Bette Boomer http://www.betteboomer.com because living well never gets old Fri, 21 Feb 2014 15:37:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.10 TEDxSF – Update on UberBoomer Ben Davis http://www.betteboomer.com/2013/12/tedxsf-update-on-uberboomer-ben-davis/ Wed, 18 Dec 2013 16:22:52 +0000 http://www.betteboomer.com/?p=4478 Ben Davis gives the story behind The Bay Lights and other project he is involved in.

Ben Davis is the visionary behind THE BAY LIGHTS and the creator of Pi In The Sky. He is founder and CEO of Illuminate the Arts, the non-profit that aims to alter the arc of human history

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The Dog Days of Summer http://www.betteboomer.com/2013/08/the-dog-days-of-summer/ Tue, 13 Aug 2013 15:00:05 +0000 http://www.betteboomer.com/?p=4436 read more ...]]> Traveling, gardening, running, biking, spa-time, eco-friendly indulgence – the options were endless – always too many choices and never enough time.

Summer without picnics? Unthinkable!  Summer kick-back-time for reading – a must!   Whether you headed to the beach, trekked to the mountains or staycationed, book bags and e-readers were most likely bulging with escapist – romance, thrillers, witchery – and serious books that were well worth getting lost in for some time-out. Maybe you read The Dog Stars by Peter Heller, And the Mountains Echoed by Hosseini, Brown’s Inferno, Hiaasen’s Bad Monkey, or Grisham’s The Racketeer, just to name a few of the current best sellers. Many of our friends tucked into the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and afterwards compared it to the movie. You ALWAYS read the book first, don’t you? And, isn’t the book ALWAYS better than the movie? Then hooked on Fitzgerald, selected others including Fowler’s Z – A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.

Summertime is adventure time and crammed full with multigenerational choices. Check-out our Adventure section for planning ahead for next summer’s fun, including staying safe, healthy and saving money. Many parents packed the kids off to camp, but maybe you preferred family action for both fun and fitness.

Now on these dog days, with back-to-school looming large, the long list of preparations for getting the kids ready has to be squeezed into all our playtime, which can challenge boomer time management skills. The winding-down-time gets incredibly hectic!

All too soon, this summertime will be treasured as another great memory. We’ll share some of ours in our next blog. We’d love to hear about your summer experiences so we can share them too.

You can comment here on this site. Get connected. Become a fan on Bette Boomer | Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our Newsletter RSS feed. For unique Bette Boomer apparel and merchandise shop Bette’s Boutique. Also, check-out Bette Recommends for convenient online gifting.

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Medicare Open Enrollment 2013 – What you need to know http://www.betteboomer.com/2013/08/medicare-open-enrollment-2013-what-you-need-to-know/ Tue, 06 Aug 2013 15:00:03 +0000 http://www.betteboomer.com/?p=4422 read more ...]]> Guest Blog by Mason Hewitt CEO, TotalMedicare.com

Medicare Open Enrollment, also known as AEP (Annual Election Period) begins October 15th this year and extends through December 7th.  Open Enrollment is the time each year when any Medicare eligible individual can sign up for, or make changes to their Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Who is Eligible?

Medicare can seem unnecessarily complex, but here is a simple list of the three requirements that must be met  in order to qualify for a Medicare Advantage Plan during open enrollment:

  • You are 65 or older.
  • You do not have End-Stage Renal Disease.
  • You have Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare).

Do I need Medicare Advantage?

The short answer is, “it’s up to you”.  Medicare Advantage is similar to an HMO or PPO insurance plan.  Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) doesn’t cover everything.  One way to fill the gap in coverage is to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, which includes Parts A and B, but also includes additional coverage, and is administered by a private insurance company.  The other way to fill the gap in coverage is to sign up for a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan, also known as Medigap.  We’ll provide more details on Medigap in an upcoming post.  Medicare Advantage plans do differ, so make sure you compare the benefits.

Where can I compare Medicare Plans?

Many private insurance providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna and Humana provide both Medicare Supplemental and Medicare Advantage coverage.  You can call those companies individually or visit a website like TotalMedicare.com, which will connect you with several providers in order to simplify the comparison process.

For more information on Medicare related topics check out the Total Medicare Learning Center or Medicare.gov.

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Uberboomer News Update http://www.betteboomer.com/2013/06/uberboomer-news-update/ Wed, 19 Jun 2013 15:20:44 +0000 http://www.betteboomer.com/?p=4407 read more ...]]> Uberboomer News June 14, 2013

Our uberboomer, Matt James, announced this month that Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation have joined the Next Generation as full partners in the Too Small to Fail Initiative. This re-launch is focused on the health, education and well-being of children ages zero to five including a deeper focus on the science of early childhood development, and giving parents, employers, caregivers, and community leaders the tools they need to make sure America’s kids can thrive. Be sure to watch the launch video, featuring Hillary Clinton and early childhood experts Ann O’Leary and Dr. Nadine Burke Harris. Read more about Matt’s thoughts in his “What’s Next?” column. As he says, “like Hillary Clinton, we are in this for the long haul – our kids are too important for us not to be.”

Here are more links:

Press Release

Matt James, President and Co-Founder of Next Generation

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More Uberboomer News, May 27, 2013 

This fascinating story behind the Bay Lights project comes to us from our uberboomer, Ben Davis. Ben states that although “the Bay Lights has been heralded as the perfect nexus of technology and art … I question whether ‘technology’ is worthy of its equal billing with ‘art’ in this project.” Ben as the originator of the project adds “its gracefully shimmering lights reveal the soul of a community — not the ghost of a machine.”

You can read his entire Wired.com opinion piece here.

Watch the most recent Hattery vimeo here.

Also if you missed The Bay Lights vimeo, here it is.

Ben Davis and The Bay Lights from Hattery on Vimeo.

Ben Davis Founder of Words Pictures Ideas, Chair of Illuminate the Arts, and is ISHKY (behind Pi in the Sky, which was included as one of seventeen works of public art in the ZERO1 Biennial). While bringing The Bay Lights project to reality, he helped edit and produce a book of poetry and photography about the new Bay Bridge.

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Happy 3rd Anniversary Bette Boomer! http://www.betteboomer.com/2013/06/happy-3rd-anniversary-to-bette-boomer/ Wed, 12 Jun 2013 14:35:13 +0000 http://www.betteboomer.com/?p=4395 read more ...]]> In one month, July 12th, we will celebrate the birth of Bette Boomer. Between now and then, all of us have lots going on…as do all busy boomers! We have been honored to share so much in the last three years, and are excited about what the future will bring.

We will have a lapse of updates until late July. I personally will be in Europe for 3+ weeks with my husband and two teenagers, and look forward to providing some insight thereafter.

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of June, the Fourth of July, and all that summer brings your way! Traveling, gardening, reading, fishing, running, biking…the options seem endless. At this point, so does the summer, but we all know it will pass in the blink of an eye and we hope you make the most of it.

Here are some things to ponder and possibly enjoy:

The Hum of Cicadas               The Northern Lights               Flat Lake Water

Mint Juleps                          Catching Trout                      Waterskiing

Sunsets                                Toes in Sand                         Steamed Crabs

Fireflies                               Heirloom tomatoes                Dining outside

Happy summer to all! We would love to hear about your adventures. Comment here or connect with us on Facebook – Bette Boomer | Facebook. Tweet to us on Twitter.

 

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Health Insurance – Be your own watchdog http://www.betteboomer.com/2013/06/health-care-any-savings-helps/ Wed, 05 Jun 2013 15:30:28 +0000 http://www.betteboomer.com/?p=4378 read more ...]]> Piggy BankFor some time now it seems that the phrase “affordable health insurance” is an oxymoron. If you have found good health insurance that your budget can manage, make sure you know your plan well. Knowing what your plan covers, what your deductible amounts are and the timing of service, billing and expected payment date are all important facts for you to know.

Recently a family member had an emergency room visit. Our policy fully covers legitimate emergencies, which this was. However, I received a bill from the provider because our insurer’s first payment was only 50%. I called the provider and they said they would re-submit the claim. I then called our insurer and they said they had made a mistake and it would be covered in full. If I had simply paid the bill, I very much doubt anyone else would have cared to point out my mistake. It seems to be common practice for insurers to pay less than what they owe with a first payment. If I think it should be covered, I always question it. Many insurers are making it easier for you to research your claims by archiving your claim history in their data base that you are able to access. Health care providers on the other hand will generally send you a bill with minimal detail. Ask for the itemized bill if you question what is being charged.

Another tip I have learned is to always ask for a discount when I’m paying my health care provider. Once I’m sure my insurance has paid its part I generally call the provider and pay my balance. Before I make my payment I ask if they offer a discount if I pay in full. Invariably the answer is yes. The percentage of discount varies depending on the amount owed. Discounts can range from 5% to 20%, higher discounts for larger payments. If I cannot afford to pay the entire bill, I ask to pay in monthly installments. Once again the provider is happy to take my installment payments with no finance charge.

These are practices I’ve learned to follow on my own through trial and error. With a quick search around the web you are bound to find many more tips to help you save a little here and there on your cost of health care. Here is a link to an article of tips published by Mint.com in their personal finance blog MintLife.

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Beginning of the End – Naturally http://www.betteboomer.com/2013/05/beginning-of-the-end-naturally/ Wed, 29 May 2013 15:20:57 +0000 http://www.betteboomer.com/?p=4368 read more ...]]> Make your last footprint a green one. With Memorial Day in the rear view mirror, it got us thinking about our own beginning of the end.

Boomers focus on living well and being well. We deeply inhabit our immortality and thinking about our own death can be unsettling. While most of us still choose traditional burial when faced with the inevitable, with the world trending to all things green, the idea of natural burial and all that entails is becoming more acceptable.  As detailed in this excellent Forbes article, there are downsides to traditional burial and cremation.

Natural burial involves interring the body in earth that allows it to decompose naturally. According to the Green Burial Council, there are more eco-friendly burial providers than ever before, and there are some hybrid cemeteries that offer both traditional and green grave-sites. Even some state parks and wildlife departments are in the early stages of cremation-based green burials which in turn fund new park lands. For those who choose cremation, another eco-alternative is burial at sea. Instead of scattered ashes, ocean lovers can choose Eternal Reefs, the Reef Ball Foundation or Great Burial Reef to help create new habitats for marine life. And, give friends and family the option of a condolence tree remembrance from Trees Instead.

Source the internet’s endless sustainable information to find the perfect option to green our goodbye. We can be as sustainable in death as we are in life.

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Myth vs. Fact: Obamacare and the future of Medicare http://www.betteboomer.com/2013/05/myth-versus-fact-obamacare-and-the-future-of-medicare/ Wed, 22 May 2013 15:15:50 +0000 http://www.betteboomer.com/?p=4323 read more ...]]>

By Guest Blogger, Ross Blair, senior vice president, eHealthMedicare.com

Medicare’s annual enrollment period is still about six months away, but contentious budget talks and the implementation of health care reform may already have you scratching your head when it comes to Medicare.

Health reform brings with it some important changes, and as Congress looks at ways to cut the federal deficit, there has been discussion about how to reduce the cost of certain entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare. If you’re confused, or uncertain about Medicare’s future, you are not alone. Below we’ve identified some of the top things you should know.

Medicare spending may not be growing as much as experts thought. There has been a lot of talk in Washington recently about the need to control health care costs. Here’s the thinking: If you don’t control Medicare and Medicaid spending, it will crowd out other budget priorities, including defense and education. However, in March, the White House issued its annual Economic Report of the President. According to that report, health care cost growth is on the decline. Experts aren’t sure exactly why; it may have to do with new payment rules. They also don’t know whether the decline will persist. However, the data does indicate that the budget debate around Medicare may shift. It’s also consistent with a 2012 report from eHealthInsurance, which found that, in 2012, family health insurance premiums declined for the first time in seven years.

The Medicare Advantage program is not going away. Plans to cut reimbursements to Medicare Advantage plans by 2.3 percent were reversed on April 1, 2013. Plans will now receive a 3.3 percent increase in 2014. There had been concern that health plans might quit participating in the program or drastically increase premiums due to the proposed cuts to reimbursements. Since enactment of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage enrollment has grown 25 percent. The number of plans participating in Medicare Advantage varies by county. You can compare plans in your area at eHealthMedicare.com, Planprescriber.com or Medicare.gov.

The new Independent Payment Advisory Board may not be what you think. Under the ACA, the members of this group must make recommendations on how to reduce the rate of growth in Medicare spending if spending exceeds a target growth rate. If reductions are necessary, the board will submit recommendations beginning in 2014 for the 2015 plan year. The board is prohibited from recommending changes that would ration care, increase costs for beneficiaries, reduce benefits, or change eligibility.

Physicians and hospitals are teaming up to provide better care through Accountable Care Organizations. If you haven’t already heard of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), you probably will soon. Since passage of the ACA, doctors and hospitals have formed more than 200 ACOs, which are designed to encourage better coordination of care, while lowering costs. ACOs, among other things, must agree to be accountable for the overall care of their Medicare beneficiaries and have adequate participation of primary care physicians, promote evidence-based medicine and report on quality and costs. Beneficiaries using ACOs may choose doctors inside or outside of the ACO.

The federal government is changing the way it pays hospitals to encourage safer care. The ACA reduces Medicare payments to hospitals when patients are excessively readmitted for things that could or should have been prevented. Also, beginning in 2015, Medicare will pay less to hospitals when a patient acquires a condition while in the hospital. You can compare hospitals in your area by going to www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare. The database provides information on several aspects of hospital care, including how often each hospital gives recommended treatments for certain conditions, how likely patients are to suffer from complications and how patients rate how well doctors and nurses communicate.

When it comes to prescription drugs, do your research to save money. The good news is: Costs are going down, mostly because several popular brand-name drugs, including cholesterol drug Lipitor, are now available in generic forms. In addition to that, if you enter Medicare’s coverage gap – the “donut hole” – you will receive a discount of 52.5 percent on brand-names drugs and 21 percent on generics. However, our research shows that most beneficiaries are not in the plan with the lowest out-of-pocket costs available to them. Be sure to do your research to maximize your savings.

Understanding Medicare, not to mention the latest changes, can be confusing. However, there are many resources available to help you understand the latest developments and how they affect your coverage.

Ross Blair is senior vice president of eHealth, Inc., which operates eHealthMedicare.com and PlanPrescriber.com (www.PlanPrescriber.com <http://www.PlanPrescriber.com>). Both sites are leading providers of comparison tools and educational materials for Medicare-related insurance products.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information provided by PlanPrescriber.

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Ready for the Revolution? http://www.betteboomer.com/2013/05/ready-for-the-revolution/ Wed, 15 May 2013 15:15:53 +0000 http://www.betteboomer.com/?p=4353 read more ...]]> Food Revolution Day 2013

Ah, food food food glorious food. Last year’s Food Revolution Day, a campaign launched by Jamie Oliver, was a huge success and this year’s should be even better. This Friday, May 17th is the day for people who love food to be a more mindful community making better food choices, and understand food’s impact on health.

Just take a stroll through any-town-USA and it’s clear a lot of folks still haven’t got the message. This worldwide one-day food education event is not only about fun, but continues to raise awareness about America’s ongoing battle with obesity.

Watch this YouTube video with ideas for events in the workplace, in schools and to see who’s supporting Food Revolution Day 2013.

To find an event near you, go to foodrevolutionday.com. Jamie Oliver says it’s high time to “stand up for real food and for food education.”  His food foundation is chock full of ideas to get involved or launch your own event. Download this free bling to help promote Food Revolution 2013 and the activities in your neighborhood.

More and more Americans embrace a locavore lifestyle which includes making smart food choices as part of living well.  And, we know that that living well never gets old!

As Jamie Oliver says, “Cook it. Share It. Live It.”

Get connected. Become a fan on Bette Boomer | Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our Newsletter RSS feed. For unique Bette Boomer apparel and merchandise shop Bette’s Boutique. Also, check-out Bette Recommends for more convenient online gifting.

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This Mother’s Day http://www.betteboomer.com/2013/05/this-mothers-day/ Wed, 08 May 2013 15:15:35 +0000 http://www.betteboomer.com/?p=4334 read more ...]]> How will you honor the mothers in your life?

Why not start by making it an eco-friendly day of celebration.

First, start with the greeting card. Save paper, ink and postage by sending an e-card this year. And, since most Moms love chocolate, gift her from Fair Trade chocolatiers like Sweet Earth, Dagoba and Green & Blacks Organic. In a neat twist, especially if Mom is a gardener, give her Garden Bon Bons. Warning, these chocolate truffles are NOT for eating. In reality they’re seed bombs (truffles containing seeds, compost and clay) made by the Seattle-based design firm Moulton. Don’t forget the flowers and be sure to make them Fair Trade flowers.  The latest buzz is all about up-cycle shopping and crafter Mom’s will love any of these handmade gifts. Naturally, our favorite online places to shop are Bette Recommends and Bette’s Boutique.

The best way to honor mothers is with what they want most – TIME – time with their children or grandchildren and friends. Spend the day with your Mom at your local farmer’s market. Or splurge on a trip to wine country (bio-dynamic and sustainable of course). A simple online search should turn up one near you. Does Mom enjoy an occasional glass of beer?  Make sure to tap the brew pub and craft brewers in your town who make mindful business decisions based on minimizing environmental impact, and being socially responsible contributors to their communities.

There are more and more sustainable options than ever before available to help us all make this Mother’s Day truly memorable. We’d love to hear about your choices and how you plan to make your Mother’s Day sustainable.

Get connected. Become a fan on Bette Boomer | Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our Newsletter RSS feed. Also, check-out for convenient online gifting.

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