Category: Uncategorized

Look who turned 65 in March — Ponch, Eddie, and Mama!


Erik Estrada March 16- Erik Estrada, is best known for his co-starring lead role in the 1977–1983 police television series CHiPs. Starting in 1977, Estrada co-starred as Frank “Ponch” Poncharello in CHiPs. In 1979, People magazine voted Estrada one of “The 10 Sexiest Bachelors in the World.” After CHiPs was canceled in 1983, he made a return to series television in a 1987 three-part episode of the police drama Hunter. In the 1990s, Estrada played the role of Johnny, a Tijuana trucker, in the Televisa telenovela Dos mujeres, un camino (“Two women, one road”). Originally slated for 100 episodes, the show went to 400-plus episodes and became the biggest telenovela in Latin American history. Estrada was reportedly paid one million dollars for that role.

 

In 1994, Estrada began co-hosting the syndicated outdoor adventure show American Adventurer, which ran until 2004. In 1998, he returned as the character “Ponch” in the TNT made-for-TV movie CHiPs ’99, along with the rest of the original cast. In the 2000s, Estrada had roles in the daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful and did voiceovers for the Cartoon Network show Sealab 2021, Maya and Miguel. He has done a long-running series of infomercials as a national spokesman for National Recreational Properties, selling undeveloped real estate property. In 2000, Estrada was named the international “Face” of D.A.R.E., the anti-drug-use campaign. His experience in CHiPs led him to his latest role: a reserve officer for the Muncie Police Department in Muncie, Ind.
Eddie MoneyMarch 21 Eddie Money, a rock guitarist, saxophonist and singer-songwriter, first found success in the 1970s and 1980s with a string of Top 40 hits and platinum albums. Rock impresario Bill Graham said of Money, “Eddie Money has it all. . . . Not only can he sing, write and play, but he is a natural performer.” Although Money trained to be a law enforcement officer, he secured a recording contract with Columbia Records in the 1970s and charted singles such as “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise.” In the early 1980s, Money entered the MTV music video scene with his videos for “Shakin” and “Think I’m in Love.”

 

In 1986, Money returned to the mainstream rock spotlight with the album Can’t Hold Back. The album’s Ronnie Spector duet, “Take Me Home Tonight,” reached the Top 10, as did the hit “I Wanna Go Back.” Money followed the album with another Top 10 hit, “Walk on Water” (1988), but his Top 40 career ended following the No. 21 placement of “I’ll Get By” in 1992. During the 1990s and 2000s, Money continued to release numerous compilation albums along with several albums featuring new material. Today, he still tours regularly, often accompanied by other successful rock acts from the 1970s and 1980s, and has also made several television appearances on sitcoms.
Nick LoweMarch 24 – Nick Lowe a pivotal figure in British pub rock, punk rock and new wave, has recorded a string of well-reviewed solo albums. He is best known for his songs “Cruel to Be Kind” and “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass,” as well as his production work with Elvis Costello, Graham Parker and others. Lowe also wrote “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding,” a hit for Costello. Along with vocals, Lowe plays guitar, bass guitar, piano and harmonica.

 

Lowe is also known for his work as a producer, responsible for producing some of the benchmark releases of punk and new wave, including The Damned’s first single, “New Rose,” considered the first English punk single, as well as the group’s debut album, Damned Damned Damned. He also produced Elvis Costello’s first five albums from 1977 to 1981. Other clients included The Pretenders (the 1978 debut single “Stop Your Sobbing”); Graham Parker (his well-received first and third albums); Dr. Feelgood (several LPs and their biggest hit single, 1979’s “Milk and Alcohol”); Paul Carrack; John Hiatt; The Fabulous Thunderbirds and The Men They Couldn’t Hang. Lowe was married to country singer Carlene Carter, stepdaughter of Johnny Cash, from 1979 to 1990, and played and recorded with Cash, while Cash recorded several of Lowe’s songs.
Vicki LawrenceMarch 26 – Vicki Lawrence is best known for her co-starring role on The Carol Burnett Show, alongside her mentor, Carol Burnett, from 1967 to 1978, and as the quick-tempered, abrasive smart-aleck Thelma Harper/Mama (the elderly supporting character first appearing on The Carol Burnett Show, followed by the main character on its spin-off television series Mama’s Family, airing from 1983 to 1990). As a singer, she recorded “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” that made No. 1 on the U.S. charts as well as in Canada. She is credited with co-authoring two books.

 

Lawrence has multiple Emmy award nominations, winning one in 1976, and multiple Golden Globe nominations, all for The Carol Burnett Show. Besides the popular series, she has made multiple appearances in other TV shows such as Laverne and Shirley, The Love Boat, Murder She Wrote, Roseanne, Diagnosis Murder and, with friend and co-star Tim Conway, in Yes, Dear. In her famed Thelma Harper/Mama role, Lawrence has made numerous post-Mama’s Family guest TV show appearances, most recently in a special sketch for Betty White’s 2nd Annual 90th Birthday. In addition, Lawrence regularly hosts a stage show Vicki Lawrence & Mama: A Two-Woman Show.
Ray MagliozziMarch 30 – Ray Magliozzi is one of the co-hosts of National Public Radio’s (NPR’s) weekly radio show Car Talk, where he and his brother, Tom Magliozzi, are known as “Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers.” In 1992, their show was honored with a Peabody Award. A graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ray Magliozzi taught science in Bennington, Vt., for a few years, before returning to Cambridge in 1973, when he and Tom opened a do-it-yourself repair shop. Although the shop was not profitable, the two enjoyed the experience and were invited in 1977 to be part of a panel of automotive experts on Boston’s NPR affiliate WBUR. In January 1987, host Susan Stamberg of NPR’s Weekend Edition asked the two to contribute weekly to her program. Nine months later, Car Talk premiered as an independent NPR program. In 2012, Car Talk stopped producing new episodes, though NPR continues to air reruns of the show.

 

Tom and Ray both appeared in the film Cars (2006) and in a seventh-season episode of the PBS Kids show Arthur (2002). They also starred in their own PBS animated series, Click and Clack’s As the Wrench Turns, playing fictionalized versions of themselves (2008).

What the proposed Medicare Advantage cuts mean in dollars and cents

A recent report by Oliver Wyman puts the cuts that CMS (Center for Medicare Services) has proposed for Medicare Advantage plans for 2015 into perspective.  Check out the chart below for what these cuts would mean in dollars and cents.  Benefit cuts could mean higher deductibles, copays and coinsurance as well as restricted Doctor/Hospital choice and fewer plan choices due to plans dropping out of the program.

If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, consider yourself fortunate (Supplement plans are not affected by these cuts).  If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, prepare for changes in 2015.  If you don’t know what type of plan you have, we can help.  Just give us a call at (937) 492-8800.

MA Cuts

Is your financial advisor a butcher or a dietician?

So, who is giving you investment advice?  Does it really matter?  I hope so!  They are handling your life savings!  So why does it matter so much and how do I choose?  Well there are two models that regulate most individuals who help with investments.  One model is that of an Investment Advisor which is held to a Fiduciary standard and the other is a Broker which is held to a Suitability standard.  So, here’s your choice…

Investment Advisor (Fiduciary) vs Broker (Suitability)

I know, you are saying, “That means nothing to me!”  Let’s take a look at the two models in more detail…

Advisors Defined

The Investment Advisers Act of 1940 defines a “Registered Investment Advisor” as:

“a person or firm that, for compensation, is engaged in the act of providing advice, making recommendations, issuing reports or furnishing analyses on securities, either directly or through publications.”

Advisors provide advice and recommendations, and are paid a fee (that is not at all associated with the investments chosen).

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) holds investment advisors to a fiduciary standard that requires them to act in the best interest of the client, more specifically stating that they must put their clients’ interests above their own.

Brokers Defined

The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 defines “Broker” as:

“any person engaged in the business of effecting transactions in securities for the account of others.”

Brokers are paid via commissions tied to investments in the funds they select for their client’s retirement plans.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) holds brokers to a Suitability standard which states that a Broker needs to believe that recommendations given are consistent with the interests of the client’s financial needs and circumstances at the time. The rule does not set standards around conflicts of interest or a need to place clients’ interests before one’s own — as a result, many believe the suitability rule leaves room for conflicts to arise between a Broker and client. One of the biggest conflicts concerns commissions paid to the broker.

Here is a good video that sums it all up nicely…

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Attention Medicare Supplement Policyholders…Congress is after YOU!

Shortly after taking over one of the largest sectors of our economy, healthcare, Congress is at it again.  This time they are going after your Medicare Supplement insurance.

For well over the past two years Congress has been focusing on ways to reduce Medicare spending.  They are focusing on Medicare Supplement coverage because they believe that Medicare Supplement policyholders over utilize their Medicare benefits because they have very little or no out of pocket cost since their policy picks up all the deductibles and coinsurance that Medicare doesn’t cover.  I won’t go into why this is not altogether accurate, but for now let’s just focus on the changes they want to make.

Their goal is to completely revise the structure of Medicare as it exists today, using the famed Simpson/Bowles report as a “solution.”  They want to do this by adding more “cost sharing” to Medicare, or as they like to put it, they want Medicare recipients to have “more skin in the game.”  Joe Baker of the Medicare Rights Center hits the nail on the head when he said that “cost sharing” is really “cost shifting.”  And guess who the cost is shifted to?  That’s right, YOU.

So what does this Simpson/Bowles report call for?

  1. Combining the current Part A and Part B deductibles into one $550 deductible.
  2. A single coinsurance rate of 20% up to $5,550.
  3. Set coinsurance cost at 5% between $5,550 and $7,500
  4. Set an annual out-of-pocket maximum at $7,500.
  5. Prohibit Medicare Supplement policies from covering the first $550 and limit coverage to 50% of the next $5,000.

That last one is a biggie, as Medicare Supplement policies are currently allowed to cover these deductibles and coinsurance.  Even if they don’t move forward with #5 above, the president has suggested implementing a 15% tax on Medicare Supplement policies that provide these first dollar benefits, such as Medicare Supplement plans C or F.  That means you would pay more money just because you choose to have good coverage.  Also, there are already Medicare Supplement plans that include more “cost sharing,” so these options already exist for those who want them.

A nationwide survey conducted in 2012 showed that 9 out of 10 Medicare Supplement policyholders were satisfied with their coverage, and 91% would recommend a Medicare Supplement policy to their friends when they turn 65.

The problem with Medicare is not what is coming in the front door through more “skin in the game” payments from you.  The real problem is the $50 billion dollars each year that is going out the back door through Fraud, Waste and Improper payments.  I believe it makes much more sense to focus on these expenses rather than ask our Medicare population to pay more.  If you agree, I strongly encourage you to call or write your Senator and Congressman and inform them that “Cost Sharing” and “More Skin in the Game” is not good legislation.

You can view a video on this subject below:

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Announcing……our next Medicare workshop!

Are you turning 65 and wondering what the next step is?

We will be holding our next Medicare Solving The Medicare Puzzle Workshop:

Tuesday, February 18@ 5:30 pm – Location: Sidney office — 2551 Michigan Street.

This is an introductory session explaining the 4 parts of Medicare and what an individual’s options are when they turn 65 or retire and go on Medicare.  We have had an excellent response to these workshops, so if you know of someone who could benefit, please let them know.

Seating is limited, so please RSVP:  Toll Free – 877-492-8803, or comment on this post!

Important Part D info for seniors! Pass this on!

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With the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period coming to a close on December 7th, I have some important info for everyone that may prevent you from having hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars out of pocket for 2014.

Many Medicare recipients who like their current prescription drug plan coverage make the decision to just let their plan renew for the coming year without reviewing the Annual Notice of Change packet they received from the company in late September.  It is OK to let your plan renew for the new year, but at a minimum I highly recommend that you review the plan’s formulary list (a list of medications that they will cover) to make sure that the medications you take will be covered.  Don’t assume that just because your medication was covered by your plan in 2013 that it will automatically be covered for 2014!

I recently met with a gentleman who had not reviewed his formulary list and was going to just continue his plan into 2014.  After recommending he review the list, he found that his Januvia had been dropped off the formulary for 2014.  Had he not caught this and switched to a different plan, he would have been stuck with paying for this medication out of pocket for the entire year…at a cost of $300/month.

So take 10 minutes right now and review your formulary list or call the customer service number on the back of your id card and they can check for you.  Your wallet may be very happy you did!

Important information for those on Medicare!

It has been brought to our attention (thanks to our clients) that several medicare supplement/medicare advantage agents in the area have been going door to door soliciting new business.

If you don’t know, it is illegal for an agent to stop at your door uninvited. We even have one report where our client was told that her medicare supplement Plan G was being discontinued by Medicare, which is totally untrue.

If this happens to you, please do us and yourself a favor and let them know they are not allowed to solicit door to door. If they don’t agree, direct them to Ohio Administrative Code 3901-8-09, Section (D)(2)(a).

Also, if you are considering making any changes to your existing plans, give us a call before you do…(937) 492-8800.

Medicare announces numbers for 2014…

There is good news on the Medicare front!  Medicare just released today that the Part B premium will remain unchanged for 2014, staying at $104.90/month.  The Part B deductible will also stay the same ($147) for 2014.  There are some changes to the numbers which are listed below, but many of you have a medicare supplement policy which will take care of some, if not all, of these expenses.

If you or someone you know does not have a supplement plan, or is unhappy with their current plan, please have them give us a call…(937) 492-8800

2014 Medicare Numbers

 

2013

2014

Part B Premium

$104.90

$104.90

Part B Deductible

$147

$147

Part A Hospital Deductible

$1184

$1216

Part A Hospital Coinsurance Days 61-90

$296/day

$304/day

Part A Hospital Coinsurance Days 91+

$592/day

$608/day

Skilled Nursing Coinsurance Days 21-100

$148/day

$152/day

If you would like to read the entire Medicare release you can view it HERE.