BCBSGA offers key tips for caregivers for better health care management

May 05, 2017

Once the disclosure/authorization paperwork has been filed, caregivers can speak to a customer care agent on a beneficiary's behalf as well as access the beneficiary's information online, including claims history, provider network and drug formularies.

If a beneficiary ever disagrees with any Medicare decision, including a denial, they have the right to appeal it. For more information about appeals, visit medicare to get a free copy of "Your Rights and Protections."

Investigating 'Extra Help'

As a caregiver, it's also important to know about "extra help" that is available to low-income people with a Medicare prescription drug plan through the Social Security office. This "extra help" includes assistance with monthly prescription drug premiums, annual deductibles and prescription copayments. For information about eligibility for this program, go to www.socialsecurity/extrahelp.

Even if your loved one doesn't qualify for extra help from Social Security, there are a myriad of other resources that might be available to them at the state and community levels. The Web site www.benefitscheckuprx has compiled information about these resources in one convenient online location. The site, which counts Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia among its sponsors, tracks more than 1,550 benefit programs throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It has identified more than $7.6 billion in benefits for those in need since being launched in 2001.

Caring for Yourself

The final tip for caregivers, and perhaps the most important, is for them to take care of themselves, including getting enough sleep, going for a walk, taking an occasional day off and maintaining a sense of humor. After all, caregivers can't possibly take care of anyone else until they first take care of themselves.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, research shows that caregivers face an increased risk of developing depression. It's natural to grieve about a loved one's disease. However, if sadness persists to the extent that it prevents decision making, interrupts daily living, and discourages participation in normal activities, then it may be time to get some help. Primary care physicians may offer help, including referrals to other resources. Caregivers with access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) can find them useful.

"Caregivers need to know that there's no shame in asking for help," said Connolly.

SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia