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Choosing a Medigap Policy
This is the official U.S. Government guide to choosing a policy
Healthcare Information from EUEC:
EUEC member Jim Keller has worked tirelessly over the last weeks to understand the choices to be made, to help lead information sessions at the Luce Center, and put together the following FAQs to help you make the best healthcare choice. Also included below is a copy of the presentation he made at the Luce Center
Thanks to many of you who responded, there is a summary of the "bottom line" given by Jim, above, and what you have experienced with Medigap policies or with One Exchange.
How does One Exchange choose what products to offer?
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This newsletter is sent to members and friends of the Emory University Emeritus College (EUEC). I hope the newsletter will help keep you informed about our activities and help you feel connected with our members throughout the U.S. On the left are links to our website and links to contact either me or Isha Edwards in the EUEC office.
With best wishes,
Gray F. Crouse
Message from the Director
I am pleased to send this second issue of our newsletter to you. Please let me know if you didn't get the first issue. It has been an interesting challenge, to say the least, to learn about all of the different ways that emails can fail to arrive at their intended destination.
Changes in Health Care
If you are changing from the Emory Aetna Retiree Healthcare Plan to a private plan, through One Exchange or outside of One Exchange, it is possible to change your selection through the end of August without penalty. Why might you want to change? Read more below
The Nature of Evidence
In the spring of 2014 the Emeritus College inaugurated the first in its ground-breaking program of Interdisciplinary Seminars, on the general topic of "The Nature of Evidence." Read below about this seminar
Heilbrun Report from Albert PadwaEUEC member Al Padwa was a 2012 recipient of a Heilbrun Distinguished Emeritus Fellowship. Read about the results of his research below.
On July 21, 2014, the EUEC hosted Tech Tools for Retirees IV at the Goizueta Business School. Participants learned (or began to learn) how to access social media tools while on the go.
Tech Tools for Retirees IV
EUEC Member Russell Richardson passed away July 23, 2014
Director's Message, contd.
This issue, like the first, begins with the topic of healthcare because for those members transitioning from the Emory retiree health plan to the private marketplace, it is really important to make the "right" choice for a health plan. Although I don't yet have to make this choice, I have wanted to understand the process, both because I will have to make this decision in a few years, and also because I felt it was important for EUEC to help our members with this decision. I can't thank Jim Keller and Sid Stein enough for all of the work they have done (along with much help from Felicia Smith in HR) in reducing what seemed to be an almost overwhelmingly complex decision to one that feels quite manageable and much less "scary". I also want to thank those of you who have provided much useful feedback and suggestions for other members. Those suggestions have helped to uncover plans outside of One Exchange that appear to be extremely attractive options. There are links to the various documents they have produced elsewhere in this newsletter along with a short article about the possibility of changing one's election before the end of this month.
I also hope you will have time to read the article about John Bugge's interdisciplinary seminar he led this past spring (and the new one coming this fall), about the research that Al Padwa did with the support of a Heilbrun fellowship (written so that non-chemists can follow almost all of it!), and a report on the fourth Tech Tools luncheon seminar, with many useful links.
Please let us know in the EUEC office of awards you or other members have received. We also want to acknowledge those members who have died, and if you have any information or reflections about those members, please let us know as soon as possible.
Changes in Healthcare, contd.
I want to express my appreciation once again to EUEC member Jim Keller and Sid Stein, Chair of the University Senate Fringe Benefits Committee, who have put large amounts of time into helping prepare the information on the new healthcare choices that have been presented here at the Luce Center and are contained in the documents listed on the left side of this newsletter (and also Felicia Smith of HR who has been at both presentations and has been extremely helpful through this entire process). I also want to thank those of you who have written in with your experiences in choosing healthcare plans. Those are contained in the "Member Experiences" document, which is updated from the version posted at the time of the first newsletter. With all of this collected information, we are continuing to better understand the choices that most of our EUEC members will probably want to make.
Why might you want to change the selection you have already made? As explained in the documents, for almost everyone, a Medigap Plan F would be the preferred choice. All Plan F policies must provide the same coverage, and any healthcare provider that accepts Medicare must accept any Plan F insurance. Therefore the distinctions between Plan F policies would be on the customer service end and possibly in future rate determinations. [As explained in the documents, there are three methods that can be used to determine premiums, and policies that are attained-age-rated will increase your premiums as you age and should generally be avoided.] Choosing a plan through One Exchange is safe and easy. One Exchange is careful to offer plans that would be good choices and the process for getting the Emory subsidy is easy. Although there are many choices outside of One Exchange that would not be good choices, there are also some that would be excellent in terms of both customer support and current (and likely future) premium cost. There are several reasons these plans are not offered through One Exchange; one is likely to be that those companies do not need additional customers and therefore do not feel that they need to pay the commissions that One Exchange would charge them. That would be one reason their premium cost is lower (and in some cases substantially lower) than for plans offered through One Exchange. For the Atlanta area, many members have decided that they will choose a policy offered through USAA because of its low cost and record of customer support. Some others are choosing AMA plans (which are apparently available to anyone and not just AMA members, just as USAA is available to anyone and not only those with service records). Because you would get these policies outside of One Exchange, you would have to give One Exchange documentation of health expenses for which your Emory-provided subsidy could be used. This is a step that would not be required if you chose a plan through One Exchange. However, the easiest way to get the subsidy in this case would be, only once a year, to provide a statement of your Medicare Part B cost to One Exchange. Because that amount would be greater than $100/month per person, you would then get your monthly subsidy without any further documentation.
If you decided you wanted to change your selection, it is important to make that change relatively soon. Although you can change your selected Part D drug plan every year, it is much more difficult to change your Medigap plan. There are a few situations in which you can change Medigap plans with no problem: for example if your Medigap plan is no longer offered in your area, or if you move into a different area. However, in general if you try to switch later, a company is not required to offer you a plan, and the premium could be much higher than you are currently paying, or you could be subject to underwriting. "Underwriting" means that your current health status could be used to determine if, and at what premium, a policy would be offered to you. You also need to be very cautious about any company's assurance that you could switch plans later-even if they had such a policy now, there would likely be no guarantee for the indefinite future.
Note also that the Emory dental insurance plan is available for retirees during each year's open enrollment period in the fall.
Nature of Evidence, contd.
This interdiscliplinary seminar was led by John Bugge.
As one participant wrote when it had concluded, "The scheduling every other week was exactly right. There was plenty of time to prepare for the next session, but not so much that you forgot all about what had gone before." And, he noted dryly, "It was good to be working at retirement speed."
If the pace was leisurely, the general topic was nonetheless challenging, involving as it did the epistemological underpinnings of different academic fields. As one member wrote, "The seminar on evidence this spring presented an unusual opportunity for retired faculty to compare the ways in which different disciplines assess the data they aim to make sense of. In each case we needed to consider the proper context for evaluating evidence. We ranged from discussions about interpreting literary and philosophical texts to the need for randomized clinical trials in medical research."
The seminar drew a half-dozen members from specialities as diverse as history, philosophy, English, and biochemistry. Each was asked to propose a set of readings appropriate to the general topic from his or her disciplinary perspective, and then to present those readings in a way that invited discussion. And, invariably, at every meeting the discussion turned out to be vigorous, sustained, wide-ranging, and remarkably amiable. Everyone seemed to like the format. One wrote, "Having each participant take the lead role for one session spread the work and helped produce interesting variety." Another "liked the lack of the formal structure . . . , that is, no requirement that participants prepare a paper and that one or more others prepare a response. Only a little nudging was necessary to keep us on task . . . , and it did seem as if all came having read the texts carefully."
If a spirit of conscientiousness hung over the meetings, perhaps it was because the Interdisciplinary Seminars aspire in some small way to do for the Emeritus College what the so-called "Luce Seminars" did for the University at large under the masterly direction of James Gustafson, Professor Emeritus of Religion during the 1980s. For those lucky enough to have been chosen to participate in them, the Luce Seminars were a model of the kind of rigorous communal and interdisciplinary intellectual enterprise that is too seldom met with in the modern "multi-versity."
It is entirely appropriate, then, that this Emeritus College seminar should have met in our Luce Center home, but perhaps less so that it convened in the intimate surroundings of the second-floor conference room, with coffee pot, bottled water, and soft drinks at the ready - trimmings Jim Gustafson might not have endorsed! Still, it proved important that the general tenor of the seminar meetings was relaxed and informal. As one member wrote about "being asked to operate outside my 'comfort zone' - in philosophy and biochemistry, especially. It was good for me, and good for all of us, I think, to stretch beyond the limits of what we knew and were familiar with. [This made for] a certain vulnerability, but since we were all in the same position, it was a vulnerability that brought us closer together."
The Interdisciplinary Seminar initiative will continue in the fall of 2014 with a seminar on "The Future of American Higher Education," which still has a few places open. Interested members should apply by emailing John Bugge at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Building of Biologically Active Natural Products Using Domino/Cascade Chemistry
Albert Padwa - Heilbrun Fellow and Emeritus Professor of Chemistry
Synthetic organic chemistry has transformed our world. With relatively few exceptions, the lexicon of chemicals on planet earth over the past 3.6 billion years had been largely limited to those produced by nature. Synthetic organic chemistry changed that. From food, clothing, and shelter, to energy, medicine, materials and even art, the ability to prepare complex organic molecules has allowed us chemists not only to replicate what is found in nature, but most importantly, to go beyond nature by producing new chemical entities that have never before been observed. The resultant availability of new synthetic compounds, both natural and non-natural, has profoundly impacted every aspect of our existence on planet earth. It is both exciting and humbling to think about how recent and transformative the impact of synthetic organic chemistry has been. Within the last half-century, for example, many bacterial infections that once accounted for millions of deaths per year have been rendered treatable with antibiotics first found in nature, and then in the form of designed and more effective synthetic agents. Synthetic organic chemistry has made enormous strides forward since the seminal 19th century demonstration by Wohler that natural products can be made through non-natural means. The challenge of synthesis these days is not whether a molecule can be made, but whether it can be prepared in a practical and artistic manner and which molecules merit synthesis. Achieving practicality is not simply process optimization, as the challenge of preparing complex molecules in a practical fashion often requires great innovation and certainly an expansion of our chemical knowledge base.
Nitrogen-containing natural products are particularly abundant in nature and exhibit diverse and important biological properties. Accordingly, novel strategies for a 3-dimensional selective synthesis of these types of compounds continue to receive considerable attention in the field of synthetic organic chemistry. Domino/cascade processes (reactions in which several bonds are formed in one sequence without the isolation of intermediates, the changing of reaction conditions, or the addition of reagents), multi-component reactions, and the so- called ʻʻtelescopingʼʼ of reactions (the sequencing of multiple transformations in a single reaction vessel through the changing of conditions and/or adding of reagents at appropriate times) allow for a rapid increase in molecular complexity in a single chemical operation. The terms ʻʻcascadeʼʼ and ʻʻdominoʼʼ have been applied to these reaction types and are thus used as general descriptors in this field. Because of the rate at which they increase molecular complexity, the use of domino/cascade reactions for the synthesis of nitrogen containing compounds has received considerable attention from the synthetic organic community. The development of sequences that combine transformation of differing fundamental mechanisms broadens the scope of such procedures in synthetic chemistry.
As part of my recent research program as a Heilbrun fellow, I became interested in a rarely utilized domino/cascade sequence for the chemical synthesis of strychnine, a well recognized member of the Strychnos alkaloid family. Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic nitrogen atoms. These natural products are produced by a large variety of organisms including bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals. They can be purified from crude extracts of these organisms by acid-base extraction. Many alkaloids are toxic to other organisms. They often have pharmacological effects and are used as medications, as recreational drugs, or in entheogenic rituals. The current state-of-the-art of synthetic organic chemistry owes much to the study of alkaloids, and the Strychnos family is certainly exemplary.
To read the rest of the report, please click here
. You should definitely read more in order to see the relation of this work to the Shakespeare play Anthony and Cleopatra
that many of us saw in June!
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Tech Tools for Retirees Contd.
Not only did participants learn about social media tools, but they also learned how to communicate effectively while remaining safe online. Discussion centered on the shift from traditional forms of communication to new and social media, as well as selecting the right social media "app" for engagement.
Emory alumna Tania Dowdy, 08Ox 10C, provided insight on how to use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Upon graduation from Emory, Ms. Dowdy became a member of the Emory Alumni Association (EAA) staff. As the social media specialist for EAA, she manages the online engagement of over 20,000 Emory alumni worldwide. Click here to see her presentation. If you are confused by "Hashtags," "Likes," and "Handles," here is a useful glossary of social media terms.
Emory Librarian Emeritus and EUEC member Selden Deemer provided tips for communicating and staying safe online. Since 2010 Mr. Deemer has been a top contributor for Google's Chromebook-Central Forum and, shortly before Tech Tools IV, earned a 100th Best Answer Badge from Google. Click here to see his presentation. For further tips on safety and security online, click here.
The EUEC began hosting Tech Tools in May 2012. During the inaugural session participants were introduced to Apple gadgets. In October 2013 Microsoft delivered an informational session on windows applications.
Stay tuned for details about Tech Tools V! --Isha Edwards
There is a computer store at the Emory Barnes and Noble and some discounts (but not for computers) are offered to Emeritus faculty.
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EUEC member and Professor Emeritus of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Russell Howard Richardson, died peacefully on July 23, 2014. He was 90.
A native of Clarksville, Tennessee, Richardson served with the United States Air Force in Italy, Sicily, and North Africa during World War II. After the war, he attended Bethany College in West Virginia where he became a member of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity, met and married his wife of 67 years, Fern, and graduated with a degree in sociology. Richardson later attended the University of Tennessee where he received a Master of Science degree in Psychiatric Social Work. In 1953, Richardson went to work as the Director of Psychiatric Social Services at the Children's Mental Health Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He then served as a marriage counselor and Executive Director of Planned Parenthood from 1952 to 1964. In 1964, Richardson moved his family to Atlanta where he served as the Southeast Regional Director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America until 1970.
From 1968 to 1969, Richardson spent a year on a Ford Fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill, and he obtained a master's degree in Public Health. In 1971, Richardson was appointed by then governor, Jimmy Carter, to the Governor's Special Council on Family Planning. Richardson retired in 1989 after 15 years of service as the Director of the Regional Training Center in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Emory. He was an active member of the Emeritus College. Richardson's colleague and longtime friend, Dr. William Graves, Professor Emeritus of Gynecology and Obstetrics, recalls how the two met: "I first met Russ, I think, in 1966 when he was regional director of Planned Parenthood. I was teaching a course in Population in the Sociology Department, and asked him to make a presentation to my class."
Richardson was a man committed to his family, professional ideals, and many various causes: civil rights, the reproductive rights of women, and educational opportunities for disadvantaged women through the Jeanette Rankin Foundation. He also served on many boards, from AIDs Atlanta to the National Family Planning and Reproductive Rights Association. During his creative later life, Richardson continued to enjoy his favorite hobbies, raising begonias and working as a Ham radio operator.
"Russ had a major impact on the provision of family planning services in the Southeastern United States, and his legacy will continue for many years to come," says Graves.
The family-placed obituary for Richardson may be read here. Contributions to one of his favorite causes may be made via www.rankinfoundation.org.
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Emory University Emeritus College
The Luce Center
825 Houston Mill Road NE #206
Atlanta, GA 30329