTSD.
Stigma is a huge barrier to care when it comes to mental health.
In the U.S. military, where the prevalence of PTSD is well-documented, there is reluctance to seek mental health treatment because of stigma and concerns about how documented treatment will affect a military career.
PTSD Awareness In June
June is PTSD Awareness Month. The National Center for PTSD estimates 7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, with women twice as likely as men to have PTSD.
Many of the symptoms of PTSD, such as memory problems and difficulty concentrating, panic attacks, disorganization and increased irritability, make it difficult or impossible for individuals to remain employed.
For those who cannot continue working, Social Security Disability Insurance is an important resource.
Others may be able to work with job accommodations, such as written instructions and lists, reduced distractions, and longer and more frequent work breaks. Whether they are working or not, individuals with post-traumatic stress should have access to treatment and not feel stigmatized for seeking help.
Instead of labeling them as having a disorder, reminding trauma survivors that their reactions are normal, and that they may simply need help dealing with them over time, could encourage more to seek support and treatment.
It could also help employers view post-traumatic stress in a new light, dispelling fears and increasing understanding about post-traumatic stress reactions, their triggers, and ways to accommodate employees with PTSD.
Changing the terminology from “disorder” to “reaction” won’t change the impact post-traumatic stress can have on individuals and their families, but it could make us more mindful of how we perceive individuals who have endured traumatic experiences.
Click here for a free evaluation or information about applying for Social Security disability benefits with PTSD.