4th Quarter 2020 Benefits Corner

Benefits Corner 

By Bill Dodge, CRA Benefits Chair

Bill Dodge


Face Masks                          

 Wear a mask. Protect Others.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks have been employed as a public and personal health control measure against the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Their use is intended as personal protection to prevent infection and as a source control to limit transmission of the virus in a community or healthcare setting.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people wear masks in public settings around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (i.e., staying six feet away from others). Masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 to others. 


  • Wear masks with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19 
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin 
  • Masks should be worn by people two years old and older 
  • Masks should NOT be worn by children younger than two, people who have trouble breathing, or people who cannot remove the mask without assistance 
  • Do NOT wear masks intended for healthcare workers, such as, N95 respirator 

CDC Updated August 27, 2020  

Helpful Face Mask Web Links: 

How Risky is Dining Out During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

There is some risk, but health officials say there are precautions you can take to minimize the chances you’ll be exposed to the virus. According to the CDC,

  1. Ordering takeout or delivery is still the safest option for getting restaurant food.
  2. If you decide to eat at a restaurant, it’s best to opt for outdoor seating, where tables are at least six feet apart. Dining inside a restaurant that hasn’t reduced its capacity or safely distanced tables poses the most risk.

Diners should assess what other safety steps the restaurant is taking. For example, servers should be wearing masks, and the restaurant should have a process to ensure people are not congregating too closely while waiting for a table, says Dr. Susan Casey Bleasdale, at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

According to the CDC, digital or disposable menus and throwaway utensils are also preferable.  Touchless payment options, like those available on your mobile device, are optimal. Otherwise, restaurants should have procedures for avoiding hand-to-hand contact with cash and credit cards.

If you are gathering at a restaurant with a group, Dr. Bleasdale suggests only dining with people you know, and checking if they have been feeling sick or experiencing any symptoms. She says that people more vulnerable to severe illness from the virus, such as the elderly, might want to avoid eating out at restaurants totally.

Guard Your Medicare Number 

According to Medicare, scammers may use the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to steal your identity and commit Medicare fraud.

In some cases, they might tell you they’ll send a Coronavirus test, masks, or other items in exchange for your Medicare number or personal information. Don’t fall for it; it’s a scam.

It’s important to always guard your Medicare number and check your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) for errors. Only give your Medicare number to participating Medicare pharmacists, primary and specialty care doctors, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf. Remember, Medicare will never call you to verify your Medicare number.

Visit Medicare.gov/fraud for more information on protecting yourself from fraud and reporting suspected fraud.  Please watch the following related video on the following web link: “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vScAG7rtPe8

Bill Dodge, Benefits Chair --  Phone: (832) 934-0680   Email: crabenefits9@gmail.com