Last month my aunt Mary died unexpectedly. She closed all emails with “Geaux Tigers” so I assumed missing her funeral for the UGA/Mizzou game would be an excused absence.
Nonetheless, we made the trek to Baton Rouge for her sons and Uncle Bob; there aren’t too many folks who went ashore on the first day at Iwo Jima.
Mary did her job so well at the LSU Agricultural Center she worked as long as she liked. She came on board in the early 70s when there was a dearth of “boss ladies.” The awards she won over her career bear testimony to her diligence. Rick Perry, then Texas Secretary of Agriculture, tried to change LSU Ag Center’s pesticide certification protocol.
Texas may be big and bold but Rick Perry bit off more than he could chew with a futile attempt to tell Aunt Mary how to run her department.
When she and Uncle Bob would visit over the summer, in addition to a pair of wimpy brothers, I had two city boy cousins for amusement. One was deathly afraid of the wolf. More importantly, I learned some essential lessons of life.
Decatur County, Georgia, at the time suffered under the oppressive yolk of Prohibition. My Louisiana kinfolk showed up with bottles of whiskey unlike anything I had laid eyes on; they had handles. It was like being in love for the first time.
Another time, likely in conjunction with the 1972 election season, Mama told me her sister Mary voted Democratic just to antagonize her. Mama died in January of 1973 so I’m sure she and Mary are discussing politics over drinks. Things have changed so much they probably have more in common now.
Medicare Open Enrollment Period: Oct. 15-Dec. 7
In 1961, the American Medical Association hired Ronald Reagan to use his oratory skills in their campaign against Medicare or as they called it-socialized medicine. President Reagan ironically signed tax increases specifically dedicated to Medicare. Now the American Medical Association supports the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and everyone over 65 likes Medicare.
During open enrollment, examine your coverage to make sure it is appropriate. Go to Medicare.gov and look for plans offered in your zip code. You will need a list of any medicines and a general idea of out of pocket costs.
If you are still working and have your employer’s health insurance coverage, be sure to sign up for Medicare A. You can take Medicare A and B at different times.
Medicare Part B may be more beneficial than a high deductible insurance plan.
You have eight months from the day you retire to sign up for Medicare Part B. You will face 10 percent annual surcharge if you delay. Medigap coverage is guaranteed-issue the first six months of eligibility after then you are subject to underwriting. Signing up for a private Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan may kick you off retiree coverage. Understand your options.
Health care entitlements must be addressed sensibly. Without Medicare, many seniors could face bankruptcy. Turning Medicare into a voucher system in ten years contributes nothing to immediate debt reduction and merely shifts costs to participants.
Buz Livingston, CFP offers hourly financial planning and fee-only investment management to clients along Florida’s Emerald Coast. He can be reached at 267-1068, Buz@LivingstonFinancial.netor www.LivingstonFinancial.net.