February 25, 2021 – By now most of the Topretirements audience has probably had a chance to get at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Please take our quick survey of how that experience went for you. There are just a few questions on how you found out where to get your shot, how good a job your state did on that, and how your life and activities might change once you have been administered both doses and your immunity is established.
February 5, 2021 — Any time the subject of The Villages (TV) in Central Florida comes up in conversation, the chances are that someone will chime in with the tidbit that the popular active community is the STD capital of the US. In many circles this bit of false news is taken as the gospel. Everyone chuckles and they move on.
The rampant STD rumor about The Villages first erupted in 2006 after a gynecologist who had moved to the area stated that she’d treated more cases of herpes and human papillomavirus in The Villages than when she practiced in Miami. She later modified her account, but the damage was done. The New York Post picked up the salacious report as did other media outlets across the country. Andrew Blechman’s Leisureville, which depicted Mr. Midnight’s late night adventures as a senior citizen Lothario, also helped to perpetuate the image of TV as Gomorrah in Central Florida.
January 23 — Outrage over media reports of Canadians and other foreigners paying big dollars for charter flights to Miami for coronavirus vaccine shots generated understandable blowback. Reacting, Florida Gov. DeSantis took steps to eliminate this form of medical tourism this week. While that made most residents happier, Florida’s many snowbirds became concerned that the new rules might effectively shut them out of getting inoculated. Fortunately the new rules for snowbirds and other seasonal visitors have been clarified, and most should be eligible for a shot (if they can get an appointment!)
Elsewhere, there is concern that groups with close ties to the Governor, who is touting his decision to prioritize residents age 65+ over essential workers, are getting priority access to the vaccine. Residents in communities like The Villages were quick to an allocation, while almost everyone in Century Village and Kings Point has had a chance to get their shots by now. Meanwhile, millions of other FL residents not so well connected are stymied by non-existent web sites, lengthy queues, and fragmentary information. This has led to speculation that the Governor or his staff is steering vaccines to organizations he has ties to. Speculation has also arisen over the Publix supermarket chain’s donation of $100,000 to the Governor’s political campaign. The chain has since become a major source of Covid 19 vaccines administered in the state. The Governor’s office has denied any connection, according to WUSF Public Media.
Who is Eligible for the Vaccine in Florida?
Eligibility for non-Florida residents starts with being able to prove that they reside in the state for at least 31 consecutive days. Then they have to scramble to come up with two other types of documents. The first document might be easy to come by, but the second could involve more effort.
January 23, 2020 — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule that will allow enrollees to know in advance and compare their out-of-pocket payments for different prescription drugs. The changes are generally effective for the 2022 plan year and will potentially lower enrollee cost sharing on some of the most expensive prescription drugs.
The final rule will require Part D plans to offer a real-time benefit comparison tool starting January 1, 2023, so enrollees can obtain information about lower-cost alternative therapies under their prescription drug benefit plan. Enrollees would be able to compare cost sharing to find the most cost-effective prescription drugs for their health needs. For example, if a doctor recommends a specific cholesterol-lowering drug, the enrollee could look up what the co-pay would be and see if a different, similarly effective option might save the enrollee money. With this tool, enrollees will be better able to know what they will need to pay before they are standing at the pharmacy counter.
Thanks to Tom Cretella for letting us know about this new development.
January 3, 2020 — Hundreds of millions of Americans can’t wait to have a coronavirus vaccine pumped into their arms. The problem is the wait could be long, and the process to get one could turn into the wild west – every person for themself. Evidence of that is already happening in places like Fort Myers, FL, where seniors are camping out over night in a chaotic effort to get a shot because Lee county has no online system for appointments. Officials say that was necessary because eager vaccine seekers are crashing online vaccination systems. We earnestly hope the process of vaccinating America doesn’t turn into a disaster as the unprepared authorities botch the rollout.
The ball is in your court
Consider this: it is highly unlikely that you will get a phone call or person knocking on your door, telling you where and when to go to get your shot. How soon will you get one? Sadly, that probably depends on you. To help, here are some steps you can take and a few resources.
December 19, 2020 — A very popular retirement-age calculator now is Livingto100. Developed by Dr. Thomas Perls, it asks a raft of fairly predictable questions and then provides an estimate of how long you will live, along with tailored advice. The questions makes a lot of sense – if you are healthy and avoid most of the bad things (drinking, smoking, stress, obesity), and do the good things (exercise, have friends, brain activities, floss, wear sunscreen, etc.), and your parents lived to ripe old ages – you have a good shot at living to 100. Which leads us to the connection to Winston Churchill, who, despite legendary bad habits, lived to 90 years old. How did he do it, and what can we learn from his experience?
December 4, 2020 — Been wondering exactly where you stand when it comes to getting a Covid vaccine? We know we have been. Out this morning is a very cool tool to help you get a better idea, depending on where you live, your age, occupation, and any health care risks. The tool is from the New York Times and it is called “Find Your Place in the Vaccine Line“.
You just answer a few questions and it will give you an estimate of how many people are ahead of you. We took it and found out we are behind 8.1 million people in our State (FL) and 118 million people in the U.S. So it is going to be awhile, but we are sure going to take it, as long as the FDA and Anthony Fauci say it is safe.
November 26, 2020 — You see the person coming down the aisle toward you and… panic! A minute ago their name was on the tip of your tongue, but now it is gone! Or, you are describing something to a friend, and the name of the book or the noun you are looking for has completely escaped you. It happens to all of us, but new research indicates that it is more likely to occur in people who are retired than people of the same age who are working.
Ross Andel, director of the School of Aging Studies at the University of South Florida, tested the memories of people in their early 60s living in Canberra, Australia over almost a 20 year period. In the Australian test, starting at age 60 subjects were were asked to remember as many random and unrelated words in a list as they could. The tests were repeated every 4 years.
October 22, 2020 — It seems like there are only two kinds of ads in the last week or so – ones from politicians or Medicare plans. We have heard from several Members who they feel buried, and confused, by the latter. The reason for all those ads – we are in a Medicare Open Enrollment period – which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.
To try to help we are providing a link to last year’s comprehensive comparison of Medicare plans, original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage, and Medigap insurance. In an in-depth interview with insurance expert Tom Cretella, he explains the differences, advantages and disadvantages, and features of these types of plans. He goes over the alphabet soup array from Plan A to N, so you can better understand your options and make an informed decision. (The links are below)
October 17, 2020 – The Open Enrollment Period for Medicare started this week and runs through Dec. 7. It is an important event for eligible people not currently enrolled in the plan, or who want to change some component of their current plan.
During Open Enrollment, eligible people can sign up for Medicare. Medicare beneficiaries can compare coverage options like Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, and choose health and prescription drug plans for 2021.