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Texas Family Medicine March 2023 Blog

Medicare Advantage Plans

We recommend Medicare Advantage plans for our senior patients. It makes sense for those seniors who want to control their healthcare costs and do not travel for extended periods of time.

The major upsides of Medicare Advantage plans are:

  • their low cost (some require no monthly premium),

  • their cap on expenses (there is no limit to the 20% seniors owe on regular medicare),

  • and the added benefits such as social services, dental, and vision care

The only downside is that you will be limited in which specialists you can see. That is rarely a problem for our patients, though, since our specialists networks are so broad. We have many to choose from and have vetted the ones we trust.

If you are on medicare or about to turn 65, check out these medicare advantage plans offered by Humana, United Healthcare, and Care n Care. We accept all three.

COVID Boosters Should you get a COVID booster every year?

Scientists are discovering that T-cells rather than antibodies are doing the heavy work of protecting us against COVID. T-cells last a long time - years perhaps - so another booster may not help much.

Many people have experienced adverse reactions to the COVID vaccines. Since we are not as comfortable with their safety as we are with the overall safety of flu vaccines, the question of whether or not to advise annual COVID boosters is an important one.

We will continue to monitor the CDC recommendations and keep our patients updated.

Medical Marijuana What is the latest Texas law on the use of medical marijuana?

In 2015, the state legislature made it legal for certain physicians to prescribe marijuana for the treatment of a group of mostly chronic neurologic diseases. Examples are epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

This year, the legislature is considering expanding the list of uses to include chronic pain management. I expect that bill, filed by Representative Stephanie Klick of Fort Worth, to pass. That vote will take place before the end of May and be in effect on the first of September, 2023.

I support Rep. Klick’s bill. Having another tool in the toolbox to use in chronic pain situations could be quite helpful.

A couple other scatter shots about medical marijuana:

In Texas, physicians can prescribe marijuana in the form of gummies, lozenges, tinctures, and sprays. In Louisian and Oklahoma, medical marijuana is available in a smokeable form.

Although you may purchase marijuana in a state where recreational use is legal - Colorado, for example - it is illegal to transport it back into Texas.

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