Sunday, January 17, 2010
Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Arthur Laupus joined AARP because he thought the nonprofit senior-citizen-advocacy group would make his retirement years easier. He signed up for an auto insurance policy endorsed by AARP, believing the advertising that said he would save money.
He didn’t. When Laupus, 71, compared his car insurance rate with a dozen other companies, he found he was paying twice the average. Why? One reason, he learned, was because AARP was taking a cut out of his premium before sending the money to Hartford Financial Services Group, the provider of the coverage.
Laupus stumbled onto something that many members of the world’s largest seniors’ organization don’t know: The group, formerly called American Association of Retired Persons, collects hundreds of millions of dollars annually from insurers who pay for AARP’s endorsement of their policies.
The insurance companies build the cost of these so-called royalties and fees, which amounted to $497.6 million in 2007, into the premiums they charge AARP members, according to AARP’s consolidated financial statement for that year.
AARP uses the royalties and fees to fund about half the expenses that pay for activities such as publishing brochures about health care and consumer fraud -- as well as for paying down the $200 million bond debt that funded the association’s marble and brass-studded Washington headquarters.
In addition, AARP holds clients’ insurance premiums for as long as a month and invests the money, which added $40.4 million to its revenue in 2007.
"There's an inherent conflict of interest....They're ending up becoming very dependent on sources of income." - Former AARP Executive Marilyn Moon, quoted in Bloomberg article.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it was investigating Humana for providing "misleading" information regarding the Administration's proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage policies-and prohibited other Medicare Advantage plans from providing similar information on how Democrat health "reform" could take away their current coverage.
Yet the Administration's edict prohibiting plans from communicating with their beneficiaries failed to include AARP, which sponsors a Medicare Advantage plan but has been a prime advocate of Democrats' government takeover of health care-quite possibly because AARP has been supporting a health care overhaul from which it stands to gain overall handsomely.
Even as AARP advocates for cutting Medicare Advantage plans by more than $150 billion, an analysis of the organization's operations reveals that it stands to receive tens of millions of dollars at the expense of seniors' medical care-with Democrats' full approval:
** The Congressional Budget Office has previously estimated that the cuts to Medicare Advantage plans proposed in Democrats' government takeover of health care (H.R. 3200) would cause millions of seniors to lose their current plan and enroll in government-run Medicare.
** Because the government-run Medicare benefit is less generous than most private health plans, the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission found in June that more than nine in ten seniors not in nursing home settings utilize some form of Medicare supplemental insurance.
** While many of these individuals currently rely on Medicare Advantage plans for the extra benefits they provide to seniors, many would be forced to purchase supplemental Medigap policies should their existing Medicare Advantage plans be taken away from them due to Democrats' government takeover of health care.
** A review of its financial statements finds that in 2008, AARP received more than half a billion dollars in revenue from selling products like Medigap supplemental insurance policies-$652.7 million in direct "royalties and fees," and an increase of more than 31 percent from the $497.6 million in similar revenue AARP generated in 2007.
** Royalty revenues now comprise more than half-60.3 percent-of all AARP revenues; a Bloomberg news analysis published in December found that in 1999, royalties comprised only 11 percent of the organization's total revenues.
** The Bloomberg article-which highlighted what one observer called AARP's "dirty little secret"-profiled seniors who felt betrayed after paying hundreds of dollars above market price for AARP-branded coverage. One noted that "AARP has great buying power, and people should be able to get the best deal....This is unconscionable, what AARP has allowed to happen."
Another disillusioned senior wrote to the organization's leadership asking whether AARP had a "‘special relationship' with (insurance carriers) by which it receives commissions, incentives, rebates, or dare I say ‘kickbacks?'"-and when he arrived at AARP headquarters for a tour, was promptly escorted out of the marble-covered atrium.
** While H.R. 3200 would place strict price controls on Medicare Advantage plans-requiring them to pay out 85 percent of premium revenues in medical claims-Medigap policies face a far less strict 65 percent requirement. In other words, under the Democrat bill, seniors could pay as much as 20 cents more out of every premium dollar to fund "kickbacks" to AARP-sponsored Medigap plans than Medicare Advantage plans.
The higher prices charged by AARP plans and the organization's increasing dependence upon revenue from "royalties," provide tangible evidence why AARP would support cuts to Medicare Advantage that would likely increase their "kickbacks" from Medigap plans. However, it does not answer several key questions:
** Given the myriad new layers of insurance regulation included in Democrats' government takeover of health care, why does the legislation not include a single provision attempting to impose any new restrictions on Medigap policies?
** Did Democrats "forget" to protect seniors-or were they informed that AARP could not support legislation that would limit its lucrative revenue source?
** Similarly, did CMS "forget" to include AARP among the organizations whose First Amendment rights to inform seniors of harmful Medicare provisions were restricted-or did the Administration only wish to silence its critics, and not outside organizations using "kickbacks" to fund advertising in support of the Democrat agenda?
These questions hint at a more fundamental query: With seniors believing that AARP is "making money on the backs of old people," who should believe that the organization is looking out for seniors' interests and not its own?
That's it for now. More soon.
Stay Tuned !
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Name:______________ Stage name: ________________Agent:______________ Attorney:__________________
Sex: ___male ___female ___formerly male ___formerly female ___bothIf female, indicate breast implant size: ____Will the size of your implants hinder your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle in any way? Yes___ No ___ Please list brand of cell phone: ________. If you don't own a cell phone, please explain:________________________ Please check hair color: Females: [ ] Blonde [ ] Platinum BlondeTeenagers: [ ] Purple [ ] Blue [ ] Skinhead Please check activities you perform while driving: (Check all that apply)
[ ] Eating [ ] Applying make-up [ ] Talking on the phone [ ] Slapping kids in the back-seat [ ] Applying cellulite treatment to thighs [ ] Tanning [x] Snorting cocaine (already checked for ease of application) [ ] Watching TV[ ] Reading Variety [ ] Surfing the net via laptop
Please indicate how many times:
a) you expect to shoot at other drivers ____
b) how many times you expect to be shot at while driving ____
If you are the victim of a car jacking, you should immediately:
a) Call the police to report the crime
b) Call Channel 4 News to report the crime, then watch your car on the news in a high-speed chase
c) Call your attorney and discuss lawsuit against cellular phone company for 911 call not going through
d) Call your therapist
e) None of the above (South Central residents only)
In the event of an earthquake, should you:
a) stop your car
b) keep driving and hope for the best
c) immediately use your cell phone to call all loved ones
d) pull out your video camera and obtain footage for Channel 4
In the instance of rain, you should:
a) decelerate by 5 mph
b) drive twice as fast as usual
c) you're not sure what "rain" is
Please indicate number of therapy sessions per week: ____.
Are you presently taking any of the following medications?
If none, please explain: __________________.
Length of daily commute:
a) 1 hour
b) 2 hours
c) 3 hours
d) 4 hours or more
When stopped by police, should you:
a) pull over and have your driver's license and insurance form ready
b) try to outrun them by driving the wrong way on the 405 Freeway
c) have your video camera ready and provoke them to attack, thus ensuring yourself of a hefty lawsuit.
A Georgia State Trooper pulled a car over on I-95 about 2 miles south of the Georgia/South Carolina state line. When the Trooper asked the driver why he was speeding, the driver answered that he was a magician and a juggler and he was on his way to Savannah to do a show that night at the Shrine Circus and didn't want to be late.
The Trooper told the driver he was fascinated by juggling, and if the driver would do a little juggling for him that he wouldn't give him a ticket. The driver told the Trooper that he had sent all of his equipment on ahead and didn't have anything to juggle. The Trooper told him that he had some flares in the trunk of his patrol car and asked if he could juggle them. The juggler stated that he could, so the Trooper got three flares, lit them and handed them to the juggler.
While the man was doing his juggling act, a car pulled in behind the patrol car. A drunk good old boy got out and watched the performance briefly, he then went over to the patrol car, opened the rear door and got in. The Trooper observed him doing this and went over to the patrol car, opened the door and asked the drunk what he thought he was doing. The drunk replied, "You might as well take my ass to jail, cause there's no way in hell I can pass that test."
That's it for now. More soon.
Stay Tuned !
Friday, January 1, 2010
2010 will hopefully be more prosperous and healthy for all. Assuming that the economy rebounds this year, I'm sure that everyone looks forward to better times.
As for the White House and Congress, I hope that they can get through 2010 without screwing the American public as little as possible. For those of you who are interested, I am starting a write-in campaign to have Dr. Jack Kevorkian nominated as the White House and Congressional physician.
For your New Year's dining and dancing pleasure I give you the following scenario for your consideration and comments:
You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, a dangerous looking man with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, raises the knife, and charges. You are carrying a Glock 45 and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family. What do you do?
Well, that's not enough information to answer the question! Does the man look poor or oppressed? Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack? Could we run away? What does my wife think? What about the kids? Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand?
What does the law say about this situation? Does the Glock have appropriate safety built into it? Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children? Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me?
Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me? If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me? Should I call 9-1-1? Why is this street so deserted?
We need to raise taxes, have a paint and weed day and make this a happier, healthier street that would discourage such behavior. This is all so confusing! I need to debate this with some friends for a few days and try to come to a consensus.
Southerner's Answer:BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
click....(sounds of reloading).
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! click.
Daughter: "Nice grouping, Daddy! Were those the Winchester Silver Tips?
That's it for now my little sharpshooters. Have a great day and more soon!Stay Tuned!