Lyndon Thomas Insurance Summer 2018


Lyndon Thomas Insurance

Summer 2018

We Help You With Medicare.


M any young people get their first taste of employment during their teenage summers. A retail job, babysitting, or perhaps a lawn- mowing gig is their introduction to the work world. However, when you grow up on a farm like I did, work life begins a little earlier. While I would still have many hours to play, by age 8 or 9, mowing our lawn was a major summer occupation. Each area of lawn mowed earned me 10 cents. If rainfall kept the grass growing at a good pace and I stayed focused, I could make about $2 with each mowing. I was delighted when Dad purchased a riding lawn mower. I asked for a raise because the lawn got mowed more quickly, and it looked better. Dad said it was now easier to mow the lawn in less time. I don’t remember getting that raise. A summer task that I thoroughly detested was hoeing weeds in the tree rows. Also called “shelter belts,” these are quarter- to half-mile long rows of trees planted at the edges of fields. In many Midwestern states, shelter belts were planted through a program started by the U. S. Department of Agriculture many decades ago in an effort to reduce wind erosion. To reward the landowner for cultivating the small, dry-root trees for three years, the Soil Stabilization and conservation service planted rows of trees at no or very low cost. My father made great use of this program through the years in planting several miles of shelter belts. My labor as a young man helped ensure that these federal dollars did not go to waste! Dad was convinced — and I very grudgingly agreed — that in defeating weeds and keeping tiny trees alive, time was of the essence. Weeds are so much easier to hoe at 2–3 inches than at 6–8 inches or a foot tall. In the cool of many early summer mornings, for an hour before breakfast, Dad, Kevin, and I would hoe weeds in the tree rows. Then, after breakfast, it was my job to go back out for more weeding. I envied my older brother as he got to do other farm work while I was relegated to hoeing weeds. As The Who sang back then, it is no exaggeration to say that I have not only seen, but also have hoed “miles and miles and miles” of weeds! As in many aspects of life, the vantage point of years brings a larger perspective, and I

am now genuinely proud of the work I did as a young man. More than 40 years later, Dad’s shelter belts are beautiful and strong, slowing the wind, retaining moisture, and providing shelter to many species of wildlife. At about age 11, my summers began to include raking alfalfa hay with the old John Deere “B” tractor. What a relief from hoeing weeds! By 14, I was graduating to other tractor work, such as plowing and disking in the spring and mowing hay. It was a matter of real pride to be operating the Haybuster stacking machine by 16. Towed and powered by the tractor, windrows of hay were picked up and deposited into a rotating cage. Hydraulic controls maneuvered an arm that distributed the hay and built a tapered top on a haystack 16 feet wide and 14 feet tall. Equipment breakdowns are the bane of the farmer’s life, with the harvest in danger of being lost. If a machine breaks down, either you fix it yourself or you pay someone else to fix it. There were no rescues; whining and complaining wastes time and accomplishes nothing. As a teenager, I could cut a pretty decent weld on a broken piece of machinery. The farmer’s relationship with the weather is complicated. The need for rain during the growing season is absolute, yet nothing is worse than rain during harvest. Racing into the late hours to get the hay up or the grain in before a thunderstorm meant the difference between financial success or a lost harvest. While farming was not my career choice, each Medicare Annual Enrollment Period reminds me of harvest season on the farm. The services and benefits provided to my clients and compensation received later is the value of the harvest. The compressed nature of the eight-week AEP each fall is when the focus is on the work to be done and not the number of hours worked. Hopefully I’m very busy this harvest season!


I hope you are enjoying your summer!

–Lyn Thomas


Published by The Newsletter Pro •

Published by The NewsletterPro •

Lyndon Thomas Insurance


The Benefits of Open-Skill Sports

Many agents who sell Medicare Supplement policies don’t sell Part D Prescription Drug Programs or Medicare Advantage plans. Navigating the annual certification process required to sell PDPs and Medicare Advantage plans (MAPDs) is so onerous for the agent that many conclude it’s not worth the agony. I’m not sure if I’m bragging or complaining as I describe the activities that consume more than 50 hours of my time every August and September. annual certifications for agents across the country who market Medicare PDPs and MAPDs. The AHIP is a five-module online course of nearly 500 content slides and testing throughout. While the content is familiar from year to year, a sizeable helping of new regulatory and program changes requires close attention. My problem is that it’s usually about 10:30 at night when I get started. I’m not nearly the night person I used to be, so it’s tough! The final test is an “open book” exam of 50 questions. Miss five or fewer questions, and you’re good to go. Miss six or more and you go to Attempt No. 2. If Attempt No. 3 is failed, the agent is done for the year and is not permitted to sell any PDP or MAPD plans for the coming year OR earn commissions on current members! The agent’s income rests completely upon a successful AHIP. After the big test on the AHIP portal, there are modules and tests on General Compliance, Nondiscrimination, Fraud, Waste, and Abuse. About 10–12 hours into the journey, this agent is usually feeling slightly abused. My pride was tarnished last week as I missed seven questions on the final so it took the second attempt for me to pass my AHIP this year. With my 2019 AHIP certification successfully transmitted to each company with which I contract, now step two has begun. Every PDP and MAPD company is required by Medicare to supply their own online certification courses for agent enhancement. The company certifications largely mirror the AHIP and add whatever else the company deems necessary Certified and Bona Fide! The first step of the annual certification process is the “AHIP.” America’s Health Insurance Plans is a major provider of

Did you know fencing is making a comeback? No longer just for heartsick gentlemen of the Regency era, fencing is increasingly being taught in public schools, displayed in the pages of popular indie comics, and practiced among seniors. Plenty of baby boomers are picking up swords, or “sabers”— and it’s not because they’re preparing to fight dragons. Exercise is important no matter your age, but some activities are more beneficial than others. Research published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise (PSE) suggests activities defined as “open-skill sports,” like fencing, can do more to improve brain health than “closed-skill sports.” OPEN OR CLOSED? The difference between an open-skill sport and a closed-skill sport lies in the dynamic nature of the activity. Going for a jog is great for your heart health, but your body is doing the same thing during the entire workout. This makes it a closed-skill sport. The same goes for swimming; you might have different strokes to choose from when you jump in the pool, but your brain is focused on repeating the action while doing your laps. Open-skill sports require players to respond to unpredictable circumstances in unpredictable ways. Fencing is a great open-skill sport because, while you have to learn the right way to hold the saber and move your body, you also have to think on your feet and react quickly to your opponent’s attacks. Researchers from the Foro Italico University of Rome believe that it’s the required adaptability that makes open-skill sports so good for your brain. You challenge your body with complex motor movements and your mind with fast decisions. In the study from PSE, the researchers reported that “the open-skill athletes used less brainpower to do the same thing than the closed-skill exercisers did.” WHAT’S THE BEST OPEN-SKILL SPORT? If fencing isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other great open-skill sports, including tennis, badminton, basketball, and racquetball. What are you waiting for? Swing by your local rec center and find out what open-skill sport will be your new favorite pastime!

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2 216-B E. Matilija St., Ojai, CA 93023 CA# 0D96309

We Help You With Medicare.

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agent. Besides, back then, the whole AHIP certification process was just getting started and was about half of what it is today. Like the frog in the kettle, the water just keeps getting warmer, and since I’m used to it, I keep adjusting. 2. I’m in the business of Helping People with Medicare and will do so as a “full service” agent. From time to time, I receive a much appreciated referral from other agents who don’t sell MAPDs. It’s not uncommon, however, for the Medicare beneficiary who was sold a supplement by an agent to then be instructed to go home and enroll themselves online in any old Part D Prescription Drug Program. Grrr!!! Unwittingly enrolling in the wrong Part D program could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year if the prescription needed is Non- Formulary. Or why pay $85 a month in premium while taking one generic if a $28 premium plan would suffice just as well? Here at Lyndon Thomas Insurance, helping people with Medicare is what we do, and the annual certification process keeps us informed, compliant with Medicare, and up-to-date for our clients. Referrals are greatly appreciated! Please don’t keep us a secret! Next month’s Lyn’s Ledger will explain the upcoming Annual Enrollment Period in detail. Never hesitate to call us for a personal benefits review or any questions.

for its contracted agents to know. Running 4–6 modules and testing each, it takes about two hours to complete each company’s annual certification. Currently I am part way through this step, so I have another 12–14 hours of company certs to go. In mid- to late-September come the online or face- to-face benefit trainings for several of these companies. I’ll write off travel expenses to such far away and exotic places as Burbank, Santa Barbara, and Bakersfield to accomplish these meetings. As the old saying goes, “no pain, no gain,” or perhaps I’m suffering from a touch of Stockholm syndrome, but I actually enjoy and benefit from the knowledge gained through the AHIP certification process. So you can see why an agent who is already busy and successful enough with other insurances may decide the AHIP and company certification process is just not worth it to sell PDPs and MAPDs. If an agent sells Medicare supplements only, the agent can catch their client in an easy sale when they turn 65 and don’t have to endure the exquisite agony just described. So why, Mr. Thomas, do you go through all of this? There are two reasons: 1. Back in 2008, when the MAPD company SCAN Healthplan hired me, I had no idea what was required. SCAN’s agent training program was superb, and they taught me the business well, standing me in good stead now, years later, as an independent



If you need an easy, healthy side dish with plenty of flavor, this green bean salad will be the perfect addition to your summer menu.


• • • •

1 small red onion, finely chopped

• • • •

3 cups green beans, ends trimmed 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Small bunch of fresh mint

Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted


3. Add dressing, onion, and sesame seeds to beans. Toss together. Cool dish, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil; cook green beans for 4–5 minutes; drain well. 2. In a blender, mix finely chopped mint and parsley with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Blend until combined.

Inspired by Delicious magazine.


CA# 0D96309


Lyndon Thomas Insurance


PO Box 207 Ojai, CA 93024


CA# 0D96309 | | 805-646-6409

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Hay Waits for No Man

Fence Your Way to Better Brain Health

Certified and Bona Fide!

Green Bean and Sesame Salad

Sleep Better and Feel Great

Wake up naturally . Jolting yourself awake with an alarm or radio isn’t doing your brain and body any favors (it can be stressful on the body and even elevate blood pressure, which is not good first thing in the morning). If you do need an alarm, consider a wake-up light. Wake-up lights mimic the sunrise, slowly brightening the room, waking your body in a natural, gentle way. Kick the screen habit. You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: Looking at an electronic screen — a TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone — before bed is detrimental to sleep quality. Light from these devices is disruptive to your brain’s suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which helps regulate your circadian rhythm, and screen time before bed can throw off normal SCN function. Put your excuses for staying up too late to bed. Say no to “one more episode.” And all those emails? They can wait until tomorrow. Not getting enough quality sleep is harmful to your mental and physical health. When you get into the habit of following these three tips, you’ll find yourself feeling rested and refreshed in no time. HOWTO ACHIEVE A MORE RESTFUL NIGHT’S SLEEP

A good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your mind and body. One study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that the quality of your sleep is much more important than the quantity — that is, if you want to feel rested. And we all want to feel rested. So, what can you do to improve the quality of your sleep and get the rest you need? Listen to your body. This, above all else, is crucial to a good night’s sleep. Your body knows when it’s time for bed. Generally, you want to go to bed when you feel tired, whether that’s at 8 p.m. or 1 a.m. Whenever your body tells you it needs rest, you should make a habit of going to bed then. The more consistent you are, the better your sleep will be.


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

Published by The Newsletter Pro •

Published by The NewsletterPro •

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