Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Clock Ticking: Less Than Two Days For Open Enrollment in Medicare Part D for 2010

Earlier this month I posted the item at this link.

Now less than two days remain for open enrollment for Medicare Part D for the 2010 year.

Go to tonight's WRAL-TV coverage on the same subject at this link here, and be sure to spread the word today among your senior friends, loved ones, and caregivers of loved ones.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin Fights Fraud, Saves Consumers Cash

As 2009 and the first year of his administration come to a close, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and his team of law enforcement officers continue to fight fraud and root out lawbreakers and scofflaws. Read about the latest arrests and charges here, here, and here. Other crime-fighting activities are documented in earlier posts on this blog.

The Department of Insurance employs 20 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud. So far in 2009, these criminal investigators have seen more than 241 cases successfully closed with more than $9.7 million in restitution and recoveries, 67 criminal convictions and 123 arrests and 92 cases pending in court.

An estimated 10 cents of every dollar paid in premiums goes toward the payment of fraudulent claims. To report suspected fraud, contact the Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840. Callers may remain anonymous. Information is also available at www.ncdoi.com.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rep. Melanie Wade Goodwin: On Balancing Motherhood and Public Service

Rep. Melanie Wade Goodwin, as readers of "Wayne's World" and other news posts recall from last year, was the first North Carolina legislator to give birth while serving in the General Assembly. This development led to some changes in the legislature itself at the Legislative Building in Raleigh. Watch this five-minute video here - recorded just a few weeks ago - on how she balanced motherhood and public service. ... On a related note, Melanie's excellent service to the State and in her own community in myriad ways led her to being named last week the recipient of the 2009 Richmond County Citizen of the Year, the county's highest honor.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rep. Melanie Wade Goodwin: Named "Richmond County Citizen of the Year"!

I am so proud of Melanie!

She juggles - and always has, ever since we first met - so many things so well: Mother, wife, daughter, aunt, friend, officer of the court, businesswoman, lawyer, State legislator, Junior Woman's Club president, civic leader, Democratic Party leader, advocate for women's rights, supporter of the arts, active United Methodist, staunch UNC-Chapel Hill alumna, a capella vocalist, promoter of Richmond County motorsports, etc., etc., etc. ... She truly amazes me!

Melanie is an inspiration and a phenomenal role model for our seven-year-old daughter, Madison, and for other young women. (Of course, I'm naturally biased on this point. But, hey, I ought to know, right? Facts are facts.)

To learn more and read about her selection by the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce, click on this link. Melanie received the surprising news of her nomination and selection while waiting for our daughter at the school bus stop several days ago. Here is an excerpt from the Richmond County Daily Journal:

“I had no idea I’d been nominated, I was absolutely speechless when she called,” Goodwin said. “I am honored beyond words and deeply humbled that I would have been nominated and selected.” ...

Since making her home in Richmond County Goodwin has served as president of the Democratic Women of Richmond County, president of the Richmond County Junior Women’s Club, served on the Arts Council board, First United Methodist Church women’s circle, served on the founding board of the Christian Closet, was vice chair of what is now New Horizons and was a board of commissioners appointee to the Sandhills Area Mental Health Board.

“When I opened my practice in Hamlet after finishing law school, my husband was in the state house and he loved the community and I wanted to learn about and become a part of it,” Goodwin explained. “The best way to do that was to get involved with as many things as possible and it quickly became my home.”

“This is a great place to be and raise a family,” she added. “There are a lot of wonderful things about Richmond County. People here are good people. I’ve been proud to serve them in whatever capacity.”

Goodwin has served in the N.C. House of Representatives for three terms and she [said] the experience has opened her eyes.

“My time in the House has enlarged my view of the people and the human condition,” she said. “It’s helped me empathize with people across the district who don’t have the same life situations as I do. It’s helped me advocate for those without a voice in the political process and it’s been an incredible experience that has absolutely changed my life.”

In 2007 Goodwin made the biggest jump in effectiveness in the state house and moved up from 73rd to 31st.

Goodwin said she’s not sure what she’ll do when her term is up, but that she’ll likely find something to get involved in.

“I’m sure I’ll find another cause to embrace and opportunity to advocate,” she said. “Even before law school I’ve always been a woman’s advocate and have always been passionate about that. I’m sure I’ll find something.”

Goodwin said she’s not sure who nominated her, but she’s incredibly honored.

“It’s such a tremendous honor for a community I care about so much and have invested so much of myself in,” Goodwin said.

In a press release from the chamber, board of director’s chairman Marchell Adams-David said, “Melanie has worked tirelessly for the betterment of our community during her tenure in the N.C. House. Her tenacity and work ethic is to be applauded, and what a wonderful way for our community to say thank you to her for her years of dedicated public service.”
The recognition ceremony will take place next month, at 6:30 pm on January 28th, at Cole Auditorium, Richmond Community College campus, in Hamlet, North Carolina.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Don't Unwrap A Holiday Hazard This Christmas, Says Insurance Commissioner Goodwin

Emergency rooms see approximately 217,000 toy-related injuries each year. But the good news is tragedies from toys are most often injuries and not deaths. On average, only 15 children younger than 14 die from toy-related injuries each year according to Safe Kids USA. Choking on small parts is the most frequent cause of toy-related death.

"This holiday season, parents and caregivers should keep toy safety at the top of their shopping list," said Insurance Commissioner and Safe Kids N.C. State Chair, Wayne Goodwin. "Remind grandparents and other gift-givers that the right toy must be age-appropriate."

Toy Safety Tips

Stay up-to-date on toy recalls; sign up for e-mail alerts from the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site.

If you buy or receive second-hand toys, check the CPSC's Web site to see if they are recalled.

Buy only age-appropriate toys. Toys with small parts (should be clearly marked) are not safe for children under 3.

Don't allow children under 3 to play with toys that belong to an older sibling and have small parts.

If you aren't sure whether a small part is a choking hazard, place the part into an empty toilet paper roll. If it fits, the toy is not safe for small children.

Always remove and discard the packaging from a toy before giving it to a baby or small child.

Check old and new toys regularly for damage such as sharp edges or small broken parts. Make any repairs or throw away the damaged toy.

Always supervise children at play.

Remember the number of toys recalled is a fraction of the 3 billion toys sold in the United States every year. Most toys on the market are considered safe and with some supervision and attention to age restrictions, everyone can have a safe and happy holiday season.

Safe Kids N.C. reaches out to parents, caregivers and children in 58 counties served by 36 coalitions across the state. Through these coalitions and partnerships, more than 6 million people have access to Safe Kids N.C. programming.

For more information, visit the Safe Kids NC Web site at either here or www.ncsafekids.org.

"Don't unwrap a holiday hazard," said Insurance Commissioner Goodwin. "Play it safe and smart by protecting kids from dangerous toys."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

An Urgent Message for North Carolina Medicare Recipients: Deadline Nears to Change Your Rx Plan

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin wants to remind the state's 1.3 million Medicare recipients that the Medicare Part D annual election period started Nov. 15, and will continue through the end of this year.

"The enrollment period has begun, so now Medicare recipients have approximately three more weeks to review their current coverage and make a decision about which plan to choose for the upcoming year," said Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. "North Carolinians have many prescription drug plans from which to choose - so many in fact, that the decision-making process can be daunting. Before you make any changes, call SHIIP at the Department of Insurance. We can help you understand your options."
The Department's SHIIP Division, or the Seniors' Health Insurance Information Program, employs trained staff who can answer questions about Medicare Part D.

Commissioner Goodwin also reminds Medicare recipients that financial assistance with Medicare Part D expenses may be available. "North Carolina has more than 80,000 people on Medicare who could be receiving Medicare's Low-Income Subsidy (Extra Help Program) benefits, but have not yet signed up. My staff at SHIIP can help you determine if you're eligible for this extra help and assist you in the application process. Call SHIIP today."

For the coming year, North Carolina will have 47 prescription drug plans (PDPs) available to Medicare beneficiaries, and 20 companies will administer the plans. Some existing plans also have changed their prescription formularies, monthly premiums and deductibles. [Click here for a link to the chart of the most current Part D companies and PDPs.]

For questions about Medicare Part D's annual election period, PDPs or other Medicare products, call SHIIP at 1-800-443-9354 or visit the SHIIP Web site.