Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Massive Airbag Recall

34 Million Vehicles Recalled Due 

To Potentially Faulty Airbags

Unless you've been hiding in caves for the last week, you have probably heard about the huge recall, affecting some 34 million automobiles equipped with certain Takata airbags.  The reason?  There is a danger of the airbags exploding... something you'd probably like to avoid.

While you may be notified by the manufacturer that your vehicle is being recalled, that could take some time, and there is a relatively simple way to find out if yours is among the 34 million. 

  1. Locate your car's VIN
    1. Your VIN is the unique identification for your vehicle and contains 17 alphanumeric characters. It may be found on your state vehicle registration, vehicle insurance, or on the vehicle itself – on the driver's side dashboard at the bottom of the windshield or on the driver's side doorjamb. Your VIN will not include the letter “i” or the letter “o”, but may include the number “1” or the number “0.”
  2. Go to this web site:  
  3. Click on the line at the left that says VIN Lookup
  4. Enter your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) in the space provided, type in the "Captcha" and click "Submit" (Note: Because you may be asked to enter this number again, it is a good idea to highlight the VIN and either right-click with your mouse and click on Copy, or Ctrl-C, which does the same thing, BEFORE clicking on "Submit."  You can then simply paste the number later on, if necessary, by right-clicking and selecting Paste, or Ctrl-V.)
  5. View results
    1. Note:  Depending on the demands of the site, instead of seeing immediate results, you may be directed to select the manufacturer, where you will again be asked to enter the VIN.  
    2. After doing this, a page should appear detailing all open recalls for your vehicle.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Your Health Insurance Stops at the Border

Attention:  Your Health Insurance, Even For Those On Medicare, 

Does NOT Cover You Outside the United States

Will you be traveling outside the U.S. in the next 12 months? Make sure your health insurance goes with you. Nearly every health insurance plan, including Medicare and Medicare Supplements, stops at the border.

Here are some expenses you could encounter if you get sick or injured outside the United States.

Non-covered services average cost*:

  • Medical Evacuation                     $10,000  to  $100,000+
  • Political Evacuation                    $  1,000  to  $ 10,000
  • Repatriation                               $  6,000  to  $ 50,000
  • Return of Mortal Remains            $  4,000  to  $ 10,000+
  • Returning of Minor Children         $    500   to  $  2,000
 *MASA – Medical Air Services Association

Okay, so that looks like a bunch of technical terms. Here's the main thing you need to know: If you get sick or injured when you are outside the U.S., your health insurance will more than likely not cover your expense. At best, it will only be a reimbursement. In other words, the foreign doctor / hospital will make you pay out of your own pocket before you get treatment.  Then it would be up to you to try and get your insurance company to reimburse you for the expense.

If you want or need to be transported back to a hospital near your home, it will easily be over $10,000 and could end up costing you over $100,000!

That's the bad news. The good news is that you can get great coverage that will pay for such things and it won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Bottom line: find out before you go -- call our office today. 800-482-6426, or get a free quote by going to the following addresses:

For those who are enrolled in Medicare:

For those who are NOT Enrolled in Medicare:

Monday, February 16, 2015


Unless you have been hiding in a cave for the past few months, you are aware of the recent measles outbreak in the U.S., not to mention the controversy over whether or not families should be forced to vaccinate their children.  You probably have your own opinion about that topic, as do many people, but I came across some information that I wanted to share with you.

The Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology (CADE), within the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), publishes a weekly update and the one issued on February 13, 2015 contains a lot of useful information.

Source: Iowa Department of Public Health

EPI Update for Friday, February 13, 2015
Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology (CADE)
Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH)

Items for this week’s EPI Update include:
  • MMR vaccination recommendations
  • Measles update
  • Ebola update
  • Meeting announcements and training opportunities

MMR vaccination recommendations
Two doses of MMR are required for elementary and secondary school entry in Iowa. The first dose can be given at 12 months of age and the second dose can be administered as soon as 28 days later (however the second dose is usually administered as part of the kindergarten shots given between 4-6 years of age). Generally, persons who started elementary school in Iowa after 1991 and were up-to-date on all school entry vaccine requirements have received two doses of MMR vaccine.

It is recommended that adults born in 1957 or later receive at least one documented dose of MMR vaccine, or have laboratory confirmation of immunity or disease, in order to be considered fully immunized. It is further recommended for adults in that age category who plan international travel or are students in a post-secondary institution to receive a second dose to be considered fully immunized.

It is assumed that persons born in the U.S. prior to 1957 were likely infected with the measles virus and therefore have presumptive immunity. For adults born prior to 1957, 2 doses of MMR are recommended if they plan to travel internationally.

All healthcare providers, regardless of year of birth, should have 2 documented doses of MMR vaccine, proof of immunity (positive IgG result on serology), or laboratory confirmation of disease.

Killed measles vaccine, or vaccine of unknown type, administered between 1963 and 1967 did not provide long lasting protection and those doses should not count as valid doses. Anyone with doses of measles vaccine documented during that timeframe should be revaccinated.

Vaccination in those who have already had measles or have already received the recommended vaccination is not harmful; it only boosts immunity. Therefore, if someone is unable to verify prior vaccination or history of illness, it would be appropriate to vaccinate the individual.

Measles update
As of today, NO cases of measles have been identified in Iowa. So far this year, 121 confirmed cases of measles have been identified in 17 states and Washington D.C.

Confirmed cases of measles have been identified in states surrounding Iowa including: Illinois (three), Minnesota (one), Nebraska (two), and South Dakota (two). None of the recent cases have reported travel to Iowa during their infectious periods. Nevertheless, public health and hospital partners in Iowa are encouraged to share IDPH measles updates and the information below with local medical providers. For additional information about measles activity in the U.S., visit

Please contact IDPH immediately to report all suspected measles cases. To reach IDPH during business hours call 800-362-2736 and after hours call 515-323-4360 (the Iowa State Patrol will contact the person on call).

Ebola update
There are no cases of Ebola in Iowa. No persons in Iowa are being tested for Ebola. This week there are six travelers who are considered to be at “low risk” of Ebola who is under a public health order to self-monitor for symptoms.
IDPH Ebola web page can be found at