No cost N95s: Here is how to get totally free masks from pharmacies or neighborhood health centers

The program is portion of the Biden administration’s energy to distribute 400 million no cost N95 masks from the Strategic Nationwide Stockpile by using pharmacies and neighborhood overall health centers. The software is anticipated to be thoroughly up and jogging by early February. The masks are arriving at their destinations with accompanying flyers and signage from the US Division of Wellbeing and Human Companies, which paid for the masks.

Participating pharmacies involve Hy-Vee, Meijer, CVS, Walgreens and Kroger.

Some of the first masks arrived in the Midwest on Friday, which includes at Hy-Vee grocery suppliers in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Nebraska and at Meijer retailers in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.

Masks also are envisioned to start out arriving at Southeastern Grocers destinations as early as Friday, and they’ll be available at Fresco y Más, Harveys Grocery store and Winn-Dixie in-store pharmacies.

CVS pharmacies are also anticipated to obtain and start distributing no cost N95 masks in the coming weeks as supply from the federal federal government comes in, spokesman Matt Blanchette advised CNN on Monday.

Walgreens expects that absolutely free N95 masks will be available at some destinations starting Friday, according to a firm spokesperson.

“We are pleased to spouse with the Administration to make N95 masks in different dimensions available cost-free of charge at participating Walgreens areas though materials final,” a Walgreens spokesperson wrote in an electronic mail to CNN on Monday.

“Buyers and individuals can choose up a utmost of three masks for every human being,” the email mentioned. “We expect the initial stores to start out featuring masks on Friday, Jan. 28, and will continue on on a rolling foundation in the days and months subsequent. Taking part stores will have signage indicating mask availability.”

Kroger shops with pharmacies also system to distribute free of charge N95 masks, according to a business statement Monday.

“Putting on a mask and having vaccinated carry on to be the leading defense tools in our nation’s struggle versus COVID-19. I encourage anyone to just take advantage of the cost-free non-surgical N95 masks and make an appointment today to get vaccinated or boosted,” Dr. Marc Watkins, Kroger’s main health-related officer, claimed in the statement.

Community health and fitness facilities are predicted to distribute masks also, but on a scaled-down scale.

Biden administration to distribute 400 million N95 masks to the public for free
The 1st 100 facilities collaborating in the rollout of the federal government’s no cost N95 mask method will start out this week, Amy Simmons Farber, a spokesperson for the Nationwide Association of Community Wellbeing Facilities, wrote in an electronic mail to CNN on Monday.

The Overall health Means and Expert services Administration oversees the Community Wellness Facilities plan for the federal authorities and notes on its website that the HRSA Wellness Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Method will get started incrementally, giving N95 masks to about 100 to 200 health centers in the initial phase.

“These overall health centers ought to get and begin distributing masks in advance of the stop of January 2022,” in

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Dental care cost too high for NH residents with bad teeth

Curtis Cole, of Rochester, NH
Besides the pain, it would change my life to get this fixed. People look at you differently when you have bad teeth. Plus, it would be great to be able to sleep again, to eat what I want, to be free of pain.

“So, I let it go and my teeth kept getting worse and worse,” said Cole, who is now a stay-at-home dad who takes care of his 2-year-old daughter, Mariah. “Eight months ago, I was in another accident, and I was hit squarely in the mouth. The pain was excruciating. I have Medicaid and my wife works and does have insurance, but we cannot afford to add me. Dental costs are not covered anyway and we could not afford it.”

For many people, basic dental care is simply out of reach. 

Special insurance riders are needed before dentist visits will be covered by Medicaid. Many people can’t afford the cost, or have no health insurance at all. Medicaid, intended to help people without sufficient means, only carries a dental benefit for children, not for adults. Even many people who have dental insurance through their jobs can’t afford to pay the portion they must out of pocket for expensive procedures such as braces, implants and crowns.

Struggling to find affordable dental care creates problems for New Hampshire residents

Curtis Cole of Rochester enters Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth to get three teeth pulled. It’s just the beginning of the care he needs.

Deb Cram, Portsmouth Herald

Brittney Ward, a general dentist at Core services for Exeter Hospital, said a ballpark cost for services for people without insurance is likely in the area of $6,000.

“If surgical removal of the teeth are needed, it could be about $300 per tooth, depending on the dentist’s fees,” Ward said. “Then dentures could run $1,300 to $2,000 each for upper and lower dentures.

As a result, adults can be left with no access to a dentist. Many suffer through severe tooth pain, gum disease and worse.

Serious oral disease can lead to other health problems, and can even cause death from untreated infected tooth and gum diseases.

“It can lead to abscesses that can spread from the mouth into the neck and head,”  Ward said. “People have died from untreated infections that turned septic,”

The ultimate answer for Cole, a Rochester resident, is to have all his teeth removed, and to be fitted for dentures. Dentists have told him his teeth cannot be saved. He is praying to find a way to make that happen. Cole thought he had found a solution when he went to a mobile van operated by Greater Seacoast Community Health

After the use of antibiotics, Cole said, he was finally free from infection and had three of his worst teeth pulled. He asked to have all his teeth pulled and said he has no real answer why they only pulled three.

Curtis Cole shows off a few teeth in need
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Medicare Advantage plans’ ‘free’ dental, vision, hearing benefits come at a cost

When Teresa Nolan Barensfeld turned 65 last year, she quickly decided on a private Medicare Advantage plan to cover her health expenses.

Barensfeld, a freelance editor from Chatham, N.Y., liked that it covered her medications, while her local hospitals and her primary care doctor were in the plan’s network. It also had a modest $31 monthly premium.

She said it was a bonus that the plan included dental, hearing and vision benefits, which traditional Medicare does not.

But Barensfeld, who works as a copy editor, missed some of the important fine print about her plan. It covers a maximum of $500 annually for care from out-of-network dentists, including her longtime provider. That means getting one crown or tending to a couple of cavities could leave her footing most of the bill. She was circumspect about the cap on dental coverage, saying, “I don’t expect that much for a $31 plan.”

Through television, social media, newspapers and mailings, tens of millions of Medicare beneficiaries are being inundated this month — as they are each autumn during the open enrollment period — by marketing from Medicare Advantage plans touting low costs and benefits not found with traditional Medicare. Dental, vision and hearing coverage are among the most advertised benefits.

Those services are also at the center of heated negotiations on Capitol Hill among Democrats as they seek to expand a number of social programs. Progressives, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), are pressing to add dental, vision and hearing benefits to traditional Medicare.

Despite the high-powered advertising of the Medicare Advantage plans pitched by the likes of celebrities Joe Namath and Jimmie Walker, beneficiaries still generally end up with significant out-of-pocket costs for many of these services, a recent study by KFF found. That’s partly because the private plans limit benefits. While people in traditional Medicare paid on average about $992 for dental care in 2018, those in Medicare Advantage plans paid $766, according to the study. For vision, people with traditional Medicare paid $242, compared with $194 for those covered by a Medicare Advantage plan.

“It stands to reason there would be lower out-of-pocket spending in Medicare Advantage than in traditional Medicare, but the differences are not as large as one might expect,” said Tricia Neuman, a senior vice president at KFF and executive director of its Medicare policy program.

More than 26 million people were enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans for this year — 42% of all Medicare beneficiaries. Enrollment in the private plans has doubled since 2012 and tripled since 2007. Unlike traditional Medicare, these private plans generally allow coverage through a limited network of doctors, hospitals and pharmacies.

Open enrollment for 2022 plans runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, and some Advantage plans offer enticements such as hundreds of dollars’ worth of groceries, home-delivered meals or $1,000 in over-the-counter items such as adhesive bandages and aspirin.

But many seniors don’t realize there are restrictions on these benefits. They may cover extras only for enrollees with certain

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Medicare plans, ‘free’ dental, vision, hearing benefits come at a cost

By Phil Galewitz | KHN


When Teresa Nolan Barensfeld turned 65 last year, she quickly decided on a private Medicare Advantage plan to cover her health expenses.

Barensfeld, a freelance editor from Chatham, New York, liked that it covered her medications, while her local hospitals and her primary care doctor were in the plan’s network. It also had a modest $31 monthly premium.

She said it was a bonus that the plan included dental, hearing and vision benefits, which traditional Medicare does not.

But Barensfeld, who works as a copy editor, missed some of the important fine print about her plan. It covers a maximum of $500 annually for care from out-of-network dentists, including her longtime provider. That means getting one crown or tending to a couple of cavities could leave her footing most of the bill. She was circumspect about the cap on dental coverage, saying, “I don’t expect that much for a $31 plan.”

Through television, social media, newspapers and mailings, tens of millions of Medicare beneficiaries are being inundated this month — as they are each autumn during the open enrollment period — by marketing from Medicare Advantage plans touting low costs and benefits not found with traditional Medicare. Dental, vision and hearing coverage are among the most advertised benefits.

Those services are also at the center of heated negotiations on Capitol Hill among Democrats as they seek to expand a number of social programs. Progressives, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), are pressing to add dental, vision and hearing benefits to traditional Medicare.

Despite the high-powered advertising of the Medicare Advantage plans pitched by the likes of celebrities Joe Namath and Jimmie Walker, beneficiaries still generally end up with significant out-of-pocket costs for many of these services, a recent study by KFF found. That’s partly because the private plans limit benefits. While people in traditional Medicare paid on average about $992 for dental care in 2018, those in Medicare Advantage plans paid $766, according to the study. For vision, people with traditional Medicare paid $242, compared with $194 for those covered by a Medicare Advantage plan.

“It stands to reason there would be lower out-of-pocket spending in Medicare Advantage than in traditional Medicare, but the differences are not as large as one might expect,” said Tricia Neuman, a senior vice president at KFF and executive director of its Medicare policy program.

More than 26 million people were enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans for this year — 42% of all Medicare beneficiaries. Enrollment in the private plans has doubled since 2012 and tripled since 2007. Unlike traditional Medicare, these private plans generally allow coverage through a limited network of doctors, hospitals and pharmacies.

Open enrollment for 2022 plans runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, and some Advantage plans offer enticements such as hundreds of dollars’ worth of groceries, home-delivered meals or $1,000 in over-the-counter items such as adhesive bandages and aspirin.

But many seniors don’t realize there

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Life-saving medical care shouldn’t cost thousands of dollars

Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.

Low-income Americans pay the ultimate price when it comes to health care. This must change. 

A few years ago, I was upstairs doing homework in my bedroom when my mother collapsed on the kitchen floor. A Type I diabetic, her blood sugar was too high and, having momentarily forgotten to monitor it, she didn’t realize it had risen until she lost consciousness. 

The price of insulin alone is 10 times higher in the United States than in any other developed country. If my mother didn’t have insulin, hyperglycemia, or blood sugar levels that are too high, it could be deadly. But she also needs to know when to take insulin, which means she needs an insulin pump, disposable test strips and a blood sugar meter. To actually take the insulin, she either needs syringes pens or an insulin pump, neither of which are cheap. She also needs glucose tablets for when she is hypoglycemic, or when her blood sugar levels are too low, in case she needs to consume sugar but is unable to swallow.

With the United States spending more money on health care than other high-income countries yet ranking last in terms of health care services provided, it’s clear something needs to change. Health care’s priority should be providing life-saving medication to people who need it without paying thousands of dollars a month for it. In the case of insulin, there is no compelling reason that prices need to be so high. And in this aimless money-grab, companies are causing the needless deaths of Americans. 

According to Dr. S. Vincent Rajkumar of the Mayo Clinic, pharmaceutical companies generally provide two explanations for the high price of insulin: First, developmental and innovative costs are high, and second, insulin prices are a direct result of the free market.

Development and innovation costs hardly for a drug that has been around for over 100 years, Rajkumar said, with the latest and most common product used today currently being 20 years old. Innovation, Rajkumar argues, is far less important than making sure people who need insulin to survive can afford it, especially with a recent rise in deaths due to insulin rationing

And this “free market” pharmaceutical companies cite isn’t free at all. The participants in the market for insulin are not willing; if they choose not to purchase insulin, they die. And the price increase of insulin isn’t mirroring inflation — instead, it’s been rising over the past twenty years without explanation. And it’s not just the cost of insulin that’s been rising. 

Because of these high costs, low-income Americans are impacted the most. In 2014, income inequality increased by 1.5 points because low-income Americans spent a larger proportion of their income on health care than wealthier Americans. Additionally, seven million Americans who made more than 150 percent of the poverty line dropped below the poverty line when medical expenses were taken into account. The excessive costs of

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Medicare Plans’ ‘Free’ Dental, Vision, Hearing Benefits Come at a Cost

When Teresa Nolan Barensfeld turned 65 last year, she quickly decided on a private Medicare Advantage plan to cover her health expenses.

Barensfeld, a freelance editor from Chatham, New York, liked that it covered her medications, while her local hospitals and her primary care doctor were in the plan’s network. It also had a modest $31 monthly premium.

She said it was a bonus that the plan included dental, hearing and vision benefits, which traditional Medicare does not.

But Barensfeld, who works as a copy editor, missed some of the important fine print about her plan. It covers a maximum of $500 annually for care from out-of-network dentists, including her longtime provider. That means getting one crown or tending to a couple of cavities could leave her footing most of the bill. She was circumspect about the cap on dental coverage, saying, “I don’t expect that much for a $31 plan.”

Through television, social media, newspapers and mailings, tens of millions of Medicare beneficiaries are being inundated this month — as they are each autumn during the open enrollment period — by marketing from Medicare Advantage plans touting low costs and benefits not found with traditional Medicare. Dental, vision and hearing coverage are among the most advertised benefits.

Those services are also at the center of heated negotiations on Capitol Hill among Democrats as they seek to expand a number of social programs. Progressives, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), are pressing to add dental, vision and hearing benefits to traditional Medicare.

Despite the high-powered advertising of the Medicare Advantage plans pitched by the likes of celebrities Joe Namath and Jimmie Walker, beneficiaries still generally end up with significant out-of-pocket costs for many of these services, a recent study by KFF found. That’s partly because the private plans limit benefits. While people in traditional Medicare paid on average about $992 for dental care in 2018, those in Medicare Advantage plans paid $766, according to the study. For vision, people with traditional Medicare paid $242, compared with $194 for those covered by a Medicare Advantage plan.

“It stands to reason there would be lower out-of-pocket spending in Medicare Advantage than in traditional Medicare, but the differences are not as large as one might expect,” said Tricia Neuman, a senior vice president at KFF and executive director of its Medicare policy program.

More than 26 million people were enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans for this year — 42% of all Medicare beneficiaries. Enrollment in the private plans has doubled since 2012 and tripled since 2007. Unlike traditional Medicare, these private plans generally allow coverage through a limited network of doctors, hospitals and pharmacies.

Open enrollment for 2022 plans runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, and some Advantage plans offer enticements such as hundreds of dollars’ worth of groceries, home-delivered meals or $1,000 in over-the-counter items such as adhesive bandages and aspirin.

But many seniors don’t realize there are restrictions on these benefits. They may cover extras only for enrollees with

Read More... Read More