Lyndon Thomas Insurance March 2018

LYN’S LEDGER

Lyndon Thomas Insurance

Mar 2018

We Help You With Medicare.

Have You Heard of Forestburg, SD?

I f you’ve ever heard of Forestburg, South Dakota, I will buy you a cup of coffee. If you’ve ever been there, I will buy you breakfast so I can ask you, “Why in the world would you ever go there?” Well, for me, I grew up on a farm 12 miles north of the town, and it’s where my parents still live. A part of me still thinks of it as home, although I’ll likely never live there again. As our sons were growing up, we traveled back there every summer so they could experience a little bit of life on the farm. And once my parents retired from teaching, Dad and Mom began coming to Ojai every fall for a month. Nevertheless, I am feeling the 1,700-mile distance more acutely as my parents get on in years. For the last four years, Mom has been battling Parkinson’s disease, so I took the opportunity in early February to go home for a visit. My flights went well, and during my time there, I accomplished a few goals: 1. I took eight days just to be with Mom and Dad. I am forever grateful for their faith and good grace, which preserved our relationship through my knucklehead teen years. Now we have a rich friendship. The days passed all too quickly. As I was getting ready to leave, Mom said, “When did they start making two- day weeks?” 2. I renewed my cold-weather certification. The 4 inches of snow was fun, but two nights of minus 15 reminded me that I much prefer California winters! 3. I contributed to the family conversation about Mom’s impending need for help at home. While I am so proud of Dad for his care and attention to her increasing

needs, the fact is that outside assistance at home is a necessity. Because of her worsening Parkinson’s disease, she needs help with preparing food, administering medications, and other daily basics. Which brings me to my brother and sister-in-law. A few years ago, they moved next door — in part, to take care of the folks when the time came. Selena has professional care experience and schedule flexibility, so she can provide an hour or two of help per day. A long-term care insurance policy will help cover some of the expenses. Parkinson’s is a dreaded disease. As my parents approach their 90s, Mom and Dad will likely need more help in order to stay at home. I have such appreciation for the faith and good cheer with which my parents are living this chapter of their lives, and I am so grateful that my brother and sister-in-law are close by to help. Kathy and I will do all we can to help from where we are. Having Selena and Kevin there is such a tremendous help and comfort to us. Similar to my vertigo episode that I wrote about a few months ago, my parents’ journey reminds me that many of my clients are going through similar daily challenges, and not all of them have an incredible support system like the one provided by my family. My wife is helping out an aging friend here in Ojai, and she has found HELP of Ojai to be a tremendous resource. Dealing with health issues is stressful, but it doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying life. Sure, you might not be climbing Mount Everest during retirement, but you can still enjoy life to the fullest.

May March be marvelous!

–Lyn Thomas

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www.LT-ins.com

Published by The NewsletterPro • www.NewsletterPro.com

Published by The NewsletterPro • www.NewsletterPro.com

L yndon Thomas Insurance

GRAYMATTERS

Since I’ve got Medicare Part D on my mind this month, let’s discuss the late-enrollment penalty (LEP). All my new Medicare clients are informed of the Part D mandate, but I often meet people who are past their initial enrollment period and are now later faced with the unpleasant reality of the Part D LEP. In my opinion, Medicare does not effectively communicate to Medicare beneficiaries the consequences of not enrolling in a Part D plan. Whether you’re new to Medicare or you’ve been with the program since 2006 when it began, the few warnings you encountered about the LEP were nowhere near the nastiness of the reality. Your “Welcome to Medicare” letter likely had words to the effect of “… you may enroll in a Part D prescription drug program [emphasis mine].” LEP information is available at www.medicare.gov, but you have to search for it. My tongue-in-cheek description of Medicare is “a one-size-fits- all blunt force instrument for tens of millions of people” that on the whole does a really good job. How does the government get tens of millions of people to do what they are supposed to do? Well, penalize them if they don’t do it. Both Part A and B have late-enrollment penalties, and so does Part D. “Medicare calculates the Part D penalty by multiplying 1 percent of the “national base beneficiary premium” ($35.02 in 2018) by the number of full, uncovered months one didn’t have Part D or creditable coverage. The monthly premium is rounded to the nearest $0.10 and added to your monthly Part D premium. The national base premium may change each year, so any penalty amount may change as well.” And the bad news is that the late-enrollment penalty is permanent, added on to the monthly premium of the Part D plan in which you are currently enrolled. The LEP may be appealed. As with any aspect of your Medicare coverage, if you or other Medicare-aged friends have questions about the Part D program and the LEP, call us. Our goal is to help you with Medicare. Part D, Beware the Late Enrollment Penalty! From www.medicare.gov:

Everyone faces the prospect of growing older. When it comes to aging, people’s primary concerns include aches, pains, and changes to their physical appearance. But perhaps even more important is mental health. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your mind sharp as you age so you can enjoy your retirement. EXERCISE Working out is inextricably tied to wellness in all its forms. A simple, light workout now and then not only maintains physical health, but also boosts your mental well-being. A 5-mile walk once per week can increase brain volume and prevent mental diseases, including Alzheimer’s. It’s no wonder exercise is the go-to solution for maintaining wellness. LEARN NEW HOBBIES Do you want to reduce memory loss by 40–50 percent? Dan Buettner, a researcher and best-selling author on studies about happiness and longevity, suggests learning a new hobby. Whether you learn to knit, paint, or discover a new board game, you’ll enjoy improved mental health. Get your hands moving, and your mind will surely follow. (Note: Watching TV as a hobby doesn’t count! People who regularly watch TV may suffer up to 50 percent memory loss.) SOCIALIZE If you want to maintain mental health, make socializing a priority. Having an active social life increases your resistance to mental diseases and improves your mood. Furthermore, a healthy social network of friends and family (and we’re not talking Facebook here) helps give you a support system to fall back on when times get tough. TAKE A BREAK Take a step back from your everyday life and enjoy the small things. Set aside time to sit down with a good book or another activity you enjoy. While on that 5-mile walk, why not take a few moments to slow down your pace and look at the world around you? As the famous saying goes, “Stop and smell the roses.”

2 216-B E. Matilija St., Ojai, CA 93023 www.LT-ins.com CA# 0D96309

We Help You With Medicare.

It’s Not All Junk (Mail)

Combined, the amount the member pays in copays during initial coverage and percentages in the coverage gap are known as the “true out-of-pocket” amount, or TROOP. If the TROOP reaches $5,000 (not counting premiums), the member has reached the “catastrophic coverage” phase for the remainder of the year, where the cost of prescriptions goes down to the greater of 5 percent or $3.35 for generics and $8.35 for all other drugs. The silver lining in this cloud is that if you are in the coverage gap or catastrophic stage, all accounts are reset to $0 each Jan. 1, and you are back in the initial coverage stage. If you have any questions about your Part D Prescription Drug Plan, do not hesitate to call us. Prescription drug costs can be frustrating. While we can’t bring drug costs down, we try to help you understand your program better and review potential options. *For those with the Low-Income Subsidy through Medi-Cal or Medicare Extra Help, the coverage gap and catastrophic stage do not apply: They pay a specific copay throughout the year.

You get a lot of junk mail. But each month, there is one letter you need to watch for: the monthly report from your Part D Prescription Drug Plan. This monthly statement includes important information about any prescriptions that were filled during that month, such as the copay you paid for each and the amount the plan paid for each, which together equal the “total drug cost.” Another key piece of information is the accumulated total drug cost so far this year. As prescriptions are filled from month to month, the report will show totals to date and how far you have to go before you reach the Initial Coverage Limit (the 2018 ICL is $3,750 of total drug cost). Most people do not reach the ICL.* For those who do max out the Initial Coverage Limit and move into the Coverage Gap Limit, the amount the member pays for each prescription changes from the copay to a percentage: 44 percent for generics and 35 percent for brand-name drugs. Please read your monthly report, because going into the coverage gap, or “donut hole,” is even more unpleasant when you find out about it during your next refill at the pharmacy!

SUDOKU

BRAISED CHICKEN AND SPRING VEGETABLES

This simple and delicious one-pot recipe is perfect for a weeknight. It only requires about 15 minutes of hands-on work, but will taste like you spent all day building flavors. It’s a hearty comfort food that’s sure to delight eaters of all ages.

Ingredients

• • • •

4 large carrots, cut into sticks

• • • •

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

8 small bone-in chicken thighs 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

Salt and pepper

12 radishes, halved

Instructions

3. Remove chicken from pan and scrape off excess fat. Add broth and stir in radishes, carrots, and sugar. 4. Return chicken to pan, placing on top of vegetables. Gently simmer with lid on pan for 15–20 minutes. Finish with chives.

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. 2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Brown in pan for 6–7 minutes per side.

Solution

Recipe inspired by Real Simple

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CA# 0D96309

805-646-6409

Lyndon Thomas Insurance

PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411

PO Box 207 Ojai, CA 93024

INSIDE

CA# 0D96309 | www.LT-ins.com | 805-646-6409

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Have You Heard of Forestburg, South Dakota? 4 Tips for Mental Acuity Part D, Beware the Late Enrollment Penalty! It’s Not All Junk (Mail) Braised Chicken and Spring Vegetables

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Spring Clean Your Utility Room

THE IMPORTANCE OF SPRING CLEANING YOUR UTILITY ROOM DON’T FORGET TO CLEAN THE HEART OF YOUR HOME

• Family homes with at least one pet or minor allergies: 2–3 months.

The start of spring brings everyone’s favorite seasonal chore— spring cleaning! As you dust, vacuum, organize, and declutter, don’t forget about the one room that often gets neglected. This year, give special attention to the utility closet. The utility closet houses your furnace, boiler, water heater, A/C junction, and other similar large appliances. Homeowners often forget about these appliances because they are out of sight and out of mind, and this can cost a lot in the long run. Like all the other rooms in your home, this space needs to be kept clean. Dust, for instance, can be hard on HVAC systems. Over time, it accumulates in the HVAC intake and clogs the air filter, reducing its effectiveness and efficiency. This results in a short lifespan for your system, higher power bills, and a poorly heated or cooled home.

• Family homes with multiple pets or allergies: 1–2 months.

In addition to changing the air filter, it’s important to schedule a routine inspection of your home’s HVAC system. This includes an inspection of the appliances themselves and any connecting ducts. Dust, dander, and mold can accumulate in the ducts and spread throughout the home, which can lead to health issues, including respiratory problems.

A routine inspection will identify potential problems in your HVAC system. On top of that, you can get these systems professionally cleaned and maintained. These are simple steps that will keep your home’s air systems running smoothly for years to come. Plus, you’ll be ready for the summer months ahead!

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU REPLACE YOUR AIR FILTER?

• Homes with minimal foot traffic (single or double occupancy) and no pets or allergies: 6–12 months.

• Family homes (three or more occupants) with no pets or allergies: 3–6 months.

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216-B E. Matilija St., Ojai, CA 93023

Published by The NewsletterPro • www.NewsletterPro.com

Published by The NewsletterPro •www.NewsletterPro.com

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