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Free Cogic Health Fair Returns to Help St. Louis Community
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, November 6, 2013 - The 106th Holy Convocation of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) will return to St. Louis with its annual Health Fair, November 7 - 9, 2013, at the America's Center in downtown St. Louis.

COGIC will once again partner with the St. Louis County Department of Health to provide Health Screenings, Medical Assistance, On-Site Medical Professionals and so much more.

For three days delegates and the general public can receive test, and screenings free of charge. Dr. Delores Gunn, director of the St. Louis County Department of Health, said, "We are excited to partner with the Church of God in Christ again, our goal is to provide health assistance to as many people as possible."

COGIC PR Director Robert Coleman said "this year Dr. Gunn and her staff of physicians' will see and help hundreds of people through the "Ask the Doctor" program. Anyone attending the Health Fair will be allowed to ask questions of physicians' free of charge." For more information, see

U.S. News Expands Health Insurance Site to Help Navigate Plans and Options Under Affordable Care Act
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, November 6, 2013 - U.S. News & World Report, publisher of Best Hospitals and Best Health Insurance Plans has expanded its Health Insurance site to include the Best Medicare Advantage Plans, Best Medicare Part D Plans, and Best Medicare Plans.

As millions of Americans face confusion enrolling in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, this new resource is designed to help individuals, families, and Medicare beneficiaries find coverage that meets their specific needs.

The Health Insurance site presents information on the private and marketplace health insurance plans available in each state in a consumer-friendly, searchable interface. The Best Medicare Plans site and new ratings, which highlight those companies that consistently offer highly rated Medicare coverage, help Medicare beneficiaries navigate the multitude of coverage options now available to them. Medicare's approximately 50 million beneficiaries are currently in their annual open-enrollment period, which runs through December 7, 2013, and gives them the opportunity to change their coverage.

Thirty-one states plus the District of Columbia have at least one insurer that made U.S. News' list of Best Medicare Advantage Plans. A number of companies offer consistently highly rated Medicare Advantage plans in multiple states, including Kaiser Permanente, in 10 states, and Erickson Advantage, in nine states. For Part D plans, which cover prescription drugs, all states have at least one insurer that made the U.S. News list. One company, Stonebridge Life Insurance, offers highly rated plans in 49 states plus the District of Columbia.

In addition to the ratings, the expanded site features resources to help beneficiaries choose a plan and manage their costs, as well as a searchable directory of Medicare Advantage and Part D plans and plan ratings by county.

"Choosing a health plan is confusing whether you are Medicare eligible or not," said Dan Wilmer, vice president and general manager of health care products at U.S. News. "We developed this site to take the confusion out of finding a plan and serve as a one-stop resource for consumers seeking health coverage."

"If you are on Medicare, or a caregiver for someone who is, your needs are different," said Ben Harder, managing editor of U.S. News' health care analysis team. "We evaluated insurance companies and designed the Best Medicare site so that consumers can easily find a plan that fits their specific needs."

U.S. News used plan-ratings data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to identify the Best Medicare Advantage Plans and Best Medicare Part D Plans. CMS rates individual plans on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, factoring in members' satisfaction, customer service and other criteria. The U.S. News methodology analyzes all plans offered by an insurer in a given state.

The Best Medicare Advantage Plans and Best Medicare Part D Plans, along with the new Medicare site, are part of a continuing expansion of U.S. News' health care coverage and product offerings. In September, U.S. News launched its new Health Insurance site with information on the private and marketplace health insurance plans available in each state. Traffic to the site has grown rapidly since the federal government's release this month of its Health Insurance Marketplace website, as millions of consumers seek help online.

People with Diabetes at Greater Risk for Eye and Vision Disorders
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, November 6, 2013 - With more than 8 percent of the American population having diabetes, regular dilated eye exams are critical to prevent vision loss.

Diabetes is a disease that interferes with the body's ability to use and store sugar, which can cause many health problems. Too much sugar in the blood can cause damage throughout the body, including the eyes. Over time, diabetes affects the circulation system of the retina, the light sensitive lining at the back of the eye.

"Many eye problems show no symptoms until they are in an advanced stage, and that is why we recommend that people with diabetes in particular have an eye examination by a doctor of optometry at least once a year," said Tina MacDonald, O.D., a Certified Diabetes Educator and a member of the AOA's Health Promotions Committee. "When the eyes are dilated, an eye doctor is able to examine the retina for signs of diabetic eye disease and prescribe a course of treatment to help preserve an individual's sight."

Many people without diabetes will get cataracts, but those with the disease are 60 percent more likely to develop this eye condition. People with diabetes also tend to get cataracts at a younger age and have them progress faster. With cataracts, the eye's clear lens clouds, blocking light and interfering with normal vision.

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that causes progressive damage to the retina. Damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina causes swelling of retinal tissue and clouding of vision. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy may lead to blindness.

For additional information on eye health and diabetic retinopathy, please visit

Archived St. Louis Community Health News:
Red DotRunning Man Fountain Turned Teal for National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Red DotAffordable Care Act Now Requires Insurance Companies to Fully Cover More Preventive Care for Women
Red DotFriends of the SLU Liver Center to Host 10th Annual "Diamonds" Gala
Red DotSaint Louis Zoo Launches Institute for Conservation Medicine
Red DotFDA Announces Changes to Better Inform Consumers About Sunscreen
Red DotNational Efforts Put Spotlight on Heart Disease
Red DotMissouri's Newest High-Risk Insurance Pool Lower Premiums
Red DotNurses Come Forward with Concerns on Patient Care at John Cochran VA Medical Center
Red DotIs Winter Making You Tired?
Red DotGrace Hill South Health Center Is Moving
Red DotGovernor Nixon Signs Autism-Coverage Bill
Red DotMedicare Begins Mailing Out $250 'Donut Hole' Checks
Red DotMissouri Assembly Passes Autism-Coverage Bill
Red DotGrace Hill Opens New Water Tower Health Center in College Hill Neighborhood
Red DotWhat Does Health Insurance Reform Mean to You?
Red DotYoung Women Go Online First With Health Questions
Red DotScientists from Washington University and St. Jude Team to Unravel Origins of Pediatric Cancers

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