Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 5, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 12

Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 5, 2022 


Dear Savvy Senior:
Can you give me a brief rundown of Medicare’s enrollment choices along with when and how to sign-up? Approaching 

Dear Approaching:
The rules and timetables for Medicare enrollment can 
be confusing to many new retirees, so it’s smart to plan 
ahead. Here’s a simplified rundown of what to know. 

First a quick review. Remember that original Medicare 
has two parts: Part A, which provides hospital coverage 
and is free for most people, and Part B which covers 
doctor’s visits and other medical services, and costs 
$170.10 per month for most enrollees in 2021. 

When to Enroll 
Everyone is eligible for Medicare at age 65, even if your full Social Security retirement age is 66 or later. 

You can enroll any time during the “initial enrollment period,” which is a seven-month period that includes 
the three months before, the month of, and the three months after your 65th birthday. It’s best to enroll three 
months before your birth month to ensure your coverage starts when you turn 65. 

If you happen to miss the seven-month sign-up window for Medicare Part B, you’ll have to wait until the next 
“general enrollment period” which runs from Jan. 1 to March 31 with benefits beginning the following July 1. 
You’ll also incur a 10 percent penalty for each year you wait beyond your initial enrollment period, which will 
be tacked on to your monthly Part B premium. You can sign up for premium-free Part A, at any time with no 

Working ExceptionsSpecial rules apply if you’re eligible for Medicare and still on the job. If you have health insurance coverage 
through your employer or your spouse’s employer, and the company has 20 or more employees, you have a 
“special enrollment period” in which you can sign up. This means that you can delay enrolling in Medicare Part 
B and are not subject to the 10 percent late-enrollment penalty as long as you sign up within eight months of 
losing that coverage. 

Drug CoverageBe aware that original Medicare does not cover prescription medications, so if you don’t have credible drug 
coverage from an employer or union, you’ll need to buy a Part D drug plan from a private insurance company 
(see during your initial enrollment if you want coverage. If you don’t, you’ll incur 
a premium penalty – 1 percent of the average national premium ($33 in 2022) for every month you don’t have 
coverage – if you enroll later. 

Supplemental CoverageIf you choose original Medicare, it’s also a good idea to get a Medigap (Medicare supplemental) policy within 
six months after enrolling in Part B to help pay for things that aren’t covered by Medicare like copayments, 
coinsurance and deductibles. See to shop and compare 

All-In-One Plans 
Instead of getting original Medicare, plus a Part D drug plan and a Medigap policy, you could sign up for a 
Medicare Advantage plan instead (see that covers everything in one plan. Nearly 
half of all new Medicare enrollees are signing up for Advantage plans. 

These plans, which are also sold by insurance companies, are generally available through HMOs and PPOs and 
often have cheaper premiums, but their deductibles and co-pays are usually higher. Many of these plans also 
provide coverage for extra services not offered by original Medicare like dental, hearing and vision coverage 
along with gym/fitness memberships, and most plans include prescription drug coverage too. 

How to Enroll 

If you’re already receiving your Social Security benefits before 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Part A 
and Part B, and you’ll receive your Medicare card about three months before your 65th birthday. It will include 
instructions to return it if you have work coverage that qualifies you for late enrollment.
If you’re not receiving Social Security, you’ll need to enroll either online at or over the phone 
at 800-772-1213. 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim 
Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book. 


 By Marc Garlett 


 As we head into the third year of the pandemic, it’s clear just how fragile our 

lives and health really are. If you haven’t gotten sick yourself, it’s almost certain 

you know someone who has, and many of us even know of one or more indi

viduals who have died in the past two years. 

Although serious illness and death are something we are always at risk for—and should plan for—the pan

demic has forced many of us to face our own mortality like no other event in recent memory. Some of those 

worst-case scenarios we thought would never happen now seem much more likely, and for some people, 

those unthinkable situations have even become reality. 

Understanding The Risks 

Yet even if you manage to avoid becoming sick right now, the fact remains that everyone is vulnerable to 

serious illness or injury, regardless of how young or healthy you are. And if you are a parent, one of the most 

frightening aspects of that reality is knowing that if something should happen to you, your children would 

be left without you to care for them, whether only temporarily or permanently.

 Consider the following scenario: You and your spouse are out to dinner and your kids are at home with 

the babysitter. On your way home, you get into a car accident. When you fail to make it home on time, the 

babysitter calls you repeatedly, but when no one answers, she calls the police. 

 The police arrive and find your kids with the babysitter who offers to stay with the children until a relative 

can be found to take them. But because the babysitter doesn’t have the legal authority to care for the chil

dren—even temporarily—the police have no choice but to call Child Protective Services. In such a scenario, 

CPS will take your children into custody until the proper guardian can be located and/or appointed.

 This is the case even if you have friends or family nearby who are willing to care for the children. If you 

haven’t left proper legal documentation, the authorities have no other option. You must give the authorities 

a legal basis for keeping your children with the friends or family you designate.

 What’s more, your kids are still at risk of being taken by the authorities even if you’ve named legal guardians 

for them in your will. That’s because your will only becomes operative in the event of your death, so if you 

are incapacitated by an accident or illness, your will would be ineffective.

 Even if your will is effective, your named guardians must be confirmed and appointed by a judge before tak

ing legal custody of your children. It can take days, if not weeks, to get a hearing date on the Court’s calendar. 

All this to say, if you haven’t covered your legal bases for the immediate care of your children, it’s possible 

they will be placed in foster care for a time. 

Most Guardianship Documents Are Lacking

 These are just a few of the many scenarios that can cause your children to be taken into custody by strangers. 

And sadly, this happens all too often to those parents who’ve purchased online estate planning documents 

and even those who’ve worked with traditional estate planning lawyers.

 In the estate planning industry, there remains a distinct lack of knowledge and understanding of the legal 

strategies necessary for the unique needs of families with minor children. As a result, the well-being and care 

of minor children is often an afterthought – if it’s even a thought at all – in the estate plans of young families. 

 I know from personal experience. As a father of young children looking for an estate planner myself, I 

realized most attorneys were severely deficient in this area. That’s why I transformed my practice area from 

litigation to estate planning more than ten years ago – to provide my family, and then other families like 

mine, a sound set of legal planning tools to make sure there is never a question about who will take care of 

the children if their parents are in an accident or suffer some other life-threatening incident. 

 A comprehensive legal plan for minor children should include the following: 

Legal documents naming short-term guardians, who can be there immediately for your children, so 

they will never be put into foster care. Not even for a moment.

Letters to your short-term guardians, so they will know just what to do if called upon.

Instructions to everyone who takes care of your kids as to exactly what to and whom to call if you are 

in an accident. 

Legal documents naming long-term guardians, so it’s your decision, rather than the court’s.

Letters to your long-term guardians, letting them know exactly what to do if called upon.

Instructions and guidelines for your long-term guardians on how you want your kids to be raised.

Medical powers of attorney for your minor children, so you know they will always get the medical care 

they need, no matter what.

A custom, personalized I.D. card for your wallet stating that you have minor children at home and 

iden tifying who should be contacted if you are in an accident. 

A Learning Experience 

Although the pandemic is likely to go down as one of the most tragic periods of our lifetime, if it motivates 
more people to get serious about estate planning, it may end up having some lasting positive effects, too. On 
that note, if you are a parent of minor children and want to ensure your kids will always be taken care of by 
the people you want, in the way you want, no matter what happens to you, you must be proactive about it. 
Get your planning in order and make sure it specifically addresses the specific needs of your minor children. 


HAPPY BIRTHDAY! …February Birthdays* 

Tracy Verhoeven, Beatrice DaRe, Catherine Adde, Hilda Pittman, Anne-
Marie Stockdale, Susan Henderson, Allie Attay, Ursula El-Tawansy, Gladys 
Moser, Sylvia Lorhan, Ana Ptanski, Winifred Swanson , Janet Gillespie, 
Marian DeMars, Vickie Vernon, Mary Beth Knox, Sharon Lefler. 

* To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 
626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not required 

Every Monday and Wednesday, 10-10:45 am 
Please join us for some gentle stretching, yoga, balance exercise and overall relaxation 
with Paul. Classes are ongoing and held in the Memorial Park Covered 

Every Friday, 10-10:45 am 
Bring a lei, your flower skirt or just your desire to dance! Hula in the Park is back 
and waiting for you to join in on all the fun! Memorial Park Pavilion. 

Wednesday 1:00 pm-2:00 pm 
Beginning February 2nd – April 6th, Don Brunner is available for income tax 
consultation. Appointments are required: Please call 626-355-5278 x704 . 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder 


I am not what you would call a superstitious person. [Knock on wood.] I 
am a realist in a modified definition of that word and I usually take things 
as they come. 

My past week, however, was an open commentary on “Murphy’s Law.” Offhand 
I am not quite sure who come up with this concept, but they must have had a week somewhat 
like my week this past week. 

If I had it within me, I would establish “Snyder’s Law” which simply stated means, what can 
go right will go right. Then all would be right with the world. Well, except for those who are 

It all started Monday morning when I had an early morning meeting. I meant to set my alarm 
clock for 6 AM but for some reason I set it for 6 PM and overslept. Have you ever noticed when 
you are 15 minutes late in the morning the day ends up being 90 minutes late? Do not ask me 
how that happens. Ask Murphy. 

In the mail, I got a notice from the bank that I was overdrawn and they were charging me an 
insufficient fund fee. Well, I was furious. After all, I know how to add and subtract and I know 
how to take care of my bank account. I was about ready to call them and give them a piece of 
my mind when I noticed, how it happened I will never know, I forgot to include two checks 
I had written last week. I hate when that happens. My whole checkbook is now screwed up. I 
think it might be easier for me just to close my account and start all over again. 

It was Tuesday but I had to go across town and endure all that traffic. It is not my favorite place 
to drive, I will tell you right now. Just as I turned onto a street, my engine sputtered a little bit. 
Then, much to my chagrin, the engine stopped completely. I hate when that happens. 

I turned the key several times and then, I do not know why I did it, but I glanced at the gas 
gauge and the arrow was pointing way beyond the E. My gas tank was about as empty as my 
bank account. It is bad to run out of gas, but the worst thing for me about running out of gas is 
calling the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and asking her for help. I would walk 100 miles 
not to tell her I am out of gas. 

She always comes and bails me out. However, for the next six months I am reminded and reminded 
and reminded to put gas in my tank. 

Thursday also had its issues. My wife wanted me to go to the store and pick up something and 
for some reason, I cannot remember it now, I used her car. Maybe it was because I did not want 
to run out of gas! 

I got to the store, paid for my purchase, came out and tried finding my truck. I walked up and 
down and my truck was nowhere in sight. The only thing I could think of at the time was that 
somebody had stolen my truck. 

I thought about calling the police, and then I thought better and decided I would call my wife 
first. You know what it is like when your wife hears something secondhand. And so I called 

“I can’t find my truck,” I said trying to keep my voice as calm as possible not to get her upset, 
“I think somebody stole it. Should I call the police?” 

Silence on the phone. Then I heard her say in a very calm voice, “Whoever stole your truck 
parked it in our driveway.” 

I then remembered I was driving her car. 

I tried to chuckle within but I knew that this incident would hang in our house for months to 
come and I have Mr. Murphy to thank for that. 

It was such a horrific week and I was so deep in trouble with my Better Half, I decided to take 
her out Friday night for a nice meal on the town. I took her to her favorite restaurant and we 
ordered our supper, then set back and kind of sighed the week away. Maybe all that could go 
wrong has gone wrong and the week was about to turn around. 

We chatted; I tried to skew the conversation away from running out of gas and misplacing my 
truck. Then the waitress came with our meal. I was ready to settle down, enjoy a scrumptious 
meal and end the week on a happy note. 

The waitress set my wife’s plate in front of her and she smiled. Then the waitress set my plate 
in front of me and I freaked out. For some reason the waitress got my order mixed up with 
somebody else’s order and right in the middle of my plate was a pile of broccoli. 

The only hope I have is that it cannot get any worse than this. I think David, the psalmist, 
understood this when he wrote, “… weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the 
morning” (Psalm 30:5 KJV). 

As bad as it gets, as a Christian I have some great things to look forward to in Jesus Christ. 

Dr. James L. Snyder lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage in Ocala, FL. Call him at 
1-352-216-3025 or e-mail His web site is www.jamessnyderministries.

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 
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