Lyndon Thomas - August 2019


Lyndon Thomas Insurance

Aug 2019

We Help You With Medicare.



• Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

April’s late snowstorm stretched from Wyoming to New York. My family and I flew into South Dakota and landed smack in the middle of the thing. We were stuck for two days — in a hotel, fortunately — snowed in just 100 miles from home. The freeway (or “interstate,” as it’s called in those parts) opened just in time for us to get to Mitchell, South Dakota, for my mother’s memorial service. Next week, Kathy and I are traveling back to South Dakota for her interment. The cemetery was under 3 feet of snow in April, so this part of honoring my mother’s life and saying goodbye is just now taking place. In the last issue of Lyn’s Ledger, I included a number of memorable quotes my mother kept with her in her Day- Timer. She reviewed these quotes often along with her lists of birthdays, recipes, personal reminders, and to-dos — she even had a list for Dad! To a remarkable degree, these quotes represent who my mother was and how she actually thought, spoke, and lived. Reader response to these quotes was very positive, so I’ve included several more here. Perhaps you are familiar with some. • Having a child is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. • If you spend your life waiting for the storm, you’ll never be able to enjoy the sunshine. • The body is the only machine that breaks down when not in use. • To be upset over what you don’t have is to waste what you do have. • You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give. • The road to success is paved with many tempting parking spaces.

• It takes 10 years to get used to how old you are.

• Nothing you do can change the past; everything you do will change the future. • Why do we never have time to do something right, but we always have time to do it over?

Nothing positive comes from being negative.

• Practice doesn’t make perfect; it increases your repertoire of ways to recover from your mistakes. • Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!

Don’t find fault; find a remedy.

• Suffering is inevitable; being miserable is optional.

• Life is what happens when you are making other plans.

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.

Even if I have pains, I don’t need to be one.

Talk is cheap — high supply, low demand.

• Grief looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks up.


Thank you so much to each of you who, in recent weeks, wrote, texted, or spoke your condolences. Every one of us walks this journey. It’s good to walk it together. My mother was grateful for every person in her life. She continues to be an inspiration to me and everyone who knew her. We are blessed!

–Lyn Thomas


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Lyndon Thomas Insurance

RING, RING— IT’S A ROBOT What You Can Do to Protect Yourself FromPhone Scams and Robocalls

A LOT TO THINK ABOUT MEDICARE FOR ALL We’re hearing a lot these days about “Medicare for All.” Clients have been asking me what I think of the matter. I’m not quite sure what to think, as the phrase has been used in a variety of ways with little definition and with noticeably few details. Generally, the use of Medicare for All seems intended to leverage the favor and good name of Medicare into some form of expanded, government-administered health care payment system covering people of all ages, also known as single-payer or universal health care. The proposed fate of private health insurance under these preliminary proposals varies, as some may see a limited but ongoing place for insurance, while others hope to see all private health insurance eliminated altogether. From my perspective, Medicare —“federally based health insurance for those 65 and older and those with certain disabilities,” as it has been enjoyed — works as well as it does for at least two reasons. First, we pay in for about 45 years before we start drawing out. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis states that through 2017, taxes on current wage-earners’ income and Social Security provided 95% of Medicare Part A (hospital) funding. Currently, Medicare Part A is doing pretty well. Medicare for All, however, would begin with prenatal care, so people would start drawing out of Medicare for All for 20 or more years before ever beginning to pay in.

Two of the most common scams are phone scams and robocalls. These calls are incredibly annoying and can trick you out of valuable information if you’re not careful. While it might seem like these scams are inescapable, there are some precautions you can take to avoid their traps. GIVE THEM THE SILENT TREATMENT. One thing you can do to avoid these fraudulent, time-wasting calls is to simply hang up. If possible, it is best to not answer at all. It’s always good to have a list of numbers you can reference, so you never have to guess who is calling. Think of it as going one step beyond caller ID. In some cases, answering and then hanging up can actually do more harm than good. Answering the phone gives the scammers confirmation that the number works and that they should try again. Once your number is confirmed as active, it often gets put on an “active number” list that can then be sold to other scammers who market in these types of phone numbers. If you can’t verify who is calling without picking up, don’t answer. Let it go to voicemail. If it’s important, the person will leave a legitimate message and you can respond afterward. PUT UP SOME DETERRENTS. You can even go a step further and block the calls. Many phone service providers offer call-blocking options, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. You can sign up for this service in-store or on your service provider’s website. Each service costs about $4 per month. There are also a number of call-blocking apps available on Android and Apple devices, but if you subscribe to a blocking service through your phone provider, these apps are unnecessary. Finally, you can sign up for the Federal Trade Commission’s “Do Not Call” program ( While the Do Not Call program can help cut back on calls, this list is largely ignored by scammers. If you’re getting a ridiculous number of robocalls every day, signing up can offer you some brief respite. Thankfully, Congress is already attempting to fix this problem by making it harder for scammers to call you. But until they are able to pass tough, effective legislation, it is up to us as consumers to remain vigilant and do what we can to keep our personal and financial data safe and secure.



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We Help You With Medicare.


Second, Medicare Part is already massively subsidized by the federal budget. Analysis by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation states that in 2018, monthly premiums to the Supplementary Medical Insurance Fund (Medicare Parts B and D) covered only 1/4 of the actual cost of services provided. Those with higher incomes receive less of a Part B and Part D premium subsidy, known as the income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA).

Medicare for All proposals raise a host of questions. I’ll ask two for starters.

How much of the massive tax increases needed to pay for Medicare for All would fall upon those 65 and over living on fixed incomes? To what extent will health care services available to current Medicare beneficiaries be affected? In my opinion, it would be foolish to believe the politicians’ promises that there would be no change. For example, the “medically necessary” criteria for Medicare services now includes knee replacements for 72-year-olds and even 84-year- olds. A heart valve replacement is available to an 85-year-old. Would Medicare for All grant the same coverage and services?

We have a lot to think about in the coming months!





1. Place a blender and medium mixing bowl on your workstation. 2. Divide the tomato chunks, cucumber pieces, and bell pepper slices evenly between blender and bowl. Place entire onion in blender. 3. Add basil, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to blender. Blend on low, gradually raising speed to high until smooth, about 2 minutes. 4. Add blender contents to bowl and mix until just broken up, about 10–20 seconds. 5. Let mixture sit in fridge for a minimum of 2 hours. Transfer to bowls and serve.

2 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes; cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks 1 small cucumber; peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks 1 red bell pepper; cored, seeded, and sliced into ribbons

1 small Vidalia onion, peeled and cubed

• • • • •

1/4 cup basil leaves 1 clove garlic, peeled

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


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Inspired by

Lyndon Thomas Insurance


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Lessons From My Mom

How to Best Protect Yourself From Scam Calls

Medicare for All

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Summertime Gazpacho

How These Rats Save Lives



When you think of animals that could be considered heroic, giant rats probably aren’t the first creatures that pop into your head. Many people still think of them as filthy, disease-ridden little thieves that deserve eradication rather than a medal. But one nongovernmental organization (NGO) has proven just how heroic rats can be by training them to detect land mines and, in turn, save lives. Over 60 countries worldwide still feel the effects of wars past every time someone steps on an unactivated land mine. Dogs and metal detectors have traditionally been used to find and safely detonate land mines in these countries, but both methods are costly and time-consuming. A human with a metal detector could take up to four days to clear a 2,000 square foot area of any land mines, and people knew there had to be a faster, safer way. Tanzania-based NGO APOPO found the answer: African giant pouched rats. These rats have several advantages over dogs and humans when it comes to detecting land mines. While they are bigger than your average pet rat — some can be as large as a cat

— they’re still light enough that they won’t detonate a land mine if they stand on one. Though they have poor eyesight, they make up for that deficiency with an incredible sense of smell. A fully trained rat can sniff amounts of TNT as small as 29 grams and distinguish it from other industrial substances like motor oil and battery acid. Along with these innate qualities, pouched rats are easy and cheap to train. While a dog can only bond with and work for one master, rats will sniff out land mines under any person’s direction, so long as they get a tasty treat afterward. They can search a 2,000 square foot area in 20 minutes, saving humans from days of dangerous, meticulous work. Between 1995 and 2015, APOPO’s rats found about 13,200 mines in Africa and Southeast Asia. Today, their programs are still going strong, proving that heroism can be found in even the most unlikely of animals.


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

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