Lyndon Thomas Insurance December 2017


Lyndon Thomas Insurance

Dec 2017

We Help You With Medicare.

T he holiday season is a time of joy for many. Between spending time with loved ones, awaiting Santa’s arrival, and enjoying the festivities, it’s hard not to get swept up in the cheer. But I think it’s important to remember that not everyone has the good fortune to enjoy a stress-free holiday. That’s why I thought it would be appropriate to highlight an organization with which I am honored to serve, the Ojai Valley Family Shelter. I often describe the Ojai Valley as the only area in Southern California that has successfully not grown over the past 50 years — or at least worked very hard at not growing! We are fortunate to be part of a small, tight-knit community. This closeness, however, doesn’t mean that there aren’t people in our area living in difficult situations. For some among us, the Ojai Valley is their home, but they just don’t have a house. From December through March, the Ojai Valley Family Shelter provides these folks with a safe, warm place to sleep, a hot meal, and if desired, a hot shower. On different nights each week, several local churches take turns hosting the shelter and its guests. For example, on Sunday evenings, the Ojai Valley Wesleyan Church (full disclosure: I’m the pastor there) hosts the shelter. Check-in is at 6 p.m., followed shortly by dinner. Then, pads, sheets, blankets, and pillows are distributed. In the morning, there’s a light breakfast. Outside the venue is the old RV we’ve affectionately dubbed “The SUV,” short for “shower utility vehicle.” While the shelter may be held at churches, so many community members come together to lend a hand. Speaking of Sunday evenings at our location, Thacher School provides a team of faculty and seniors who deliver and serve meals while school is in session. The other Sundays, Ojai Valley Christian Fellowship joins with our congregation in providing dinner, doing setup, and The Greatest Gift of All


cleaning up. Other individuals serve as overnight hosts or provide sack lunches for next morning carry-out. Each of the other six sites have similar team efforts to accomplish the goal. To be sure, the problems of homelessness are many and complex, but this community organization has drawn a circle around a specific set of needs and said, “We are going to make sure no one from the Ojai Valley has to go without the basics of warmth, safety, and food during the coldest months of the winter.” Among the things I’ve learned in my 25 years with the shelter is that nobody intends to end up houseless, and everyone has a story. I’ve gained a greater understanding of some of the problems facing our area and nation, as well as an up-close and personal look at the power of the human spirit. To those of you reading this who live in the Ojai Valley who have helped throughout the years, let me express my deepest gratitude. If you’ve never heard of the organization and would like to help out during the holidays, you may visit for more information. Finally, I want to wish everyone happy holidays and a merry Christmas. If you have a little extra time, I hope you have the chance to give something back this year. It doesn’t have to be with the Ojai Valley Family Shelter, though I welcome all of you to join us. Find a cause that’s near to your heart and think of how you can do your part. Sometimes, offering a few kind words and a little support is the greatest gift of all.

–Lyn Thomas


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L yndon Thomas Insurance

THE RIGHTSIZING RETIREMENT REVOLUTION Are You Financially Prepared to Leave the Workforce?

Ambulance Bills Can Cause an Emergency!

A recent Google consumer survey reported that almost 50 percent of the baby boomer generation has less than $1,000 in their savings accounts. What’s more, according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, the average boomer has a nest egg of about $8,178 per year for a 20-year retirement, and 41 percent of the generation has no retirement savings whatsoever. But, despite these troubling statistics, retirement is feasible for nearly all of us. It just requires a bit of “rightsizing.” As opposed to downsizing, rightsizing implies that you’re moving into a monetary space that’s right for you, rather than sacrificing aspects of your life for something cheaper. With rightsizing, nothing matters more to the financial success of your retirement, regardless of the breadth of your budget, than carefully managing your spending. Seems obvious, right? But according to an Employee Benefit Research Institute report, 46 percent of retirees actually increase their spending after leaving the workforce. In order to prepare for retirement, you need to be start living below your means as soon as possible and develop habits that will last until long after you’ve left the workforce. And no, this certainly doesn’t have to be as grim a process as it sounds. You don’t need to give up the things you love to do or purchase. It simply means taking a hard look at your surroundings, your possessions, and your spending. Are you sticking around in a house much larger than you need, simply because it’s full of old stuff? It might be time to jettison the junk lying around and give your mind — and your budget — some wiggle room. What do you actually need in your life? And how much of your spending is simply to impress others? These are tough questions, but if you want to have a fulfilling, 20-year retirement, they’re absolutely essential things to consider. If you really want to zero in on your expenses, use an app like Mint or iFinance that imports your banking data and organizes your spending by category. You’ll definitely find at least one surprise on your spending pie chart. It’s vital that you acknowledge that your happiness has nothing to do with your stuff. This fact will only be thrown into sharper relief as you age. After all, you can’t take a high-end coffee maker or fancy curtains with you when you pass. Trim your life down to the essentials and live with the comfort that you’ll retire with money to spare.

Every once in a while, I hear a disturbing story from a Medicare beneficiary. After an emergency ambulance ride, they got a bill for the full amount. I’ve heard of bills of $2,000 or more! But if you have Medicare, you do not pay the full amount! In fact, depending on the type of Medicare-related insurance you have, you will have a much smaller copay or even owe nothing at all! Why would someone get a bill for the full amount? Because, most likely, the EMT staff did not get your insurance information at the time of service. Think about it; it wouldn’t look very good if the EMT said, “Now hold it! Before we can take you to the hospital, we have to get your insurance information!” However, they do have your name and address. So, you get the bill for the full amount. MEDICARE ONLY You are responsible for 20 percent of the bill after you pay the annual deductible ($183 in 2018). Action to take: Pay the 20 percent. MEDICARE PLUS SUPPLEMENT Supplement F pays the annual deductible and the 20 percent. You pay nothing. Supplements G and N pay the full balance of the ambulance bill after you pay the annual deductible. Action to take: Send your Medicare and supplement information to the ambulance company to bill Medicare. MEDICARE ADVANTAGE You pay only the emergency transportation/ambulance copay for the plan of which you are a member. Action to take: Pay the copay to the provider, along with sending insurance information. If need be, call the Health Plan Member Service number on your ID card and ask them to take care of it from there. Having to take a ride in the ambulance is bad enough. Don’t pay more than you need to! If you have questions about this or other Medicare-related questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. Here is the important part: You are responsible only for a portion of the full amount based on how you are using Medicare:

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

We Help You With Medicare.

2018Medicare Part B Premium —This Just In FromMedicare

According to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $134 for 2018, the same amount as in 2017. Some beneficiaries who were held harmless against Part B premium increases in prior years will have a Part B premium increase in 2018, but the premium increase will be offset by the increase in their Social Security benefits next year.” Interpretation: If you are paying $134 for Part B premium this year, you’ll pay $134 per month in 2018. If you are paying less than $134 for Part B this year, your premium will go up by the same amount of the 2018 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) added to your Social Security check. Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 2 percent COLA. Ouch! What the government giveth, the government taketh away!



Scrambling to find something for the holiday potluck? This fondue is sure to impress!


• • •

¾ cup dry white wine 1 tablespoon cornstarch

• • •

1 clove garlic Salt to taste

1 (8-ounce) package sliced Swiss cheese

Foods to dip (apple slices, bread cubes, roasted vegetables, etc.)


1. In a large bowl, whisk together wine and cornstarch. 2. Chop cheese slices into small, uniform pieces. 3. Rub clove of garlic all over the sides and bottom of a heavy-bottomed pot, then discard. 4. Heat wine mixture over medium- low heat in the pot until thick and

bubbling. Add some cheese and slowly whisk. When nearly smooth, add more cheese and whisk gently. Repeat until all cheese is melted. If mixture seems too tight, add 1 tablespoon wine.

5. Season with salt and serve

immediately. Keep pot on low heat to keep the fondue dippable.


Recipe inspired by


CA# 0D96309


Lyndon Thomas Insurance


PO Box 207 Ojai, CA 93024


CA# 0D96309 | | 805-646-6409

2 1

The Most Meaningful Present

Are You Financially Prepared for Retirement? Ambulance Bills Can Cause an Emergency!


This Just In FromMedicare

Easy Holiday Party Cheese Fondue Boost Your MobilityWith These Ride-Sharing Apps



According to the Community Transportation Association, 26 million older adults rely on others for transportation. Between the lack of autonomy and the fear of being a burden, this dependency often leads to a decreased quality of

If you need help getting in and out of the vehicle, Uber even offers a special service called uberASSIST. Drivers in this program have special training and offer door-to-door assistance. Newer companies designed specifically for seniors, like SilverRide and Lift Hero, are expanding into new regions all the time. Ride-sharing offers a number of benefits to older adults who don’t want to rely on a friend or loved one for transportation. Have a medical appointment? Getting there has never been easier. Looking to take a walk somewhere that requires a short drive? You can ride-share there and back. Going out for a bite to eat? With the touch of a button, you’ll soon be on your way. Ride- sharing offers increased independence, security, and efficiency, which far outweighs most other transportation alternatives. You might think of mobile technology as an industry aimed largely at younger generations who live their lives on their phones. Ride-sharing services, however, can offer just as much benefit to you as to those rowdy 20-somethings. If you need a quick, affordable ride, give these apps a shot.

life. Most seniors don’t want to call a loved one every time they need a ride, and public transportation is often a hassle at best. Recently, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have offered older adults an alternative way to get where they want to go. If you’ve never tried ride-sharing before, here’s how it works. Using an app on your phone, you set a pick-up and drop-off location. In just a matter of minutes, a driver is at your door, ready to travel to your destination. Payment is automatically linked to your phone, so you don’t need to worry about having cash on hand. If you need help setting up the app, reach out to a tech-savvy friend or family member. Odds are they’ve used these services themselves.


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

Published by The NewsletterPro •

Published by The NewsletterPro •

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