Living On A Floodplain, Checklist for Not Getting Caught With Your Pants Down

You've found the perfect house in the country, it's everything you've been looking for, and it's in the floodplain. If this is the home for you, then be prepared to do a little research prior to buying or renting.

We found the perfect little farm on a 30 acre peninsula to rent. We were told it was on the floodplain but nothing to worry about as it had been raised up and was on a higher foundation. It was rural and in the country where we wanted to be.

We thought the openings in the foundation were for the dogs or storage. We never gave any thought that it might be for the river to flow through. There were other farms along the river but we didn't think to talk with any of them. Two weeks after moving in we woke up to the sound of water lapping on the side of the house. We were caught with 'our pants down', totally unprepared. That was the first and last time we were unprepared.

As my husband stated, "the river is merely reclaiming her river bed for a short time." If you are going to live on or next to the river or in the valley, you need to accept that and be prepared.

Checklist to Decide if This is Where You Want to Live:

  • Talk with the current residents or tenants of the house and ask them how often it floods, how high does the water get, how long does the water stay up, has the water ever come in the house, where can you park your car so its out of the water, and any other questions you have.
  • Talk with neighbors and ask them the same questions and also ask them how long they have lived there, and any other pertinent information they can share with you.
  • Is it safe to remain in your home during a flood?
  • Talk with the local fire department and find out everything you can from them. Ask what happens if you need to be evacuated during the flood.
  • Get the number for flood control and get the data for your address. Find out the river levels and patterns, etc.
  • If a small community, talk with the local barber, they always seem to know everyone and everything.
  • Is there a flood warning system, what does it consist of?
  • Check the house for any structure damage.
  • Will your employer understand your living on the floodplain, being flooded in for days at a time and having to leave work when the river is at a certain height so you can get home before the road goes under?
  • There's also the matter of flood insurance and what flooding does to the value of the property.

Get your answers and look at the pros and cons of living on the flood plain. Is this still the perfect home for you? Can you handle living on a floodplain?

We got our answers after the first flood, but for us it wouldn't have made a difference as this was where we wanted to live. Flooding was just a minor inconvenience that could happen anywhere from two to six times a year from November through March depending on how much rain we received. It was an old two-story farmhouse in the center of the major flood traffic area.

When the river was over the banks it would start flowing right across the peninsula between the house and the barn. The barn was on high ground, the animals, cars, and machinery were dry. The house was on a foundation and the water flowed through the openings in it. It was similar to being in a houseboat in the middle of a lake. The boat was tied to the front porch and we would boat to the barn to do chores.

We were fortunate to have understanding employers and were able to work from home.

Checklist for Living on the Floodplain:

  • Keep your pantry or cupboards stocked with canned food items and bottled water. Have an excess of bottled water. If you have a well, the water may be cut off or contaminated.
  • Have a good supply of paper plates, disposable glasses and silverware.
  • Photograph all personal property and possessions for a complete inventory.
  • Keep valuables, insurance papers, and legal documents in a dry, secure place.
  • Keep an excess of batteries for flashlights, radios, and lanterns.
  • Have mouse and rat traps available. Rodents that are losing their homes may try to move in with you.
  • Have a camp stove and a large cooler accessible. If you lose power or have to turn it off due to water coming in, you can keep food in the cooler and cook on the camp stove.
  • If you have kids make sure there are plenty of things for them to do while being flooded in. Make this a family time and fun time for them so they won't be frightened.
  • Listen to flood control by phone or computer and be prepared to move items up and out of the water, if it looks like water is going to come in your home.
  • If water is going to come in your home, shut off the electricity, gas, and water.

Checklist for After the Flood and Water has Receded:

  • Call your insurance agent if you sustained damage.
  • Test and purify your water.
  • Before cleaning up, photograph all damage caused by the flooding. Your insurance agent and FEMA will need it.
  • Clean up as soon as possible inside and outside.
  • If water came in, open the windows and doors to bring in fresh air, muck out the mud and silt with a shovel.
  • Disinfect everything the water has touched: floors, walls, household items, etc.
  • Check your appliances for water, dry them out, disinfect, and service them prior to using.

Please remember, just because you haven't flooded yet, does not mean you won't flood at some point. When you live on the floodplain, it's best to be prepared.

Enrollment Options for Medical Office Administration Career Training

The paperwork and documentation needed inside a medical facility shows what bills are due, what services patients received, and what needs to be paid by an insurance company. These different aspects make up several careers inside the medical office administration industry.

Enrollment options for careers consist of obtaining a certificate or an associate's degree. Vocational colleges provide these program levels and prepare students to step into careers as medical billers, coders, and transcriptionists. The processes used to make and maintain medical records is learned when students receive an education in medical office administration. Training options include:

  • Medical Billing
  • Medical Coding
  • Medical Transcription
The main focal point inside these programs is teaching students the standard procedures used to perform work duties. Students can choose which programs to enter based on their career goals or the length of schooling. Students that have particular jobs in mind after graduation will know if they need to obtain certificates or associate's degrees. Students can enter short certificate programs that last only around three months if time is a large factor for them. Once students have made their decisions on what programs to enter educational training can begin.

The focus of medical billing programs is to teach students about the proper submission of forms to insurance companies. The result is receiving payment for patients on the services they acquired from their healthcare providers. Medical office administration is studied by working through the laws and stipulations set in place for accurately performing medical billing. Core courses include health information management, diagnostic coding, reimbursement, and health insurance management. Students graduate with the knowledge to process medical bills and file records.

Focusing on medical coding prepares students to understand how to classify treatments. By codifying medical information professionals enable healthcare facilities to accurately determine how much money will be reimbursed for services. Schooling is important because students learn to use medical-office software and understand disease processes. The allocation of codes and the ability to identify diseases is gained as students complete specific medical related courses. Immunology, medical terminology, and medical insurance are topics that prepare students for careers. Students are able to analyze health records and process medical information using the latest in data technologies.

Becoming a medical transcriptionist prepares students to understand the notes doctors take while working with patients. The goal is to create accurate reports and healthcare records that ultimately become a part of a patient's permanent file. Students will learn to transcribe written or verbal notes into readable and correct formats. Proofreading, computer transcription, analog technology, and human biology are all course topics that make up a standard curriculum. Having impeccable grammar proficiency and editing skills is essential due to transcribed records being used to treat patients.

Most employers prefer to hire individuals that have obtained an associate's degree and voluntary certification. Students that meet these standards will have the most career opportunities. The education received through accredited medical office administration colleges gives students the skills needed to step into the field ready for the professional workforce. Full accreditation is given to programs that provide a quality education by agencies like the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( http://www.caahep.org/ ).

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

Copyright 2010 - All rights reserved by PETAP.org.

Are You Hiring a Reputable Maid Service?

It has become very common for people to have problems choosing a maid service because they don't know which services are trustworthy and which ones are not. Fortunately, the process of hiring a reputable maid service doesn't have to be difficult. The key is to make a list of all of the information that you will need and then simply make sure that a service meets all of your requirements before hiring them. Here is a quick look at some important issues to keep in mind to make sure that you are hiring a reputable maid service.

Before you focus on finding out the reputation of a maid service, it is important to define your needs. It doesn't matter how great a service is if they do not provide the specific services that you are wanting. This means that you need to first create a list of potential maid services. You should consider what type of service you want, how often you want it, if there are any special products you want to used, do you want to sign a contract, etc Once you have assessed your needs, you can then create your list of potential services.

Once you have your list of potential candidates, the next step is to make sure that they are reputable. One of the easiest ways to do this is by knowing what to look for and what to ask. Keep in mind that there will be different things to look for when choosing between an agency or independent contractor. With an independent contractor, it is difficult to look much farther than there references, because they are not required to do some of the things that an agency with employees would have to do.

With that in mind, here are some things to focus one. The first should be hiring practices. This includes finding out if a background check on the employees have been completed, with a focus on criminal and immigration issues. The next thing you will to look at is bonding. Some states require maid services to be bonded, while others do not. If a maid service is bonded, that means that they have set aside funds which are controlled by the state. These funds are there to cover potential losses due to theft.

Along with finding out whether or not they are bonded, you should also find out if they are insured. More importantly, you should be able to get proof of at least liability insurance. Accidents happen and you need to make sure that if a maid gets hurt on your property that the companies insurance will cover it. It also covers your property in the event that it is damaged as well. Additionally, some states may require special licensing. If your state does require a license of some kind, make sure that the maid services has it.

As you can see, there are a number of factors to consider when hiring a reputable maid service. The first thing that you need to do is consider what services you need them to perform. This will ensure that you are hiring someone that will meet your needs. Next, you need to determine whether or not they are reputable. Unfortunately, there will also be some room for error when deciding who to trust, however there are several key indicators that will help you pinpoint which services are the most reputable. Ideally, the maid service you hire will: have a secure hiring process, be insured, be bonded, and be licensed.

How Did We Get Into This Housing Mess, and Are We Out Yet?

How we got into the housing mess (and are we out of it now?).

Below is a history of the housing meltdown. I want to confirm that indeed part of the cause of the meltdown was due to corporate greed and malfeasance. However, a very large part of the real estate mess was due to governmental manipulation and political maneuvering. Here is a short summary of how it happened:

There were several causes of the housing meltdown. Here is a list of the main culprits:

1. Low interest rates for several years.
2. The change in capital gain treatment on the sale of a primary residence.
3. Government entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
4. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977
5. Credit Default Swaps
6. Mark-to-Market Accounting
7. The Repeal of the Uptick Rule

In 1977 Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act. This Act was passed to compel banks to make mortgage loans to borrowers in the low-to-moderate income categories, and especially in areas where there was a large concentration of minorities. Over the next 20 years more and more pressure was exerted on banks to make loans to this segment of the population. Separately, back in 1938, the government created the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), and later, in 1970, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). These 2 entities were created as Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE's), part government owned and part privately owned, with the express purpose of providing liquidity in the real estate housing market in the U.S. They work directly with banks and mortgage companies to buy their mortgages so that those banks and mortgage companies can use that money to lend to other borrowers. They do not work directly with consumers. In 1992, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were given the directive that they had to hold a certain, ever increasing percentage of low-to-moderate mortgages in their portfolio. These mortgages became referred to as sub-prime mortgages, due to the increased risk these loans brought to the market. Meanwhile, political pressure was put on Fannie and Freddie to hold more of these sub-prime loans, even though they were risky, and put these 2 GSE's in an unsafe position. Barney Frank, a Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts, was a leading proponent of this movement. In 2003, in a hearing regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he said "These 2 entities - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing." In a hearing 2 years later regarding the increased concern over Frannie and Freddie, Frank made this comment: "We have an excessive degree of concern right now about home ownership and its role in the economy. Obviously, speculation is never a good thing. But those who argue that housing prices are now at the point of a bubble seem to me to be missing a very important point...we are talking about an entity, home ownership, where there is not the degree of leverage that we have seen elsewhere." These comments were in the fall of 2005. Less than one year later, the hosing meltdown was well under way. Note: Last week, on October 21, 2010 it was announced that the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could actually get to $363 Billion, up from the $148 Billion number that had currently been reported.

As most of you know, there are 2 ways the government can stimulate economic activity. One way is through the Federal Reserve's monetary policy (mainly interest rate manipulation). The other way is through fiscal policy (passing laws like ObamaCare and the Frank-Dodd Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act). In the last several years the Federal Reserve (the Fed) has kept interest rates very low. This has allowed borrowers buying homes to borrow money at very low interest rates. The government has also offered mortgage products that allow a very low down payment on a home purchase. Also, banks and mortgage companies have offered adjustable rate mortgages (ARM's) with a very low interest rate that increases after a period of years. At one point, banks and mortgage companies were offering no doc (no or little documentation) loans, jokingly referred to as NINJA loans (no income, no job, no assets), This concoction of variables brought the demand for housing to a fever pitch between 2000 and 2006.

The icing on the cake was the law passed in 1997, the Taxpayer Relief Act, which changed the law on the way capital gain was figured on the sale of a principal or primary home. The new law allowed, following certain guidelienes, the ability for a married couple filing jointly, to sell a home and avoid the first $500,000 of gain on the sale of that home.

Enter the last 3 variables, the ones that helpes spell the doom of the real estate market. To make room for more mortgages, banks, along with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac starting packaging mortgages and selling them in tranches (slices or portions of the entire package of mortgages). They were referred to as Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS). By selling these MBS, it allowed these entities to get more money to do more loans. To offset the risk of these loans going bad, Wall Street, in 1995, came up with the idea of Credit Default Swaps (CDS). A CDS wa a form of insurance to pay the investor back in the case that the mortgages went bad. There were 2 shortcomings of the CDS. One was that they were not regulated like a regular insurance is regulated. Secondly, and more importantly, they were highly leveraged in that there was very little money/cash/liquidity in reserve to pay the investor in the case that the mortgage backed security went bad.

In the middle of 2008, three of the companies selling these CDS encountered major problems. These 3 companies were Bear Sterns, AIG, and Lehman Brothers. Bear Sterns was bought out by JP Morgan Chase, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, and AIG was taken over by the U.S. government. AIG had written $78 Billion in CDS, and it cost us as the taxpayers $45 Billion to bail out AIG. These events triggered the unofficial start of the Great Recession, which would last officially for 18 months, from Decenber of 2007 until June of 2009.

Enter the 2 final nails in the coffin, mark-to-market and the repeal of the uptick rule. The Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, and other corporate scandals of the early 2000's lead to the passing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. One of the changes as a result of this Act was to change how assets and liabilities were figured. In the past, assets/liabilities of corporations were figured on the book value of an asset, not on the current value of the asset. So a mortgage for $100,000 would have a book value of $100,000. However, using the current market value of the asset, referred to as mark-to-market, the value in 2005 or 2006 may have been $70,000 or $80,000. This new Act mandated that banks, insurance companies, and investment firms (in fact, all companies) use the mark-to-market value of the asset on their books. This led to financial statements that showed losses instead of profits for these companies, especially with the mortgage loans that had started souring. The side event that triggered even more uncertainty and disrupution in the financial markets was the general lack of liquidity in the financial markets, a death sentence to any company that buys and sells financial products.

In this scenario, banks and financial companies were out of favor, due to the uncertainty and losses these companies were showing. Prudent investors were betting that the value/stock price of these financial companies would continue to decline. With this situation, many investors act on this by "shorting" or selling short. What is short selling? Short selling is selling high and then buying low, the opposite of traditional investing, where you buy low and then sell high. To make this happen, you first must believe that the stock/financial instrument your are looking at will decline in value over a short period of time. Let's take an example. I want to buy a stock, ABC Corp. that is currently at $10 per share, but I believe it is going down to $7 per share in the near future. I can borrow the stock from someone who already owns the stock, say 10 shares, and sell it for $10 a share. At a later point in time, I can then buy the 10 shares of stock at 7$ per share and pay back the person I borrowed the stock from to sell at $10 a share. I have just made $30, less the cost to borrow the stocks from the other investor.

The uptick rule was originally passed by Congress in 1938. It said that if you sell a stock short, as in the example above, you cannot sell it again until the stock goes up in value first. That makes sense, because otherwise a stock can be beat up mercilessly and take a nosedive very fast. For reasons that are not clear, the Securities Exchange Commission (SE) repealed the uptick rule on July 6, 2007. What we saw was what we expected to see. A slew of banks, insurance companies, and investment firms took a beating in the stock market and their stock price took a dive, largely due to the loss of the uptick rule. Many of these companies were bailed out, most of whom have not fully recovered. The real estate industry is still bleeding after a record number of foreclosures and short sales. In fact, last month, there were over 100,000 foreclosure proceedings initiated, the first time that number has exceeded 100,000.

So are we out of this mess yet? Stay tuned for my response to that important question.

Roof Hail Damage Claim - Steps to Take

When it comes to caring for your house, you need to make sure that you're properly insured. For different people, this is going to mean different things. For example, if you live in a city where it is hardly ever below freezing weather, then you aren't going to be too concerned with problems such as ice and hail. If you live in the Denver area, however, then this is something that you are going to want to be aware of. You are going to want to make sure that you have insurance to cover any roof damage that is caused by hail. You are also going to want to know which steps you need to take. In this article, you will get the basics about filing a hail damage claim on your roof.

If there has been a hail storm, you are going to want to have some professionals come over and assess the damage prior to filing the hail damage claim on your roof. You are going to want to make sure that you get an exact assessment, and then you will want to communicate this information with the insurance company. As to how you do this, you will want to check with your insurance company by reading their website or placing a phone call. You may need to fax the information, or there may even be a convenient online method.

Once you have assessed the damage and your hail damage claim as been approved, you are going to be ready to have some work done. This should not be put off. A bad roof is bad for several different reasons. To begin with, a bad roof costs money. It's going to create a less efficient heating system. You should already know that wasted energy leads to wasted money. You should also keep in mind that a bad roof seldom stays in the same state. Normally, it just gets worse and worse. This means that you have to have the roof repaired as quickly as possible.

When you make that hail damage claim on your roof, you are going to want to make sure that you have a service that you can trust come over to look at it. It's essential that this service will do the work the right away first time through. You are probably aware that bad work will lead to more work. You will want to make sure that the company you use is local and dedicated to the customers they have in the community.

Guide To Gold And Platinum Credit Cards

Gold and platinum credit cards are not exactly like standard credit cards. They are more prestigious to own because they indicate that you, the card holder, have done a few things right in your financial life. To begin with these cards require you to have a slightly higher income then standard cards.

More importantly then earnings you have to have an excellent or very good credit rating in order to be approved for one. Those two qualities combine to make you the exact type of card owner that card issuers want to have on their books. They know that you will spend on your card regularly which helps them earn money and will pay off your debts in a timely manner which reduces their risk.

Because card issuers want clients with great credit scores and high earnings they offer them rewards above those that are offered to standard card holders. Gold and platinum credit cards typically come with complimentary insurances to protect them when they travel and to protect their purchases. Because the card holder has a higher income it is likely they will travel often so offering trip insurance is usually very valuable. The same is true of purchase protection and extended warranties, those cardholders who spend more money buy big ticket items that they need to protect with insurance. This extra layer of security is just one more thing to lure customers to a higher level credit card.

One of the other big benefits of gold and platinum credit cards is the rewards program. While there are rewards programs offered on some standard cards they are usually not as extensive as the ones offered on more prestigious cards. As you move up the credit card ladder you are able to earn more points for each dollar that you spend. Prestige cardholders usually have access to better rewards as well as rewards and discounts that come just from using their card and do not dip into the rewards point system.

The big drawback to these cards is that they often come with a very high annual fee, sometimes in the triple digits. While the rewards, insurances, and discounts you earn will usually offset that cost it is still something everyone, on any budget should take into consideration. If you will not use the rewards program there is really no point in paying for it no matter how much money you make a year.

Vehicle Transport - A Little Bit of Investigative Work Required

Need to ship your vehicle but not sure where to start? Choosing a vehicle transport company can be an overwhelming process as there are so many options available. Making a good decision requires a little bit of research and a little bit of investigative work.

Before getting into the details of any company, you first need to make sure the company 1) can ship where and when you need it and 2) that it fits in your budget. If any of the companies you're interested in don't fulfill any of those top two criteria - nix them now before you get too deep in your research.

Next you should check out their license and insurance. Reputable companies are usually licensed with either the State or the local municipality. Check their license numbers - Many vehicle transport companies put their license numbers at the bottom of their web pages or in on their Terms & Conditions documents. In addition, you should inquire about what type of damages are covered by the insurance policy.

Some vehicle transport companies do not even have insurance - be weary of them. Some of those auto transport companies that do have insurance might only cover scratches in the paint that happen during transport, while others will cover almost all damages, while others cover zero damage that could happen to your car.

Now you need to decide whether your car should be transported in an enclosed trailer or an open trailer. Open trailers are generally cheaper yet, they pose a risk of your car being damaged by the elements. On the other hand, enclosed trailers are definitely more expensive but are a much safer way of vehicle transport.

For a safe and reliable vehicle transport, remember the tips we've talked about here and you'll be sure to have a successful and stress-free transaction.

ObamaCare - One Controversial Solution

If you and your computer don't live under a rock, you would be aware of the current challenges to ObamaCare in Washington. Today, rather than get caught up in the legality and tax implications of the bill, I am going to try to expand on another thought.

Let me establish a couple of ground rules. First, please stop showing me how much more Americans pay per capita on healthcare than other industrialized nations. It is a deliberately false analysis. Most countries do not pay for the services we as Americans are willing to spend on. I don't know if dental visits and braces are included in healthcare expenditures? How about plastic surgery and Botox? Is chiropractic and psychotherapy services counted?  Secondly, stop comparing life expectancy across countries without controlling for things like ethnic differences, socioeconomic factors, diet, vice behavior, accidents, crime rates, etc. It's really a distorted argument?

I personally believe that the vast majority of Americans believe that the healthcare system needs to be fixed. It is broken, but not beyond repair. There are many issues that we could have differing opinions from access to care to emergency room utilization to tort reform, but I'd like to discuss a real controversial issue that is affecting our health care system. Let's generate some real outrage. Here is my proposal: Eliminate end of life care.

Throughout human history, at least until the 1950's, most people who have died of natural causes did so away from the hospital. At the time, the public consciousness saw natural death as a part of life. The aid of medical technology changed that almost immediately and the debate became intertwined with healthcare. Before then the majority of deaths took place at the individual's home, but when death moved to the hospital it suddenly became much scarier. Over the next six decades, the advancement of healthcare technology (combined with health insurance and Medicare) began to extend life beyond what would normally be expected without the implementation of these innovations. Doctors, hospitals, government, insurance companies and patient advocacy began to take charge of the end of life process. Not surprisingly, with healthcare advancement we no longer accept death. How do we cut medical costs? Simple, stop end of life treatment! Are you willing to make that decision for your loved one or for yourself, or would you like just one extra day on the Earth? Hope.

After death, after all the pain and suffering, those remaining believe that if they had to do it again, they might decide differently. We'd want to try to improve the patient's quality of life, but we would not necessarily subject them to the costly, often painful, procedures. Unless we educate ourselves when we are presented with these choices, we'll decide that it is other people's responsibility to be more "frugal" with healthcare. Our case is unique and we can be cured. Hope.

What is wrong with "death panels"? No, not how they have been portrayed in the media and talking heads, but what if there were predictors established that gives us a high probability of knowing if the patient will die within 1 year? 3 months? 2 weeks? Many international healthcare models already place limits on public dollars for terminally ill patients, whereas the US does not. Unlike most other industrialized countries, Americans are more willing to put the 85-year-old with co-morbidities on life support, the stage IV lung cancer patient sometimes receives a hip replacement, we often prescribe costly drug therapy in deteriorating performance status patients. Limiting these procedures could help save up to 25% on our federal healthcare expenditures. I know, your situation is different and we could "cure" your disease. Hope.

Now, are we ready for change? What about the sweet, innocent girl we saw on the evening news, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer? Remember, she couldn't receive the experimental treatment because of the evil insurance company (or evil government). Sorry, she's going to die (and so is healthcare innovation). That million dollar treatment, with a 5% chance of survival cannot be afforded by our country. Hope? Not when that same million dollars can be spent for basic, preventative care for thousands of others.

ObamaCare as passed will provide the placebo effect that will placate people for another generation or two. However, real healthcare reform is the only option; otherwise, this will become another entitlement that will help bankrupt our country.

On an earlier post: How did Medicare and medical insurance ruin the affordability of fee-for-service health care? We are relieved of any financial responsibility for our healthcare purchases, thus we destroyed any incentive to shop for the best value. We do not consider the most cost-effective way of dealing with our condition. We no longer know how much a procedure costs and assume it is someone else's responsibility. If we had to personally pay for the final 3 months of life, how many more would choose the 1950 model and not the 2010 model?

Post script: If we eliminate hope, our per capita healthcare cost would be comparable to other European countries. I personally believe that hope is uniquely American and it would do significant damage to our public consciousness if it is mandated to be eliminated. The streets aren't really paved with gold, but I still believe that they are. Hope.

Two Recommended Hospitals in Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt, officially known as Frankfurt am Main is the second largest metropolitan area in the country of Germany. Frankfurt is a globally renowned center for commerce, transportation, finance, education, culture and tourism. It is regarded as the second most expensive city of Germany and one of the top 10 most livable cities in the world. This city is very multicultural as 30% of its residents are immigrants. It was also the former headquarter of the U.S. Army in Germany. Visitors can find many modern hospitals in Frankfurt that offer high quality health care at global standards. All the leading hospitals accept major health insurances and provide special accommodations for international patients. Here is a note on some of the better hospitals in Frankfurt.

The University Hospital of Frankfurt located at Theodor-Stern-Kai 7 is a major health care facility in Frankfurt. The hospital offers comprehensive medical service to a large number of patients. Founded in 1914, the hospital now has 25 medical clinics and 25 research institutes. It is one of the most well known centers for various types of transplant and the only designated center for liver and pancreas transplants in the area. The central laboratory performs every kind of test for hematology, immunology and coagulation analysis. Its ISO 9001:2000 certified Institute of diagnostic and interventional radiology is remarkable and offers service in many areas. This is a premier institute for medical education and research. Tel: + 49 69 630 10

Hospital of the Holy Spirit GmbH (Hospital zum heiligen Geist) is another popular hospital in Frankfurt that offers modern and effective health care at an affordable cost. This hospital is regarded as the oldest health care facility in the city with its glorious history of about 800 years. The center offers the complete range of medical services including internal medicine, gynecology, obstetrics, surgery, aesthesia, psychosomatic medicine and pain therapy. The surgical clinic employs some well known surgeons and works under and interdisciplinary consensus. The Women's Hospital features four birth rooms with a birthing pool, a birth stool, and a waterbed. The hospital has the best emergency care unit and ICUs. The emergency section has 20 beds and features many specialized units for heart attack, renal failure, poisoning, acute abdominal problems and shock. Tel: 069/2196-0

How to Purchase an Annuity - Vital Information Before Committing To Buy

Read this before purchasing an annuity.

Purchasing an annuity is a major financial commitment. When you sign the contract it is almost like buying a house. As long as you understand the details and the annuity is a good fit it can be one of the best decisions you could have possibly made! I am definitely pro annuities! Just be sure to understand what you are getting.

When you purchase an annuity there are certain considerations to keep in mind. Be sure to:

1. Understand the surrender charges. Surrender charges can extend for as long as 15 years in some cases and can be very expensive. Purchase an annuity that matches your schedule so that money will be free when you need it.

2. Know your time horizon for investing. When do you need money out of the annuity? How much will you need? Annuities that you purchase are meant for long term investing.

3. Check the rating of the insurance company before purchasing an annuity. If a higher rated company is offering an almost identical product then choose the company with the highest rating.

4. Understand why you are purchasing an annuity. Is it for safety? Is it for income? Is it for growth? Is it for security? Is it for tax deferral? Is it for a guaranteed income stream? Is it for other guarantees? And does it really fit into your investment plan? Are you using the annuity in place of fixed income investments or as a growth investment?

5. Understand the differences between a fixed and variable annuity. A fixed annuity cannot go down in value. A variable annuity can go down with the stock market. They can both have certain guarantees so be sure to understand what you are getting? Can it go down in value? Why do you need to purchase an annuity that can lose value?

6. Learn about how this annuity is going to affect your taxes when you take money out. Annuities are taxed a little differently than other investments. Is your annuity in an IRA? How does that affect your taxes? Also, if you are passing this annuity down to heirs then why are you purchasing an annuity? Is it for tax benefits or insurability problems?

If you are looking at purchasing a variable annuity:

1. Ask this question - Why are you purchasing a variable annuity that can go down in value? It is not about how great the past performance has been. The sub accounts/investment options rarely perform the same two years in a row. You need to have a reason to purchase an annuity.

2. Also before you purchase an annuity be sure that you can afford to have your investment down when you need the money. If not then do not purchase variable annuities.

If you are looking at purchasing a fixed annuity:

1. The surrender charges are usually higher on fixed annuities than other types. Be sure that if you need any of this money there will be enough, with no charges, available at the right time.

2. Fixed annuities have amazing guarantees. Before you purchase an annuity because of one of these guarantees just be sure to understand it completely. How you take money out is the main thing to look for at first. Then compare the guarantee with other annuities and their guarantees. Some are better than others and might fit your situation a little better.

One last absolutely vital thing to check is the dollar amount of your states guarantees. Run a Google search for (your state) insurance guarantee. Do not go over that amount with a single insurance company ever.

Before you purchase an annuity be sure to get all of these questions answered and the details clear in your mind. Most of all do not be rushed into making any decisions. There is no reason to rush through such a long term decision like purchasing an annuity.

Monitored or Unmonitored Alarm Systems - Which Is Best?

Monitored or Unmonitored security systems - Which one best suits you? There are huge advantages and a few disadvantages to both. Before deciding if you would rather have your home security system monitored or not, take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Advantages to Monitored Home Security Systems

(1) Home alarm monitoring companies are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round. They have a special phone lines, staff and computers that watch over your home security system and call the appropriate authorities when detects an intruder. With an unmonitored system you are at the mercy of whoever is at home or nearby neighbors to call the police when and if they hear the alarm.

(2) Monitored systems allow you to not worry and enjoy yourself wherever you are. Whether you are traveling, at home or work, or own a vacation home that you leave vacant for a period of time, you can rest assured that your alarm system is in place and that the local police will be contacted if the system detects a break in.

(3) There is no time delay. When there is a break in and the alarm goes off, a monitored system contacts police and authorities right away. With the unmonitored system there is no guarantee that the police will ever be notified.

(4) Homeowner's insurance discounts. A homes with a monitored security systems are far less likely to be burglarized than a homes without. Insurance companies know this and most companies will reduce your insurance premiums if you have your system monitored. The savings can be 5%- 20% depending on the type of system installed. In some cases the amount you save on insurance premiums can be equal to the cost per month to have your home monitored.

(5) Your are not alone. When a break in takes place you give the decision making over to experienced and competent monitoring team and the police. It's their job to make security and safety decisions so you and your loved ones don't have to.

Advantages to Unmonitored Home Security Systems

(1) No costs or fees. Keep in mind that there is a monthly fee for monitoring services. You should expect to pay between $20-$50 a month for monitoring. If you choose to have your system unmonitored you can save thousands of dollars over the years.

(2) Monitored systems sometimes fail to work. If you choose the land line, the line can be cut by the intruder before they enter your home.

(3) No false alarms to the police and fire departments. Unfortunately, false alarms are all too common with monitored systems. Police departments are getting more and more frustrated and in some cases they will charge the home owner if they have to make an unnecessary trip to your home. Check with your local police about their false alarm policies before having your system monitored.

(4) No binding or costly long term contracts. If you choose to have your system monitored, keep in mind that most monitoring companies will require you sign a contract for several years. If for any reason you become unhappy with the company you may end up stuck in a contract because it can be difficult to get out of a contract which can be.

Deciding if you would like your security alarm system monitored or unmonitored is a big decision and we hope you have made the best decision for the safety of you and your family. There are many things to consider when choosing a monitoring company. Please visit our website for tips on choosing an alarm monitoring company.

Injury Claim Advice - 3 Instances When You Cannot Make A Claim

Injury claims are something that most people do not understand at all. Only a small percentage of claims ever end up in court and the ones that do end up in court are usually dealt with quite swiftly. Work accident claims are usually an insurance issue as most employers have insurance to protect them against claims for accidents at work. Compensation insurance is something that is actually prescribed by law for certain occupations and in certain states. Jobs that have a high risk of injury usually have insurance prescribed by statuary requirements.

When it comes to public claims like road accidents and claims that involve public road ways it becomes more complicated and getting a specialist's opinion is probably best. However, there are certain situations where you cannot make a claim. Lets quickly look at those:

- Negligence
If the accident was a result of your own personal negligence then you will probably not get away with a claim. A good example is when your accident is a result of you deliberately breaking company safety regulation. Although there are exceptions, as a rule of thumb you need to stick to company safety regulations.

- Time Frame
When you claim is a big deal. You cannot claim for something that happened 10 years ago - although there are exceptions for that as well. In the UK for instance you need to make your claim within 3 years of the accident.

- Multiple Claims
This has been an issue of much debate when the whole mesothelioma thing flared up. In general you cannot claim multiple times for the same injury. For this reason you need to make sure you get your claim right the first time and get the maximum claim in first time.

Healthcare Kiosk And Its Utility

Healthcare kiosks are extremely beneficial for patients and for the healthcare industry because of the automatic system and protection from identity thefts.

Healthcare kiosk has been an important addition to the healthcare industry. There are certain benefits that a healthcare kiosk provide and some of these benefits are:

- Increasing efficiency of staff
- Checking in patients
- Decreasing patient waiting

All of these are possible because these kiosks are custom fitted with automatic routine registration system which helps to minimize paperwork. Moreover, recently, clinical practices and some of the technologically savvy hospitals have found out that kiosks act as shield against rapidly increasing threat from medical identity theft.

A healthcare kiosk provides the facility of automatic confirmation by alerting a specific patients that he/she has an appointment with a particular physician at a particular time. Due to this automatic system the same job that used to be done by a person manually is greatly reduced, which directly saves valuable time. Earlier, the whole process involved lots of photocopies of driver's license, insurance card, etc. along with verification of the documents. A healthcare kiosk allows patients to do these types of tasks on their own with the help of the software that helps them to keep their information completely safe and secure. Moreover, these kiosks have HIPAA compliant screens that helps to protect the data of various users protected from others to see. To elaborate the facilities that a kiosk provides to a patient in terms of insurance coverage is, that it allows a patient to check whether his/her insurance has changed or not from the previous visit. They can also check whether they need to sign any new form or not. But, everything is taken care of in a kiosk because the documents can be signed electronically.

A healthcare kiosk also allows a patient to perform a real time eligibility and insurance benefit verification. Moreover, it also tells a patient about his/her co-pay and deductible pay are and also alerts them about any outstanding payment that they need to collect before stepping inside an examination room.

Orwell and Obamacare

"Besides, in those days they had been slaves and now they were free, and that made all the difference, as Squealer did not fail to point out." - George Orwell, Animal Farm, Ch. 9

"But it also seems fair to interpret the vote as a ringing endorsement of Americans' inalienable right to avoid buying private health insurance and instead get medical care from public emergency rooms where the cost will be passed on to the taxpayers. Maybe it's time to rethink the single-payer plan now that we have evidence that 71 percent of Missourians support the concept of socialized medicine." - Gail Collins Editor New York Times

Animal Farm by George Orwell is an allegorical novella most of us read in high school. The gradual corruption of a farmyard revolution was used to demonstrate the failure of the Stalinist government. Most memorable to me was the ability of Squealer the Pig to twist words to eventually mean the exact opposite of their original intention. Much to my chagrin, Ms. Collins, and editor of the venerated New York Times, and supporter of Obamacare, has sunk to such a level.

Her editorial concerns the Missouri referendum in which voters overwhelmingly rejected the individual mandate, which I discussed in a previous blog. The crucial point is that the vote was not about the subtle Constitutional intricacies, as most people probably did not understand them. What the voters were doing was expressing their fears. Fears of a government takeover of medicine, fears of losing their doctors, fears of uncontrolled spending and taxes, and rejection of the Congressional malfeasance that passed this deeply flawed bill. Lacking any other outlet to express these fears, the voters did what they could, sending a message to whomever might listen that they opposed this bill.

Collins reaches Orwellian distortion levels by ignoring the will of the voters and focusing on a narrow legalistic interpretation. The voters in Missouri did indeed support the right not to buy insurance, but only as an expression of their opposition to all of the other tenets of Obamacacare, which the politicians didn't let us vote on.

Adding to her cynical misrepresentation of the vote is her factually incorrect statement about public Emergency rooms. Although some free care is paid for by public funds by taxpayer funded hospitals, the majority of free care is rendered by private hospitals and physicians, which is indirectly subsidized by private insurance and medicare. Ms. Collins final subterfuge of twisting the Missouri vote into an endorsement of Single-payer government insurance would leave Squealer the Pig smiling. I would wager that a single-payer initiative would fail by a similar 70-29 margin.

Such distortions make a difficult problem impossible to debate honestly. Such cynical, partisan and condescending statements place huge obstacles to solving the very real problems facing Americans and healthcare.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/05/opinion/05collins.html?_r=1&ref=gailcollins

5 Simple Tips To Reduce Your Dentist's Bill

Before you keep that appointment with your cosmetic dentist, you need to know a few very important things that would save you quite some on your bill. While it is true that any dentist would follow the general market trends while charging for their services, it is possible to enjoy considerable saving if you apply the tips given below.

1. Pay in cash and negotiate the bills - most medical practitioners would be happy to give you a discount when you are paying for the cosmetic procedure in cash. Negotiate before hand with the doctor and ensure that you are on the same page when you undergo the treatment.

2. Join a recommended group of medical practitioners - there are now mini-consortiums of doctors in various fields who offer membership to their patients and a hefty discount for the procedures they avail. This is something like an insurance payment; you pay a monthly or yearly fee for membership and when you need any medical treatment, the cost would be highly subsidized.

3. Insurance add-ons - there are many insurance policies that allow for add-on and riders regarding dental treatment. Take your insurance agent into confidence and let him/ her guide you to the best possible policy where dental treatment can be added at the least possible addition to the main premium. When you need to undergo the treatment such addition would come in very handy.

4. Medical vacationing - many people have discovered medical travel. In other words you plan a vacation to countries that offer high quality medical attention at lower costs such as in India, Malaysia, Singapore, etc. In this way, you enjoy your vacation and you also get your cosmetic dental intervention at a fraction of the cost.

5. Use latest technology - contrary to popular belief using latest technology does not increase the cost, but decreases it. There are many techniques today that have the time and effort required by less than half. Since they are fast and better, they do not require too much anesthetic either. This means you suffer least inconvenience, no pain and your bill is less than half.

All the above tips are superb. However, these will work best for you only when you understand and use them to the best of your advantage. Do not just rush in and apply these guidelines. Research on the Net, talk to various professionals, read feedback online and form a general idea of what is required for your specific dental intervention.

Once you have formed a good idea, look around your city and find a place that can offer you both quality and cost. Small towns usually offer superb prices, but if the doctor is not experienced the results might be compromised. Always ensure that you go to a highly experienced and qualified professional for compromising on this aspect would mean disaster in the long run.

Lastly, compare carefully the costs and do not hesitate to negotiate the price with the clinic or medical professional you choose. Sometimes, you can get some fabulous deals just for the asking.

Choosing A Car Shipping Company

Whether you are moving to a new location or you will just be visiting for an extend period of time, and you need your car shipped to you, there are many things to consider before you choose which car shipping company to use. Picking which company is much like picking out a new car; you'll want to shop around. A quick Internet search will yield several different results, but these companies aren't always the best way to go. Be sure to have answers to some of the following questions before deciding on which is best for you.

It is of the utmost importance to make sure that the service you choose and the driver that will be transporting your vehicle is insured. As far as your own vehicle is concerned, some car shipping companies will cover it within the price of shipping but with others you will have to pay extra for insurance. It is important to know before buying shipping insurance whether or not your own insurance policy covers the shipping of your vehicle.

Several companies offer door to door service, instead of delivering to a satellite company from which you will have to pick up your vehicle. This sounds like the optimal choice for convenience, however just because they claim the service to be door to door does not mean you will actually get your car picked up from your home and delivered to another. Most companies will ship your car with a large industrial vehicle. These vehicles are often times prohibited from entering certain cities and especially many residential neighborhoods. Check to see if this will be a problem in your area.

Lastly, you will need to make the decision whether or not you want your car to be covered when it ships. This is a service that usually always comes at an extra charge. It is well worth it if your car will be moved over long distances. Covers, or companies that ship your vehicle inside their trucks, will protect your vehicle from the elements, which can be extremely harmful to the vehicle's paint job. So, before you ship, be sure to educate yourself.

What Is a "Smash and Grab" Crime?

Unfortunately this occurrence is on the rise in South Africa. The crime statistics, as released by the Minister of Police, show a 10,3% rise in thefts out of a motor vehicle, taking the total last year to 120 862 reported incidents.

Insurance companies claim this number is higher and have figures showing an average of 25 smashed windows a day in Durban, and 13 200 windows replaced in Pretoria, last year. According to Robyn Farrel, director of 1st for Women Insurance, what is more frightening is the fact that the majority of "smash and grab" victims are woman.

So how do we protect ourselves and loved ones?

In the 1960s, a new technology called window film came on the market. Since that time, the technology has continued to evolve, offering car owners another option for protecting their family and valuables.

Insurance companies claim that the best "smash and grab" preventer is to have a polycarb film fitted to your windows. The benefit, of the film, to your safety is two-fold.

·The safety film makes it difficult for criminals to see into your vehicle. This makes it harder to identify valuables. The safety film is also a visible deterrent as criminals will prefer a "softer" target.

·The safety film prevents shattering of the glass, holding it in place. This stops shards of glass injuring the occupants of the car. It provides precious time to react and escape.

Film tinting is fairly inexpensive, strengthens glass and reduces insurance premiums. Don't let your windows be your weak point. Don't be the next statistic. Stop crime. Fit Safty Film.

Save Money Regularly Using a Price Comparison Website

The price comparison industry has been around for close on two decades but has really grown up in the last ten years as more people have gained access to the internet.

The price comparison industry has been around for close on two decades but has really grown up in the last ten years as more people have gained access to the internet. The main reason for growth is due to the speed and constant improvement of the internet, data storage and transfer technology. Comparison sites can now collect data directly from a selection of different sellers' website at the same time and display them for you to find the best price.

Online shopping offers customers the convenience of shopping from the comfort of their home at a pace that suits them. It allows you to do all the carry out your due diligence without feeling pressured by a sales staff. When you have found the lowest price, you will need to compare all the items based on their delivery charges and price. Just because any item looks cheap it might be more expensive when you add the delivery charges. You need to consider these charges to find the best price.

The products that are compared by these sites cover an enormous range of consumer products and services such as utility service providers, best mortgage lenders, holidays, personal loans, health insurance, car insurance, life insurance, lowest credit card deals, every day products from your supermarket, electrical goods, household goods, etc. Present statistics suggest that we spend over a billion pounds a year and they estimate that over six million visitors regularly use price comparison sites each month.

Price comparison sites allow you to look at many different items or services together. This saves you time and money as you can seek out the cheapest deal at the lowest price. You do not have to buy anything from any comparison sites you are shown. Best of all you can take your time looking for the product or service you are looking for and remember these sites are a way to save money.

Remember comparison sites are biased to the merchants that pay them for promoting their products and services on their site. This means you will have found you the best price from the merchants that advertise with them. this will not be the lowest price on the whole of the internet. Recently a new application was patented that will search the entire internet and all of the Google pages for the cheapest price. The myShoppingGenie price comparison application will revolutionise the industry and you can work from home making money by distributing their free Application as an independent distributor.

The future of comparison technology is the development of applications for sourcing downloadable music, games, online learning, music video, video, social networking and free software at the cheapest price. All this technology is being developed as we speak for the iPhone and blackberry mobile phone market.

Comparison sites within the insurance industry and the finance industry are highly competitive. Most people who use these sites return year after year to find the cheapest deals. Like or not comparison sites are here to stay. There future is sound and long-term they will thrive and grow as the public become more price conscious and continue seeking cheaper prices, bigger discounts and better bargains. Buyers will be the biggest benefactor of price comparing price sites.

5 Reasons Automobile Extended Warranties Are a Good Investment

When purchasing a vehicle, automobile extended warranties can offer many benefits that are well worth the investment.

Commonly referred to as "automobile extended warranty", when sold by a third-party, the product is considered a vehicle service contract or mechanical breakdown insurance depending upon the state in which you reside. For simplicity, we will continue to use the terms "extended car warranties", "mercury extended warranties", etc., for the remainder of this article.

Extended automobile warranties provide coverage that will not only pay the cost of repairs, but also help to deal with any inconveniences you may face in the event of a breakdown by offering such things as roadside assistance, towing, or rentals.

Basically, extended warranties are like insurance for your car. But, like any other form of insurance, it is important to do the research and find the best deal for your situation, taking into consideration the age and reliability of your vehicle, as well as your lifestyle, your finances, and how long you plan to keep the car before purchasing a new one. Remember to take the time to ask important questions such as deductible amounts, reliability ratings, and claim procedures so you know exactly what you are paying for and what to expect if you need to use the coverage.

Some extended warranty plans have received a lot of criticism, but by doing your homework, you can avoid bad experiences and ensure that you are receiving the best coverage for your money. Good extended warranties offer many advantages that make them a wise choice for car owners.

1. Extended and Supplemental Coverage.

Manufacturers' original warranties are limited, and the length of this coverage can vary for different parts or systems within the vehicle. An extended warranty not only goes beyond the age and mileage outlined in the original warranty, it may also cover things not included during the term of the manufacturer's warranty. For example, a manufacturer may only agree to cover repairs on an air conditioning system for one year, whereas your extended warranty may allow you to have these problems fixed without any cost to you for as long as the coverage is in place.

2. No Unexpected Expenses or Repair Bills.

Automobile extended warranties can reduce your stress level by eliminating surprise repair costs and out of pocket expenses. Repair costs are rising, especially with the increasing complexity of electrical and computer systems and the growing number of options being included in vehicles. With a good warranty, you can keep your car running perfectly without having to worry about receiving a large repair bill at a very inconvenient time. And, if you purchase an extended warranty at today's prices, you will also be protecting yourself from higher expenses in the future due to the increasing costs of parts and labor.

3. Peace of Mind.

Some people do not mind taking a chance on being "self-insured" and paying for repairs as they come. But, if you are not a risk taker and like the peace of mind of knowing that you can have your car fixed when it is needed without having to worry about saving up the money or juggling finances, then an extended warranty is a great option. And since most warranties offer other benefits such as roadside assistance, rental cars, or towing, you will still be able to get to work, make your appointments, and meet all your obligations without any inconveniences.

4. Flexibility.

Many manufacturer warranties require that you have repairs completed at a dealership. However, with 3rd party extended warranty coverage you will have the flexibility of taking your car to any certified facility, making it more convenient for you and ensuring that you are still protected even if the dealer goes out of business.

5. Increase Resale Value.

Many automobile extended warranties are transferable, making them a great selling point to a potential buyer. Also, it is likely that a car with an extended warranty has been taken care of and repaired properly, making it attractive to people looking to purchase a used vehicle.

If you shop around and find the right coverage for you, automobile extended warranties can be a great investment and will buy you the peace of mind of knowing that you are protected from the inconvenience and unexpected expenses often associated with vehicle breakdowns.

Hospitals in Barcelona: A Brief Discussion

If you are planning a short trip with your family or even thinking of a backpacking trip with some friends, the best European trip you could possibly take would be to Barcelona. Located in the lovely country of Spain, this city is foremost as a commercial and industrial center. Known for its rich history and unique heritage, Barcelona has attracted tourists for decades. Visitors fill its bustling streets to experience the city's splendid architecture, numerous art galleries, and fine restaurants with their renowned lip-smacking cuisine.

The healthcare system in Barcelona is very well developed and is counted among the best in the world. The city hospitals have an outstanding medical reputation, chiefly because of the high standards of service and its unheard-of-reasonable fees. Their doctors and nurses are well trained and highly devoted to their profession. In most medical facilities, translators are available to assist patients.

An option to travelers would be to contact the appropriate embassy and obtain a complete list of English-speaking doctors. Before taking a trip to Barcelona, make sure that your insurance company will cover possible medical expenses incurred during your stay. By presenting a European Health Card, free services are provided to Europeans. Hospitals maintain strict standards of hygiene and cleanliness. The labs are well equipped and the testing centers give accurate results at amazing speed. Available in most medical centers are 24-hour pharmacy and ambulance services.

A list of leading medical facilities utilized by visitors and locals alike include Centre Forum Hospital Del Mar, Vall d'Hebron Hospital General, Hospital de L'esperanca, Hospital de Sant Joan de Deu, Hospital ClĂ­nic de Barcelona,Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge and the Hospital de Nens de Barcelona. With a strong healthcare infrastructure in Barcelona, tourist can rest assured that these hospitals will provide outstanding medical services.

Dentist - Pediatric Dentistry Vs. Family Dentistry

It is recommended that a child begin visiting a dentist as soon as the first tooth emerges, so it will be very early on in your child's life when you will be faced with the decision of whether to use a pediatric dentist or a family one. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of both will help you make the best decision for you and your child.

Many insurance companies do not offer coverage for babies, but even if your child is not covered for preventative check-ups, consider searching for a good pediatric dentist that will accept your little patient immediately for cash payment and convert to insurance payments when the policy is valid. The sooner you begin taking a child to regular check-ups, the better. Getting used to the environment, the exam chair, and the doctor is half the battle. You may even be able to find a location that will let you have a field trip to the office without cost. If your kid does not have any pressing issues or risks, this may suffice as a first step to take before an actual appointment.

Choosing a pediatric specialist in this field has its advantages. The offices and exam rooms are extraordinarily kid friendly with videos to watch, toys to distract, and kid oriented staff. It is highly suggested if your child is prone or has risks for dental complications at a young age that you stick with this doctor. He is trained not only to deal with youngsters, but he is trained specifically for the little mouth and all affiliated issues. The only downside to sticking with a pediatric specialist is that they often only take very young patients and/or insurance will only pay for visits until around the age of eight, after which you will have to go through the entire orientation process again with a family specialist.

If you and your spouse have a family dentist that is willing to take on young children, you may want to start out in this environment to save the headache of relaying dental history and processing records. Starting with a doctor who will treat your child throughout his or her growth has its distinct advantages, and a steady knowledge of patient history is one of them. Another factor that makes family dentistry a good choice is the ease of having everyone in the family treated by the same doctor or at least in the same office. It is easier to make appointments, and it is simpler to gather records for tax or transfer purposes.

When making the choice, it ultimately comes down to insurance stipulations, and you and your child's comfort levels. Feeling scared or uncomfortable in the exam chair or being scared of the doctor can ruin a child's dedication to oral hygiene for life. You want to provide a smooth experience so that the little patient is more prone to continue good habits and regular appointments when she is older and has to make health decisions on her own.

How They Vandalized My Bicycle

My bicycle got vandalized many times. I stopped counting. One day I had the idea to stop walking to the railway station, but ride to the station by bicycle, lock it and leave it there, and take the train afterward. This would save time and I could sleep a bit longer in the morning.

The only drawback to this idea was that I had to leave my bike at the station for over nine hours until I returned from work. I was worried if it might get stolen during this time. To test this idea I went to the basement and picked the worst bike I had. It was over thirty years old and rusted. I rode to the station and locked it on the stationary bicycle stand. After that I took the train and went to work as usual.

When I came back nine hours later the bike was still there, but some idiot had cut off the front tyre with a knife. This made me angry, but there was nothing I could do. I left the bike there and walked home.

I was glad I got rid of the bike as it was too old and rusty anyway, but I was amazed about the mathematical side of this. The probability that your bike gets vandalized or stolen at this station was frightening high. To make things worse this was just a very small and peaceful railway station with two tracks where trains pass through, nothing more.

Imagine, I never left a bike at this station before, but on the very day I did, it got vandalized the same day. And this happened with a very old and ugly bike. If you would leave a new bike there it probably would get stolen right away. The probability that this happens was extremely high.

I still bought a new bike, but insured it and used it at another station nearby that was bigger. I locked my bike to a hidden bicycle stands in front of a library and went to work everyday. After some months the lock was broken and the bike was stolen. I went to the police, got a statement for my insurance and I got my money back completely.

Then I bought a new one but never left it at a station anymore. One day I went to the local chess club and left the bicycle in the floor within the building. When I came back it was stolen. Hard to believe, but true. I went to the German police again, got the statement and got the money back from the insurance again.

But this could not go on forever. The police would probably suspect me soon for stealing my own bikes to get the money from the insurance. So I stopped buying new bikes all together. From then on I used old bikes only. They never get stolen, just damaged.

Why NRI Deposits Is a Great Idea

NRI deposits (Schemes) are ones in which you are entitled to open a bank account to carry out your internal transactions (investments) in the origin country. This is another way in which NRIs are connected with their family in India. NRIs sustain few key benefits from Deposit plans.

These are some other ways through which you can connect yourself with your relatives. Banking is quite simple these days, for NRIs banks are pleased to offer home based services. Begin with a Non Resident External Account in order to keep your earnings deposited in that. Then, assign a nominee: parents, wife or kids who can withdraw the money on your behalf anytime and from anywhere. Secondly, start your investments through Insurance policies. This will protect your loved ones with a shielded protected future investment plan. You can make use of this NRI insurance policy to cover up the cashless hospitalization billings.

These investment plans offer a comprehensive financial backup & protection for your family in your absence. Through these two things Saving Bank Account and Insurance, you would have offered your family economic stability. So next time, they needn't wait till you transfer the amount. This financial stability will help your family during the tougher periods and aid to combat them with your investment plans. You can stay relaxed that you have chosen the protecting plan to safeguard them.

Benefits of Depositional Plans:

• Protection for future uncertainties
• Deposits offer Investment cum insurance plans
• Reliable repayment schemes & offers
• Advantage of low Interest rates & Freedom of investment in market
• Good Earnings for dream projects like Home, Family Purposes

There are so many NRI investment plans available in the market, through which you can pick out the profits back to home. Under RBI norms, you're allowed as NRI to invest in Indian shares & debentures. An FCNR account or an NRE account allows you to build up your income in the form of lease; interest or profits earned via mutual fund, FD interests etc.

For regular NRI bank account, you must hold a valid passport; you must be of 21 years of age or above. By keeping deposits in Indian bank, you're also allowed to take loans for building a house or for buying a plot or house in the country. Interest rates for NRI loans do not vary much from that of the Indians living in this country.

These loans will be sanctioned only for a shorter period and you can get as much as 85% of the cost of house as loan amount. The loan amount depends upon the borrower's repayment capacity. If you are planning to purchase a house or want to do renovations, you use NRI Home loans to your advantage. Most of the banks require you to have an asset in India, a valid Indian passport, monthly income proof and age related docs.

Under this, whenever you want money for personal or family purposes, you can easily access your NRI deposits & also think about the investment in your dream house project.

Medicare Supplement Leads - Don't Overlook "Freshness"

There are many components that make for good Medicare supplement leads. Among the most valuable and frequently overlooked would be the relative "freshness" of the leads. That is to say, you will want to call medicare supplement leads that have not been perpetually called by insurance agents. When an insurance company or individual agent is working with a list of fresh medicare supplement leads, the potential to sell a policy is more likely.

The reasons for this should be quite apparent.

Any potential customer that has been called repeatedly may have already made his or her mind up regarding whether or not to purchase a policy. In some instances, the individual may already be quite tuned out to hearing any type of pitch from an agent. The client may be taking the attitude that he/she has "heard it all" and do not want to purchase. Such customers are, well, not really customers since they will probably hang up without a second thought.

Then, there is the "customer" on the other end of the spectrum. Such an individual will be the person that has no intention of buying but will stay on the line simply to waste time. These individuals drain valuable time, energy, and resources from agents that could otherwise be putting their work to better use.

Again, you will want to work with fresh supplement leads. When the leads are fresh and not overused, the odds of making a sale will increase. The individual that you would be contacting has not become jaded to the process. This enhances the sales and closing potential on the medicare supplement leads immensely.

Now, there is some confusion regarding how often you should call those on a fresh list of quality medicare supplement leads. Certainly, you cannot call one name once and if there is no policy purchased to never call the individual again. Such a process is ridiculous because it would require purchasing hundreds of thousands of medicare supplement leads in order to stay in business! Actually, no agency would be able to stay in business if it needed to purchase that many medicare supplement leads! In all seriousness, there is a wiser approach to take when it comes to the acquisition of medicare supplement leads. Basically, you need to follow two common sense maxims. They are:

  • Just because someone has not purchased a policy in the past does not mean the person will not purchase one in the future.
  • Some medicare leads are just never going to purchase and you need to make a judgment call to move on.

Why would someone that was previously contacted on a list of medicare leads to no avail change his/her attitude? There are a few reasons in play here. First, circumstances may change which means someone that otherwise would not have purchased a policy may change his mind.

Then, there is also the fact that different agents may have different results with the same lead. Cycling the medicare supplement leads around to various agents can lead to different results with the same individual on the lead list. That is just a fact of life when it comes to selling any type of insurance policy.

In terms of making a decision to cease calling people on a lead list, this is a judgment call that needs to be made by the agency. There are times when it is best to move on and retire certain names on a list of medicare supplement leads. This would be a much better plan to take since it will maximize efficiency.

Plastic Surgery - Payment Plans

In the overwhelming majority of cases, the sad truth is that plastic surgery is something not covered by health insurance. For those determined to push through with the idea, there are ways to go about financing the plastic surgery without the aid of petty crime or black jack tables. In this article, we will outline a few tips to help you pay for your procedure.

Step 1 - Even though the probability is low, the first stop should always be your health insurance agent. Certain procedures such as breast reduction and physical deformity repair may actually be covered under your current plan. You'll never know unless you ask.

Step 2 - Discuss your options with the surgeon performing the procedure regarding the possibility of making the procedure coverable by your insurance. Sometimes it just takes some proper wording for the insurance company to understand the benefits that the procedure would provide.

Step 3 - Utilize that low interest credit card that's been gathering dust in your closet. Find out information pertaining to your limits and have at it. Not only will this help you get the procedure out of the way, but it can also work with you to build up your credit score.

Step 4 - A penny saved is a penny earned toward your procedure. Sit yourself down and re-evaluate your current budget. Chances are that there are quite a few unnecessary bills in your monthly expense log. If you smoke, now's the time to quit. Start eating at home and renting movies instead of going out. If you're truly invested into the idea of your upcoming procedure, this should cause little harm. Once you have the full amount set aside, you can deposit it, worry free, with no interest and no stress. Additionally, you'll probably be able to cut out a few bad habits throughout the process.

Step 5 - Head down your local bank or credit union and apply for a personal loan. If you own a vehicle, you can even take out a loan against it, and pay it off over time. To boot, most personal loans come with a much lower interest rate than your typical credit card, allowing you to still build up your credit without compromising a larger portion of your cash.

Step 6 - You can even combine ideas 5 & 6, saving half of the money and paying for the rest with a loan or credit card. It'll be like a little reward for being such a good little saver!

Step 7 - Find out about any available plastic surgery financing through your physician's practice. Most surgeon's offer financing with fairly decent interest rates. Find out what you might qualify for if approved.

Step 8 - Talk to your family and ask them to send you cash or birthdays and holidays in order to provide you with extra savings to put towards your procedure. Those holiday checks add up fast, and you'll have a nice stock pile before you know it.

Hopefully, this article has shed light on a few ideas you hadn't thought of prior. Remember that nothing worth having ever comes easy. Taking the time to earn the things you want only equates to a more rewarding experience.

How To Find A Good Cosmetic Dentist To Whiten Your Teeth

If your job involves daily contact with the public, then you certainly know how important it is for you to look presentable at work. Your smile may play a more significant role in this than you realize. Even with a well-maintained collection of outfits and accessories, your smile will make a big difference regarding how people react to your presence. And what better way is there to make your smile dazzling than to have a perfect set of spotless, white teeth?

All of us are born with sparkly white teeth. However, your teeth may get discolored due to some ailment, having too many caffeinated drinks, or smoking. In that case, it is best for you to go for teeth whitening, in order to being back the dazzle in your smile. However, you should definitely look for a capable cosmetic dentist in order to get this done, as botched teeth whitening can lead to a lot of complications, including permanent discoloration, irritation in the mouth, hypersensitivity to temperatures and damage to the enamel of teeth. Here are some pointers to find the perfect cosmetic surgeon for getting your teeth whitened.

Ask around for recommendations

Ask friends and family who have got their teeth whitened before if their dentist did a good job. Ask for the contact details of the dentist. You can also contact the nearest dental college for recommendations, or even ask your general physician as well.

Meet them personally

When you meet the dentists ask them about the whole procedure. If the dentist explains to you the procedure willingly then he is most likely a patient person who will treat you well. Ask him about his experience with similar jobs and if there are any preventive measures that you need to take. Ensure that he is a certified member of the American Dental Association. Don't forget to talk about the fees and their preferred payment mode (cash, check or plastic).

Dental Insurance Formalities

Make sure he carries out proper dental insurance formalities. There are few dental facilities which may file the claim with your insurance company for payment, whereas other facilities may require you to file your dental claims for reimbursement. If you are not covered by dental insurance, you need to ensure if the facility receives payment by credit card and has any payment schemes.

Are you looking for good cosmetic dentists to carry out teeth whitening (Lancaster PA)? Then check out dudasdentalgroup.com right away. You may find the exact solution you need.

Need Auto Body Repair?

Many of us don't quite know what to do when find ourselves involved in accidents where our cars are damaged. While on the one hand we have to deal with the trauma of physical injury and emotional shock; on the other hand we have to deal with the problem of getting our car repaired in time. We also have to negotiate with the insurers of our vehicles so that we get the money that we are supposed to receive and at the same time ensure that the value of the vehicle does not diminish because of the damage.

At this hour one of the places that we rush to is the auto body repair shops of the manufacturers of our vehicles. We are so keen that our automobile gets the attention that it needs that we forget that these company run service centers tend to charge much more than what is actually. Since people are afraid that other service centers will not have professionals who are familiar enough with the vehicles to be able to properly repair it, they end up coughing up whatever the manufacturers ask for.

However, you need not really pay up so much because there are good centers auto body repair. Portland boasts of alternative auto body repair shops that offer service than matches up to service provided by the manufacturers. However, there are additional advantages of getting the job done by these people. There are many reasons why you will prefer to go to these service centers for auto body repair. Portland is a place that is famous for these shops.

One of the things that most people dread about the post -accident phase is the battle that they have to fight with insurance providers. While some cases are solved without much ado; there are cases where the aggrieved party has to wait for some time before the claim is processed. The repairers of the vehicles offer provide finance so that you can deal with the crisis in a proper manner till the insurance money is received. Since they deal with most major insurers regularly, they are familiar with the standard procedures and also offer the owners of the damaged cars assistance with the paperwork.

You should opt for only established auto body repair shops because only they will have trained personnel who with be able to handle expensive cars of different makes.

The Real Cost Of Living On A Narrowboat

Do you want to live on a narrowboat because you think it's a low cost alternative to living in a house? Living on a narrowboat is a fantastic lifestyle choice but the cost is possibly a little more than you expected. In this article ALL of the costs are detailed and explained.

Below, I have detailed the general narrowboat costs that you will incur followed by some specific costs that I have faced since moving onto narrowboat James in April 2010.

NARROWBOAT PURCHASE COST

Your narrowboat will probably be your largest financial investment after your dry land home. If you want a brand new narrowboat designed and fitted out to your own specifications you can pay in excess of £100,000. You will be able to pick up a decent second hand boat of about 60′ suitable for living aboard for about £40,000.

The majority of narrowboat owners have a boat in addition to a house. Some though fund the cost of their boat from the sale of their house. Whichever way you choose to fund your boast purchase, make sure you include any monthly finance repayment amounts in your calculations.

I provide a link to the very best place to research narrowboat prices and specifications in this article on my web site. Last time I looked, there were eight hundred narrowboats for sale.

NARROWBOAT INSURANCE

Insurance for your boat is a legal requirement. You can find a list of narrowboat insurers on the site. Please note that your intention to live on your narrowboat and the age of the boat will have an impact on the insurance cost so must be declared.

BOAT SAFETY CERTIFICATE

Your car needs an MOT both as a legal requirement and as a regular check to make sure that it is safe to use. Your narrowboat needs a Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) Certificate when it is four years old and every four years after that. Again, tHere's some very good information about the examination, the likely cost and what you need to do to prepare for it on my site.

BRITISH WATERWAYS LICENSE

You have to buy a British Waterways license if your narrowboat uses the canals of England and Wales. The fee is dependant on the length of your boat. At the time of writing (November 2010), the annual fee for 62′ long James is £804.48 with an £80 discount for prompt payment. You also need to pay a fee to use the rivers that connect some of the canals (e.g. the Thames). British Waterways is responsible for river Avon, Soar, Ouse, Severn and Ure. The Environment Agency controls river Thames, Medway, Nene, Great Ouse, Ancholme, Glen, Welland and Stour. British Waterways offer their Gold License which allows you to travel on all the waterways controlled by British Waterways and the Enviroment Agency. The 2010 fee for a 62′ narrowboat is £967 for payment in full or £1,039 if paid by direct debit installments. You can find more details about British Waterways licenses here

THE AA OF THE WATERWAYS

River Canal Rescue offer breakdown cover for boat owners. They offer three levels of cover; bronze, silver and gold ranging in cost from £55 to £160 a year.

Bronze cover simply registers your boat on their database. You pay additional fees for call outs and for towing you to the closest marina if they can't easily repair your boat. Silver and Gold membership give you additional services and benefits such as an annual engine inspection (rather than a service).

It's essential cover for you if you don't like to get too close to your engine or if your craft is a little long in the tooth.

MOORING FEES

Mooring fees vary enormously but you can get an idea of the likely fees by the mooring location and the facilities on offer. A bankside mooring with no water or electricity is going to cost far less than a spacious mooring in a picturesque marina with all mod cons. At Calcutt Boats the fee for the older Locks marina is roughly £2,090 for a 60′ boat. In the newer more spacious Meadows marina the standard piers are £2,300 or £2,683 for the 70′ moorings.

Mooring fees are usually based on a single advance payment. There are often options to pay quarterly or monthly but they ill cost you more. Please note that many marinas also charge an additional amount for "high usage" so make sure you check the small print before you commit yourself.

DIESEL - HEATING

I don't use diesel heating so don't have any first hand experience. Work colleague and fellow moorer Anthony on his posh boat Second Sister does. He claims that he uses an average of 1/4 litre per hour over a 24 hour period or six litres per day. Diesel for heating is currently 78p per litre at Calcutt Boats.

DIESEL - PROPULSION

I don't get out much so use very little propulsion duel. I am reliably informed though that, when cruising, you will use 1 - 1.5 litres of diesel per hour. Propulsion diesel is currently about £1.30 per litre

Please note that when you pay for your diesel, you will be asked to sign a declaration. Not all boats have separate tanks for propulsion and heating so the boatyard doesn't know which part of your boat will use the fuel. Propulsion and heating diesel are identical but attract different levels of duty. The accepted split is 60% propulsion, 40% heating. So, if you put 100 litres into your tank, you will be charged 60 litres at the propulsion rate (about £1.30 per litre) and 40 litres at the heating rate (78p per litre). However, some boatyards allow you to declare a different split. In theory, you can declare 100% for heating and pay for all of your fuel at the lower rate. In case of a government inspection though you need to be able to justify it.

HULL PROTECTION

Every two to three years you will need to take your boat out of the water to "black" the hull. Blacking is a term used for the process of applying several coats of bitumen or other coal tar based paint to prevent rust. You can paint the hull yourself or ask a boatyard to do it for you. Either way, your boat will need to be removed from the water so that the work can be done. You should budget £400 - £500 for both removing your boat and having the work done for you.

ROUTINE SERVICE

Just like your car, your boat needs to be serviced. And just like your car, the cost of those services can vary enormously. Here at Calcutt Boats, the cost of a service ranges from £60 - £160 plus parts.

SPECIFIC COSTS INCURRED BY ME ON NARROWBOAT JAMES

The costs detailed below are real costs. Every narrowboat related expense has been recorded by me since moving aboard narrowboat James. Each narrowboat's day to day running costs will vary depending on the boat's age, condition and equipment on board and equipment usage so let me tell you a little about James.

In boating terms, James is an old girl. Built in 1975 with a steel hull and composite top, she's 62' long and has seen better days. James hadn't been used more than two or three times in the previous ten years before I started to live on board full time in April 2010. Consequently she was in need of some TLC and was very damp.

Because she hadn't been used or maintained for such a long time, the windows and roof vents leaked and there was water seeping into the boat through the skin. The solid fuel stove (which heats four radiators along one side), had a cracked glass plate and leaks in the flu.

All of the above meant that keeping warm and dry was a problem. The stove has now been refurbished and the windows and roof vents sealed. I think that there's still a leak somewhere on the roof channelling water behind the cladding, which ends up under the floor of the rear cabin. Consequently I need to run a dehumidifier pretty much full time to combat the damp.

As I said, every boat has differing factors which will impact on the running and maintenance costs. In addition to the boat's age and the condition, the type of equipment used and how much it is used will also play a part.

HEATING

Whoever designed the heating on James liked to cover all available options. In addition to the solid fuel stove, there are four radiators - powered by the stove - plus gas heaters and an electric radiator. I also have a Dimplex greenhouse heater and a 1200w halogen heater for emergencies. There is a Paloma gas powered "on demand" heater which supplies an unlimited amount of scalding hot water.

COOKING

The hob, oven and grill are all gas and are powered by two 13kg Propane cylinders. The two cylinders do me for about two months.

LIFESTYLE

How much time you spend on board will have a direct impact on your fuel consumption, as will your eating and cooking habits. The costs I have listed below are based on the following...

On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday I get up at 05:15, shower, have a quick breakfast of tea and toast and work on the web site until 07:30. From October onwards the stove is burning coal twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Overnight and when I'm away from the boat I have the stove turned down as low as possible to ensure that it's still alight when I return. The maximum period is between ten and eleven hours. I come back to the boat for lunch and a cup of coffee, then return after work just after 5:30 and generally stay there for the evening.

I use the gas for a shower every day, three or four kettle boils, toast in the morning, grilled meat or fish four times a week and a roast of some kind once a week. I don't ever use the gas fires because they produce "wet" heat which contributes to the damp.

My electricity is provided via a metered shore supply which charges the boat batteries for lighting. The shore power also allows me to charge my laptop/phone/electric razor, listen to the radio (I don't have a television), power two Dimplex Coldwatcher 500w heaters (on all the time) and run a 620w dehumidifier for two hours a day.

There's a graph in this article on my site that shows the actual costs incurred for gas, coal and electricity since moving onto James in April 2010. The costs are updated on the graph at the end of each month.

FOOD FOR SOLID FUEL STOVES

Your stove will burn either wood or coal. Personally, I steer clear of wood. It's more bulky than coal so needs more storage space than I have available. My stove is also on the small side so I would struggle to fit logs in.

I use coal. I've tried a number of different brands and types but the ones I've stuck with is Pureheat. Pureheat is a manufactured smokeless fuel sold in 25kg bags of goose egg sized ovals. Pureheat produces more heat than wood or housecoal, burns away to a powder so doesn't clog up the grate (and put the fire out) and is less messy. A bag of Pureheat usually lasts me just under three days although in December with so many sub -zero days and ridiculously cold nights, I was using a bag every two days. The cheapest supplier I can find charges £9.50 a bag.

GAS USAGE

My gas consumption has remained pretty steady over the last ten months. I only use gas for cooking and to supply hot water dish and body washing so the cold weather doesn't alter the amount I use. One 13kg cylinder lasts me a month and costs about £22

ELECTRICITY COSTS

My electricity costs dipped to just about zero in July. It was the only month as far as I can remember when I didn't have to plug either heaters or dehumidifer in. I was also away from the boat for a week. The electricity costs appear to be very high for December. However, although December was very, very cold most of the reason for the increase is because I was away for ten days. I didn't want there to be the slightest chance of the electricity running out so I put extra on the meter before I left. I then didn't buy any more until 10th January (the graph shows May 2010 - April 2011)

TELEPHONE

Mobile of course. Reception varies wildly when you're on the cut. I have very poor reception with Three on my mooring. I can only make and receive calls from one spot halfway between the dining and the seating area. I just about get a signal there. I tend not to use a phone much anyway (no friends) so my mobile phone cost is about £15 per month.

BROADBAND

A connection to the internet is one of life's essentials as far as I'm concerned. I update the web site daily, send out newsletters, stream TV programmes from BBC Iplayer and the ITV and channel 4 equivalents, tweet on @narrowboatlife and search for information.

I use a mobile broadband dongle from Three. They have a coverage checker on their web site and even though the site indicates that there is limited connectivity for my postcode, I rarely have a problem with my connection. Sometimes my broadband is a little slow but most of the time I can stream TV programmes and films. Three offer pay as you go top ups of 500MB for a day or 1GB, 3GB and 7GB for a month. I use the best value 7GB top up which usually lasts me the full month (I've just checked on my current usage. I've actually used 6.5GB in twenty days. I know that is is unusually high and is because I've watched a few data hungry films.)

So now you know what it costs to live on a narrowboat. At least, you know what it costs me to live on one. I'm sure that many narrowboat owners with newer, better insulated boats will pay less than me for heating fuel and electricity. But they will have paid more than me for their narrowboat.

I hope you find this guide useful - and I hope the costs haven't put you off. I love living on a narrowboat. I hope you do too.