s ’ y a d o T Vol.3 No.1
Health Rx’s from the RN
River Cruising New Rage in 2014 BoomeR Lifestyle Trendz: Empowered Dads, Domestic Dudes
2014: Year of the Horse
Top “10 in ’14” Thrival Growth Strategies
Boomer Healthy Eating Preserve and Protect Your Food Social Security: Resolve Your Retirement Plan in 2014
Your Guide to Making Horse Sense of the Affordable HealthCare Act
New Feature: F– Being Old Today’s BoomeR
Featuring The Only B2B -Business 2 BoomeR Marketplace!
Up Coming CruisesBook Now! A Tulip Time River Cruise “Credit Union Success Symposium” April 5-April 12th, 2014 Alaska Voyage of the Glaciers “Credit Union Volunteers Forum” June 20-June 27th, 2014 Viking to Czars A Scandinavia/Russian Voyage “Credit Union Winds of Changes Symposium” August 1-August 13th, 2014 Cambodia & Vietnam Riches of the Mekong “Credit Union Survival to Thrival Forum” August 19th-September 3, 2014
2 Today’s BoomeR
This Issue January/ February 2014 Volume 3, Number 1
Resolve Your Retirement Plan in 2014
Founder John Vardallas & Alexandra Maragha
Editor-In-Chief Alexandra Maragha
Contributing Writers :
River Cruises are all the Rage
BoomeR Lifestyle Trend: 8
Karyl Richson: Social Security Chef Eben Atwater: Healthy Eating
Empowered Dads, Domestic Dudes
Top “10 in ‘14” 10 Thrival Growth Strategies
For Letters to the Editor, articles and feedback as well as advertising inquiries email Alexandra@TheAmericanBoomeR.com
BoomeR Guide to the 12 Affordable Health Care Act
The American BoomeR.com
Rx from the RN
Healthy, Active, Inspired, With-out Regrets
Boomer Healthy Eating 17 Preserve and Protect Your Food
Business 2 Boomers Marketplace
John Vardallas CAE, CUDE CEO/Founder Professional Speaker Business/Lifestyle Strategist Boomer Sage and Blogger JohnVardallas@TheAmericanBoomeR.com (608) 577-8707 Alexandra Maragha Co-Founder, Editor-In-Chief Today’s BoomeR Alexandra@TheAmericanBoomeR.com Today’s BoomeR Vol.3 No.1 Today’s BoomeR is published six times (Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/ June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec) a year by The American BoomeR.com 769 North Star Drive (Suite 207) Madison, WI 53718 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
The American Boomer @American_Boomer Today’s BoomeR 3
’s y a d To
Full Speed Ahead in ‘14 The turn of a new year brings a sense of renewal and a time for goals to be set and conquered. While many may not feel a sense of change or opportunity for “a new” to take place, I encourage all to strive to look ahead while learning from our experiences we have left behind, to think positive and always see the glass half full. We would like to start our 2014 first with gratitude by thanking all of our followers and advertisers, for we would not be able to (feature)readers, subscribers, p. 10 set our sights high for the year ahead without your support! Your interests allow us to pursue and follow our goals of inspiring baby boomers to Get MAD and Make A Difference and provide the most relevant and necessary information in every issue to you! This issue examines how 2014, the Chinese new year of the horse, will affect you in terms of health, wealth and overall wellbeing. To stay as “healthy as a horse” we have provided information to make horse sense of the Affordable Healthcare Act (AFA) that goes into affect. Our new column, RX from the RN for BoomeRs gives tips to increase your stamina and well being for the new year. Our Top 10 in ‘14 tips for organizational success through leadership in p. 4 2014 and retirement planning from Social Security also address planning successful strategies to achieve your personal and professional financial goals for the year. And lets not forget to satisfy our pallets this year to enjoy ways to Preserve and Protect food to last longer and in new ways as told in our Boomer Healthy Eating.
Add some extra horse-power to your new start and shift into high gear in 2014! Alexandra Maragha Editor-In-Chief Send Letters and Feedback to: Alexandra@theamericanboomer.com
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Social Security: Resolve to Create a Better Retirement Financial Plan in 2014 By Karyl Richson , Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
Another New Year is just around the corner, offering a new opportunity to improve your life in any number of ways with
estimate of your future Social Security retirement benefits based on your earnings record. Try it out at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.
a wise New Year’s resolution or two. (No doubt, for most of
We encourage saving for retirement, but there are reasons us the possibilities are endless.) But one good idea for many to save for every stage of life. A great place to go for help is www.mymoney.gov. MyMoney.gov is the government’s might be creating (or updating) a long-term financial plan. website dedicated to teaching Americans the basics about financial education. Whether you are planning to buy a According to a 2013 survey by the Employee Benefit Rehome, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401(k) search Institute, “the percentage of workers confident about plan, the resources on www.mymoney.gov can help you. having enough money for a comfortable retirement is essentially unchanged from the record lows observed in 2011.”
Your Social Security Questions Answered
Only 13 percent are very confident of being able to afford a
Question: Is it true that ten thousand people are retiring each day? What is the best way for me to apply and avoid long lines in my Social Security office?
comfortable retirement, while 28 percent are not at all confident. If you are among those with lower financial confidence and you haven’t started to save for retirement already, now is the time to begin — no matter what your age. If retirement is near, you’ll want to jump into the fast lane right away. If you’re younger and retirement seems a lifetime away, it’s still in your best interest to begin saving now, as compound
Answer: Yes. The best way is to use our online retirement application at www.socialsecurity.gov. You can complete it in as little as 15 minutes. It’s so easy. You can apply from the comfort of your home or office at a time most convenient for you. Once you’ve electronically submitted your application, you’re done. In most cases, there’s no need to submit any documents. There’s also no need to drive to a local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative.
interest will work to your advantage. Experts agree that saving when you’re young will make a world of difference when
Question: How can I get proof of my benefits to apply for a loan?
the time comes to draw on your retirement savings. Don’t take our word for it. You can check out the numbers yourself. A great place to start figuring out how much you will need for retirement is to learn how much you could expect from Social Security. You can do that in minutes with Social Security’s online Retirement Estimator. The Retirement Estimator offers an instant and personalized
Answer: If you need proof you get Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Medicare, you can request a benefit verification letter online through your my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. This letter is sometimes called a “budget letter,” a “benefits letter,” a “proof of income letter,” or a “proof of award letter.” You even can select the information you want included in your online benefit verification letter.
Today’s BoomeR 5
BOOMER TRAVEL 6 Today’s BoomeR
The New “Rage” in 2014 Andrea M. Rotondo, Fodor’s Travel www.fodors.com
The art of riving cruising has evolved in surprising ways over the past few years and 2014 promises to bring even more pivotal changes. Cruise companies like Viking, AmaWaterways, Avalon and Uniworld, have launched and will continue to christen a new generation of river cruisers, while many ships have been purpose-built to ply more unusual rivers like the Irrawaddy in Myanmar and Africa's Chobe. Itineraries have received an exciting overhaul, too (read up on some of our favorites in 10 Best New Cruise Itineraries for 2014). Perhaps most importantly, though, cruise lines have meticulously researched what travelers want these days and have implemented new technologies and levels of service aboard their ships. Free Internet? They've got it. All-inclusive cruise fares? Check. Waived single supplements? Of course. Riving cruising in 2014 will entice a new generation of travelers to explore the many mighty waterways of the world. Here's a look at what's especially new and noteworthy across the board.
Viking River Cruises Viking River Cruises' hallmark is its line of new Longships, 14 of which will launch in 2014. That means by the time 2014 comes to a close, Viking will have debuted a total of 30 riverboats over the last three years. That certainly speaks to the increasing popularity of this type of cruise vacation. Viking's 14 new Longships will sail the company's most popular European itineraries like the "Grand European Tour" (from Amsterdam to Budapest), "Cities of Light" (Paris to Prague), and "Heart of Germany" (from Nuremberg to Frankfurt). So, what's so special about Longships? To start, they offer spacious accommodations trimmed by an assortment of verandahs and balconies. The ships were also designed with "green" in mind: Hybrid engines, solar panels, and an organic herb garden on the sundeck are a few features green-minded travelers appreciate. In terms of new itineraries, Viking River Cruises is adding two ships to sail Myanmar's Irrawaddy: Viking Mandalay and Viking Sagaing. Both will offer a 16-day Bangkok-to-Bangkok "Memories of Mandalay" itinerary.
beer, and soft drinks at both lunch and dinner. The vessels will sail popular European itineraries along the Danube and Rhine rivers. On the other side of the world, the 56-guest AmaPura will launch its itineraries along Myanmar's Irrawaddy River in November 2014. Uniworld Finally, Uniworld's super-ship Catherine debuts in France and will sail the Rhone and Saone rivers through Burgundy and Provence. She'll accommodate 159 passengers across three decks. In addition to a new ship, Uniworld is also rolling out all-inclusive cruise fares for its European fleet in 2014. The fare includes all gratuities, plus unlimited wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, and bottled water. In terms of new itineraries, Uniworld is featuring Bordeaux, France, with its 8-day "Bordeaux, Vineyards & Chateaux" and 15-day "A Portrait of Majestic France" itineraries. Both journeys include passage along the three rivers of Aquitaine: the Garonne, the Gironde, and the Dordogne.
Avalon Waterways Avalon Waterways will also launch a trio of its signature suite ships next year: Avalon Poetry II, Avalon Illumination, and Avalon Impression. The ships—with staterooms offering unique open-air balconies with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors—will sail a variety of European itineraries, including Paris to Prague, Paris to Budapest, an Amsterdam round-trip, Paris to Amsterdam, and Prague to Budapest. AmaWaterways The 164-passenger AmaSonata and AmaReina—sister ships to the popular AmaCerto—make their debut in Europe in April 2014. Both ships offer a variety of dining venues, a heated pool with a swim-up bar (not often seen on river ships), and unique staterooms with twin balconies and free in-room Internet. All AmaWaterways ships offer complimentary wine,
Waived Single Supplements Several river cruise companies are also waiving single supplements on select itineraries in Europe and Southeast Asia in 2014, including AmaWaterways and Avalon Waterways. AmaWaterways also offers six ships in its European fleet with dedicated single berths. Andrea M. Rotondo is a freelance writer based in New York City. She covers cruise news and luxury travel trends for Fodors.com and writes for a variety of outlets, including her website Luxury Travel Mavens. Follow her on Twitter: @luxtravelmavens. Photo credits: Courtesy of Viking River Cruises, AmaWaterways, Uniworld Today’s BoomeR 7
BoomeR Lifestyle Trendz: Goodbye, Big Dumb Dads; Hello, Empowered Domestic Dudes
By Bruce Watson, Daily Finance
The Big Dummy isn't dead yet ... but it doesn't look good for pop culture's inept father figure.
was a stream of commercials sending the same message: Men are useless in the home.
He's had a good run: since the 1980s, the big, dumb dad has loomed large on televisions across the country. Married to a beautiful, accomplished wife, outpaced by diabolically clever children, there was a time when the moron-of-athousand-faces was all but ubiquitous. For over two decades, in fact, it was almost impossible to find a TV father who wasn't overweight, unattractive, and seemingly brain damaged.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the 21st century: A growing push for gender equality, combined with a major economic meltdown, transformed a large cohort of dads into the main caregivers â€“- and shoppers -- in their homes. The numbers tell the story: In 1950, married couples made up 78 percent of households, but by 2010, that number was down to 48 percent. As for "traditional" households with married spouses and children, those were down to 20 percent. Amid those trends, the number of men cleaning their own homes and washing their own clothes went through the roof.
The dummy also dominated commercials. On all channels, at all hours, an army of doughy, schlubby dads stumbled through basic household tasks, making a mess of things while their capable wives and offspring looked on in bemused exasperation.
At the same time, the roles of men who were married and living in "traditional" settings were also changing. It's not hard to see why this minstrel show version of the Between 1995 and 2011, the number of stay-at-home American father did so well for so long. For a generation dads in the U.S. almost tripled, from 64,000 to 176,000. of women, it was common to spend eight hours at the And fathers were also taking an ever-growing role in caroffice, followed by an infamous "second shift" of houseing for their families: By 2010, 17 percent of preschoolers work that amounted to an estimated extra month of were receiving primary care from their fathers, and 15 work per year. When mom finally managed to collapse in percent of single parents with primary custody of their front of the tube, the networks served her a parade of children were men. helpless, hapless dimwits stumbling around ordinary household chores, seemingly incapable of cooking a The Great Recession put another nail in the coffin of the meal, running the clothes washer, or tying their shoes. dumb dad. Between 2007 and 2009, the number of workAnd, in between Homer Simpson and Tim Taylor, there ing wives with unemployed husbands more than dou8 Todayâ€™s BoomeR
bled, from 2.4 percent to 5.4 percent. But while the recession's brutal impact on men's employment levels certainly played a part in changing household dynamics, it isn't the whole story. After all, the dummy started getting old long before the economy melted down. In the last decade, a cadre of dumb dads -- from the father of "Malcolm in the Middle" to Jim on "According to Jim," "The King of Queens" or the Raymond whom everybody loves -- hit their expiration dates, told their final jokes, and toddled off into syndication, the victims of changing ideas of manhood.
Featuring a handful of "real dads" bumbling their way around their offspring while their wives made smartass comments, the "Dad Test" reflected the obsolete image of the hapless father. Parent company Kimberly-Clark (KMB) was surprised when thousands of fathers took to the internet, circulating petitions, comment-bombing the company's Facebook page and declaring that they were switching to Pampers. Within days, Huggies pulled the ads and radically altered the campaign.
Not all companies are quite so ham-handed when it comes to marketing to men. Seldin highlights Proctor & Since the recession, this new version of the father has Gamble's (PG) Drew Brees ad campaign, which, he notes, started to cement himself on TV, where a growing rank of offers a natural, low-key image of a caring dad. "They flawed, yet increasingly functional fathers have taken show a father simply taking an active role in the home." their place on programs like "Up All Night," "Glee" and Doug Johnson, a senior vice president for media agency "Parenthood." These days, the best place to find cartoonBPN, thinks that the changes in advertising are only the ishly stupid dads is -- literally -- on cartoons: Homer Simpbeginning. "Men are shopping and men are buying," he son and Peter Griffin are still going strong, the last of a points out. "This is the new normal. I think it will increase, dying breed. because retailers will embrace it." It it has taken a little longer for the death of the dummy Seldin adds that the impact of male consumers goes far to make its way into commercials. One of the first harbinbeyond commercials -- and the male influence on the gers of the end came in 2011, courtesy of Ben Seldin, a housewares section of the store is only going to continue media strategist for advertising agency Allen and Gerto grow. "If companies are only thinking about changing ritsen. After the Great Recession, Seldin noted that a advertising, they're approaching the problem too late," growing number of husbands and fathers were taking he argues. "They need to think about it at the product over household duties while their wives stayed late at the development stage, and the packaging stage." For Seldin, office. In a survey that he conducted in 2011, Seldin got a this means "neutralizing" products, designing them so glimpse of how this was playing out in the home: His findthat they don't look especially masculine or feminine. ings suggested that 44 percent of men described themselves as their family's sole purchaser of food and clean- Johnson, who notes that he often spends his evenings and weekends shopping, taking care of the kids, or doing ing items. laundry, suggests that the increased impact of men in the These fresh ranks of "mansumers" haven't been pleased household is here to stay. "Men are defining happiness with the bumbling, idiotic depiction of men on TV -â€“ and, differently. A clean, happy household is a success." In othworse yet, advertising's apparent inability to recognize er words, while there's still more than a little grumbling them as a powerful market force. As Seldin recently exabout men who supposedly don't do their part in the plained, "Some companies that go with the 'dopey dad' home, a growing number of companies have begun to stereotype are shooting themselves in the foot. Somerealize that the reality on the ground is a pretty clear. times they get bad press, and even backlash from blogMore dads are wielding the power of the purse, and gers." This was the case with Huggies diapers, whose those companies that disrespect the domestic dad do so 2012 "Dad Test" ad campaign became the industry standat their peril. ard for a tin-eared, shortsighted, anti-male ad campaign. Todayâ€™s BoomeR 9
“Top 10 in 14” Thrival Growth Strategies Get your organization in gear through good leadership for the new year By John A. Vardallas CAE, CUDE According to the Chinese calendar 2014 is the Year of the Horse. The horse is considered strong and naturally lucky when it comes to money resources. So using good “Horse Sense” about dealing with the economy and consumer financial market place will be a harbinger for organization leadership as we head into the New Year. Overall many aspects of the current American economic landscape have caused many of us to shift and use more common sense in dealing with our financial situations and engagement in serving customers and members. Going forward the times we are facing can be considered critical for the future growth and survival of our organizations. There is mixed good news these days. The stock market is hovering around all time highs and overall consumer spending is up. Net interest margins and operating expenses are improving. Inflation is flat, interest rates are at low levels and the housing market is recovering. However there is high unemployment, stagnant household income, taxes are going up and the impact of the Affordable Care Act. Regulation is getting tighter and more uncertain, CEO leadership are in transition as Boomers pass the gavels to the younger generation of business leaders. This is the year for organizations to really step up and help customers respond to the “New Economic Normal” to improve their financial lifestyle and well being. I would offer these “10 in ‘14 suggestions for setting a course for your company to not just survive but thrive: 1) Work the Back Yard. Focus on deepening relationships with your current customers and members. Get close and really get to know them. 2) Make sure you are pricing your products and services in accordance with the value that they are giving to the consumer. 3) Have a Collaboration, Partnership, Alliance and Merger Policy/Strategy. 4) Train staff to cross serve/sell and wow customers at every touch point opportunity 7x24x365. Embrace being a “Consumer Centric” organization. All staff, volunteers and vendors should be advocates for your organization. 5) Use Good On Boarding practices to Reconnect and Engage current and new customers by offering incentives-(Buy local Groupon/ miles/reward programs/prepaid cards/cash back) and concierge services to empower them to connect. Give consumers real reasons for connecting with your organization. Offer Certificate of Membership/Toll Free 800 Customer Care number. 10 Today’s BoomeR
6) Create a strategy to reach out to serve new Americans and minorities. We are at the point now for action in really reaching out to consumers in our communities and bringing them into your organizations family.
F– Being Old I am pleased to announce a new regular addition to our magazine, “F-Being Old.” The title is not meant to be profane, but passionate about my resolve to how I view myself and us boomers move into our golden years.
7) Embrace mobile/tablet technology and social media. Utilize innovative ideas to create “Apps I see baby boomers bringing a renaissance to the process for This and That” and do not fear Facebook and of aging, as we will be making up the largest population of retired workers in history with the longest life expectancy. learn to “tweet”! 8) Stop asking Gen Y why they do that? Make it a strategic imperative to appeal to and attract more youth and young adults. The under 30 demographic is your next generation of business and lifelong consumers for your organization. 9) Get the right staff in the right seats on your organization bus to serve customers effectively. Empower them to serve as well as teach consumers to serve themselves.
Growing old (or as I like to call it, experienced) should be better told as “sage as we age” considering Baby Boomers have a good amount of demographic, financial, social and political clout. We are reinventing the aging process by throwing away the stereo typical profile of “senior citizens” where the Age of Aquarius Community Center will replace Memory Gardens as our new boomer hangout.
I will feature stories about a world filled with geriatric boomers, thoughts of encouragement, personal triumphs and examples of how we can live more fulfilling lives as we age. An inspirational boomer changing the aging game is 10) Reach out to the Boomers and senior consumers former Olympic Greek American swimmer Diana Nyad. At with products/services to help them better in age 64, she completed her longest swim from Cuba to Key their golden years. (Retirement planning/long West Florida and finished the 110 miles in 53 hours. This term health care). made her the first person to complete this swim without the security of a shark cage. Even more amazing, is after a If we are not only to survive in the future but thrive, 30 year absence from the water, Nyad was able to comwe will have to develop a different strategic mind set plete the swim on her 5th attempt. Ms. Nyad decided after about growth. Our Leaders will have to strategically 60 to chase her elevated dream of completing this extreme focus more on “Innova-tion vs Tradi-tion” and swim. Her messages of empowerment and determination execute faster at a greater level than the competishow you are never too old to chase your dreams!
tion. Organizations will need to fine tune, hone and focus on their commitment to adding value to consumers lifestyle needs to keep up in the fast paced changing business marketplace derby. So tighten your saddles for the wild ride ahead and Happy New Year!
Here are my “Magnificent 7” Ways for Taking On Aging:
Connect for Noble Causes
Keep Yourself Healthy Follow Your Dreams
Keep Your Bucket List Going
Laugh and Rejoice for Everyday
Today’s BoomeR 11
2014 2014:: Making Horse Sense of the Affordable Healthcare Act (AFA) 2014 brings big changes to healthcare across the country as AFA goes into affect. Here is your guide and what you need to know to stay Informed and covered with information provided directly from www.HealthCare.gov
What's Changing The Affordable Care Act is a set of health insurance reforms that started in 2010 and will continue to roll out in 2014 and beyond. 2014 is an important year. The Health Insurance Marketplace will offer a new way for people without insurance to get coverage and to find out if they can get lower costs for private insurance. They can also find out if they qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Also starting in 2014, people who do not have health coverage may have to pay a fee.
January 1: Coverage begins in the Health Insurance Marketplace
Coverage for pre-existing conditions
Savings on monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs
No more yearly limits on coverage
Expanded small business tax credit
March 31: Open enrollment closes
2015: Employer Shared Responsibility Payment
What is the Health Insurance Marketplace? The Marketplace is a new way to find quality health coverage. It can help if you don’t have coverage now or if you have it 12 Today’s BoomeR
but want to look at other options. With one Marketplace application, you can learn if you can get lower costs based on your income, compare your coverage options side-by-
cause you have an illness or medical condition. They must cover treatments for these conditions. Plans can't charge women more than men for the same plan. Many preventive services are covered at no cost to you.
side, and enroll.
When you apply in the Health Insurance Marketplace When you use the Health Insurance Marketplace, you'll provide some information about your household size and income to find out if you can get lower costs on your monthly premiums for private insurance plans. You'll learn if you qualify for lower out-of-pocket costs. You'll see all the health plans available in your area so you can compare them side-by-side and pick the plan that's right for you. The Marketplace will also tell you if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage available through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Most Americans are eligible to use the Marketplace. Learn more about Marketplace eligibility. The Health Insurance Marketplace is sometimes known as the health insurance "exchange."
Apply online, by mail, by phone, or in person You can apply for Marketplace coverage 4 ways: online, with a paper application, by phone, or in person with the help of a Navigator or other qualified helper. Telephone help and online chat are available 24/7.
Find the Marketplace in your state While all insurance plans are offered by private companies, the Marketplace is run by either your state or the federal government. Find the Marketplace in your state by using the menu at this page. If your state runs its Marketplace, you'll use your stateâ€™s website, not this one.
Being sick doesn't keep you from getting coverage Starting in 2014, being sick won't keep you from getting health coverage. An insurance company can't turn you down or charge you more because of your condition. Once you have insurance, the plan can't refuse to cover treatment for pre-existing conditions. Coverage for your pre-
Get details about the 4 ways to apply. Open enrollment
existing conditions begins immediately. This is true even if
ends March 31, 2014.
you have been turned down or refused coverage due to a
What Marketplace plans cover Insurance plans in the Marketplace are offered by private companies. They all cover the same essential health benefits. No plan can turn you away or charge you more be-
pre-existing condition in the past.
One exception: Grandfathered individual health insurance plans Todayâ€™s BoomeR 13
The only exception is for grandfathered individual health
The column on the left tells you if you may qualify for health
insurance plans -- the kind you buy yourself, not through an
care tax credits, lower out-of-pocket costs, or low-cost
employer. They do not have to cover pre-existing condi-
health care through Medicaid.
If you have one of these plans you can switch to a Market-
place plan during open enrollment and immediately get cov- Medicaid provides health coverage for some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, erage for your pre-existing conditions.
Pre-existing conditions with Medicaid and CHIP Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) also can't refuse to cover you or charge you more because of a health condition.
and people with disabilities. Medicaid programs must follow federal guidelines, but they vary somewhat from state to state.
You may qualify for Medicaid - in 2014 The rules for Medicaid eligibility are different for each state.
Questions? Call 1-800-318-2596, 24 hours a day, 7 days a
Most states offer coverage for adults with children below a
week. (TTY: 1-855-889-4325)
certain income level, as well as pregnant women, some
What income levels qualify for lower costs?
seniors, and people with disabilities.
To learn if you qualify for lower costs on health coverage,
Under the health care law, Medicaid eligibility is expanding
find your estimated 2014 household income and household
in many states. More people than ever will qualify for Medi-
size on the chart below.
caid starting in 2014.
14 Todayâ€™s BoomeR
Even if you were told you didn't qualify for Medicaid in the
past, you may qualify under the new rules.
and a lifetime dollar limit on spending for health care services that are not considered essential health bene-
To see if you qualify for Medicaid, do one of these:
Visit your state's Medicaid website. Use the menu at
Some health insurance plans may have received a
the bottom of this page to select your state and you'll
temporary waiver from the rules on yearly dollar limits.
be sent to the right page. You can apply right now and
Yearly limit waivers end with plan or policy years begin-
find out if you qualify. But if you're not eligible now, you
Insurance companies can still put a yearly dollar limit
may qualify in 2014, when new rules take effect in
ning in 2014. Will I qualify for small business health care tax credits?
many states. If you submit an application, the state will
You may qualify for employer health care tax credits if you
check the new rules when you apply. Fill out an application for the Health Insurance Marketplace. When you finish this application, we'll tell
have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees making an average of about $50,000 a year or less.
you which programs you and your family qualify for. If it To qualify for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, you must pay at least 50% of your full-time employees' prelooks like anyone is eligible for Medicaid, we'll let the Medicaid agency know so your coverage can start in
mium costs. You don’t need to offer coverage to your part-
time employees or to dependents.
How does the health care law protect me? Ending Lifetime & Yearly Limits
Starting in 2014, the tax credit is worth up to 50% of your contribution toward employees' premium costs (up to 35% for tax-exempt employers). The credit is available only if you get coverage through
The health care law stops insurance companies from limit-
the SHOP Marketplace.
ing lifetime coverage for essential health benefits. In 2014
Higher benefits for smaller businesses
this applies to yearly limits too. Lifetime Limits Insurance companies can’t set a dollar limit on what they spend on essential health benefits for your care during the entire time you’re enrolled in that plan. Yearly Limits Insurance companies can still set a yearly dollar limit of $2 million on what they spend for your coverage for plan years or policy years starting before January 1, 2014. No yearly
The tax credit is highest for companies with fewer than 10 employees who are paid an average of $25,000 or less. The smaller the business, the bigger the credit.
Example of how the tax credit works
dollar limits on essential health benefits are allowed for
Example for an employer who qualifies for the maximum
plan years starting January 1, 2014.
credit worth 50% of their premium contribution in 2014:
Does this apply to my plan? It depends. Protections against lifetime limits on coverage
Number of employees: 10
apply to all health plans, including grandfathered plans,
Wages: $250,000 total or $25,000 per employee
whether you get coverage through your employer or buy it
Employer contribution to employee premiums: $70,000
yourself. Protections against annual limits apply to most health plans, but they don’t apply to grandfathered individual
Tax credit amount: $35,000 (50% of employer's contribution)
health plans. Check your plan’s materials to find out if your
All of this information and more can be found at
health plan is grandfathered.
Are there any exceptions I should know about? Yes. Today’s BoomeR 15
Rx from the RN Healthy, Active, Inspired, With-out regrets.... Kimberly Zahasky R.N. Co-Owner Blue River Chiropractic blueriverchiropractic.com As you reflect on your previous year, what words come to mind? How would you feel about yourself if these words represented you in 2014? It is possible in 2014! With a tablespoon of inspiration, one cup of hard work, and dash of discipline you have the recipe for success! Sources flood you with information during this time of year about how to change your life. Let's whittle that down to 8 action steps and plan out their implementation. 1. Daily take a high-quality fish oil, Vitamin D and Multivitamin. I personally take Standard Process brand supplements. Take these immediately after brushing your teeth to make it a routine. Keeping your body up on these nutrients will prevent man mobility age-related illnesses. 2. Lift weights 2-3 times a week, aerobic exercise 2-3 times a week. Weight lifting is essential for keeping proper bone density, not to mention the lean muscle you gain will keep your metabolism high and you active. For your aerobic exercise do something fun like going hiking or a class with your friends. If you can, do this early in the morning. You will feel accomplished and the rest of your day will be more productive. 3. Add in more veggies! Add color and 16 Today’s BoomeR
variety, green is best. The more nutrients you get stored up in your body, the less you will crave junk food.
you note, call a grieving friend to check on them, or bring dinner to someone who needs it. When you do these things you are changing the world, one kind action at 4. Increase your water intake to at least 8 a time. glasses of water per day. Increased urination is normal, be patient, this will lessen Now that we have the what, we need the as your body gets used to it. A great way how. Here is a list of tips to make these to monitor your intake is an water drinking recommendations a reality this year. app on your phone or keep a large glass Make a chart- Make a chart for the container of water on your counter. Fill it things you have a difficult time with with your daily water goal and make sure and reward yourself with something is empty before you go to bed. fun (massage?) when you get a set 5. Relax more! Daily, do one thing that number checked off. relaxes you. I suggest reading a fun book Keep a positive attitude- Praise youror taking a bath with Epsom salts (great self out loud when you finish a task also because most people are (even for taking your vitamins!). When Magnesium deficient). Yoga is a great way you feel good about yourself, you are to relax, and it helps with balance, more likely to continue with that posistrength and posture. tive behavior. When you do not suc6. Simplify life. When there is clutter in ceed, just try again, it is as simple as your life (things and activity) stress builds that. There is always another chance up. Get rid of access in your home. Give tomorrow. one thing away per week. You will feel Pair habits. Put a new habit directly great about yourself and you will help after an established habit, like the idea someone. Check out Flylady.net. She will I stated before about the vitamins give you daily email assignments to after teeth brushing. de-clutter and keep your home simple. Have accountability- Find someone in 7. Get adjusted! At least once a month your life who has a similar goal and everyone should be getting preventative check in with them at least weekly. adjustments from their family chiropractor. This will make sure that your nervous Fill your cup- Keep yourself inspired by reading motivational books and/or system is healthy (which happens to convideos. I learn best by listening and trol all bodily functions) and ensures your watching, so I listen to audio books mobility and pain prevention. Research and watch youtube videos of my shows that chiropractic patients receiving favorite authors. maintenance care spent only 31% of the national average for health care services and reported a 50% reduction in medical provider visits. (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1999 (Nov) 22(9): 559-564)
Speaking of my favorite authors... Here is an additional list of resources that inspire me and provide me with help on my quest for a healthier and more purposeful life!
8. Do something nice for someone else every day. Something as simple as opening the door for the person behind you going into the department store will make you feel good and bring a bit of joy to their day. Send a hand-written thank-
BOOMER HEALTHY EATING: Recipes and Photos from Chef Eben Atwater www.urbanmonique.com
Recent economic downturns have lead to a resurgence of family gardening, but regardless of your financial status, anything you can grow and eat at home is a blessing to preserve fresh food to last longer through the year. Even if you don’t choose to have a “green thumb”, food you buy can still be protected and saved to use at any time. Many folks consider preserving extraneous because of a perception that only side foods and condiments get saved; nothing could be further from the truth! For example, take your favorite meat recipe for fajitas. Freeze or can it and just like that, easy and delicious meals are that much faster. Do spaghetti sauce, pesto, fresh pasta, chicken in alfredo sauce; the sky is the limit. Preserving offers you a wide variety of methods, all of which lead to delicious, house-made meals that are easier and faster to prepare than the start-from-zero alternative. So, what to do? Do we can, freeze, dry, cure, smoke, pickle, ferment, or vacuum pack? The answer is a resounding yes to all of the above; do what you can (And what most floats your boat, of course), and if the bug bites you, expand your horizons appropriately. The National Center for Home Food Preservation is a USDA sponsored website containing a wealth of practical knowledge.
The Basics: If you’ve never preserved food before, go to the NCHFP first and read up on the basics. Their primers on a variety of topics cover the fundamentals well, and its good to touch base regarding the all-important food safety considerations for home preserving. Always honor the Food Temperature Danger Zone Rule with things you intend to preserve; that is, never let those foods spend any significant time in temps warmer than 40º F or cooler than 140º F. When you buy food to preserve, make sure it doesn’t spend longer than one hour out and about, and that includes shopping and transport time. Keep in mind that food preserving is not food sterilizing. Any of the methods discussed here can and will safely preserve food longterm, but not if you don’t observe common sense rules about time, temperature and cleanliness while handling them. Again, always read the directions on a process; if it’s been a while, re-read the rules so they’re fresh in your mind.
Canning: Preserving home grown or cooked food in the ubiquitous Mason jar is a long standing tradition that deserves your respect. More to the point, jars are cheap, readily available, and for many of your favorites, the technology is simple and quick. Often, canning equipment can be found at garage sales, on Craig’s List and through other local resources; take advantage and find good, used equipment for a song. Hot Water Bath canning is the simplest version of this method. Tomatoes, fruit, and pickles of all kinds are good examples that can be done this way. The results are wonderful and relatively quick and easy to prepare. Whereas pickles or chutney may be just a side item or a sauce, the difference between good homemade and store bought is absolutely night and day. And tomatoes most certainly deserve as big a role in your canning as you’ll let ‘em fill. They can and should be the center of many hearty meals, from pasta to soup and stew. Can tomatoes whole, with nothing more than a little lemon juice and a pinch of salt; what could be simpler and quicker? In the dead of winter, you can let that fresh, bright flavor speak out, and make sauces however the spirit moves you. Meat, fish, poultry, and non-acidic veggies and fruit can also be canned, but require a pressure cooker to do so safely. This is often an appliance we have around the house and rarely use, so now’s your chance to wade in. We advise not buying used pressure cookers, unless you’re truly well versed in what and what not to look for; they can be dangerous, and old or abused models especially so.
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Few methods are easier or safer for relatively long-term food preservation than freezing, and all too often, we don’t take advantage of our freezers as we should. Love corn on the cob, (or peas, beans, squash, etc), but get bummed out by the short season? Do some simple preparation and freeze your favorites then enjoy them for far longer than the growing season allows. Its incumbent upon us to take advantage of the gift that C. R. Birdseye blessed us with! Here are some critical point to keep in mind when freezing: 1. Freezing does not stop food from going bad, it just slows the process down. Your methods must be sound, and your freezer must be clean and maintaining a temperature well within the freezer safety zone, between 5º F and -5º F. 2. Just as you schedule an annual date to change the batteries in your smoke alarms, (You, uh, do that, right?), set aside a day to thoroughly clean your freezer at least once a year; that means clean it and clean out the stuff that hasn’t been used; then use or discard as needed. 3. Don’t put hot food right into the freezer! You need to rapidly cool hot foods to below 40º F before you put ‘em to bed. a hot roast or casserole could take hours to freeze if just stuffed in there, and that’s all the chance some bacteria need - They might be slowed down in the freezer, but not when you pull that dish back out for leftovers. Use a 50%-50% ice water bath to cool quickly. 4. Don’t crowd your freezer so much that the cold can’t circulate properly; arrange your frozen food so the air has a chance to do its job. 5. Bag, wrap or seal carefully and tightly. Air is your enemy when freezing; it allows freezer burn to propagate and food to go stale faster. Consider investing in a vacuum sealer if you’re going to do a lot of freezing; it will pay for itself in ease of use, quality of food, and reduction in food waste provided.
Quite often I hear folks say that pickling is just canning, but it ain’t necessarily so. Pickles can be canned, sure, but they can also be done super quickly in the fridge, or fermented, or even frozen if you wish. The other misnomer we hear is that pickles are just cucumbers, but that certainly isn’t so. Many veggies and fruits can and should be pickled if you too love that interplay between sweet and spicy, hot and sour. From tomatoes to beets, or lemons to watermelon rinds, there are a ton of options and they’re all lovely. We keep a couple varieties of fridge pickles around constantly, and they never last long.
Curing: Arguably the greatest cooking cheat there is comes in the form of bacon. Nothing imparts signature flavor like a little bacon, and it’s used far more often than most folks imagine. The same thing could arguably be said for the other kings of cured meat, Pastrami and Corned Beef. Here again is an example of a food that is so much better homemade than store bought its almost silly, and making it is super easy. With a couple of ingredients and a plastic bag, you can make your own in a matter of days with not much more effort than flipping the bag a couple of times a day. The only mystery ingredient you’ll need is curing salt, widely available online and in many outdoor stores that carry equipment for sausage making. Smoke is a necessary flavor in several cure meats, but you don’t need a smoker to get a credible taste; liquid or dried smoke does a great job, and in many taste tests, I’ve had folks unable to tell whether what we made had been done in a smoker or our oven. Corned beef is the easiest version of cured meat and a great thing to take on as an introduction to the process. Here’s an easy recipe to get you started; if the bug bites after your first try, you can move on to bacon and pastrami.
Freezing will allow you to take advantage of the lower price provided by bulk purchasing. I recently found some great Angus Top Sirloin steaks for $3.25 a pound, so long as I was willing and able to buy 20 pounds of them. Fifteen minutes of butchering and packaging yielded ten meals for a family of four, or twenty for a couple, all at that very nice $3.25 a pound. Remember that corn when you saw it for two ears for a buck? Buy a bagful, take a few minutes to carefully slice the kernels off the cobs, bag ‘em up, and you’ll have amazing flavor waiting come January.
Eben Atwater is a Chef and writer who began cooking professionally in the 1970’s in Washington State and Idaho. In addition to a food blog he publishes with his wife and partner-in-crime Monica, Eben is an accomplished musician and instrument maker. He lives in western Washington State where he manages a bakery-café. Visit www.urbanmonique.com 18 Today’s BoomeR
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We would like to start our 2014 first with gratitude by thanking all of our readers, subscribers, followers and advertisers, for we would no...