Loera Family: A Parent’s Sacrifice–and Gift

Roberto Loera would do anything for his family. That included leaving his homeland of Mexico and living and working in Colorado so he could provide a better life for his wife, Maria, and two boys, Roberto Jr. and Abel. He spent years working in the ski resorts during high season, and traveling back to Mexico to be with his family during the downtime.

One of the proudest days of his life was when he received his citizenship, and it was just two weeks later that Roberto died at age 47.

Finally, he got word that his family’s visas had been approved. Roberto shared that joy with his insurance professional, Leila Martinez. She knew how long and hard he had worked for this opportunity and asked if he had thought about life insurance to protect this family’s financial future. Roberto was quick to understand how important this coverage was, given that Maria would not be working. He was able to put a policy in place for less than $20 a month.

Less than a year after the family was reunited, Roberto learned that the terrible headaches he was having were the result of a brain tumor. While doctors weren’t able to remove it completely, Roberto was able to return to work. However, just nine months later, he learned the tumor had reappeared and spread, and neither surgery nor treatment was effective. The doctors gave him only months to live.

One of the proudest days of his life was when he received his citizenship, and it was just two weeks later that Roberto died at age 47. The community that loved him gave the family the emotional support they needed. And Roberto’s life insurance policy gave them the financial support they also needed. It allowed Maria time to grieve and to give Roberto the funeral he deserved. It also paid medical bills and provided for day-to-day expenses while Maria looked for work. She also set money aside for Roberto Jr. and Abel’s college dreams. “Roberto’s life insurance was such a blessing,” says Maria. “It’s something every family should have.”


History of Part D

2003:  On December 8, 2003, President George W. Bush (R) signed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, later called the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which authorizes Medicare coverage of outpatient prescription drugs as well as a host of other changes to the program. This new program went into effect on January 1, 2006. The new drug assistance represents a major new federal entitlement for Medicare beneficiaries, who now spend an average of $2,322 per year on prescription drugs. The drug assistance and other provisions of the law are projected to cost taxpayers at least $395 billion, and possibly as much as $534 billion, over the next decade. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), one of the initiative’s chief negotiators and political investors, hailed its passage: 

“Today is a historic day and a momentous day. Seniors have waited 38 years for this prescription drug benefit to be added to the Medicare program. Today they are just moments away from the drug coverage they desperately need and deserve.”

Medicare Part D: or Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit is an optional United States federal-government program to help Medicare beneficiaries pay for self-administered prescription drugs through prescription drug insurance premiums.  

In the wake of this political breakthrough, public opinion on the final product was remarkably negative:

After years of fierce campaigning, lobbying, and legislating over the issue, a landmark agreement finally emerged in Congress this week to provide Medicare prescription drug benefits. Among the key stakeholders in the legislation, there were definite winners and losers. But the group that should have come out on top—America’s seniors—was reeling and confused at the prospect of limited help, while watching industry groups count their booty. In fact, members of Congress from both parties contended that some seniors struggling to pay for prescription drugs may actually end up worse off than they are now.

2004:  In fact, for many Medicare beneficiaries, the benefits of the new law are not so immediate or valuable. By mid-2004, the federal government authorized cards that could be used to obtain price discounts on prescription drug purchases and will offer a $600 credit to about 4.7 million low-income beneficiaries. 

2006:  In 2006 the full-fledged program is scheduled to begin. At that time, more than 40 million beneficiaries will have the following options: (1) they may keep any private prescription drug coverage they currently have; (2) they may enroll in a new, freestanding prescription drug plan; or (3) they may obtain drug coverage by enrolling in a Medicare managed care plan. Medicare will subsidize the cost of coverage for about 14 million low-income beneficiaries. Other beneficiaries will face significant gaps in coverage and, as a result, will still be liable for up to $3,600 or more in annual expenses.

The week of the signing:

In a poll taken in the week that President Bush signed the new Medicare law, 47% of senior citizens opposed the changes, and only 26% voiced their approval. Among people of all ages who said they were closely following the Medicare debate, 56% said they disapproved of the legislation, and 39 percent approved. Their disappointment reflected high expectations as well as the upside-down politics that produced the new reforms:

Even before Bush’s ink on the bill was dry, the two political parties prepared to make the issue a focus of the 2004 elections. Bush, who defied conservatives in the Republican Party by backing a massive increase in a federal program long championed by Democrats, heralded the act as a strengthening of “compassionate government.” And Democrats, calling the legislation inadequate and harmful to many seniors, drafted substantially more generous prescription drug coverage and vowed to “take back our Medicare.”

When observers look back at 2003, they will wonder why it took 38 years to authorize Medicare coverage for such a critical component of modern medicine. Why did political leaders finally agree to address this gap in coverage, at this time, and why was that agreement so fraught with controversy? Why did the new outpatient drug benefits under Medicare take the form they did? What issues remain for policymakers to confront in the future? 





By:    Laura R. Lucas

Life/Health/Medicare Insurance Agent


Navigating and Understanding Low-Income Subsidies (LIS)

By: Laura R. Lucas, Life/Health/Medicare Insurance Agent 06/13/2019

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in the United States that are living below the poverty level. Once you open your eyes, it can be shocking just how many you see and, sometimes, the conditions they are living in. These people deserve medical care and medicine just like anyone else. That is why Low-Income Subsidies came about. This allows people to access their much-needed medication without fear of giving up a meal in order to do it.

First, you must prove you have Medicaid and will still qualify for it in the future. To do that you need:

  • A copy of your Medicaid card (if you have one).
  • A copy of a state document that shows you have Medicaid.
  • A print-out from a state electronic enrollment file that shows you have Medicaid.
  • A screen print from your state’s Medicaid systems that shows you have Medicaid.
  • Any other document from your state that shows you have Medicaid.

All Medicare companies honor these rules. Below is an example of how it works when you go to the drug store.

Low-income subsidies and middle-income help

One option for those struggling with drug costs is the low-income subsidy. Beneficiaries with income below 150% of the poverty line are eligible for the low-income subsidy, which helps pay for all or part of the monthly premium, annual deductible and co-pays. CMS estimated that 12.5 million Part D beneficiaries were eligible for low-income subsidies in 2009.[3]

The subsidy award is given a level with the following effects for the 2013 benefit year:[citation needed]

Level Deductible Generic Copay Brand Copay Catastrophic Coverage
1 $0 $2.65 $6.60 $0 copays on all meds
2 $0 $1.15 $3.50 $0 copays on all meds
3 $0 $0 $0 $0 copays on all meds
4 $66 max 15% 15% $2.65 Generic & $6.60 Brand copays

Probably the most important benefit of Social Security Extra Help/LIS other than “free” is the fact that the beneficiary has no exposure to “donut hole” costs and can change plans monthly.

If you get Extra Help then you were reviewed by Social Security. This notice tells you whether you still qualify for Extra Help in the coming year. If you have any questions, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Or for more information go to www.ssa.gov. You will see a dark blue bar at the bottom of the screen saying: ‘Apply for Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs. At the bottom of the page is a button that says: ‘Apply Now.’ Click on that link and begin the process yourself.

Easter Traditions – Past & Present – The Message Remains!

By Sherry Allen


About 7 decades ago, when I was a little girl growing up in Oklahoma City, my favorite memories were of going with Mother to buy eggs and the dye with which to decorate them.  And then we were off to buy my new Easter Sunday dress clothes. When we returned home, Mother and I would decorate all our eggs together. We had dye all over the kitchen and had filled every bowl in the kitchen with different colors!  Some time during the evening, all those eggs would mysteriously be hidden in the back yard. I guessed that the Easter Bunny came into the kitchen & moved them all out there & hid them for me & my cousins to find at the Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday afternoon after church.  What a great time we had finding all those eggs! I still remember the squeals of excitement each time we found one!


To this day, I still don’t quite understand how the Easter Bunny and those eggs are associated with our risen Lord!  But then I thought: Spring is the season of rejuvenation, rejoicing and renewal and provides a basketful of new promises and gifts.


Nature discards its weary winter look to wear a brand-new outfit. The blooming flowers bring back the beauty of plant life on earth. Can there be a better day for fun and fiesta? To have your family reunited? Friendship and love renewed? And feelings shared?

Since I still have a lot of questions regarding this holiday, I decided to further investigate.  Here is what I found out about the history of Easter.


Easter is a festival of overwhelming joy. The joy that celebrates life. Or, rather, the victory of life over death.  It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, from His tomb.


Easter week is the holiest week for Christians, and each day of this week is special. It starts with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter Sunday. The holy period of Lent covers it all. 


Easter is one of the holiest Christian occasions. It is celebrated by Christians across the world. However, the fun-filled air of the event has caught on with the kids across the globe, and frequently it is seen celebrated by people of other faiths too.  


The origins of Easter date to the beginnings of Christianity, and it is probably the oldest Christian observance after the Sabbath (observed on Saturday). Many of the cultural historians find the celebration of Easter as a convergence of three traditions-Pagan, Hebrew and Christian. It is said that the early Christian Passover (Pascha) was a unitive celebration in memory of the passion-death-resurrection of Jesus. The Easter celebration became a holiday to honor Christ that remains today.

It was during this Passover in 30 AD that Christ was crucified under the order of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate because the Jewish high priests accused Jesus of “blasphemy”. The resurrection came three days later, on the Easter Sunday. The early Christians, many of them being brought up in Jewish tradition regarded Easter as a new feature of the Pascha (Passover). It was observed in memory of the advent of the Messiah, as foretold by the prophets.


At the same time many of the pagan spring rites came to be a part of its celebration. The Feast of Easter was well established by the second century.


The English name “Easter” is much newer. When the early English Christians wanted others to accept Christianity, they decided to use the name Easter for this holiday so that it would match the name of the old spring celebration. It was thought that this made it more comfortable for other people to accept Christianity.


Easter did not enjoy the status of a popular festival among the early settlers in America because most of them were Puritans or members of Protestant Churches who had little use for the ceremonies of any religious festivals. 


It wasn’t until the period of the Civil War that the message and meaning of Easter began to be expressed as it had been in Europe. It was due to the Presbyterians’ belief that due to all the scars of death and destruction that this holiday would lead people back to the story of resurrection as a great source of inspiration and renewed hope.


Now to my burning question:  Why the Easter bunny & eggs?? The bountiful Easter bunnies have become the most favorite Easter symbol. It is both universal and secular in its appeal, and it relates to Easter historically.  But it is the hare, and not the rabbit, that should be treated as the true symbol of Easter. This is based on the legend that says that the hare never closes its eyes, not even for a single blink!  And hares were beloved by the ancient Egyptians because they were believed to be watching the full moon through opened eyes throughout the night.

Also, the hare and eggs have been associated with the Anglo-Saxon spring goddess Eostre. Possibly, this is because they both were regarded to be emblems of fertility.


The German immigrants, who brought in most of the Teutonic Easter traditions here, made rabbits (not hares) popular among the non-German kids. The German children used to have rabbit’s nests filled with decorated eggs. They also used to build nests that looked so attractive that even the non-German kids demanded such gifts on the Easter.


Now for the “decorated eggs” question.  In Christian times, the egg was a symbol of new life just as a chick might hatch from the egg.


In Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent as well as other traditional fast days. During the strict Lenten fast of forty days, no eggs were eaten. The Easter egg tradition may have celebrated the end of the privations of Lent. Eggs were a mainstay of Easter meals, and a prized Easter gift for children and servants. And this is probably the reason why eggs came to be associated with Easter.


In Europe, most all believed in using the egg as a symbol of the regenerative forces of nature. Later during the Christian period, it was believed that eggs laid on Good Friday, if kept for a hundred years, would have their yolks turn to diamond. If Good Friday eggs were cooked on Easter, they would promote the fertility of the trees and crops and protect against sudden deaths. And, if you would find two yolks in an Easter egg, be sure, you’re going to be rich soon. 


The egg is said to be symbolic of the grave and life renewed by breaking out of it. An Orthodox tradition related with Easter celebrations is the presenting of red colored eggs to friends while giving Easter greetings. The red symbolizes the blood of Christ redeeming the world, represented by the egg, and our regeneration through the blood shed for us by Christ. The egg itself is a symbol of the Resurrection. While dormant, it contains a new life sealed within it.


There are more Easter symbols and many more traditions throughout the world…too numerous to cover here.  Though all this history and these traditions are fascinating, the fact remains that this special holiday’s main purpose is to honor our risen Lord and to celebrate the creation of a new life in Him!  Let’s never forget that this is a time for celebrating, with our family and friends, the abundance of blessings, love and joy in our lives. And, above all else, remember the extreme sacrifice our Lord made to provide all these blessings to all who trust and believe in Him!


May the Risen Christ bring you and your family abundant happiness!  Have a blessed Easter!




Penalties For Driving Without Insurance

Just as every state varies on its liability insurance or other financial responsibility requirements for drivers, every state also varies on its penalties for driving without meeting those requirements.

However, one thing’s for certain: Driving without insurance or proof that you’ve met your state’s financial responsibility requirements brings steep and pricey repercussions.

As stated above, penalties for driving without insurance vary from state to state; however, a few of the most common penalties include:

  • Having your driver’s license suspended.
  • Having your vehicle registration suspended.
  • Receiving a traffic ticket for a no insurance violation. This is in addition to the traffic ticket(s) you receive for the original reason you were pulled over.
    • Depending on the officer and where you receive the ticket, you might be able to have the ticket dismissed if you can show proof of insurance within a certain time period following the date of the citation; however, this generally only applies if you really did have coverage at the time of the traffic stop and just happened―for whatever reason―to not have your insurance card with you.
  • Meeting SR-22 requirements.
    • Some states might only impose this if you cause an accident while driving without insurance; others may impose it simply for driving uninsured.
  • Hefty fines. In addition to meeting other requirements, you’ll have to pay to have your license and registration reinstated. Plus, you’ll have to cover the traffic ticket fines.
  • Increased future insurance premiums.

Keep in mind, these are just a few of the most common penalties for driving without current car insurance. Check with your state’s DMV for specific details.

While the legal penalties are very serious when it comes to driving without car insurance you face even greater risk when you’ve been in an accident.

If you cause damage or injury to yourself you obviously face the cost of dealing with those, and they can be high. However, if you were to cause injuries or property damage to another person(s), you could be held liable for those costs. The other driver can sue you for damages.

If you don’t have the amount of money to cover their costs, your assets could be taken, e.g., your home.

The risk of driving without insurance is far too great. While the costs of premiums may seem high, consider the hit your finances could take if something happened while you were uninsured.

You can avoid the hassle and financial burden of being caught without auto insurance if you avoid allowing your car insurance policy to lapse. The most obvious way to do this is to pay your premium on time.

Some tips to ensure prompt payment include:

  • Paying premiums annually. If you pay your car insurance premiums annually, rather than monthly, you don’t have to worry about making payments for an entire year.
  • Utilizing automatic payment options. If your provider allows them, automatic debit card, credit card, or electronic funds transfers (EFTs) are great options. They eliminate the possibility of forgetting to make payments.

No matter how you choose to pay your premiums, be sure to understand your car insurance provider’s policy on late payments. Some companies offer a grace period (which could range from 24 hours to 30 days), and others stop your coverage as soon as your payment becomes late.

If you want to cancel your auto insurance―due to selling your car, having a seasonal vehicle, or switching providers―then cancel it. And, be sure to tell the DMV.

You need to be deliberate in your cancellation. If you discontinue payment but don’t actually cancel your policy, you may face harsh consequences.

For example, some states require insurance companies to notify the DMV when a policyholder no longer has coverage with them. If this happens before you notify the DMV yourself, you could face all the penalties of having no insurance for a registered vehicle.

Remember, insurance is necessary and is typically required by law. Make sure you always have proof of insurance when you drive. And if you have to cancel your policy for some reason, make sure you take the appropriate steps to do so and set up a new policy right away if you plan to drive.

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