A Look at Medicaid

For an increasing number of families, long-term care planning is becoming a topic discussed with an unfortunate frequency. When a once healthy and vibrant person needs full-time care—either suddenly or through the ravages of a progressive illness—staggering pressures can bear down on that person, their immediate family, and close friends. One of the first and most natural questions that comes to mind is the question of cost: Where will the money come from to allow the individual to live out the rest of his or her life in the most comfortable situation possible? For a fortunate few, long-term care insurance will provide the necessary funds. For others, the savings of a lifetime can be depleted in a relatively short period of time without proper planning. At some point, the discussion of funding care will no doubt turn to Medicaid, a difficult topic to deliberate when combined with the stress of …

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A Genetic Test to Spot Health Risks

Scientists first mapped the human genome 14 years ago. Since then, they have learned a lot about genetics, and someday that wisdom may lead to a cure for many diseases. But we’re not there yet. There’s “a ton we don’t understand,” says Lawrence Brody, director of the genomics and society division at the National Human Genome Research Institute. Keep that in mind if you take advantage of the first “direct to consumer” genetic test for health risks. That test became available in the spring, when 23andMe, a DNA testing firm, was the first company to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration to sell directly to consumers–without a prescription–a genetic test that screens for certain health risks. Here’s how it works: You pay $199 to order a Health and Ancestry kit online from 23andMe.com. When it arrives, you spit into a tube and mail it back. Two months later, …

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