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The AARP Wyoming
NEWS In This Issue...
Life Reimagined™ - The New Health Care Law - Protecting your money - And much more...
Chained CPI Breaks the Promise to Wyoming Seniors
ocial Security was created It would change the way the For example, a 30-year-old vetmore than 75 years ago to en- cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) eran with severe disabilities would sure that seniors would have is calculated, leaving many seniors see his or her veterans’ benefits a steady and guaranteed source of struggling to keep up with the risreduced annually by $1,425 at age income when they retired. In all ing cost of groceries, health care 45, $2,341 at 55 and $3,231 at 65. those years, it has never missed and utilities. And as they get older, Washington needs to get the paying Americans the benefit cut gets nation’s budget under control, but the benefits they’ve bigger, as the cut not by cutting hard-earned benearned. starts now and in- efits for seniors, veterans, women Today, Social creases every year. and individuals with disabilities. Security can pay full Women would That’s why AARP is fighting to benefits for approxbe hit espetake the conversation about Social imately 20 more cially hard by Security out of the budget debate years. After that, the chained CPI in Washington so we can find ©iStockphoto.com/Kameleon007 Social Security will still be able to because they typically live longer, responsible solutions that keep pay about 75 percent of promised rely more on income from Social the promise to today’s seniors and benefits, even if no changes are Security, and are more likely to be future generations. -BY AARP STAFF made. With responsible solutions, low income. we can keep the promise to today’s Chained CPI would 5 reasons why the Chained CPI seniors and strengthen Social Sealso cut benefits for curity for future generations. veterans who sacriis the wrong solution Unfortunately, the President and ficed so much for this 1. It’s a benefit cut Congress are talking about makgreat country. Dising harmful cuts to Social Security abled veterans would 2. Cuts get deeper every year 3. It cuts benefits for today’s seniors benefits as part of a deal to reduce face deep benefit 4. It’s less accurate the deficit. They call it the “chained cuts because they CPI” -- a fancy Washington term rely on their benefits 5. Americans deserve responsible solutions that would mean cutting Social Se- starting at a younger How much would Chained CPI cost you? curity benefits by $127 billion over age and for longer Go to aarp.org/whatyoulose to see. the next 10 years alone. periods than others.
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Why should you care about Telecomm regulations
ow you can take the AARP experience with you on the go. AARP has a free mobile app for both Android and Apple devices. Download it from the Google or Apple app uring the most What makes it important? remote area is not profitstore and keep up-torecent legislative Telecommunications able, they could let the date on all the things session, telecom- regulation has a few key telephone network detethat matter to you. munication regulation aspects that can be very riorate. Read the latest arwas a hot topic. It was a important, especially in a In addition, deregulaticles from AARP on key aspect to the expangeographically large rural tion could eliminate qualtopics that matter to you sion of the Microsoft data state like Wyoming. When ity control of telecomlike health, food, family, warehouse in Cheyenne, telecommunications are munication services. So work and entertainment but efforts to deregulate completely deregulated while you may still have the Wyoming telecomthere are certain guaranservice in a rural commuOr watch video clips munications market also tees that cease to exist. nity, the reliability of that from the AARP library could have jeopardized For one is rate control. service could become on finance or brain essential services for Wy- With deregulation, rates less dependable. That is a health just to name a oming residents. In the are controlled by the scary thought if you need couple. Plus you can end, the legislature made various telephone comto call for emergency serlisten to free streaming a compromise to preserve panies who can establish vices and have hope that music while you browse standard telecommunica- a rate based on the carthe call goes through. the app. tion regulation like landrierâ€™s business interests, So telecommunicaYou can even share lines, while deregulating not what is reasonable or tions regulation is an interesting content with Voice over Internet Proto- affordable for the conimportant consumer your friends on Facecol service. sumer. Without industry resource that provides book and Twitter, get But this is likely not the competition, there could an avenue for insuring information about other last we will see of an effort be little reason to keep customers continue to to deregulate telecomrates low. receive stable telephone AARP member benefits munications that could But more importantly services that are reason- and discounts AARP negatively impact essenis that the guarantee of ably priced. This ensures provides access to, or tial services for Wyoming reliable landline service that when the consumer register with the app to consumers. It has been a is removed. That means picks up the phone they create a digital copy of common topic across the if a telecommunications will be able to reach your membership card country in state legislacompany decides that someone on the other for your use on your tures. But why the fuss? providing service to a end. -BY TIM LOCKWOOD mobile device.
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Life Reimagined: Have you considered your “what’s next?”
fter years of working and raisLife Reimagined helps people to help them plan their next steps. ing your family, have you ever achieve their goals around work, And all of this is provided for free. wondered, “What’s my what next? health, relationships and just It also includes a Sounding or What’s on the horizon for me?” about anything you want to acBoard – a new kind of private social I’m in my late 40’s and my two complish no matter how large or network for people to surround oldest daughters are in how small. It’s a single source themselves with trusted friends college. I have been with for tools— both online and and allies. Through the Sounding AARP for over 16 years in person— that help you set Board and other connection tools, and I am now at a midpersonal, health, financial, members of the Life Reimagined point in my career. and career goals and connect community help each other by Frankly, I haven’t given with others who can help you offering advice and support to much thought to the real achieve them. It combines help reach their goals both big and possibilities of my “what’s insights from some of the small. TIM SUMMERS next.” I’ve been too busy world’s leading experts, with So ask yourself “what’s next” STATE DIRECTOR raising kids, working and the network of people that and if you need some help or AARP WYOMING living life. But eventually, you know and trust, and it’s thought provoking ideas, check out I need to get around to thinking all built around your talents, expe- the resources in the inset. about my “what’s next.” rience and passions. -BY TIM SUMMERS Is life headed where I want it to LifeReimagined.org features a go and am I prepared for the next first-of-its-kind 30 years? Most of you are experidiagnostic tool encing or have experienced this that will help • Online: www.LifeReimagined.org same dynamic in your lives. people under• Facebook: www.facebook.com/lifereimagined It’s not easy to look at your stand where they • Twitter: @LifeReimagined “what’s next.” We live in a volatile, are in their jour- • On TV: “Life Reimagined” on TODAY: A uncertain and complicated world ney to achieve monthly series hosted by Emmy-award-winning and most of us are just trying to their goals and journalist Jane Pauley. make ends meet year-to-year. dreams, reflect Coming in late 2013 – a Life Reimagined To help people navigate and and see new documentary and a Life Reimagined book. Both adapt to a new life stage, AARP has possibilities and contain stories of people who are rethinking their launched Life Reimagined. make decisions lives and found their “What’s Next.”
Life Reimagined Resources
Go paperless Do you want to receive your copy of the AARP Wyoming News digitally? Just shoot us an email at email@example.com or call us 866-663-3290 with your email address. We will be happy to send you future copies of the News in digital format. If you just want more AARPWY information, visit us a aarp.org/wy
Congressional Award for Wyoming recognizes hardwork and community service
o you know about the Wyoming Congressional Award? Have you told your children or grandchildren about it? The Wyoming Congressional Award provides opportunities for young people to unleash their potential by achieving personal goals focused on volunteerism, character development and fitness. The award is a non-
competitive program, open to all youth ages 13.5 through 23 – fit or disabled, affluent or disadvantaged. The Congressional Award is an earned award, as individual and diverse as the number of awardees. Earning the Award is a fun and interesting way to get more involved in something youth already enjoy or something they’d like to try for the first
time. They move at their own pace - on their own or with their friends. This is not an award for past accomplishments. Instead, youth are honored for achieving their own challenging goals. For more information, visit www.enzi.senate. gov/public/index.cfm/ congressional-award or call Janice Peterson at 307-327-5464
Brain health workshop hosted in Rock Springs
hy is the color of food important to staving off dementia? That is one of the things the 300 people learned about at AARP Wyoming’s most recent “Gray Matters: Training the Grownup Brain” event. The workshop was held on May 2 in Rock Springs at the Young at Heart Senior Center. It was the largest gray matters workshop held to date in Wyoming. It included local and state experts talking about brain health and what people can do to keep their mind and bodies healthy as they age. While enjoying a healthy meal sponsored by AARP, the experts and attendees covered discussions from how diabetes affects brain health to what low-impact exercises you can do in your home to stay healthy. Jeanine Cox, Director of the Young at Heart Senior Center,
wanted to bring the workshop to her community because she saw a need for people to have the knowledge that was shared. “It’s important that we bring this type of information to our community to help people live healthier, learn how to keep themselves
involved and keep their minds alert,” Cox, who was instrumental in bringing the event to Rock Springs, said. “They provided practical and relevant information that people could take home and use to improve their lives.” People who lose mental acquity are also some of the most preyed
upon by fraud and scam artists. That’s why it’s important to discuss investmetn security as well. Kelly Vierk with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office said workshops like this are the best way to reach people and provide vital information they need. “Many people don’t realize that the Secretary of State’s Office regulates all aspects of investing from registering stockbrokers and offerings to investigating complaints,” Vierk said. “These events are critical to reaching the people of Wyoming where we can help them avoid becoming victims of investment fraud.” This is first of three brain health workshops that will be hosted in Wyoming this year. The next workshop will be in Casper on September 19. To register for an upcoming event, call toll-free 1-877-926-8300. -BY TIM LOCKWOOD
The Tech Corner -Tips for creating strong passwords 1. The longer the better…While many websites will say the minimum for login is six characters, a password should be at least eight characters or more for good security. 2. Use special characters…When possible, use special characters in your password. Replace “a” with “@” or “s” with “$” or put an exclamation or question mark on the end of the password. 3. Use a sentence or phrase…Why only use one word to make up your password. Use a full sentence that you can remember without space, such as “Wyomingisthebest.” 4. Vary your password…Don’t use the same password on every site. You don’t want someone who hacks your email to have access to your bank website. Change your passwords at least a little bit even if it means adding an ascending number to give you time. 5. Stay away from the real world…Don’t use your real name, username or personal/family information, such as birthdays, license plate numbers or addresses. 6. Write it down…If you have problems remembering your passwords, physically write them down and put it someplace safe like a cherished picture frame or a safe. Don’t store them in your email or someplace else digitally as anyone who gets in to it now has all your passwords. PAGE 4
AARP Wyoming welcomes new associate state director he AARP Wyoming office has a new face. Tim Lockwood joined the AARP Wyoming team as the new Associate State Director for Communications and State Advocacy in March. In his new position, Lockwood will handle all media inquiries and contacts, as well as assume a portion of the responsibilities relating to advocacy on state legislative issues. He will also assist with a variety of other
activities that AARP Wyoming supports such as community service and outreach efforts. Lockwood has more than 15 years of experience in journalism and public relations, having worked as a reporter in Cheyenne and a public information officer for various State of Wyoming agencies. He also serves as a Captain in the Wyoming Air National Guard as a Public Affairs Officer. In addition, he brings with him experience in policy work at the state and federal level, including serving on national policy advi-
sory boards on education. “I think Tim will be a strong addition to the team for AARP in Wyoming. He will help us to improve and expand our relationships and partnerships throughout the state,” Tim Summers, AARP Wyoming State Director, said. “We have a team that is committed to serving our members and the issues that affect them and the 50 plus population. “The addition of Tim gives us another valuable resource toward achieving those goals,” he said. -BY AARP STAFF
You’ve earned responsible solutions, not harmful cuts.
Register now for the Casper Gray Matters The third of three brain health workshops, AARP Wyoming’s “Gray Matters” will be held in Casper on Sept. 19, 2013. The workshop which focuses on “Training the Grownup Brain” will include sessions on fitness, nutrition and how the brain works, along with tips on safe investing and avoiding fraud. Speakers will include Dr. Works from the UW Family Practice Center, Alice Burron with Soapstone Fitness, Lynette Whipple, a clinical social worker, and experts with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office. The event is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Casper. To register, call 1-877-9268300 and reference the Casper Gray Matters workshop.
Right now there’s an important debate going on about the future of Medicare and Social Security. While some politicians in Washington are pushing harmful cuts, AARP is ﬁghting for responsible solutions that keep the promises we’ve made to current seniors and keep the programs strong for our kids and grandkids. Politicians are talking, but it’s your voice that needs to be heard to keep Medicare and Social Security strong.
Join the ﬁght to keep Medicare and Social Security strong for generations to come at earnedasay.org
facebook.com/AARPWY @AARPWY aarp.org/WY
Protect your money: Investigate before you invest ou, yes you, are already a wise investor. Certainly you know how to avoid investment scams; you’re leery of deals that seem too good to be true. You shy away from people who say something is “guaranteed” to make you money; that it’s “risk-free”; or that you need to “act now or you’ll miss out.” You know not to trust an investment that is “limited to a few select investors”; has a “high return with little risk”; or is set up with “insider information.” You bristle at the phrases “don’t tell anyone else,” “this is a cashonly deal,” and “breakthrough technology.” But what do you know about your own broker or financial advisor? What do you REALLY know about him or her? No matter whether your broker is from a respected firm in New York or does business in your own town in a brick-and-mortar building, it doesn’t hurt to check his or her background. Kelly Vierk is the Securities Compliance Auditor with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office – Compliance Division. She says most stockbrokers are good, hardworking, trustworthy individuals, but there are bad apples in every profession. “You need to do your research
before investing,” she says, “and one way to start is to call our office and ask for background information about your broker.” Whether they’re in another state or right here in Wyoming, Vierk says anyone who accepts a commission for investing your money has to be licensed in Wyoming.
and ask for that background check, or you can do it yourself on the Compliance Division’s website at www.WyInvestorAwareness.gov. Checking with the Compliance Division about the broker’s history is step one, but Vierk says there’s more to do to be sure you invest your money wisely. Vierk and her coworkers can help you with individual investment opportunities. Vierk says if you are approached about an investment and want to know if it’s on the upand-up, you can always call. (L-R) KAREN WHEELER, COMPLIANCE DIVISION DIRECTOR; MAX MAXFIELD, “We have an inWYOMING SECRETARY OF STATE; KELLY VIERK, SECURITIES COMPLIANCE AUDITOR vestment checklist “We can check their criminal on our website,” she says. “Ask history, bankruptcy records, cus- the questions and complete the tomer complaints, or whether checklist before you invest your they’ve had regulatory actions money.” taken against them,” she says. The checklist guides you “We don’t make recommendathrough the most important tions about investing with them, questions you need to ask about but we can tell you if they’ve had any investment, leading you to a lot of complaints or a criminal find out what agency regulates history. You can decide for your- the opportunity; how it meets self, and you can make a more your financial objectives; what informed decision.” the risks are; what written inforYou can call 307-777-7370 mation you’ll receive before you
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Investment checklist: Questions should you ask The checklist on the Compliance Division’s website at www.WyInvestorAwareness. gov is a good place to start with any investment. Here are the questions you need to ask before you consider trusting your money to anyone else: 1. Seller/Agent information • Seller or agent name • Company or business name • Company or business address 2. Products offered (select all that apply) • Annuities • Securities • Living trust • Estate planning make your decision; and what licenses the broker holds that authorize him or her to sell the service. There are more tools on the Compliance Division’s site to help you make informed investments. You can find out how to spot a con artist, avoid becoming a financial victim, protect your nest egg, and learn about the top investor traps. If you think you have been scammed, you can file a complaint in the Enforcement section, and Vierk says you should do that immediately. “Even if you don’t get all your money back,” she says, “maybe you can help prevent someone else from being victimized.” Vierk and the Compliance Division’s director, Karen Wheeler,
• Accounting • Other (describe)
7. What license(s) does the seller/agent hold that authorizes him or her to sell this product or service?
3. Who regulates or licenses this product or service? 4. How does this product meet my investment objectives? 5. What are the risks? 6. What written information will I receive about this investment before making a decision? (circle all that apply) • Prospectus • Offering memorandum • Most recent annual report • Quarterly or interim report • Recent news releases • Research reports
• State or SEC? • Insurance license number • State bar license number • Real estate license number • Investment advisor number • Securities license number • Accountant license number • Other (explain) Complete the checklist for your own reference next time you are considering an investment or call the Compliance Division at the Secretary of State’s Office, Capitol Building, 200 W. 24th St., Cheyenne, WY 82002 at 307-777-7370.
evening events, and giving tips on things investors should ask,” Maxfield explained. Secretary Maxfield says anyone can call his office at any time, but he thinks a lot more people could be taking advantage of the services the Compliance Division provides. “That’s why we’re going on the road,” Maxfield says, “People MAX MAXFIELD, WYOMING SECRETARY OF STATE can help us get the word out.” It only takes a few minutes, but have been taking their advice on it could mean the difference the road. Watch your local newsbetween making a good investpaper to find out when they’re ment or a bad mistake. The best coming to your town. way to protect your finances is to “We’re hitting the road with be well-informed, and the Comour investor awareness propliance Division’s motto says gram,” Secretary of State Max it best: “Investigate Before You Maxfield said. “We’ve been going Invest.” to Rotary clubs and other service -BY TY STOCKTON organizations, as well as to AARP FACEBOOK.COM/AARPWY
Educators take civics up a notch
iving in Wyoming, you probably know the Second Amendment by heart. You likely have a good idea of what the First Amendment says, too. But do you know the differences between classical republicanism and natural rights philosophy? If you have a child or a grandchild in the “We the People” program at school, that child would be able to answer that question in the first few weeks of school. How would the average American fare if asked that question? If the National ©iStockphoto.com/timnichols1956 Assessment of Educational Progress is any indication, the answer is: not well. In 2006, 9,100 high school seniors at 590 schools across the nation were asked, “What are the foundations of the American political system?” Only 53 percent of those students answered correctly. But in 2010, 83 percent of We the People national finalists were able to provide the correct answer. Granted, that’s a tough question. How about, “which political party is in control of the U.S. House of Representatives?” The American National Election Study found that only a paltry 41 percent of adults knew, while more than 90 percent of We the People national finalists had the answer. What’s more, 87 percent of the 2010 We the People finalists answered all the questions correctly in that study. There are 24 high schools in Wyoming with a We the People PAGE 8
program, and 18 of those schools participate in annual Constitution competitions. Instructors begin teaching the students about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in August, and the district competition tests these students on their grasp of our nation’s highest laws in March or April. The top six teams from the districts go on to the Wyoming state finals, and the winner goes on to the national competition in Washington, D.C. The Cheyenne Central High team was Wyoming’s representative at nationals in May. “Central is the team to beat in Wyoming,” says Matt Strannigan, Wyoming’s We the People coordinator. “Two years ago, Central went to the national competition, and they ended up being the 15th best team in the country. The next step is to make it into the top 10, but there are some very incredible teams out there.” This education goes far beyond high school. Strannigan says it has the ability to make students better citizens. When compared to other twelfth-graders, they’re more likely to register to vote, write to public officials, investigate political issues and participate in lawful demonstrations. In other words, they’re more apt to ensure that our system of government continues to be run as the founding fathers intended – by the people, of the people, and for the people.
-BY TY STOCKTON FACEBOOK.COM/AARPWY
How well do you know it? Below are some of the various units that are part of the We the People competition. Each unit has a primary question and nested questions. What Are the Philosophical and Historical Foundations of the American Political System? • What are the fundamental characteristics of a constitutional government? 1. In what ways does constitutional government mean limited government? 2. Describe at least three provisions of the Constitution that provide a means of preventing the abuse or misuse of governmental power. Explain how these provisions work in our system of government today. How Did the Framers Create the Constitution? • What were the major differences between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists? 1. How did the arguments of the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists reflect their points of view regarding natural rights, republicanism, and the powers of the states? 2. Why are the Federalist and Anti-Federalist debates still relevant today? How Has the Constitution Been Changed to Further the Ideals Contained in the Declaration of Independence? • What are the basic purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment? 1. How are questions left unresolved at the Philadelphia Convention addressed in the Fourteenth Amendment? 2. How are the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment related to principles of limited government?
New uniform guardianship law will help Wyoming caregivers ynn Achter knows first-hand how difficult it is to care for an incapacitated loved one across state lines. Her brother suffered a brain injury in a motorcycle crash in Oregon, and as his guardian she oversaw his care in facilities more than a thousand miles away. Finally, she and family members moved her brother to Wyoming so they could better care for him. And that’s when she discovered that
Wyoming did not necessarily recognize Oregon adult guardianship orders. This meant that she had to pay guardianship costs in both Oregon and Wyoming. Wyoming was one of a handful of states without the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA), which means that Wyoming did not always recognize adult guardianship orders from other states. That has now changed, since the Wyoming Legislature passed the uniform act in March and the law took effect on July 1. The new law allows Wyoming courts to recognize adult guardianship and conservatorship orders from other states. Similarly, other states that have passed the uniform act may recognize Wyoming court orders. This will save Wyoming caregivers and families’ money and time, allowing them to focus on
caring for their incapacitated loved ones. Cases like Achter’s are becoming more common, because families today are on the move, and often have connections in more than one state – yet adult guardianship is handled in state courts, and each state has its own laws and procedures. The uniform act makes it easier when cases cross state lines. AARP identified and highlighted the need for the uniform act and helped initiate and lobby for the new law. Kelly Davis, a Cheyenne attorney who specializes in elder law in Wyoming, represented AARP and helped advocate for the law. Wyoming State Senate President Tony Ross of Cheyenne sponsored the bill. It was a logical extension to other legislative work he’s done with guardianship and child custody. “As our population grows older, we find that we have family members in different jurisdictions,” Ross said. “There was no framework for deciding the appropriate jurisdiction for decisions.” The Act was co-sponsored by Wyoming House
Representatives Tim Stubson of Casper, Sue Wilson of Cheyenne and Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau of Gillette. Wyoming now joins 37 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico in enacting a uniform adult guardianship law. This number includes all Wyoming’s surrounding states. Briefly, here’s what the new law will do: -Creates a clear process for determining which state has jurisdiction to appoint an adult guardian or conservator if a conflict exists. -Outlines procedures for transferring a guardianship or conservatorship to another state and for accepting a transfer, helping to eliminate the expense and the wait. -Facilitates enforcement of guardianship and protective orders in other states by authorizing a guardian or conservator to register the orders in other states. Whether you are transferring an existing guardianship because of a move or you just want to register it so you can deal with out of state property or health care, you will still need a lawyer to help navigate through the courts. “On July 1,” according to elder law attorney Kelly Davis, “it became easier and cheaper to get these things done.” -BY AARP STAFF
You’ve earned responsible solutions, not harmful cuts. Join the ﬁght to keep Medicare and Social Security strong for generations to come at earnedasay.org. Paid for by AARP FACEBOOK.COM/AARPWY
facebook.com/AARPWY @AARPWY aarp.org/WY AARP.ORG/WY
Finding your way around the health care law
here’s a lot to learn about the at no cost to you. This includes health care law. And we know it immunizations, cholesterol can be difficult to figure out what it and diabetes screenings, diet all means for you and your family. counseling and more. Use this roadmap to find your way Lower prescription drug costs: through and get all the facts. If you have Medicare Part D, and In the past, insurance have reached the coverage gap companies could deny coverage or “doughnut hole,” you will get to people with pre-existing a discount of more than 50% on conditions like asthma, diabetes, brand name prescription drugs high blood pressure, or even or more than 20% on generic cancer. They could also cut off prescription drugs while in the or cancel someone’s coverage coverage gap. And in a few years, because they hit a certain dollar the doughnut hole will completely limit or got sick. Not anymore. disappear and be a thing of the Consumer protections are now in past. As long as you are enrolled in place so you can be confident your a Medicare Part D plan, you don’t health coverage will be there for need to do anything to get these you when you benefits. need it. Don’t have health insurance? Already Have Health There is a new, simple way to find Insurance? With new a health insurance plan that’s right for protections and benefits, you and your family. ©iStockphoto.com/monkeybusinessimages the health care Starting October 1, 2013, you can go online to the law makes staying healthy a little Health Insurance Marketplace to easier. shop for health plans available in Free preventive care: Diabetes and cholesterol screenings, your state and make apples-toprostate exams, mammograms apples comparisons of the benefits and even flu shots are all covered. and prices – all in one place. So you can catch the little things All plans must cover the essentials: These include doctor before they turn into bigger visits, emergency care, and problems. Have kids? Now they can stay on prescription drug coverage, your family health insurance plan preventive care and more. until they turn 26. It doesn’t matter Financial help is available: Health coverage is finally within if they are in school, live with you, or even if they’re married. reach for millions of Americans. In fact, many people who buy Covered by Medicare? The their plan in the Marketplace can health care law strengthens Medicare, protects your get help covering the costs. For guaranteed benefits and helps you example, a family of four earning less than $94,200 a year may be get more from your coverage. able to get financial help. Low-cost More preventive care is or free plans are also available, covered: Wellness visits and more preventive care are now covered depending on your income. PAGE 10
Everyone needs coverage: No one plans to get sick or injured. Having health coverage protects your health and your wallet. Starting in 2014, you’ll be required to have health coverage. If you don’t, you may have to pay a penalty. There are some exceptions, including people with a very low income. Need help? Just ask: If you need assistance finding a plan or completing the application, help is available every step of the way. You can get your questions answered in person, by phone or online. Are you a small business owner? Providing coverage for your employees is now easier and more affordable. There’s a new, easy way to offer coverage: The Health Insurance Marketplace allows you to compare plans, choose what will be available to your employees, and set the dollar amount you can contribute. Then, your employees can simply go online and sign up – reducing your paperwork and administrative costs. Offering health insurance is now more affordable: If you have fewer than 25 full-time employees, you may be able to get a tax credit to help make the cost of covering your employees more affordable. In 2013, the tax credit covers up to 35 percent of the cost of providing insurance. By 2014, the tax credit will increase to 50 percent – making it even more affordable to keep your employees healthy and productive. Need more information? Learn more about what the law means for you and your family at HealthLawAnswers.org -BY AARP STAFF
AARP Supports Legislation to Crack Down on Fraud, Waste and Abuse in Medicare and Medicaid In June, AARP sent the following Waste, fraud, and abuse increase the cost of health care for both the letter in support of the newly probeneficiary and the system posed Preventing and Reat large. ducing Improper Medicare AARP is committed to Expenditures (PRIME) Act improving the efficiency (H.R. 2305/S. 1123), legand cost-effectiveness of our islation that seeks to curb nation’s health care system, fraud, waste and abuse in and we share your interest the Medicare and Medicaid in combating fraudulent programs. Both Wyoming and wasteful practices. Senators Mike Enzi and ©iStockphoto.com/AS506 For years AARP has been workJohn Barrasso are co-sponsors of ing to fight health care fraud, inthe legislation. The letter follows. cluding efforts to educate our memDear Senators Carper and Coburn/Dear Representatives Roskam bers about what they need to know in order to protect themselves and and Carney: report fraudulent activity when it AARP is pleased to endorse the Preventing and Reducing Improper occurs. Therefore, we are especially pleased to see that your legislation Medicare Expenditures Act (othwould improve upon the Senior erwise known as the PRIME Act) Medicare Patrol (SMP), which which you are introducing today. helps educate beneficiaries to detect This bipartisan legislation seeks to curb waste and fraud from both the and report waste, fraud, and abuse Medicare and Medicaid programs. in the Medicare program.
Beyond the SMP, your bill addresses many of the deficiencies regularly documented in Medicare and Medicaid program integrity efforts. Medicare’s contractor systems, for instance, are improved in order to prevent errors. Medicaid will benefit from greater data sharing between the Federal government and State programs. Moreover, beneficiaries of both programs will be protected by strengthening penalties for identity theft. We thank you for your leadership on efforts to eliminate fraud in the health care system. The PRIME Act is a strong first step toward reducing waste, fraud, and abuse in our public health programs. We look forward to working with you to enact this bill, and other program integrity measures in the future.
AARP visits Capitol Hill to discuss Social Security and Medicare
ARP volunteers and staff from Wyoming visited Capitol Hill on June 12 to express opposition to the President’s proposed Social Security benefit cut known as Chained CPI and to support responsible solutions to strengthen Medicare for residents of Wyoming. Meeting with Sen. John Barrasso, Sen. Mike Enzi, Rep. Cynthia Lummis and their staff, AARP staff and volunteers urged the delegation to have a separate debate on Social Security and to back specific proposals that would strengthen Medicare and the health care system overall. “Our families, friends, and neighbors want Washington to
listen to them when it comes to Medicare and Social Security,” said AARP Wyoming volunteer Cathy Gonzales of Cheyenne. “We’ve brought that message to Washington with the hope that we can go home and tell the people who live in our state that Congress will strengthen these lifeline programs that matter so much to us.” In addition to pushing for a broader retirement security debate on Social Security that is separate from ongoing budget negotiations, AARP Wyoming volunteers and staff discussed embracing health care reforms that eliminate waste and improve care in order to drive positive change throughout the entire health care system and FACEBOOK.COM/AARPWY
bring down health care costs for everyone, including in Medicare. By taking action on items that include reducing waste and inefficiency, improving care coordination, and reforming Medicare’s payment incentives to doctors and hospitals in Wyoming for providing good care, Medicare can remain strong into the future. AARP Wyoming volunteers and staff will continue to oppose harmful cuts and push for responsible change to strengthen Medicare and Social Security. For more on specific Medicare solutions AARP supports visit our Medicare solutions fact sheet at http://bit. ly/11ln7DB
-BY AARP STAFF AARP.ORG/WY
Calendar of Events September 11 – AARP Day of Service Casper, WY 19 – Brain Health Workshop Casper, WY
19 – AARP Volunteer Recognition Event Casper, WY 20 – AARP Volunteer Leadership Meeting Casper, WY
October 3-4 – UW Consumer Issues Conference on new health insurance marketplace Laramie, WY For more information, visit us at aarp.org/wy
Published on Dec 17, 2013
A newsletter for Wyoming AARP members that discusses relevant and current topics impacting the 50+ population in the state. Volume 1 Issue 1