How to Choose a Medicare Supplemental Policy

I plan to enroll in original Medicare in a few months and have been told I probably need to get a Medicare supplemental policy too. Can you offer any tips on selecting one?

If you are enrolling in original Medicare, getting a supplemental policy ("Medigap insurance") is a smart decision because it will help pay for things that are not covered by Medicare. Medigap insurance policies may cover copayments, coinsurance and the Part A deductible. Here are some tips to help you choose an appropriate plan.

Medigap Plans

In all but three states (Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin), Medigap plans, which are sold by private health insurers, are available to new enrollees in eight different standardized plans. These plans are labeled with the letters A, B, D, G, K, L, M and N, with two more, C and F, which are only available to those eligible for Medicare before 2020.

Plan G is the most popular policy among new enrollees because it is the most comprehensive range of coverage. Monthly premiums for Plan G typically range between $100 and $300, depending on your age and the state you reside in. If that is more than you are willing to pay, there are also high-deductible plans that have lower premiums but impose higher out-of-pocket costs.

For more information on the different types of plans and coverage details, including Medigap options in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, go to and type in "choosing a medigap policy" in the keyword box, and download their 2022 guide. You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE and ask them to mail you a copy.

How to Choose

To pick a Medigap policy that works best for you, consider your health, family medical history and your budget. The differences among plans can be small and rather confusing.

To help you choose, visit and type in your ZIP code. This will give you a list of the plans available in your area, including the price range, name and contact information of companies that sell them. To get specific pricing information, you will need to contact the carriers directly or call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.

It is required by law that Medigap policies with the same letter must cover the exact same benefits, you should shop for the cheapest policy.

You will get the best price if you sign up within six months after enrolling in Medicare Part B. During this open-enrollment period, an insurer cannot refuse to sell you a policy or charge you more because of your health.

Medigap policies are usually sold as either: "community-rated" where everyone in an area is charged the same premium regardless of age; "issue-age-rated" that is based on your age when you buy the policy, but will only increase due to inflation, not age and "attained-age-rated," that starts with low premium but increase as you age. Community-rate and issue-age-rated policies are the best options because they will save you money in the end. You can buy the plan directly from an insurance company or you can work with a reputable insurance broker.

Drug Coverage

You should also be aware that Medigap policies do not cover prescription drugs, so if you do not have drug coverage, you will need to buy a separate Medicare Part D drug plan too. See to compare plans. Also, note that Medigap plans do not cover vision, dental care, hearing aids or long-term care.

Alternative Option

Instead of getting original Medicare, plus a Medigap policy and a separate Part D drug plan, you may want to consider a Medicare Advantage plan (see that provides all-in-one coverage. These plans, which are sold by insurance companies, are generally available through HMOs and PPOs that require you to get your care within a network of doctors.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.


Published June 10, 2022

WCCF Offers Non-Profit Board Training

Washington County Community Foundation realizes that board training for small non-profit organizations can be difficult to schedule or plan for on a tight budget.   We also recognize that a great Board of Directors is critical to a nonprofit organization’s success.  We want you and your organization to be successful.  Therefore, we are offering a great opportunity for you and your Board of Directors to receive high quality board training right here in Washington County through the Community Foundation Research and Training Institute.  

Members of Boards of Directors are invited to the training event on September 16, 2022, at the Community Learning Center at 1707 N. Shelby Street in Salem.  Our guest presenter is David Bennett.  David served as the Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne for 22 years.  During his tenure, the assets of the Community Foundation grew from $28 million to over $150 million, and he helped position the Foundation as a trusted community leader.

David formed the Community Foundation Research and Training Institute (CFRTI) in 2017.  CFRTI provides a variety of training opportunities for community foundations and nonprofit organizations, along with strategic planning facilitation and the preparation of organizational risk assessments.

Aside from overseeing the strategic planning process several times in Fort Wayne, he has served as the facilitator of the strategic planning process at the Parke County Community Foundation and the Johnson County Community Foundation. David also serves as a trainer for the Community Foundation Boot Camp course through the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, and as an instructor for the Finance Course offered through the Council on Foundations.

David is a life-long Hoosier.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Williams College, and a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University.   He currently resides in Grabill, Indiana.  David has been recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow.

This training is not mandatory; however, during our Spring and Fall competitive grant cycles, preference may be given to organizations that have had at least one board member attend the training. 

The cost to attend a session is $100.00 per person.  However, this fee will be refunded if the Board Member attends the entire session.  If a Board Member leaves early or does not show up, the registration fee will be retained by the Washington County Community Foundation. 

Registration deadline is September 3, 2022.  Register by calling 812-883-7334.

Washington County Community Foundation is a nonprofit public charity established in 1993 to serve donors, award grants, and provide leadership to improve Washington County forever


Is Skin Cancer Hereditary?

Is skin cancer hereditary? My 63-year-old sibling passed away from melanoma last year and I am wondering if I am at higher risk.

While long-term sun exposure and sunburns are the biggest risk factors for melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – having a sibling or parent with melanoma does indeed increase your risk, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Each year, around 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma and about 7,500 people will die from it. While anyone can get melanoma, those most often diagnosed are age 50 and older and of Caucasian descent. High-risk individuals include people with red or blond hair, blue or green eyes, fair skin, freckles, moles, a family history of skin cancer and those who had blistering sunburns in their youth.

Skin Exams

The best way to guard against melanoma and other skin cancers, such as basal and squamous cell carcinomas, is to protect yourself from the sun. Additionally, if you are over the age of 50, it is best to get a yearly, full-body skin exam done by a dermatologist, especially if you are high risk.

Self-examinations done every month or so may help detect early problems. Using mirrors check the front and backside of your entire body, including the tops and undersides of your arms, hands, between your toes, the soles of your feet, your neck, scalp and buttocks.

Be on the lookout for new growths, moles that have changed, or sores that do not heal, and follow the ABCDE rule when examining suspicious moles:
  • Asymmetry: One half of a mole doesn't match the other.
  • Border: The border is blurred or ragged.
  • Color: The mole has uneven colors, often shades of brown, tan or black, with patches of pink, red, white or blue.
  • Diameter: The lesion is new or at least a quarter inch in diameter.
  • Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape or color.
For more self-examination tips and pictures of what to look for, you can use your favorite search engine or use a skin cancer detection app. In the spring and summer, there are also a variety of places that offer free skin cancer screenings performed by volunteer dermatologists across the U.S.

Sun Protection

Although you cannot change your skin or family history, there are some proven strategies that can help protect against melanoma.

For starters, when you go outside, apply broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher, water-resistant sunscreen on both sunny and cloudy days. Check with your healthcare provider for the best type for your skin. Additionally, seek the shade when rays are most intense – generally between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

You can also protect your skin by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves and pants when possible. The best clothing options are tightly woven fabrics that help prevent the sun's rays from reaching your skin. You can wash your clothes in a laundry additive to provide invisible shield sun protection. You can buy a variety of lightweight clothing and hats that offer maximum UV protection in their fabric. Use your favorite search engine to look for these types of products.


If caught early, melanoma is curable. However, if it is not caught early, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. Standard early treatment for melanoma is surgical removal. In advanced cases, however, immunotherapies and targeted therapies have shown positive results, as well as chemotherapy and radiation.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.


Published June 3, 2022

How to Start a Walking Program and Stay Motivated


My doctor recently suggested I start a walking program to help get my weight and blood pressure under control. I do not exercise much, can you recommend helpful tips for staying active?

You should follow your doctor's orders. This column is not medical advice. It is an educational overview of the benefits of walking. Years of research have shown that walking may be one of the best exercises to improve your health as you age. It burns calories, which may help you lose weight, build endurance and enhance muscle tone. Walking is less likely to aggravate your joints as compared to other forms of exercise. It also helps improve or prevent many age-related health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, dementia and even depression.

Walking is one of the easiest and most convenient exercises and can be completely free. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes that fit well and a little motivation. Here are some things you should know to help get you started and stay motivated.

Getting Started

Start out slow. For many people this means head out the door, walk for five to ten minutes and walk back. Do it every day for a week. When that seems easy, add five minutes to your walks the next week and keep adding five minutes until you are walking as long as you desire. It is also a smart idea to start and finish your walk with a few simple warm up and cool down stretches. Stretching may make you feel better and help prevent injury.

Most fitness professionals recommend walking about 30 minutes, five or more days a week. For optimal health benefits aim for 10,000 steps per day, which is the equivalent of about five miles.

Your walking pace is also important. Strolling around the park or neighborhood at an easy pace is good for you. You may find that a brisker pace, which may look like an elevated heart rate while still being able to carry on a conversation, provides better health, fitness and weight loss benefits.

Staying Motivated

While starting a walking program takes initiative, sticking with it takes commitment. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated.

Find a walking buddy: Having a friend to walk with can provide motivation and support along with companionship.

Wear a fitness tracker or pedometer: Tracker devices can measure how far you have walked in steps and miles. It may provide motivation by spurring you to meet a particular goal and showing you how close you are to meeting it. If you use a smartphone there are free pedometer apps you can download.

Join a walking club: To find a walking club in your community, call your nearby medical center, mall, health club, senior center, running shoe stores or Area Agency on Aging to see if they sponsor or know of any clubs or groups. You can also use your favorite search engine to search for non-competitive walking clubs in your area. If you are not having any luck, you may want to start a walking club.

Keep a journal: Use a journal to keep track of your walking minutes, steps, or mileage and total it up at the end of each week to see your progress. There are free apps that use GPS to map your walk and measure your distance and time, which can be fun and motivating to see your end of week values and compare walking times.

Have a backup plan: Bad weather, allergies or other factors may limit your outdoor walking. It is wise to have a backup plan like walking at your local mall, buying a home treadmill or joining a health club.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.


Published May 27, 2022

Grand Opening for Heritage Park!

Join Washington County Community Foundation, Regional Opportunity Initiative, IU Center for Rural Engagement, IU ServeDesign Center, Adrienne Brooke Salon, the City of Salem and Hoosier Uplands at the grand opening celebration for Heritage Park! This event will be held at the park on June 2, 2022 from 4-5:30 in the evening. Heritage Park is located on South High St. by City Hall in Salem. There will be a short program beginning at 4:30 pm with light refreshments being served. We look forward to celebrating this beautiful park and all of the hard work that went into making it a great success for our community!

The mission of the Washington County Community Foundation is to engage people, build resources and strengthen our community.  Visit the website at and like the Foundation on Facebook. 

Heritage Park Receives Regional and National Acclaim!

Thanks to the Washington County Community Foundation donors, Regional Opportunities Initiative, IU ServeDesign Center and Hoosier Uplands, construction of Heritage Park was recently completed.

This journey, just a little over two years in the making, has had its challenges, most notably dealing with a global pandemic.  However, leaders of the project persevered and the park is complete. 

The park boasts a large mural featuring six significant women in the history of Washington County.  Spanning two centuries, these women’s stories inspire and educate us all in the power of perseverance. 

Heritage Park has garnered regional and national attention.  Here are a few articles that may interest you:

Heritage Park featured in May 2022 Landscape Architecture Magazine (

A huge thank you to all our donors and the following organizations for partnering with our community to make Heritage Park a reality: Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement, Indiana University ServeDesign Center, Washington County Community Foundation, Hoosier Uplands, City of Salem, Washington County Historical Society, Washington County Chamber of Commerce, Washington County Tourism, Washington County Family YMCA, Adrienne Brooke Salon, Lisa Fleming.

Project Credits:

Design: LAA Office

Design Team: Daniel Luis Martinez, NOMA (co-founder), Lulu Loquidis Martinez, PLA, ASLA,

(co-founder), Jess Novitski, Priscilla Rocha, Stacy Hardy, Shorf Afza, Alyssa Bullock

Muralist (AB Salon Building): Rafael Blanco

Construction: Tovey Perry Co.

Travel Discount Tips for Seniors

What are some of the best travel discounts available to seniors? My spouse and I are about to retire and are interested in traveling more but live on a tight budget.

There are hundreds of different travel-related discounts available to senior travelers that can save you hundreds of dollars on your next trip. To qualify, you will need to meet the age requirement, which varies by business. Some discounts may be available as soon as you turn 50, but most do not kick in until later ages. Here is a rundown of top travel discounts, along with some extra tips to help you save.

Ways to Save

The first thing to know is that most businesses do not advertise senior discounts, but many give them if you ask.

You should also be aware that the "senior discount," if available, may not always be the best deal. For example, hotels, resorts, airlines and cruise lines offer advanced bookings along with special deals and promotions from time to time that may be at a lower rate than the senior discount. Before you book, always ask about the lowest possible rate and the best deal available.

Another way you can save is by being flexible when you travel. Last minute travel deals can offer huge savings, as does traveling during off-season or off-peak times and avoiding holidays.

Club memberships can also garner you a wide variety of travel bargains. They offer dozens of travel discounts on hotels, rental cars, cruises, vacation packages and more. Some membership clubs provide some great travel discounts to members at any age.

Types of Discounts

Here are of some of the best senior travel discounts available in 2022:

Airline: You should check for club membership discounts, as well as senior discounts. Typically, passenger must be age 65 to take advantage of the benefits. Not all airlines offer senior discounts, but some may offer veterans discounts.

Train: Travelers ages 65 and older may ask for a senior discount on domestic travel, up to a 10% discount. For cross-border services passengers typically must be age 60 to obtain the senior discount.

Rental Car: Certain club members may receive up to 30% off for senior discounts. Some rental car companies offer senior discounts as early as age 50.

Hotels: Certain hotel chains offer discounted rates for seniors usually ranging between 10% and 15% off but may vary by location. There may be additional discounts for club memberships as well.

Restaurants: Many restaurant chains offer senior discounts such as free drinks, discounted senior menus and discounts off your total order. Senior discounts may only be available on certain days of the week or at certain locations.

Cruises: Cruise lines may offer discount rates to cruisers age 55 and older on select cruises. It is best to call before booking to inquire.

Entertainment and Attractions: Most museums, zoos, aquariums, movie theaters, public golf courses and even ski slopes provide reduced admission to seniors over age 60 or 65. And for those 62 or older, one of the best deals available is the America the Beautiful Senior Pass ($20 for an annual senior pass, or $80 for a lifetime pass) which provides admittance to more than 2,000 national parks and recreation sites.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.


Published May 20, 2022

Heritage Park featured in May 2022 Landscape Architecture Magazine

story image 1

From May 2022 Landscape Architecture Magazine
The Magazine of the American Society of Landscape Architects
By Timothy A. Schuler


story image 3Lulu Loquidis, ASLA, and Daniel Luis Martinez founded LAA Office in Columbus, Indiana, in 2018.

Lulu Loquidis, ASLA, and Daniel Luis Martinez are comfortable in the gaps. As the founders of the multidisciplinary practice LAA Office (pronounced “law office”), the designers’ work exists between the disciplines of landscape, art, and architecture and, more often than not, in the voids of the built environment. Even their chosen home of Columbus, Indiana, represents a certain enthusiasm for the in-between.

“That willingness to explore the territory between disciplines is something that I think we were pretty keen on early on. And it’s been really fruitful, not only in Columbus, but we’re starting to work now generally in the Midwest, in Southern Indiana, in towns that are smaller than Columbus, and a lot of the driving force behind it is looking at these spaces between disciplines,” Martinez says.

The duo moved to Columbus in 2018, after Martinez accepted a teaching position in Indiana University’s newly established graduate architecture program in Columbus. The change opened new horizons. “Moving to the Midwest, we realized that most of our country does not look like New York City,” Loquidis, a landscape architect, says. “It’s opened up a broader view of our country and what it’s like,” Martinez adds.

A recent project in Salem, Indiana, exemplifies the designers’ interest in working with communities to reveal the artistic potential of disused, residual, or otherwise forgotten public space. Salem is a community of roughly 6,000 people located an hour south of Columbus, and like many towns its size, its public realm has been gradually ceded to cars. Heritage Park represents the beginning of an incremental reclamation, with a linear pocket park and 4,500 square feet of contemporary public art sited on what was an asphalt parking lot.

Funded through an initial $10,000 grant from Indiana University’s Center for Rural Engagement and $165,000 from Southern Indiana’s Regional Opportunities Initiative, the park is sited directly in front of city hall and one block from the town square. Running alongside the pocket park is a bright blue and green ground mural inspired by the region’s vernacular barn quilts (quilted patterns that are painted on the side of a barn or other outbuilding). The mural makes visible an existing pedestrian right-of-way that over time had been absorbed by the surrounding parking lots.

story image 2Loquidis and Martinez describe the park and mural as a “stitch” in Salem’s urban fabric, connecting two segments of a path originally designed to connect Salem’s historic town square and the John Hay Center, a prominent history museum. “This was very much a missing link in that path,” Loquidis says.

Dissolving the boundary between building and landscape, the art at Heritage Park extends from the ground plane up the blank facade of an adjacent building—an idea LAA Office first explored with Columbus’s 6th Street Arts Alley. Here, a commissioned mural by the Chicago-based artist Rafael Blanco features the faces of six trailblazing women with ties to Salem’s Washington County, including Sarah Parke Morrison, the first woman to graduate from Indiana University, who went on to also become the school’s first female faculty member.

Judy Johnson, the executive director of the Washington County Community Foundation, which helped fund and facilitate the building of Heritage Park, says that the park has had an eye-opening effect on the people of Salem.

“This has been a major catalyst for our city,” she says, citing the project’s direct influence on the foundation’s decision to install two new pieces of art outside Salem this summer and to continue the use of quilt patterns in other public projects. “Would we have gone down that road [without the park]? Maybe,” she says. “Did Heritage Park open up the avenue a whole lot quicker and make us more intentional about doing things that would promote an artistic flair in our community? Absolutely.”

story image 4

Heritage Park in Salem, Indiana, used public art to transform a sliver of a parking lot into a community hub.



WCCF Donors Award Grants to Local Organizations


Grants totaling over $20,000.00 were awarded to non-profit organizations serving Washington County by the generous donors of the Washington County Community Foundation for the Spring 2022 grant cycle.  Grants are awarded from the Foundation’s Touch Tomorrow funds.

Washington County Actors Community Theatre has received a grant to present the world premiere of “Rat Jaw”, a new play from a professional playwright and Salem native that was offered free to the public.  The show features professional actors from New York City in addition to local actors.

Donors to WCCF will help light up the sky with a grant to the Pekin Community Betterment Organization to assist with the 192nd 4th of July celebration.  Funds for the annual celebration will be used for fireworks, sound, and entertainment for the historic event.

CASA of Washington County has been awarded a grant for their CASA Cares program, which provides backpacks containing necessities for children that are actively being removed from their homes to assist with their crucial first 72 hours in foster care.

Washington County’s incapacitated and disadvantaged population will be given a louder voice in our community thanks to the efforts of Southern Indiana Adult Guardianship Services (SIAGS).  SIAGS will provide meet with and provide training to our residents to inform the community of how the agency is impacting Washington County while listening to ideas and concerns to aid some of our most vulnerable population.

Blue River Services is improving their workshop thanks to a matching grant that will help provide new adjustable and accessible industrial tables and desks to be utilized for industrial work stations in a monitored, sheltered workshop setting.

Thank you to the donors of Washington County Community Foundation for making our community a better place for our residents through their generosity and compassion for Washington County.

Washington County Community Foundation is a nonprofit public charity established in 1993 to serve donors, award grants, and provide leadership to improve Washington County forever


Protect Yourself From Fires and Hurricanes This Summer

On May 5, 2022, the Internal Revenue Service published a brief guide on tips to help you prepare for natural disasters. The month of May includes National Hurricane Preparedness Week and National Wildfire Awareness Month. Other natural disasters could include tropical storms, tornadoes, winds, floods, landslides and mudslides.

The month of May is an excellent time to begin reviewing your emergency preparedness plan. Part of that plan includes taking steps to protect personal documents and tax-related information.

1. Secure Key Documents — You should gather your tax returns, birth certificates, deeds to property and insurance policies and place them in a waterproof container or a secure location. Many individuals also create a duplicate of key documents and leave those with a trusted person or store them on an external drive.

2. Document Valuables — If there is a natural disaster, you could suffer the loss of valuable collections, furniture and other items in your home. You will have a much better opportunity to receive compensation from an insurance company or claim tax benefits for a disaster loss if you have good records. IRS Publication 584 includes disaster-loss workbooks that may help you compile lists of property.

3. Rebuild After a Disaster — If you do experience a disaster, you may need assistance from the government or your insurance company. If you have lost some or all of your tax records, the IRS has a webpage on " Reconstructing Records After a Natural Disaster or Casualty Loss" on

4. IRS Assistance — If the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issues a disaster declaration for your area, the IRS often will postpone tax-filing and tax-payment deadlines. You do not need to call the IRS. The IRS computers can identify taxpayers who are located in covered disaster areas. If you have tax-related questions on a disaster in your area, contact the IRS at (866) 562-5227 to speak with a specialist. The IRS has trained staff who can answer disaster-related questions.

While individuals all hope not to be involved in a natural disaster, it could happen to you without notice. There are additional natural disaster preparations that will help protect you on There is also a webpage on the FEMA website with a recommended set of emergency supplies for a natural disaster. Check out "Build a Kit" on for more information.

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