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4 Things Every Retiree Must Know Before Buying an Annuity

4 Things Every Retiree Must Know Before Buying an Annuity

Why is the world of retirement finances so scary? The answer is one you’ve probably come to know all too well: the future is uncertain. You’re uncertain about how long you’ll live because, after all, you don’t want to outlive your assets. And the nightmarish vision of forever losing one’s nest egg to an uncertain stock market can reel like an old-school motion picture.


For some, this is just a little jitter in the stomach every now and again, and for others, the fear of an unpredictable future is persistent and gnawing. But it is the same for everyone: the lack of full assurance is a nasty pill no one wants to swallow.


Enter Annuities.


These products offer some sort of a guarantee; for instance, that you’ll never lose your principal amount or that they will pay you a set amount until the day you die. In other words, it comes with a reassuring promise to put your fears and uncertainty to rest, which is probably why annuities are such a popular choice nowadays (and why it is such an easy sell for agents).


But here’s what you need to understand about annuities: all “guarantees” will come at a very high cost. Insurance companies are masters at risk and reward, so they aren’t going to offer you a product in which they lose at the numbers game. I’m not here to say that all annuities are the spawn of hell like some advisors are in the habit of doing. But I do want to make sure you don’t buy one without knowing the downsides and complications. There are many of them, but here are just a few.


The Upfront Promises Can Change—Check the Fine Print

As I just said, these products are complex. Some disclosure documents are 100 pages longs. In fact, I’ve come across some variable annuity disclosures that were over 700 pages (some light reading for an August evening, right?).


And within the acres of legalese, there are often some measures that will protect the insurance company if times get rough. For instance, from what I’ve seen, they can increase rider fees, lower interest rate caps, increase spreads, and let participation rates plummet. To translate, in simple terms, that means “if the promise we made you is getting us into trouble, we’ll just back out of it.”


I know this from personal experience. Back in my earlier, more naïve days of financial planning, I suggested that my dad buy an indexed annuity. The product promised a 110% participation rate, which means that whatever the S&P 500 was doing, he would get 110% of that. But I noticed something peculiar tucked away in the pages: that rate could drop to 50% at the company’s discretion. We talked with the company representative and he assured us again and again how unlikely it was for it to drop. So, I dismissed it and sold it to my dad.

Guess what fell to 50% the very next year?


You see, what you have to realize about annuities, is that the company is always doubly protected. Like the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true…well…I think you know the rest.


You Can Really Tie Up Your Money

The worst part of many annuities is that they have surrender periods. In the case of my dad, his surrender period was seven years. Even though he hated it, he couldn’t get out of his annuity without paying steep surrender penalties. Typically these periods are around seven to twelve years, but I’ve seen some as high as seventeen. And the penalties for cashing out early? They might be anywhere from 8-20% of your principal.


This doesn’t necessarily mean annuities are terrible products. It just means they are really, really hard to escape. So make sure you understand what you are getting into!


There Are Often Large Fees—Or Whatever They Call Them

The fees in an annuity are usually as high as 3-4% once you add up the rider fees, mutual fund fees, and mortality and risk fees.


And what if someone told you that the annuity they’re selling doesn’t have any fees? In that case, just remember that the insurance company will make that money back somehow. For instance, in a fixed annuity, they often have a cap on the amount of return you can get. I’ve found that these kinds of hidden costs come out to around 3-4% most of the time—maybe even worse. Just because they aren’t called fees, doesn’t mean they won’t cost you big time!


There Are Huge Conflicts of Interest

Agents who sell annuities often make high commissions. I’ve seen them as high as 10% upfront, maybe even more. And, for many annuities, agents aren’t even required to have a securities license to sell them because the annuity is considered an insurance product (even if it requires the salesperson to give investment advice). Here’s where that can get really sticky: you don’t have to disclose any conflicts of interest for insurance products. Therefore, a salesman can sell you an annuity without telling you about his fat commission. You can see why this has led many experts in the industry to the conclusion that annuities are sold, not bought. The products you buy should help your retirement plan. It shouldn’t help someone else’s and hurt yours in the process.


The Bottom Line

I’m not against the annuities as long as the buyer is making the choice after a fair representation of the pros and cons, but that is exactly the problem: It isn’t very often that people are given a fair representation that isn’t overblown with sales propaganda. That is why it is always a good idea to put the brakes on before getting into an annuity. Think about getting a second (or even a third) opinion. You won’t regret it.


If you want a second opinion on a specific annuity option and whether it is right for you, you can always call Seniormark at 937-492-8800. We specialize in the retirement transition, and we are here to help!

Can I Really Get a Medicare Advantage Plan For Free?

Can I Really Get a Medicare Advantage Plan For Free?

Yes, for quite a few Medicare Advantage plans, you will not have to pay a dime in premiums. And to sweeten to deal, you can even get extra benefits like gym memberships or a built in drug coverage with some plans. But I’m very stingy with my use of the word “free.”


From my experience, an Advantage Plan is free in the same way the newborn puppies of your best friend’s dog are “free.” You may not have to pay for the puppy, but how many know having man’s best friend around the house isn’t exactly a recipe for super savings (especially if you’ve got furniture and footwear that look especially appetizing in black and white)?


You see, a Medicare Advantage Plan might not cost anything in premiums, but it may up eat up your money in the end. I’m not saying they aren’t right for some people, in fact; I’ve placed people in $0 Advantage Plans to their long-term satisfaction. For the cost-conscious retiree who is romping into retirement, healthy as a horse, it may be the best option. But before you purchase one, make sure you understand the hassles and extra costs that come along with the decision. I’ve outlined a few of the most important ones:



Advantage Plans have networks of health care providers that they have contracted with, usually within a fairly tight geographic area. If you do not receive care at one of their pre-picked providers, it can mean much higher copays and coinsurance amounts. If you are in an HMO plan, they may not even cover you at all while receiving care out of network. This can work just fine for a person who stays local most of the year, but it does put the burden on you to ensure that your health care provider is in-network. Making mistakes could cost you heavily.



With a Medicare Supplement, the benefits are stable, but with an Advantage Plan, this is hardly ever the case.


Since the private insurance companies that offer Advantage Plans re-file their contract with Medicare every year, the benefits always change—sometimes dramatically. One of your preferred doctors could go out of network. Copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles can all shoot up. This is why you must review your plan every year so you won’t be caught unaware. If you set your plan to the side and forget about it for even one year, it can be quite upsetting financially.


Potentially High Out-of-pocket Costs

I always like to remind people that Advantage Plans have more of a “pay as you go” approach. You pay less in premiums, yes.  But you may make up for it in deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. For example, almost all Advantage Plans still keep you on the hook for the 20% coinsurance on Part B. That’s fine for an x-ray, but not as much for an outpatient surgery that may be $20,000 or more.

So be aware, Advantage plans do limit your annual out-of-pocket spending, but these caps are generally pretty high. If you have a period of extended illness, you could spend anywhere from $3500-6000 per year or more!


That doesn’t sound like free to me.


Need Expert Help Navigating Medicare? Confused About Your Options?

Call our office to schedule a free one-on-one appointment to have an in-depth discussion about the ins and outs of Medicare.  During this time, we offer phone appointments, Zoom appointments, and in-person appointments to fit your level of comfort.  Call us today at 937-492-8800.

Dental, Vision, and Hearing: 3 Medicare Coverage Gaps You Probably Shouldn’t Insure

Dental, Vision, and Hearing: 3 Medicare Coverage Gaps You Probably Shouldn’t Insure

Many soon-to-be retirees find themselves concerned about transitioning from their employer insurance to Medicare because of the numerous coverage gaps, and I truly get it. If you spend a good deal of your career in an all-inclusive employer plan, switching to Medicare will feel like going from a gourmet buffet of benefits to a fast food value meal.


Prompted by that feeling, people often question: should I fill the gaps with extra insurance?


Now, this is a tricky one. For some of these gaps, I can definitely recommend it:

  • 20% coinsurance on outpatient care.
  • Minimal coverage on extended hospital stays.
  • Limited coverage on skilled nursing care.


These are all viable reasons to seek extra coverage (usually in the form of a Medicare Supplement). And in the face of the fact that Medicare provides no out-of-pocket spending limit, I always recommend that every retiree have something to cap that off—whether it is a more expensive Supplement or a low to no cost Advantage Plan.


But then there are the strong three my clients consistently bring up: dental, vision, and hearing. As you may have heard, Medicare covers very little of these three. In fact, other than some complex dental surgeries received in a hospital and cataract removal, coverage for these three areas is basically non-existent.


But I have trouble recommending they get any insurance to cover them. I’m not saying there aren’t a few cases here and there (i.e. people who consistently need twice as much dental work as car repairs), but quite frankly it is just not worth it for the vast majority of retirees.


And here’s why…



You are likely going to spend about $400 per year for a stand-alone dental plan, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you hear what that money is really paying for. If it covered the entire cost of multi-thousand dollar oral surgery, then it might be worth it. But that’s exactly the problem: it doesn’t.


In fact, the maximum annual benefits for a dental plan is only $1000 in most cases. This is fine for the small stuff, the crowns or fillings that you could likely pay for on your own from a separate savings accounts. However, for the big-ticket items (the things you actually need insurance for), it doesn’t lighten the load all that much.



As far as vision goes, this is hardly ever bought as a stand alone, but is typically added on to the dental plan. And, like a dental plan, the benefits are equally lackluster.



When retirees think of coverage for hearing, they are usually considering a big hearing aid expense with the testing and diagnoses and equipment. There is one Advantage Plan that offers up to $3,000 of coverage for hearing aids, but then you have to consider that you may be giving up your rights to purchase a Medicare Supplement in the future, which often provides more comprehensive coverage on all fronts.


Are you willing to give up full coverage for outpatient services (only provided through a Medicare Supplement) for help on a one-time hearing aid expense?


Not very many are.


The Bottom Line

In all of this, we must remember one thing: insurance is for those things in life that provide a huge risk. It is for those things that would cripple us financially. You can buy insurance for your appliances, your gerbil, your front door, and your potted plants, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.


And when it comes to dental, vision, and hearing, (although I don’t think it is as ridiculous as potted plant insurance), it isn’t a high enough risk.


Believe me. If there were a magical plan that bundled hearing, vision, and dental into a $30-40 per month plan and then covered all of your needs in these areas 100%, then I would be the first to recommend it to my clients. But the truth is, insurance companies need to make money, and—therefore—these kinds of plans don’t exist. Insurance companies (at least the ones who don’t go bankrupt) will always win at the numbers game.


What I usually recommend to my clients (if they are still concerned) is a little bit of self-insurance. Take the money you would’ve paid for extra insurance and put it in an emergency savings account. In 2.5 years, you’ll already cover the maximum annual benefit of a dental plan.


And after a few more, you’ll have enough of a cushion to be sitting pretty, virtually unconcerned about your hearing, vision, and dental care needs.


Looking For a Helping Hand as You Transition to Medicare?

At Seniormark, we are here to guide you through the process, answering any and all of your questions along the way. We will help you find an insurance plan that fits your unique needs and pocketbook. Call us at 937-492-8800 for a free consultation!


4 Guidepost People You Need to See as You Approach 65

4 Guidepost People You Need to See as You Approach 65

The path to retirement is often difficult terrain, a rocky mountain path rather than a paved sidewalk. There are lots of ways to get lost in the forest of information coming in your mailbox, your email, and on the web.


Because, as you approach 65, it seems everyone is vying for your attention and for your pocketbook. But in the chaos of retirement planning, you don’t need more people screaming at you. What you need is guidance—something (or, in reality, someone) to give you a basic sense of direction.


That is why I recommend seeing these four people. Each one will give you the little pieces of information you need to make the retirement transition. These individuals will serve as guideposts along your journey to your desired destination of a stable, carefree retirement.


Social Security Representative

Guidepost number one is a Social Security representative. This person will provide you with one vital document: your Social Security statement. This will detail how much money you can expect in your monthly benefit check.

This information will help you approach important Social Security questions such as

  • Should I take Social Security now or later?
  • How do I maximize my benefit?
  • How does my Social Security benefit fit into my retirement income plan as a whole?

Needless to say, it is a valuable piece of paper, which is why a Social Security representative is a valuable guidepost.


Employer and/ or Human Resource Department Employee

As you know, many employers offer benefits such as a pension or a 401(k). Some even offer health insurance benefits to their retirees. It all depends on the size and generosity of your employer. Therefore, it is necessary to meet with your boss or a human resource employee and just ask, quite simply, “What are my benefits? What do I have to work with?” Another important question to ask is how the benefits will interact with Medicare. For example, in the case of health insurance, who pays first—the employer or Medicare?


Your Doctor

What are your medications? What conditions are those medications treating? What about your diagnoses? You are going to want to get this information from your doctor in a list or other tangible format. You might very well need it when it comes to the Medicare planning process, especially when shopping a Part D Prescription Drug Plan.


A Retirement Advisor/ Planner

After the three other people have given you their input, it is time to bring all the pieces to a retirement advisor. A good advisor will assemble them all to create an overall retirement plan that is personalized to your unique needs and goals. Want to travel? They will help you figure out how it fits into your budget. Concerned about your 401(k)? They can help you decide whether it is a good idea to roll it over or leave it where it is. Regardless of the question or financial concern, they will take the time to make sure you understand your options and make informed decisions.


Click here for advice on how to find a good retirement planner.


As a final note, I would recommend seeing your friends and family, especially those who are hiking up this difficult mountain trail to retirement with you. You can share tips, warn each other about possible pitfalls, reminisce about old times, as well as look forward to memories yet to be made. Nothing makes a difficult journey more bearable than knowing you are not traveling it alone.


Looking for a retirement advisor ready to help you transition from work to play? Call Seniormark at 937-492-8800 for personal help at no cost to you!


5 Christmas Traditions You Can Start With Your Grandkids

5 Christmas Traditions You Can Start With Your Grandkids

It’s that time of year again. Sleigh bells are ringing. The neighbors are putting up an epic lights display or (for the less ambitious) a wreath and floodlight. And in elementary schools everywhere, little kids are counting down the days until Christmas break.


If they don’t spend all of their free time romping in the snow, this means more visits from the grandkids and more opportunities to start traditions and make priceless holiday memories.


From all of us at Seniormark, here are a few ideas to liven up those visits with spirited traditions to help others and have fun!

Bake Some Christmas Cookies—And Put the Grandkids on Decoration Duty

Blast a Christmas music playlist (perhaps one that the grandkids help create) and spend a wintry day inside the warm house baking. Then, when the cookies are all good and cooled off, ice them, and then break out the holiday sprinkles of all shapes, sizes, and colors for a decorating party. With the extra help, you can make enough for them to take home for their parents, themselves, and Santa.


My mom does this every year with the grandkids, and they love it. And, considering the fact that her famous sugar cookies rarely make it to New Years, I think it is safe to say the adults like it as well.


Go Out and Look at Christmas Lights—and Make a Scavenger Hunt Out of it!

Make some hot cocoa, hop in the car, and enjoy the light show one evening with your grandkids. The lights are beautiful to see on almost every house, but there are always those choice few houses that really make it spectacular (A.K.A. the try hards J).


You can even make it into a scavenger hunt with a checklist like this one. The first one to find a blow up peanuts character wins!


Put Together an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

This is a great way to get your grandkids thinking about others this holiday season. Instead of always thinking about what their own gifts will be, it gives them an opportunity to think about what it might be like for other children who are not quite as fortunate as them.


With this organization, each of your grandkids can fill a shoebox for a child that is their same age. So take a few hours and head up to Walmart to do this with them. It will mean a lot to them, and it will bless a child in need. What a wonderful tradition!


Make a Special Ornament With Them

Every kid likes crafts, and ornaments that have memories behind them are much better than generic ones, so why not spend a few hours with your grandkids and make it happen. This buzzfeed article has a lot of great ideas for different ornaments you can make from clothespin reindeer to bottle cap snowmen.


You’ve Heard of Elf on the Shelf, But How About Kindness Elves?

The elf that gets into mischief has become very popular in recent years, but these elves suggest random acts of kindness as they move around the house during the night. Then, after the child completes his act of kindness, the next day the elves give the child a postcard to put in their “Little Book of Big Kindnesses.” This will work best if your grandkid lives close and comes over often during the Christmas season!


Just poking around the Internet, there are tons of other ideas out there. This post from is my favorite collection of ideas. But whether you take one of our ideas, take up one from, or invent your own, be sure to savor every moment of Christmas joy with your grandkids.


All of us at Seniormark wish you a Merry Christmas and blessed New Year!


Confused about Medicare and your options? Call Seniormark at 937-492-8800 for expert help at no cost to you!

Learn the 4 Parts of Medicare in Under 4 Minutes

Learn the 4 Parts of Medicare in Under 4 Minutes

Understanding your healthcare options as you approach 65 is necessary, but let’s face it: Medicare is confusing. You’ve got enough sales mail from local agents to keep a campfire going indefinitely, but none of it seems to make anything any clearer. You’ve likely tried to do some research only to find that Medicare has more letters than your high school algebra class.


That is why I am going to explain four of those letters today: Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D.  My goal is that you get to the end with some of the Medicare fog lifted.


Part A (Inpatient Care)

Part A is hospital insurance. In other words, it is coverage for care received while officially admitted to a hospital. Beyond that simple definition, Part A also covers skilled nursing facility care, hospice, and home health care. Luckily, Part A is free as long as you’ve paid into Social Security for at least 10 years. Except for extremely specific circumstances, everyone should sign up for Part A when they turn 65.


Part B (Outpatient Care, A.K.A Medical Insurance)

Part B is exactly the opposite, covering care received while checked out of a hospital. This includes diagnostic tests, x-rays, outpatient surgeries, and lab tests. It also covers a host of preventive services in full to help you maintain good health as well as catch any major health problems while they are easier to treat and manage. Part B costs $144.60 a month in 2020. Most people should sign up when they turn 65, but if you plan on continuing working, it might be cost-effective to delay Part B.


Part C (Medicare Advantage)

This is where things get a little messy. Although Part C is a Medicare associated program, it actually replaces Medicare as the primary payer of your claims. As opposed to being offered by Medicare, it is offered by private insurance companies who have contracted with Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans cover everything that Parts A and B cover; in fact, they usually throw in extra benefits such as an out-of-pocket spending limit and prescription drug coverage. However, you can’t purchase a Medicare Supplement with an Advantage Plan, which is often used to fill in the more costly coverage gaps Medicare leaves wide open. You must be enrolled in Parts A and B before you can enroll in Part C.


Part D (Prescription Drug Plan)

If you choose to get an Advantage Plan, prescription drug coverage is likely included. But for everyone else, you must purchase prescription drug coverage under Part D of Medicare. The cost of Part D is difficult to estimate because it varies based on the company you choose and the medications you take. But—to give you an idea—the average price is around $32.74 per month in 2020.

Well, there you have it! Check the timer. Has it been less than four minutes? And—more importantly—check your understanding. Do you feel a little less foggy about the four parts of Medicare?


Still Have Questions?

If you answered yes to both questions, we did our job. And if you still have questions (as I’m sure you do), sign up for our free Medicare workshop! Our workshops are not a long-winded sales pitch. Instead, we seek to educate you about your options so you can make the best choices and avoid costly mistakes and penalties.  To sign up, call our office at 937-492-8800 or sign up online here:  workshop signup.

Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) To-Do List

Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) To-Do List

  1. Write the important Annual Enrollment dates to remember on your Calendar, and clip your calendar on your fridge.
  2. Don’t eat that midnight snack until you’ve read the dates at least once.
    1. October 1st— we can talk about your options!
    2. October 15th— The AEP games begins.
    3. December 7th—AEP comes to exhausting close.
    4. January 1st— Plan changes go into effect. Double Whammy: You can also drop your advantage plan starting the 1st all the way through the 14th (which is also Valentine’s day…you’re welcome)
  3. Compare your medications to the formulary (drug list) mailed to you by your drug plan company.
  4. Consider changing your drug plan if some of your medications are no longer covered or if the premium is too high.
  5. Call OSHIIP with any drug plan questions.
  6. Call us and set up an appointment to have a good chat about your Advantage Plan.
  7. Consider switching Advantage Plans if:
    1. Your hospital or doctor went out-of-network
    2. Plan changes for the following year result in jaw-dropping out-of-pocket spending or a high premium.
    3. Your Advantage plan is (all around) a bit of a drag.
  8. As a golden rule, your ultimate to-do list item is …plan ahead!

Want help looking at your Medicare policies?  Call our office and we will guide you through the process.  937-492-8800

How to Afford Your Meds in the Donut Hole—7 Strategic Ways

How to Afford Your Meds in the Donut Hole—7 Strategic Ways

Although the donut hole is closing and will be completely gone in 2020, many—like you—are still caught within its clutches. And the fact that it is disappearing doesn’t help you right now. But there are a few things you can do to get yourself out of this expensive mess. Just like you planned for retirement, you can use that same strategic, out-of-box thinking to get yourself within your budget for drug costs. Here are 7 ways.


Switch to Generics

Bargain shoppers will like this one. How many times have you bought the generic brand of a common product and found out that it tasted nearly identical? The same goes for prescription drugs. More often than not, there is a generic equivalent that has the exact same active ingredient as the brand name drug. In this case, making the switch will not affect the medication efficacy, but could lower your copays significantly.


Of course, you need to consult your doctor before this. Not all grocery generics are as good as name brand (ever try generic Oreos?), and it is the same for medications. Not all medications have a generic equivalent and some—you might find—don’t work as well for you, but this is very rare. In fact, according to the FDA, research shows that generics work just as well as name brand drugs.


Talk to Your Doctor

This one is simple, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t smart. Sometimes the smartest thing you can do is ask someone who is smarter than you! Doctors know the prescription drug industry, and they know your unique situation. Maybe you can switch to an over-the-counter equivalent? Or maybe they “know a guy”? (Wow…that sounded a lot shadier than I expected)  Anyhow…if anyone can help you lay out a plan, they can.


Ask for Free Samples

While you’re consulting with your doctor, ask for a freebie. A lot of times they have free samples around the office that they can give you. He probably won’t impart to you a 90-day supply of little packets, but every bit helps.


Split the Pill; Split the Bill

Most double strength pills are not double the cost. A lot of times they are even very similar in cost. So if you order your regular supply of pills at double the strength and split them, it could save you big time. For a lot of prescriptions, it lasts double the time, leading to a 2 for 1 deal.


However, you need permission from your doctor to do this. Doing it unsafely or to a pill that wasn’t created for it can be potentially dangerous.


For more information on how to split pills safely, visit WebMD’s article “Guide to Pill Splitting”


Compare Pharmacies

Prices for prescription drugs can vary depending on which pharmacy you buy them from. Some have more expensive copays, and some are just more expensive in general. Your default pharmacy may not always be the best one, so price checking is always a good idea.


A few of our clients tipped us off to this wonderful online resource for shopping pharmacies called You just plug in the medication you want to shop, and the tool automatically compares the prices for that drug to find the pharmacies that offer the drug at the lowest cost. You can even print out coupons or access them via their mobile app, leading to even more savings.


Consider Mail Order

Not only is it more convenient, but it is also more cost-effective. Quite a few prescription drug plans offer a discount for switching to mail order. In fact, according to American College of Physicians President, Wayne J. Riley, you can save one-third on name-brand drugs by using mail order (from Money Magazine’s website).


Ask For Help

If all else fails, ask for help. Sometimes it is the most strategic thing you can do. There are assistance programs through charitable foundations and through pharmaceutical companies. Of course, they hope you find another way to pay for your medications, but at the end of the day, they won’t let you go untreated.


Here is a link to’s  pharmaceutical assistance program index. Just search for the Medication you can’t afford, and it will tell you the eligibility requirements for that drug manufacturer’s assistance program.


It’s no secret that many people are counting down the days until the coverage gap is finally gone forever. I know I can’t wait for it to be gone. It is such a hassle for both my clients and I. But until then, I recommend putting some or all of these items to the test. You’ll be glad you did.


Looking to switch your Drug Plan? Seniormark can help. Call us at 937-492-8800 to sign up for a free consultation.

Attention Retirees: Stay on Top of Your Health Insurance With This Helpful Online Tool

Attention Retirees: Stay on Top of Your Health Insurance With This Helpful Online Tool

Life is complicated and hard to manage. And what younger people don’t realize is that it doesn’t just all stop once you retire. As long as you’ve got goals and dreams, you’ve got schedules and things to keep track of—especially when it comes to Medicare.


This is why the Medicare program set up a site to help you say on top of all things health insurance. It’s called We recommend it to our clients, and now we are recommending it to you.


Among other things, this site has some wonderful, time saving features including:


A Claim Library

Right on the home page, the site shows your most recent claims all the way back to claims made 36 months ago. In a three-column chart, the site displays

  • What you were charged
  • What Medicare approved and paid for
  • What you might be billed (not considering your Medicare Supplement)


This is particularly helpful when budgeting for health care costs. If you know you’ve got a health care bill on the way, you can set aside some extra cash to pay for it. Otherwise, you might be caught unaware.


It is also helpful for detecting Medicare Fraud. If you start noticing claims in your claim library for services you never received, it is time to report fraud. You will be doing yourself and your country a favor by turning the bad guys in.


Your Current Plan Information

The site also shows you relevant information about your current health care plan including your prescription drug plan and any supplemental insurance.


This is really useful around the Annual Enrollment Period. Knowing the plans you have in place is the first step in deciding if you want to switch and what you want to switch to.  (Click here to read our thoughts about shopping around.)


Your Deductible Status

Under the “claims” tab, you can click on your deductible status link and find out how close you are to meeting your deductible. After you meet your deductible, plan benefits will begin. This is why your deductible status is important. You’ll have an idea what a service is going to cost before you receive it.


Your Preventative Care Scheduling

Medicare alone covers a lot of preventative services such as screenings and tests and certain types of counseling. They cover them in full, so you don’t have to pay a dime! Some are offered ever 2 years, some every 4, and some only every 6 or more years. It is difficult to know which ones you are eligible for on which years.


The preventative services page under the “my health” tab shows exactly what you are eligible for at any moment. This makes it extra easy to take advantage of the preventative services that are available to you. You’ve paid into Social Security for all those years for the benefits, so you might as well use them!


And overall, I think the best part of the site is that it is all in one place. Most—if not all— of the information you need to know about your health care is organized and at your fingertips. For the retiree like you who still has a lot going on, it’s a wise choice.


Have any concerns about your current plan? Looking to switch? Call Seniormark at 937-492-8800 to set up a free consultation.


6 60’s Theme Songs That Will Make You Nostalgic

6 60’s Theme Songs That Will Make You Nostalgic

As I was browsing the theme songs of the shows I used to watch when I was a younger kid (I do not identify as an adult yet), I realized how much I love nostalgia. Just a few notes and I was back in my pajamas on Saturday morning, watching my favorite TV shows.


So, instead of keeping this all to myself, I decided to rewind an extra thirty or so years from my era and get the baby boomers involved. Why leave all of you out of the fun? You guys had some excellent TV shows, and I want to let you relish those memories. Whether you watched them with your kids, as a kid, as a teen, or last week on MeTV, Let’s get started! Click the headings; hear the themes.


  1. The Addam’s Family

Audiences and Halloween partygoers alike have been snapping along to “The Addam’s Family” since the show first aired in 1964. With cold, black and white stares, Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday, Uncle Fester, Lurch, Pugsley, and Grandmama welcomed you into their dark and sinister sitcom—Kookiness and spookiness and all.


Memorable Lyric: “They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky. They’re all together ooky: the Addams family.”


  1. My Three Sons

It is not nearly as iconic of a song, but it is definitely worth a mention. This bouncing, swinging theme was penned by Frank Devol. My Three Sons is about a widower named Steve Douglas and his adventures raising…well…his three sons.


Fun Fact: Did you know that Frank Devol also composed the Brady Bunch Theme?


  1. The Flintstones

A classic Hanna Barbera tune, this theme (written by Hanna, Barbera, and Curtin) is strongly associated with the Flintstones. But did you know that “Meet the Flintstones” wasn’t the song that originally presented the modern Stone Age family to the world? According to, the animation was introduced by a lyric-less theme song entitled “Rise and Shine” for its first two seasons.


Memorable Lyric: “When you’re with the Flintstones, have a yabba dabba doo time. A dabba doo time. You’ll have a gay old time.”


  1. The Andy Griffith Show

It’s just whistling, snaps, and a simple drumbeat, but those are the only tools “The Fishing Hole” needs to become a tenacious earworm. Originally composed and whistled into existence by Earle Hagen, I know it will be stuck in your head all day!


Fun Fact: Did you know that this song has words? Here is a link to a recording of Andy Griffith himself singing the little known lyrics.


  1. The Dick Van Dyke Show

One thing that this show has in common with The Andy Griffith Show (other than the creativity of its name) is that The Dick Van Dyke show’s theme also has little known lyrics. Here are a few lines: “So you think that you’ve got trouble. Well trouble’s a bubble.
So tell old mister trouble to get lost.” Listen to it and try to sing along with the words. It’s easy once you get the hang of it.


Fun Fact: I know this has little to do with the song, but did you realize that Johnny Carson almost got the lead role, taking Dick Van Dyke’s place (Mental Floss)?


  1. The Beverly Hillbillies

This song is as hick as you can get, and you’ve got to love it for that! With a banjo and some booming bass vocals, this theme narrates the poor family’s path to riches and their journey to Beverly (Hills, that is)!


Memorable Lyric: “And then one day he was shootin at some food, and up through the ground come a bubblin crude. Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.”


Well…Unlike TV today, it wasn’t always 24 hour programming back then. So, in honor of that simplicity, I would like to end with the static, the blip, and the lingering white dot.


I hope you had a gay old time.

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