Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, May 1, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 10

Mountain View News Saturday, May 1, 2021 10 


Dear Savvy Senior:
What are the best Medicare coverage options for COVID-
vaccinated retirees who are eager to travel? My wife and I 
will both turn 65 over the next few months and would like 
to know which Medicare plans are best for extensive travelers. 
Almost 65 

Dear Almost: 
The best Medicare plans for retirees who plan to travel will vary depending on your destinations. But, before 
you book a trip make sure you know the current CDC COVID-19 travel recommendations (see CDC.
gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers), and research your destinations too so you can know if restrictions 
apply wherever you’re going. 

Medicare Review

 Before we dissect how Medicare works for travelers, let’s start with a quick review of your different Medi

care options.

 One option is original Medicare, which covers (Part A) hospital services and (Part B) doctor’s visits and 

other medical services.

 If you choose original Medicare, you may also want to get a Medicare (Part D) prescription drug plan 

(if you don’t already have coverage) to cover your medications, and a Medicare supplemental (Medigap) 

policy to help pay for things that aren’t covered by Medicare like copayments, coinsurance and deductibles.

 Or, you could get a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan instead, which is sold through private insurance 

companies, and covers everything original Medicare covers, plus many plans also offer prescription drug 

coverage and extra services like vision, hearing and dental care all in one plan.

 To help you evaluate your options contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (see Shipta, which provides free Medicare counseling.

 You can also shop and compare Medicare health and drug plans and Medigap policies at


 Also note that whatever Medicare plans you choose to enroll in, if you find that they are not meeting your 

needs or your needs change, you can always switch to a different plan during the open enrollment period, 

which is between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7. 

U.S. Travel 
If you and your husband are planning to travel domestically, original Medicare may be the better option 

because it provides coverage everywhere in the U.S. and its territories as long as the doctor or hospital ac

cepts Medicare.

 Medicare Advantage plans, on the other hand, which have become very popular among new enrollees may 

restrict your coverage when traveling throughout the U.S. This is because most Medicare Advantage plans 

are HMOs or PPOs and require you to use doctors, hospitals and pharmacies that are in the plan’s network 

within a service area or geographic region. So, if you’re traveling outside that area you may need to pay a 

higher fee, or your services may not be covered at all.

 If you do decide to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, be sure you check the benefit details carefully to 

see what costs and rules apply when traveling outside your service area. 

Traveling Abroad

 If you’re planning to travel abroad much, a Medicare Advantage plan may be a better option because many 

Advantage plans today offer emergency care coverage outside the U.S. But be sure you check before you 

choose a plan because not all plans offer it.

 Original Medicare, on the other hand does not provide coverage outside the U.S. and its territories except 

in rare circumstances (see, and Medicare drug plans will not cover prescrip

tion drugs purchased outside the U.S. either.

 But if you do choose original Medicare, you can still get some coverage abroad through a Medigap policy. 

Plans D, G, M and N plans will pay for 80 percent of medically necessary emergency care outside the U.S. 

to new enrollees, but only for the first 60 days of the trip, and you have to meet an annual $250 deductible 

first. There’s also a lifetime limit of $50,000, so you’d need to cover any costs above that amount.

 Some beneficiaries, regardless of their Medicare coverage, purchase travel medical insurance for trips 

abroad, which you can shop for at or 

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. 



The Netflix movie I 

Care a Lot provides 

a dark, violent, and 

somewhat comedic 

take on the real 

life and not-at-all 

funny dangers of 
the legal (and sometimes corrupt) guardianship 
system. While the film’s twisting plot may 
seem farfetched, it sheds light on a tragic 
phenomenon—the abuse of seniors at the 
hands of crooked “professional” guardians. 

Last week in part one of this series, we offered a 
brief synopsis of the movie, which revolves around 
Marla Grayson, a crooked professional guardian 
who makes her living by preying on vulnerable 
seniors, and we then outlined the true events that 
inspired the fictional account. The film’s writer 
and director came up with the idea after reading 
news stories of a similar scam involving a corrupt 
professional guardianship agency in Las Vegas. 

How It Happens

 Should you become incapacitated without 
any planning in place (due to illness or injury), 
your family (or a friend) would have to petition 
the court to be granted guardianship. In most 
cases, the court would appoint a family member 
as guardian, but this isn’t always the case. If you 
have no living family members, or those you do 
have are unwilling or unable to serve or deemed 
unsuitable by the court, a professional guardian 
would be appointed. 

 Beyond the potential for abuse by professional 
guardians, if you become incapacitated and your 
family is forced into court seeking guardianship, 
they are likely to endure a costly, drawn out, and 
emotionally taxing process. Not only can the 
legal fees and court costs drain your estate, but if 
your loved ones disagree over who is best suited 
to serve as your guardian, it could cause a bitter 
conflict that could tear your family apart and 
make it less likely that you get the kind of care 
you want. 

A Comprehensive Plan For Incapacity

Should you become incapacitated, a 
comprehensive incapacity plan would give the 
individual, or individuals, of your choice the 
immediate authority to make your medical, 
financial, and legal decisions, without the need 
for court intervention. Moreover, such planning 
allows you to provide clear guidance about your 
wishes, so there is no mistake about how these 
decisions should be made.

 There are several planning vehicles that can 
go into a comprehensive plan for incapacity, 
but a will is not among them. A will only goes 
into effect upon your death, and then, it merely 
governs how your assets should be divided, so it 
would do nothing to protect you in the event of 

 When it comes to creating your incapacity 
plan, your best bet is to put in place several 
different planning tools rather than a 

single document. To this end, your plan 
should include some or all of the following: 

Durable financial power of attorney: This 
document grants an individual of your choice the 
immediate authority to make decisions related 
to the management of your financial and legal 

Revocable living trust: A living trust 
immediately transfers control of all assets held by 
the trust to a person of your choice to be used 
for your benefit in the event of your incapacity. 
The trust can include legally binding instructions 
for how your care should be managed, and the 
document can even spell out specific conditions 
that must be met for you to be deemed 

Medical power of attorney: A medical 
power of attorney grants an individual of your 
choice the immediate legal authority to make 
decisions about your medical treatment in the 
event of your incapacity.

Living will: A living will ((sometimes 
called an advance directive) provides specific 
guidance about how your medical decisions 
should be made during your incapacity, 
particularly at the end of life. In some instances, 
a medical power of attorney and a living will are 
combined in a single document. 

Don’t Put It Off 

Although incapacity from dementia is most 
common in the elderly, debilitating injury and 
illness can strike at any point in life. Given this, all 
adults 18 and older should have an incapacity plan. 
Furthermore, planning for incapacity must take 
place well before any cognitive decline appears, 
since you must be able to clearly express your 
wishes and consent for the documents to be valid. 

In light of this, you should get your own planning 
handled first, and then discuss the need for 
planning with your aging parents as soon as 
possible, and from there, schedule a Family 
Wealth Planning Session with us to get a plan 
started. And if you or your senior loved ones 
already have an incapacity plan, have it reviewed 
it to make sure it has been properly set up, 
maintained, and updated. Unfortunately, a plan 
put in place years ago is unlikely to work now, 
so updating is critical, and unfortunately often 

Dedicated to empowering your family, building 
your wealth and defining your legacy, 

A local attorney and father,

Marc Garlett is on a mission 

to help parents protect what

they love most. His office

is located at 55 Auburn 
Avenue, Sierra Madre, CA 91024. 

Schedule an appointment to sit down and talkabout ensuring a legacy of love and financialsecurity for your family by calling 626.355.4000 orvisit for more information. 


HAPPY BIRTHDAY! …May Birthdays* 

Beth Copti, Marilyn Diaz, Anne Schryver, Jo Ann Williams, Paul Hagan, Lenore Crilly 
Joann Serrato-Chi, Harriett Lyle, Jean Coleman, Birgitta Gerlinger, Donna Mathieson, 
Luciana Rosenzweig, Linda Wochnik, Marian Woodford, Debbie Sheridan, Joanne 
Anthony, Carole Axline, Kika Downey, Shirley Hall, Annie Scalzo, Janet Ten Eyck, Jane 
Thomas, Ray Burley. * 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 amChair yoga with Paul is coming back! Class be held in the Covered Pavilion in Memorial 
Park in front of the Senior Center. Please join us for some gentle stretching, yoga, balance exercise and overall 
relaxation. Classes will maintain a distance of 6 ft between participants. ALL participants must be wearing 
masks for the duration of the class. All equipment used will be sanitized after each use before it is stored. Each 
participant is responsible for providing their own water, masks and needed equipment or supplies for each class. 
Class size is limited so please call 264-8923 to reserve your spot. 


If you are in need of assistance with your 2020 taxes please know that help is a phone call away. Don Brunner, Tax 
Saver, is not accepting in person consultations at the moment but available for a phone or email consult. Please 
call him at 626-447-8829 or email 

Have you ever thought about trying your hand at writing? Do you have an idea for a book and no idea how to 
begin? This program may be for you! Katy Nishimoto, Senior Editor with Random House, has graciously volunteered 
her time to lead this incredible writers workshop for seniors. Program participants will be given a prompt, 
a 10 minute writing task and a group reading. Discussions, readings and feedback to help guide your creative 
thinking into creative writing. If you have interest in writing nonfiction, a memoir, fiction or poetry then please 
call or email today to reserve your spot. Class will be limited to 10 participants. No writing skills or experience is 
required. Call Lawren Heinz at 626-355-7394 to reserve your spot and receive class information. 

Tuesday, May 18 at 11:00 am Join Lawren in making a delightful, colorful and artistic nail polish marbled mug! 
All supplies will be provided for you and we will meet in the Hart Park House patio. Please wear clothes you don’t 
mind getting nail polish on. To reserve your spot or ask questions please call Lawren Heinz at (626) 355-7394 or 
send an email to 


 Do you have any ideas for programming? Is there a class or club you would like to see in our Senior Community? 
Please call or email Lawren Heinz with ideas or questions. 626-355-5278 x 704 lheinz@cityofsierramadre. 

 City staff are monitoring email communication daily, and although employees are minimizing direct engagement 
and interfacing less with the community, please note that voice messages, emails, and social media responses 
are being addressed in the most efficient and timely manner. If at any time additional information 
is needed, please contact City Hall Administrative Services at (626) 355-7135, Monday-Thursday from 7:30a 

– 5:30p, as they are taking messages and e-mailing the appropriate per-son. For messages that may trickle in 
otherwise, please note our team is remotely checking voicemail daily at the Community Services Department, 
(626) 355-5278 x702. 
The City of Sierra Madre is following these procedures to provide current communication in light of COVID-19 
and keep the Senior Community and families informed of essential information and resources. City staff are 
monitoring email communication daily, and although employees are minimizing direct engagement and practicing 
social distancing in the community, please note that voice messages, emails, and social media responses are 
being addressed in the most efficient and timely manner.
If at any moment additional information is needed, please contact City Hall Administrative Services at (626) 
355-7135, Monday-Thursday from 7:30a – 5:30p, as they are taking messages and e-mailing the appropriate 

For messages that may trickle in otherwise, please note our team is remotely checking voicemail daily at the 
Community Services Department, (626) 355-5278 x702.
Community Services Department will continue email communication with Senior residents and aging community 

If you know of family members or neighbors who may benefit from accessing information electronically, and 
to receive the department’s Seniors Newsletter via email but may not otherwise have been included on an email 
group list, please send your request with email address to the following team members: Lawren Heinz Lheinz@ and Clarissa Lowe
City Social Media will continue via Facebook as well as Instagram, and information sharing will include updates 

as details becomes available. 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder 


 I have always appreciated shortcuts in life. If I can find a shortcut, I will take it because 
time is val-uable to me. I take pride in coming up with a shortcut that actually saves 
me time. 

 However, not all of my shortcuts have really been that short and I have paid the price.

Last week, for example, I had to go clear across town for my appointment with my eye doctor. Somehow 
I think they try to figure out where to place a doctor's office, so it isn't easy to get there, especially when 
there's a time element involved.

 My eye appointment went rather well, and I was happy with the results. I had made the appoint-ment 
very close to the next appointment I needed on the other side of town.
Have you ever noticed when you have two appointments on the same day, they are at the opposite ends 
of town? I hate that.

 But I was going to take advantage, and I was going to find a shortcut across town.
I am a very careful driver. Every time I leave the house, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage al-ways 
says, "Drive careful." As if she thought I would be a crazy driver.
As I left the doctor's office, I thought I would take a different route to go on the other side of town for my 
next appointment. I’ve lived in this town for quite a few years, and I thought I knew every street in this 
town. But I guess I didn't know everything I needed to know.
When I'm driving, I'm always careful to watch out for the other drivers. It's not that I'm a lousy driver; 
it's that other people can be and sometimes are bad drivers. So I am careful about the drivers that are in 
front of me and behind me.

 I usually have a GPS with me, but I had taken it out and used it somewhere else for some reason. Who 
knows where?

 That didn’t bother me because I knew exactly where I was going. I was going to map out a shortcut to 
save time.

 Driving down one block, I noticed a street to my right that I thought I recognized, and so I made the 
turn and followed that street. Then I came to a street that took another right, and so I followed that. As I 
was driving through, I didn't recognize anything that I could remember.
My problem is, as I drive, I sometimes get thinking about a project I'm working on. It might be an article, 
it might be a sermon, it might be just about anything. Once I get thinking about that project, I'm not too 
conscious of my environment. Yes, I do pay attention to the other cars.

 I planned to make it to my next appointment at least 20 minutes ahead of time to sit back and relax and 
wait for that appointment. I always carry a notebook, so when I have a little off time, I can jot down some 
notes and make sure I'm not forgetting what I've been thinking of while driving.
I really hate it when I have an excellent idea, but I can't remember that idea when I stop and want to write 
it down.

 Just then, I saw a street sign to the right that I kind of remembered and gladly turned down that street 
believing I was going to get their way ahead of my schedule and I would have plenty of time just to get 
caught up on my notes. I was smiling as I was driving down that street.

 As I was driving, I recognized some of the buildings on both sides of the street and was very confi-dent 
that I had it made.

 My only regret was that I didn't have the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage with me to boast about my 
shortcuts. If there's one thing she doesn't like, it’s my shortcuts. According to her, my shortcuts always 
create problems. Boy, I wish she was with me now!

 The more I drove down the street, the more familiar the buildings became. And then I saw it and could 
not believe what I saw.

 On the right side of the street was the eye doctor's office I had left about 20 minutes ago. I could not 
believe this was happening to me. Looking at my watch, I realized I'm not going to make my next appointment 
on time. I did not know what to do.

 The only thing I could do at the time was call and cancel that appointment. The bad side is, I would 
have to explain to my wife why I canceled that appointment. When she hears of my shortcut plan, she is 
going to stare at me with one of "those stares" and then say, "What have I told you about your shortcuts?"
I just couldn’t put a new plan together that would solve the problems that I had right now.

 As I drove away from the eye doctor's office, I thought of what David said, "I will instruct thee and teach 
thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” (Psalm 32:8).

 Sometimes I'm tempted to take a shortcut in my relationship with God. I sometimes think that I know 
better than God, and it always ends up in some level of tragedy. 

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. 

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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