One of the biggest frustrations that folks have with Health Insurance when going into the Medicare Market is due to the change of terminology.

No longer is there a simple PPO or HMO solution. There are terms like Supplemental, Medi-Gap, Medicare Advantage, Part A, Part B, Part D, or Medical Groups vs Insurance Carriers. This is what Denice teaches monthly at her Educational Events.

Denice started out as an insurance agent 14 years ago offering individual Health policies, but soon found it to be disheartening when she couldn’t get a client approved, or they would get a decline letter.

DSC 6637Denice says she was introduced to Medicare and reluctantly agreed to sit in on a Medicare Advantage (HMO) presentation at a local Mimi’s Cafe. At the time, she wasn’t a big fan of HMO plans, thought they were limiting and wasn’t sure she wanted to represent a plan she wouldn’t consider for herself. Boy, was that about to change!

Lunch at the Mimi’s Cafe was an eye-opener. She recalled sitting in the room filled with about 15 seniors. The presenter walked through the overview of the plan and spelled everything out. What she learned was there were plans now that wouldn’t cost the client anything per month, they could go to their doctor at no cost, hospitalization stays also at no cost. Wow, being age 65 had its benefits! Everyone in the room was so appreciative and excited to enroll into this new Medicare Advantage (HMO) type plan.

So this was the turning point of Denice’s career and the beginning of her agency that dedicated all efforts to supporting the senior market exclusively.

The Agency “Merrill Insurance Services, Inc” now includes her husband (Stephen) for the last several years. He always says he’d wished he had jumped in years earlier and has never looked back on his sales engineering days, because he enjoys this so much. We have both found incredible contentment and passion in our day to day lives and helping others. We also are grooming other agents, so they too can replicate exactly what we do and have the same love of life and to be in this business of helping seniors. Education and taking the time to explain the details is what makes us different.

Denice shares that one of the most important questions every senior should ask is “How will MY personal prescriptions be covered?”

“This is what makes one plan a better fit for you than another” she says. “Honestly, I can simplify and help you to understand your options of a Medi-Gap Supplemental policy, or a Medicare Advantage plan and they all offer amazing coverages, but its the everyday or every month usages of medications that can really break the bank!”
Because of the ever-changing nuances of Medicare, it can be a nightmare to navigate, it’s also critical to find a professional you trust as a Medicare Insurance Broker…Just like finding the right Financial planner, or CPA, or Doctor. Choose wisely.

“It can be very difficult to know all the ins and outs”, says Denice. “But this is what a good Broker must do…compare different plans and different companies especially! Don’t be fooled by an agent that refers to themselves as a “Broker.” It’s important to ask representatives if they can enroll you with different companies based on your medication needs. If not, they are not doing a complete job for you.”

A complete job is what you can expect when you work with Denice & Stephen. From individual personal meetings, to attending one of their local seminars for a better understanding of this new terminology in the “Turning 65/Medicare World.”

“We strive to make the process as easy as possible,” she says. We love that clients get to keep their doctors. They really didn’t have to change a thing, except perhaps save money! In some cases, just rely on their doctors to direct them to other doctors within the group. Pretty Simple. It often is when you get to do what you believe in.

Connect with Denice directly by calling (949) 584-2646. CA Lic# 0H08139

Published in Insurance

In In the Greek myth of the Minotaur, a creature with the head of a bull and body of a man dwelt in the middle of a labyrinth. Built by Daedalus and his son, Icarus, the labyrinth swallowed all who dared to enter. Until the hero Theseus. Following his beloved Ariadne’s advice, the hero followed the labyrinth down and down into its center, never wavering to the right or to the left. Trailing a string behind him, Theseus came finally upon the beast, and after a mighty fight, slayed it there in the center of the maze.

Great story, right? Something straight out of a Ridley Scott movie. Though Theseus may be a hero clear out of the pages of myth and legend, a modern tour guide into the labyrinth exists, and will lead you through the mystery that is Medicare.

Ruth Page has lived in Orange County for just over two decades. Having spent a great many years in financial services, Ruth established Porter Page and Company, Inc. in the year 2000, and has been in the business of helping clients navigate the maze of healthcare options, specializing in Medicare insurance ever since.

“I first moved to Aliso Viejo in 1996. I love Orange County, and I can’t imagine living or working anywhere else,” says Ruth. “Well … maybe on a small farm with goats and chickens in Vermont or upstate New York.”

Realizing that her clients felt like they were battling their own beasts with Medicare was the first step to unspooling the Thesean thread: leading those lost in the labyrinth to sunshine. Sifting through the sludge of printed propaganda, government issues, and filtering healthcare noise is enough to drive anyone toward the feeling of quiet desperation.

The Porter Page team is made up of state-licensed and certified agents who are either on Medicare themselves, or who have helped family members evaluate their options and come to a decision about their Medicare. As Ruth recalls, “We quickly realized that coaching from the sidelines on a topic as complicated as this just isn’t an option. That’s why we’re in it with our members.”

While benefits under Medicare are divided into multiple parts, each with differing rules and penalties, Ruth and her team slash the monstrous jargon “and simply explain how these things work in real life.” Most Medicare beneficiaries are unaware that when first enrolling in Medicare, they have “once only” choices available to them during their initial enrollment. And, “we help you determine whether you need Medicare Part A and Part B if you are still working.”

As you face confusing health insurance plans, complicated Medicare, or part bull-part man, you can rest easy knowing that Ruth and her team at Porter Page and Company, Inc. have the string and the sword in hand - ready to cut through the red tape and lead you worry free into whatever life you’re dreaming about: apple orchards in New England, or margaritas on the beach.

Question: What choices do people have during Annual Open Enrollment?

Ruth Page: During the Annual Enrollment Period of October 15th to December 7th, individuals entitled to Medicare have the option to switch or enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans, switch prescription drug plans or enroll back into traditional Medicare. Once a change is made, the choice becomes effective January 1st of the next year.

Also, you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage when certain events happen in your life, like if you move or you lose other insurance coverage. These chances to make changes are called Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs). Rules about when you can make changes and the type of changes you can make are different for each SEP.

Question: What is the one thing most Medicare beneficiaries are unaware of when first going on Medicare?

Ruth Page: Most Medicare beneficiaries don’t realize there is a lot that traditional Medicare does not cover such as vision, dental, hearing, or an annual physical exam. Also, there is no maximum on the out-of-pocket costs. Medicare Part B pays 80% of approved costs and 0% of non-approved or excess charges.

For example, consider someone with only original Medicare having heart by-pass surgery. If their hospital charges $300,000 for the surgery and Medicare only approves $250,000 the patient would pay 20% of $250,000 and the $50,000 excess charge and for a total of $100,000.

Therefore, it’s smart to enroll in either a Medicare Supplement plan or a Medicare Advantage plan. Either option will help you contain your health care costs.

Question: Do I need Medicare Part A or Part B if I am still working?

RP: Even if you have coverage through a current or former employer, you may still need to make some important Medicare enrollment decisions. You may have to pay a penalty if you don’t enroll on time, so it’s best to seek the advice of a Medicare professional to understand how your current coverage works with Medicare before making any decisions.

In most cases, for as long as you have group health insurance provided by an employer, you can delay enrolling in Part B, which covers doctors’ visits and other outpatient services and requires a monthly premium. When you eventually retire, or leave your work plan, you will be entitled to a special enrollment period of eight months to sign up for Part B without incurring a late enrollment penalty. Cobra is not considered creditable coverage regarding the Part B penalty.

It’s a good idea to compare the costs of your employer plan (the monthly premium and the co-pays) with the costs of enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan. In many cases, you can save money by choosing to enroll in Medicare.

DSC 7904Connect with Ruth Page and the professional team at Porter, Page and Company by calling (949) 297-3917.

Published in Health & Wellness

Many residents of Laguna Woods are the perfect example of “healthy aging” – whether it’s participating in competitive sports, working out at the gym, or a simply going for a walk every day. Today’s older adults are much more active than their parents ever were, and the unfortunate side effects of a more active and healthy lifestyles can be sports-related injuries and living in pain. To address this common issue in active, older adults, Dr. Alan Beyer, medical director of the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, and host of the popular Saturday afternoon AM830 KLAA Angel’s radio show Doctor in the Dugout will be appearing regularly on Channel 6’s This Day.

DrBeyer2Dr. Beyer, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine, arthroscopic surgery of the knee and total knee replacement, discusses the causes of various sports injuries, joint and bone issues affecting the older adult, and prevention, among other topics. His Channel 6 segments will include interviews with leading Orange County physicians and surgeons who will share their insights to empower patients to make better health care decisions.

“Education is a crucial ingredient in preventing injuries for older adults,” Dr. Beyer says. “We see older adults in our medical offices every day and they are often dealing with many of the same joint and bone issues as younger athletes. We want to help Laguna Woods residents prevent injuries and remain active. I know how much it means for many to play golf or tennis regularly and to do it without pain or suffering. We aim to help them with good, sound education on the show.”

A longtime resident of Orange County, Dr. Beyer began hosting his radio show four years ago. Each Saturday, he drives to Angel’s Stadium to the broadcast booth of KLAA AM 830, the flagship station for Angel’s baseball games, for his live, one-hour show at noon. The show is the only sports medicine radio show based in Orange County and has generated a loyal listening audience. Each week he chats with sports stars from the NFL, PGA, NBA and MLB and shares insights into what is new and trending in the treatment of orthopedic injuries.

“We get calls and emails at the radio show from many residents of Laguna Woods asking good questions about various orthopedic injuries tied to golf, tennis or other activities,” Dr. Beyer said. “So we thought it would be a good idea to bring our radio show concept to Channel 6 so we could spend more time talking about health issues that can help residents remain active, healthy and happy. For older adults, the social and mental health benefits of being active are so overwhelmingly positive that I think it’s important to ensure they can continue doing what makes them feel like themselves.”

Humorous, talkative and enthusiastic about educating others about injury prevention, Dr. Beyer is the perfect guest host for Channel 6’s This Week, especially considering his own personal experiences. “I’m an active person who also had a hip replacement a few years ago,” he shared. “I know what it is like on both sides of the surgical table and exam room. I also know what it was like to live and try to be active when you are in constant pain. Empathy is a great teacher and I like to share my own experiences with my audience.”

Published in Health & Wellness

A Revolutionary Cancer Therapy for No-Option Patients

Cancer touches everyone. The older we are, the more likely we are to know someone - a family member, friend, colleague, neighbor - who has battled this common killer. Perhaps you have personally been affected. No matter the type of cancer or its stage, the anxiety, worry and fear that accompanies such devastating news is universal.

Now imagine the indescribable stress, overwhelming on every level - emotionally, psychologically and physically - of receiving a “late-stage” cancer diagnosis and then being told that there is no standard of care available to you.

World-renowned oncologist Dr. Baofa Yu knows the feeling all too well. As he was completing his medical schooling in the early 1980s, his mother was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Dr. Yu watched helplessly as she valiantly struggled and eventually succumbed to the ravages of this unforgiving disease. His deeply personal experience not only drove Dr. Yu to help other patients facing a similar health crisis, but charted the trajectory of his subsequent 30+ year career in cancer research - culminating in the introduction of SonataPlus™, a revolutionary cancer therapy that aggressively destroys inoperable cancer tumors by delivering a high concentration of combined FDA-approved chemotherapy medications directly into the tumor via a highly specialized needle used under CT guidance.

A transformative time for cancer therapy

A sonata is a musical piece in which only a single instrument makes noise as its waves travel through the air. A single instrument, sending music out from its center, over disparate forms. Made famous by masterpieces such as Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (1801) for piano, the composition typically consists of small movements, related in key, with unique musical characters.

iStock 000036003438 Double elderly couple man woman happy daughter sitting smiling 1In December 2015, Dr. Yu co-founded New Life Cancer Centers (NLCC) to develop a masterpiece in cancer treatment. Perhaps the most profound cancer therapy to walk the stage in decades, SonataPlus™ is making music where only silence resounded before. Attacking very advanced tumors considered untreatable by traditional care practices, SonataPlus™ uses patented autologous (from one’s own body) anti-cancer vaccines to help minimize secondary tumors from metastasizing, and fires at primary tumors with sniper-like accuracy to keep them from coming back.

“Traditional delivery of chemotherapy drugs has been a shotgun approach - flood the bloodstream with chemicals to attack any and all cancerous cells and hope it leaves enough good behind to recover once the bad is gone,” says Greg DiRienzo, CEO of New Life Cancer Centers (treatment is available at its state-of-the-art facility in Tijuana. The world headquarters for NLCC is in La Jolla, California). “With SonataPlus™, 95% or more absorption is achieved, targeting the primary tumors, rendering them powerless to spread their cells through the bloodstream. It only kills tumor cells, not normal cells, and does not reduce, but rather increases natural immune functions in the body.”

  • We do not CUT the tumor out (surgery) which can lead to infections and potentially severe physical complications.
  • We do not BURN the tumor (radiation), which often impacts healthy surrounding tissue and can lead to other serious complications.
  • We do not POISON the body (typical chemotherapy) which usually results in significant pain and negative side effects like hair loss, nausea, appetite loss and a compromised immune system.

According to Dr. Michael Baudry, NLCC Chief Scientific Officer, “Under the supervision of Dr. Yu, NLCC specially trained physicians and affiliates have used SonataPlus™ to safely treat over 30,000 global cancer patients over the past decade. The vaccine penetrates affected areas, and lingers for up to 20 days, continuing to destroy cancer cells.

C9Qtsx2dibshWxaJK7cxQTcrs7WV“Although New Life Cancer Centers has experienced extraordinary success in treating stage 3 & 4 “No Option” cancer patients, SonataPlus™ has proven extremely effective in killing a wide range of solid tumors, including liver, lung, breast, prostate, bladder, tongue, rectal, ovarian, as well as many others such as specific brain and bone cancers.”

Unparalleled procedure = distinct advantages

“SonataPlus™ is a minimally invasive procedure with none of the nasty side effects associated with conventional cancer therapy,” says Greg DiRienzo. “We do not cut the tumor out (surgery) which can lead to infections and potentially severe physical complications. We do not burn the tumor (radiation), which often impacts healthy surrounding tissue and can lead to other serious complications. We do not poison the body (typical chemotherapy) which usually results in significant pain and negative side effects like hair loss, nausea, appetite loss and a compromised immune system.”

IMG 3344“Sometimes, the really hard work of watching someone deal with cancer is exactly that - watching them deal with cancer,”, says Dr. Yu. At a minimum, cancer takes an emotional toll on the patient and their family on top of the physiological drain conventional treatments result in. So what if there weren’t side effects? What if there wasn’t anything more to deal with than the cancer itself? Three brief treatments once a week over two weeks is all it takes.

“I was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer with tumors in my neck and throat,” says Larry Clapp. “I refused to start seven weeks of chemo, followed by seven weeks of radiation. I was told to get my affairs in order. Six weeks after my last treatment (at New Life Cancer Centers) most of the tumors were gone … and the last one was shrinking. I had energy to play with my grandkids again.” Larry’s wife Susan adds “thank you New Life Cancer Centers for saving my husband’s life.”

IMG 3331In the musical world, the sonata is a creative sniper. A single thematic wonder, disparate from the shotgun blast of a concerto or symphony. Elegant, simple, and razor sharp in its efficacy. The same could be said of SonataPlus™ - a single note, resounding long after it was initially played.

If you, or someone you care about, has cancer … call New Life Cancer Centers at (800) 205-8101. A member of their trained, compassionate staff will be happy to answer all of your questions - at no charge. Or visit
All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions.

Published in Health & Wellness

The Cancer Research Collaboration (CRC) was created with a single goal — to help patients beat cancer. We have worked tirelessly to bring state-of-the-art clinical trials to patients and to provide investigators with the tools to research the cause of cancer and to find a cure. One of our biggest initiatives is the development and funding of a biobank. This will house tumor specimens and blood samples taken from cancer patients, along with copies for their clinical history. These specimens provide genetic information that will help researchers develop new medicines, vaccines, and tests that will improve cancer diagnoses and patient outcomes.

As researchers have discovered more ways to identify cancer genes and their functions, they have been able to synthesize more data from biospecimens, patient records, and clinical trials, allowing them to identify new cancer subtypes and develop new strategies for diagnosing and treating cancer.

Their work has dramatically improved our understanding of the role genes play and their abilities to impact disease, helping them:

  • Find new ways to deliver drugs and agents to specific cells.
  • Learn how different cancers and cancer subtypes progress and spread.
  • Determine which patients are likely to respond to specific therapies and treatments.
  • Develop vaccines and immunological agents that target specific cancers and prevent cancers from spreading if they reoccur.

Partnerships are vital to the progress we have made. Curing cancer will take more than one person or one organization. It will require many people, organizations, doctors, and patients, all working together. By partnering with investigators like Dr. John Link and his team of breast cancer specialists at Breastlink Medical Group, the Cancer Research Collaboration hopes to continue making strides on behalf of men and women everywhere who are fighting this disease.

As a medical oncologist, I have been studying breast cancer since 1975. For over 40 years, I have watched the cure rate climb from 55 percent to 80 percent, progress made possible by the clinical trial process, which tests new treatments against the current standard of care. Slow and laborious, clinical trials are why current breast cancer treatment is less deforming and less toxic than it was in the past. It's taken us from radical mastectomy to lumpectomy and allowed us to eradicate escaped microscopic spread using less lymph node surgery and medication. Now, with our increased understanding of the genomic basis of cancer, progress is occurring even faster.

Breastlink and the Cancer Research Collaboration are working hard to accelerate this progress. Breastlink has a robust research program — 12 active protocols testing new, targeted medicines, procedures, and genomics — and the Cancer Research Collaboration is one of our most valuable, strategic partners. Their biobank initiative, which will store and preserve tissue and blood samples from cancer patients, will be an extremely important tool for our researchers. It will allow us to compare treated cancer cells with original cancer cells, using genomic analysis and we are very excited to be participating in this endeavor. Research is an important part of what we do.

It allows us to offer our patients state-of-the-art treatment and make advances that will allow us to help more women in the future.

Published in Health & Wellness

Breastlink Medical Group is a network of breast cancer screening and treatment centers. We believe the best way to prevent, detect and treat breast cancer involves collaborative care between our breast specialty doctors and full patient participation. Whether you need a routine screening mammogram, a breast cancer risk assessment, breast cancer treatment or a second opinion, Breastlink centers are here for you.

Dr. June Chen

Breast Dedicated Radiologist at Breastlink Newport Beach

june chenJune W. Chen, M.D. is the director of breast imaging at Breastlink Newport Beach. She is board certified and completed her fellowship in the subspecialty of breast imaging at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Dr. Chen is a frequent invited speaker on breast radiology both in the community as well as internationally, and she also serves on multiple scientific advisory boards. She currently devotes her entire practice to breast imaging and breast interventional procedures. The Orange County Medical Association has consistently recognized Dr. June Chen as a Physician of Excellence.

Dr. Samantha Kubaska

Breast Dedicated Radiologist at Breastlink Orange

samantha kubaskaSamantha Kubaska, M.D. is the director of breast imaging at Breastlink Laguna Hills. Dr. Kubaska is a board-certified radiologist with nearly 15 years of experience working with referring physicians and helping patients to better understand the results of their imaging studies. She interprets breast imaging studies (digital mammography, tomosynthesis and breast MRI, amongst others) and performs breast biopsy procedures.


Dr. Tchaiko Parris

Breast Dedicated Radiologist at Breastlink Temecula Valley

tchaiko parrisTchaiko Parris, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of breast imaging at Breastlink Temecula Valley. Dr. Parris is a board-certified radiologist. She interprets breast-imaging studies (digital mammography, breast automated ultrasound and breast MRI, amongst others) and performs breast biopsy procedures. Dr. Parris's medical training has continuously called for her to give a hundred percent and at times more, and on each occasion she has responded by striving for excellence.

Published in Health & Wellness
Nov 28, 2016


Take Charge of Your Health

A government task force is about to give insurance companies an excuse not to pay for mammograms. They are creating new guidelines that recommend women delay screening until age 50! They also recommend insurance companies only pay every other year for a mammogram and stop paying after the age of 74.

This is a tragedy. One in 5 breast cancers occur in women under age 50. These guidelines will cause diagnostic delays, force doctors to treat cancer with more aggressive treatments (chemotherapy, surgery and radiation), and cause young women to die needlessly. Young children will grow up without their mothers and families will be devastated. 

The irony is that these new guidelines come at a time when doctors are making incredible progress in the early detection of breast cancer. A recent study from Canada demonstrated that starting screening mammograms at age 40 reduces breast cancer mortality by 40 percent.

New technology such as 3-D mammography, screening breast ultrasounds for women with dense breasts and screening MRI for high-risk women gives us the potential for even more dramatic
reductions in breast cancer mortality for all women. 

If we do nothing to block the new guidelines, they will go into effect in 2017. We must fight back before the window of opportunity slams shut.

We have a petition for congress asking them to block these new guidelines. To have credibility, we need a million signatures, by the end of the year. We are rapidly running out of time and we need your help to convince congress to block these guidelines.

Please sign our petition and encourage your friends and relatives to do the same.

To sign the petition and to learn more about our campaign go to:

Every Woman’s Guide to Optimal Breast Care

I wrote the book Prevent Survive Thrive because of my growing frustration that women in America are not receiving optimal breast care. They’re confused by conflicting guidelines about what to do and when to do it. As a result, the diagnosis of breast cancer is often delayed and the chances for cured are greatly reduced.

A disturbing example is the story of Michelle Watson, who found a breast lump at age 22, when she was a college senior. Her doctor told her not to worry because she was too young to get breast cancer. When she told her parents about the lump, they were concerned. Arrangements were made for a second opinion, but she was again told she was “too young to get breast cancer”.

Two years later she became aware of increasing back pain. The pain became sever and eventually a bone scan was done. The scan showed evidence of metastatic cancer. Finally, a breast biopsy was done. The biopsy proved that she had breast cancer, which had spread to her bones.

Michelle underwent aggressive chemotherapy, but died at the age of 26. It never should have happened. If a directed ultrasound had been done when the lump was first detected the diagnosis would have been obvious. A needle biopsy would have made the diagnosis. Had this been done, Michelle would likely be alive today.

I wrote this book to educate women about optimal breast care. I wrote it to empower them to be advocates for their own health. I wrote it so they would know when to get a second opinion.

Finally, I wrote it to give women hope and inspire them to never give-up.

This book can save your life or the life of a loved one. It is a must-read for any woman who wants clear explanations about what they can do to insure they receive the best care possible.

For more information on Prevent Survive Thrive go to:

Published in Health & Wellness

The last couple of decades tell a “good news, bad news” story about diabetes. That’s the disease that makes it tough for your body to control blood sugar. Here’s a snapshot:

In the last 20 years, the number of adults with diabetes has more than tripled.1 Nearly one in 10 now has the disease.2 That’s certainly not good news.

But there are some bright spots in recent reports. In general, control of blood sugar has improved and rates of serious complications from diabetes have declined a great deal.

If you’re at risk for diabetes or already have it, consider these three questions:

1. Are you making good lifestyle choices?

Where people haven’t made progress, lifestyle has a lot to do with it. For example, it’s no secret that the obesity epidemic is growing, right along with the diabetes epidemic.1
Think about the lifestyle choices you make. Yes, you’ve heard it all before, but it still holds true: Make healthy food choices—and understand diabetes meal planning. Exercise 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week. Move to or stay at a healthy weight. And manage your stress as well as you can.3

2. Do you know your diabetes ABCs?

Knowing your numbers is also a big piece of the diabetes story, especially if you are at risk for or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. High blood pressure is when blood moves through your vessels with too much force. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that can cause plaque buildup in arteries. Combined, these three give your heart and blood vessels a triple whammy.4

From (L): Stephen and Denice Merrill (Merrill Insurance Services), M.J. Kazemi (OC Pharmacy) and OC Pharmacy client Twila Warner.From (L): Stephen and Denice Merrill (Merrill Insurance Services), M.J. Kazemi (OC Pharmacy) and OC Pharmacy client Twila Warner.

These are the diabetes ABCs:

  • A is for the A1C test. That’s the test that shows what your blood sugar levels have been the past three months. In most cases, you want to shoot for a number below 7.
  • B is for blood pressure. A great goal is below 140/80. The top number measures pressure in vessels as your heart beats. The bottom number measures pressure when vessels relax between beats.5
  • C is for cholesterol. Ask your doctor or me the numbers you need.4

3. Are you managing your medicines?

If you have type 1 diabetes, you must use insulin. Some people with type 2 diabetes need pills and/or insulin to meet target blood glucose levels.6 Although lifestyle is a first line of defense, cholesterol medications such as statins can help control cholesterol levels.7 As for high blood pressure, there are many classes of drugs to keep this silent killer at bay.5

Our pharmacists, MJ and Sana, or our student interns can explain how each drug works, what side effects to watch for, and how to make sure you’re taking them all properly.

It may not be easy keeping track of all this, especially if you’re taking multiple medications. That’s what we at OC Pharmacy are here for. Our pharmacists, MJ and Sana, or our student interns can explain how each drug works, what side effects to watch for, and how to make sure you’re taking them all properly.

So, what’s your diabetes story? Together, let’s make sure it has a happier ending.

Managing Diabetes Medications

It’s not the kind of club you really want to belong to. Today, nearly half of all American adults have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of getting it.8

If you count yourself among them, you know that managing your diabetes medications is something you can’t afford to ignore. If not well managed, diabetes can lead to serious complications. They include cardiovascular disease; nerve, kidney, eye, and foot damage; and hearing problems.9

Recent research. A study of 350,000 people with type 2 diabetes found that people with poorly managed diabetes were also 50 percent more likely to have dementia.10 Other recent studies have found that diabetes appears to take a particular toll on women’s hearts. Looking at nearly 11 million people, one study found the risk was almost 40 percent higher in women than in men.11

Whether woman or man, however, staying on top of medication management clearly needs to be top of mind.

Types of medications. As you likely know, managing blood sugar (glucose) is at the heart of diabetes control. If you can’t get the job done with diet and exercise alone, medications are essential. The drugs you take will depend upon the type of diabetes you have, along with other factors.12

Insulin moves glucose from your blood into your cells. This helps keep glucose in the right range. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin, you will need to take it by injection, pen, pump, jet injector, or infuser.12

There are also many types of diabetes pills, which work in different ways. For example, they may:

  • Decrease the glucose released from your liver
  • Stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin
  • Make your body more sensitive to the effects of insulin
  • Slow absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after eating13

Some people take more than one pill, a combination pill, or a combination of pills and insulin. There are also new types of injected medicines available to keep blood sugar from going too high after eating.12

Medication Plan Review

OCP 7Now is the best time to come by and schedule a free Medicare Enrollment Review consultation, in which we review your current medications and plan for next year’s Medicare coverage options. While we have covered the ABC’s of Diabetes one might want to include a letter “D” for drugs that you take to maintain conditions like Diabetes. Your options and co-pays are likely to change every year so you always want to review your Medicare plan options for the coming year. The process can be confusing at times, so if you need help do not hesitate to contact a qualified Medicare Broker like Stephen and Denice Merrill, of Merrill Insurance, that can look at the different plans that may save you money and keep you with your doctor. There is no charge for this service. At OC Pharmacy we can review your options when it comes to Medicare prescription drug plans for 2017, but we don’t have the same capability as Stephen and Denice when it comes to choosing your doctor, hospital, or medical group. They are the experts when it comes to those segments of your Medicare coverage.

We urge you to meet with Merrill Insurance and OC Pharmacy’s Medicare Part D (the part that covers prescription benefits) Specialist: part-owner, Omeed Askari. You can contact Omeed for an appointment directly by calling (949) 429-5102, dial option 9, extension 208. If you’re e-mail savvy shoot him a scheduling request at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. He along with Denice and Stephen Merrill of Merrill Insurance will be sure to help answer all of your questions about Medicare.

Don’t forget, you need to review your plan options every year because you may miss your plan’s notice of changes, or they may not provide one. Diabetic medications can vary greatly in costs and from plan to plan. It is super important to do an analysis each year to make sure you are on the appropriate plan for following next year. Open Enrollment is now Oct 15th-Dec 7th.

Don’t forget: D is for Drugs

Here are some differences in costs between different Medicare plans ~ You will be surprised to see that some of these expensive medications can actually have a $0 copay if you are on the right plan!


Of course we do the review to save you money, but always want to ensure that you are kept with your same doctor and Medical group.

srm head shot 149Also, be sure to check in at least once a year with your doctor about your diabetes medications. We recommend doing this prior to coming in for your Medicare Enrollment Review. Never stop or change your medications without first talking it over with your doctor.

For more information, call the “Medicare Answer Man” Stephen Merrill at (949) 584-2634. CA Lic. OE31931

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.


1. CDC: New CDC data show declines in some diabetes-related complications among US adults.
2. MedlinePlus: Nearly 10 Percent of U.S. Adults Now Have Diabetes: Study.
3. Diabetes Education Program: The Power to Control Diabetes Is in Your Hands.
4. Diabetes Education Program: Know Your Diabetes ABCs.
5. ADA: Treating High Blood Pressure in People with Diabetes.
6. American Diabetes Association: Medication.
7. Mayo Clinic: Cholesterol medications: Consider the options.
8. HealthDay: Half of U.S. Adults Have Diabetes or High Risk of Getting It: Report.
9. Mayo Clinic: “Complications.”
10. HealthDay: Tight Control of Type 2 Diabetes May Help Prevent Dementia.
11. HealthDay: Diabetes Takes a Toll on Women’s Hearts.
12. NIDDK: “What I need to know about Diabetes Medicines.”
13. Joslin Diabetes Center: “Oral Diabetes Medications Summary Chart.”
14. HealthDay: Too Many Seniors With Diabetes Are Overtreated, Study Suggests.

Published in Health & Wellness

AmyDr. Amy Bremner is a breast-dedicated surgical oncologist. She earned her medical degree at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and then returned to California for surgical training at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, CA.
After completing her board certication and a year of practice, Dr. Amy Bremner received a breast oncology fellowship at the University of Southern California, specializing in oncoplastic breast surgery.
She was trained by one of the elds’ pioneers, Dr. Melvin Silverstein, who increased her technical understanding of oncoplastic surgery and introduced her to the multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer treatment. After completion of her fellowship, the Society of Surgical Oncology certied her as a breast surgeon. Dr. Bremner is committed to achieving superior oncologic outcomes and excellent cosmetic results for all her patients.

LisaDr. Lisa Curcio is a board-certied general surgeon and a fellowshiptrained surgical oncologist. She attended George Washington University Medical School in Washington, D.C., and received a cancer surgery fellowship at City of Hope National Medical Center
in Duarte, California. After completing her fellowship, Dr. Curcio joined the military and served as Chief Surgical Oncologist at Keesler Medical Center in Biloxi, Mississippi. During her military service, she contracted breast cancer. Inspired by her physical and emotional impact of the disease, Dr. Curcio returned to southern California and became a breast-dedicated surgical oncologist, helping women overcome the disease that had aicted her.

hang dangDr. Hang Dang received her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Stanford, where she stayed to complete a general surgery internship and residency. After her residency, Dr. Dang completed a breast surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and an aesthetic breast surgery fellowship at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York. Before joining Breastlink, Dr. Dang worked as a breast surgical oncologist the Guthrie Medical Group in Sayre, Pennsylvania. She is an active member of her community, working several volunteer medical clinics andthe Susan G. Komen Foundation.


LisaDr. Lisa E. Guerra is a board-certied, breast-dedicated surgeon. She earned her medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she also completed her residency. Afterwards, Dr. Guerra received a fellowship in breast surgery at the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. During her fellowship, she won the Judith and David Buell Fellowship in Breast Surgery and pursued a second year of specialized training. In addition to her work at Breastlink, Dr. Guerra has been a principal investigator in multiple breast cancer clinical trials. She’s presented her ndings to professional medical associations and published her research in numerous peer-reviewed journals.

NimmiDr. Nimmi S. Kapoor is a fellowship-trained, board-certied oncology surgeon specializing in breast and thyroid cancer. She earned her medical degree at the prestigious Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, before completing a general surgery residency and an endocrine cancer research fellowship at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell. She received advanced breast surgical oncology training at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and completed a breast and thyroid surgical oncology fellowship at the John Wayne Cancer Institute and Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Kapoor has participated in multiple research studies and her research has been published in Annals of Surgical Oncology, American Journal of Surgery, and Cancer. Los Angeles Magazine has named her one of their “Top Doctors” every year since she started practicing medicine.

Published in Health & Wellness


It’s always easy to tell a Bostonian. The accent, the big personality, the dry sense of humor can be amusing – even alarming – for we sensitive Southern Californians. But the Bostonian’s tendency to tell it like it is can be more than valuable in certain situations… say, for instance, when buying a car.

Meet John Paradise, a Boston transplant who seventeen years ago brought little more than his young family and his interest in cars to San Clemente, just to give life in the snowless part of the country a try. “A try” turned into “a home” when John started to fully appreciate the passion that Orange County residents felt for luxury automobiles. One car at a time, John found good deals and passed hassle-free savings on to a select clientele. Today, Paradise Automotive Group is a full-sized dealership, specializing in previously owned luxury vehicles and personalized, individual service.

“These days, clients are so well educated and aware of what is available for how much, we don’t get into the hassle of back-and-forth haggling over price,” says John, who far prefers the tell-it-like-it-is tack. “We price the car correctly and fairly, then focus on making it a good experience for our customer.”

It’s the Paradise Automotive service-first approach that inspires the trust that has kept clients coming back year after year, car after car. Many families are on their ninth and tenth cars purchased through Paradise Automotive, having met John seventeen years ago and deciding that they didn’t want to purchase anywhere else. It’s that same professionalism and no-nonsense pricing that have earned John and his staff a niche in servicing professional athletes in the NHL, NBA and MLB, many of whom fly in from all over the U.S. and Canada to pick up their car from Paradise Automotive. Since John and his team make a priority of thoroughly and accurately demonstrating the car via internet, email and phone, many times a client will arrive to pick up their already-purchased car, and it’s the first time they’ve seen it in person. Now, that’s trust.

As an extension of their commitment to zero hassle, Paradise Automotive Group also provides full-service maintenance, detail and body shop repairs and paint needs on site, so customers can conceivably stay with one trusted entity for the life of their car. With ASE-certified technicians for all makes and models, Paradise’s unequivocal goal is to make you a customer for life.

Paradise Automotive Group is housed in a welcoming facility in San Juan Capistrano right off the 5 Freeway. If you’re in the market for a new-to-you vehicle with style or your vehicle needs servicing or body repair, make a point of checking their website for news. Or simply stop in to meet John or any of the service oriented team at Paradise Automotive Group.

Connect with John Paradise and Paradise Automotive Group by calling (949) 347-2522, visit or stop by to check out their wide selection of affordably priced, quality pre-owned luxury vehicles at their dealership and showroom located at 32592 Valle Road in San Juan Capistrano.
Published in Feature
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