I hope this letter finds you well. Spring is right around the corner and although we have had a mild winter I am hoping for an early and warm spring. I have some news and things I want to share with you. Before I start, I want to again thank you for the people you refer to me. I appreciate your trust.
The logistic news for me is that I have closed my office in Rootstown and now have an office in Ravenna on 107 North Prospect Street. It is diagonally across from Walgreens. I am sharing it with my, Rich Schlue. We will have regular office hours mostly 9-4 M-Th. I will definitely be there on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and except for distant appointments and meetings, most of the remainder of the week.
Due to the wide use of cell phones I am dropping my 800 number. I have very few people using the number and the expense no longer justifies it. I am switching my land line number 330-654-5894 to a cell phone. This should make me more accessible although I turn off my cell phone during appointments because I believe it is rude and unprofessional to be interrupted at that time. So I still will not be 100% instantly accessible.
Medicare Changes for 2017. Although the insurance changes do not affect most of you many people still like to know about the changes. Part A hospital deductible went up to $1,316. The Part B medical deductible went up to $183. The Part B premium went up to $134 a month for people starting Medicare this year. Everyone else had a Part B rate increase in proportion to their whopping big Social Security increase (yea, no sarcasm here). Most people are now paying around $109 a month now. People with income over $85,000 a year for singles and $170,000 for couples pay $187.50 to $428.60 a month for their Part B depending on how high their income is and they also pay more for their Part D prescription coverage too.
Prescription help. For those who have expensive tier 3 and 4 drugs and those who will likely hit the donut hole this year I have a couple of things that may help. First is needymed.com. This website helps many people every year with prescription costs and most people can qualify for help. Second is a lady that volunteers at the Ravenna Senior Center. Her name is Jan and her phone number is 330-877-2495. She is in the office once a week, usually Thursdays from 9-12. You can visit her or call and leave a message. She helps many people save money on their prescriptions every year and you don’t have to be a Portage county resident to get help.
File of life. Portage county has a potentially life-saving program through Family and Community Services called “File of Life” that all the EMS workers are familiar with. You fill out a form with all your health info on it like prescriptions, allergies, emergency contacts, preferred hospitals, etc. Then you fold it up and put in your refrigerator / freezer. You then take a sticker and put it on your front door or window. If EMS personnel come to your door and see the sticker, they know to look in the refrigerator / freezer for your information. These little kits are available at the Portage County Senior Center and I have some in my office. If you need a kit mailed to you, call Family and Community Services at 330-297-8770.
Quick reminder. I spoke to several people this last open enrollment that forgot they had coverage for an eye exam with their Medicare Advantage plan. So here is a brief rundown of the extra benefits available for those with a Medicare Advantage plan. Please remember you must use their network doctor and dentist. Eye exam is $0 copay for Anthem and $10 for United Healthcare (UHC): Silver Sneakers – free gym membership available with all plans; dental cleaning & exam – $0 copay for Anthem and $0 for UHC $26 premium plan. No dental for UHC $0 premium plan. Call me if you have any questions.
Interest rates. Interest rates are slowly starting to go up but those of you with CDs know they are still way too low. I have a product that is currently paying 3.5% interest, guaranteed safe with no risk, and the beauty is if interest rate start going up it will follow after a period of time. Call me if you would like more information.
Interesting Tid Bits. Kiplinger Retirement Letter mentioned that our smart phones will soon be getting smarter. Within a few years, we will be able to use them to spot counterfeit bills and to identify ripe fruit.
A battery is being developed that is so small that it will be printed on plastic film. It will be able to be used for all kinds of things from small drones to smart watches to medical devices that power sensors that bend around a patients arm and relay data to computer monitors.
Another quick reminder. Anyone considering getting a little more life insurance or anyone who bought some in the last few years should call me. I have two companies with some of the lowest rates in the state. I have put some of the rates on my website at boringinsurance.com. Someone once told me that we get life insurance for those we leave behind and that it is the last thing we actually do for them. I can tell you from 25 years of personal experience I have never delivered a check to a beneficiary and had them tell me it was too much.
Personal Note. My family and I are doing well. My wife, Cathy, is an accountant so its busy season for her. My oldest son Nathan is working his first co-op this semester. He likes it and seems to be doing well. He is moving to an apartment this month and getting married in May. Seems like he was just starting kindergarten last week. Our other son, Andrew, is in college in Chicago and has made many friends. I have stayed busy with work and some volunteer work. Speaking of which, the Lions club I belong to is having a raffle on May 13th at the Portage County Randolph Fairgrounds. The grand prize is $10,000 cash plus there are 20 other prizes. There will be several side raffles. The tickets will be sold at the door and are $25 and include dinner. So, come on out and enjoy a nice evening before Mother’s Day.
Thank you again for your referrals. Please call me if you have questions on anything (within reason, I can’t pick winning lottery numbers, sorry).