RSS Feed
Jan 2

Had Enough of Joe Namath Yet?

Posted on Thursday, January 2, 2020 in Uncategorized

Namath2WOW! There was probably a million TV commercials about Medicare during Open Enrollment this past Fall, and I think Broadway Joe was in half of them!

You probably saw more than I did, as I was working 15 hour days in October, November and December, but I heard about it at appointment after appointment.                            You may have wondered, “What is he talking about? You don’t get all this stuff for free!” And you weren’t about to call an 800 number to find out!

He was referring to Medicare Advantage Plans. Medicare Advantage is Part C of Medicare. It can be considered somewhat of a replacement for Original Medicare, as Medicare itself does not process your claims, the INSURANCE company you signed up with does. As such, the insurance company decides what your out of pocket costs  for hospital and medical services will be. Rather than deductibles and co-insurance, like Original Medicare, many Advantage plans have fixed costs for services in the form of co-pays.

“But Joe says everything is FREE!”

I think the idea behind the ads was to get the specific attention of those whose income is low enough to qualify for a particular segment of Medicare Advantage Plans, ones geared for those on Medicaid as well as Medicare. Those with incomes below the Federal Poverty Level for their household size may be eligible for a “Dual Eligible” plan, in which case, many services are at no cost. This may include a fair amount of dental, vision and hearing coverage at little or no cost as well. I’ve been told that only half of the individuals who would qualify for such a plan, actually have one…so the insurance companies are aggressively reaching out to this segment of the Medicare population.

By calling the 800 number to see, “IF YOU QUALIFY,” it opens the door for the agent on the other end of the line to not only see if you fit the strict guidelines for a Dual Eligible plan, it allows them to offer many, many other options to you IF YOU DON’T QUALIFY.

I have nearly 900 clients on a Medicare Advantage Plan. And it’s true, most do not pay a premium for their plan. (probably 90% of my Advantage plan clients pay ZERO premium). They still have to pay for Part B of Medicare, which is $144.60 a month in 2020, but no additional cost for the plan.

Medicare Advantage is one of the main “paths” to take when you are on Medicare. The other main path being Medigap, the insurance that supplements Original Medicare. When I meet with clients, we talk about both approaches. There is no single “right path” that fits everyone. But which one is right for you? I don’t know! That’s why we get together and figure it out!

I don’t have an 800 Number. I have a local number. (717) 468-0130.

And the only thing I can promise you for FREE…is my time. You’ll never pay me anything. And I come to see you. Plus I’ve done it probably 4000 times, so I can’t guarantee a Super Bowl victory, but I feel safe guaranteeing I know what I’m talking about, and a safe bet I know more than Joe Namath!


Apr 19

Did You Google Me?

Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

What’s one of the first things you do when you want to learn more about a person, place or thing? Go to the internet and see what you can find out!If you were expecting a super duper slick and fancy website, sorry! I’m just a simple guy who does one thing, all day, every day…meet with people to explain Medicare itself, and the options that are available with it. I use this blog to introduce myself, give a little bit of info about Medicare, and just try to show you I’m a regular sort of guy.


Mar 21

My Favorite Medicare Myth!

Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 in Medicare

There are many myths about Medicare, or maybe just misunderstandings.  My favorite, or probably just the one I hear most of all is:

“You have to sign up for Medicare 3 months before your 65th birthday, or you get penalized!”

Oh boy, where do I begin to debunk this myth? As long as you have “creditable” coverage elsewhere, typically from your own employment or your spouse’s employment, there will never be a penalty for signing up for Medicare later, even well past your 65th birthday. So, you do not have to sign up for Medicare. Not even Part A, the “free” part.

When you are approaching the age of 65, you’re mailbox gets stuffed with promotional offers about Medicare Insurance Plans, like Medigap Supplemental Insurance, Medicare Advantage Plans and Prescription Drug Plans. (None are as informative, clever and humorous as mine, of course) The funny thing is, none of these mailings are from Medicare, unless you are already collecting Social Security.  That’s right!  If you are not yet collecting your monthly retirement benefit from Social Security, you will not receive a single thing in the mail from the Government, telling you what you have to do (or don’t have to do) regarding Medicare! Weird, right?

Myths are widely held beliefs, or false ideas.  Medicare has been around for over 50 years.  I don’t know who started this one, but it’s spread around for decades, “You have to sign up for Medicare 3 months before your 65th birthday, or you get penalized!”  There CAN be a penalty, it’s just that few people end up owing it.  If you wait to enroll in Medicare past age 65, for every 12 month period you did not have Part B, and did not have creditable coverage, you will pay 10%  more for Part B for the rest of your life. But, as previously stated, the likely reason to delay taking Part B, is because you DO have creditable coverage.

And…NO…you do NOT have to let Social Security or Medicare know that you are NOT going on Medicare at 65.

If you are still puzzled by what you HAVE to do with Medicare as you are nearing 65, call me (717) 468-0130, call Medicare (1-800-MEDICARE) or call Social Security (1-800-772-1213).

Mar 2

Did You Get A Letter From Me?

Posted on Thursday, March 2, 2017 in Medicare

Brian Weems Williams Letters About Medicare

Feb 21

The Joy of a Colonoscopy!

Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 in Family

Oh what a blast it is turning 50! I hit the big 5-oh back in December.  Three days after my birthday I had foot surgery to remove a planters wart from the ball of my left foot.  Now, 6-7 weeks later it finally feels as good as new. This ends nearly 6 months of nagging pain with this stupid wart. But that’s another story.

One of the things recommended for anyone turning 50 is to have a preventive colonoscopy.  I had a sigmoidoscopy done about 10 years ago, and that’s a completely different violation of the human body which can only be experienced to fully understand.  There is no pain with the colonoscopy, the discomfort is in the “prep”.  And I might also add, a liquid diet the day before the procedure no party, even though I could have milkshakes all day!

The day before your procedure and the morning of your procedure, you must chug a quart of liquid that tastes like, and has the thickness of, lemon fresh Joy dishwashing liquid. My brand was called MoviPrep. It is almost comic in its efficiency. About 45 minutes after the first 8oz gulp of this goop you think a volcano is going to erupt in your belly. And it does. Many times over the next hour. Then peace reigns, until assault part 2 begins the next morning!

After part 2, your colon is picked cleaner than Cindy Lou Who’s house on Christmas Eve after the Grinch got done with it! By the time I  was in Ephrata Hospital ready to be wheeled into the OR, I couldn’t wait to be put under by the anasthesia, because I was  so insanely hungry I pondered eating my own fingers!

God only knows what kind of jokes the doctor and staff are cracking while the roto rooter is trolling your intestines, because you are OUT. I remember rolling over on my side and then waking up in recovery about an hour later.

They found polyps, as they did 10 years ago. Almost 4 weeks since my colonoscopy and I haven’t heard anything about the diagnostics on the polyps. I’m mildy concerned about the polyps themselves, more concerned about the bill! Because I checked with my insurance carrier before the procedure. As a “screening” it’s at no cost as a provision of health care reform. However, if they find polyps, it’s diagnostic and the free part is thrown out the window. Or so I’m told, we’ll see.  I will report on it when I see it.

Did I mention I got my AARP card?

May 17

About Brian “Weems” Williams

Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 in About Brian

Brian Weems Williams

Brian Weems Williams

Just in case you’re not sure you’re in the right place…though I tell people I’m from Rochester, I’m really from the lovely town of Honeoye Falls, NY.  (Picture Bedford Falls in It’s A Wonderful Life).   I’m the youngest of 8 children, the baby of Al & Grace’s family.    Two great parents that gave me all I need, but left me wanting more, only because they left this world too soon.

I don’t know that I learned everything I need to know in Kindergarten, but surely by age 10 I knew I loved playing basketball and golf, listening to music and the radio, eating cheeseburgers and making people laugh.  What you love at 10, you love your whole life.

As summer faded in 1980, I traded the only address I ever knew, 14 Maplewood Ave, for the Weinstein Dorm at NYU.  I never moved back.  I probably told you I have a degree in Communications.  I don’t.  I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Radio, but that sounds like I got a degree in the mail for 500 bucks and 2 Cap’N Crunch Box Tops.  It seems all my time was spent at WNYU.  Radio was my “bombers, my dexys, my high.”  I interned briefly at the legendary WABC and later spent a long time at the subsequently legendary CBS-FM.

What began as the Weems Noise Company in high school, evolved into a long string of dj gigs in the worst and darkest of city dumps with liquor licenses.   With a handful of scratchy 45’s and a milk crate of warped lp’s this young soul rebel plugged his own belt drive turntables into jumbo watt amps and splattered the platters that mattered.  From the basements of forgettable restaurants to bars gone gay, from blarney stones and poser lofts to hotels in Times Square.  Sounds were found and spun round the town.   Friends were made and bonds were formed, but none more fonder than those united as the Empire State Soul Club.  Keep the Faith.

My commercial radio career as was launched playing oldies on the Mighty 1290 WGLI in N. Babylon, LI in the Fall of ‘84.  It was far from mighty…if NYC stations were blow torches or flamethrowers, this was a matchstick.  No worries, I was so sure I’d just be spending a few years in the “the boonies” of small market radio before coming back to glory in the Big City.    As Hurricane Gloria trashed LI in September of 85, the phone rang as the sunny eye blew through.  On the line was a program director from WLAN in Lancaster,PA (wherever that was) looking to hire this oddball known as Brother Weems.    I said “If I live to see tomorrow, let’s do lunch!”

The orange-red 72 VW Squareback was packed Clampett style for the exodus from the Greater NY area before dawn on a Tuesday Morning.   By 9am that same morning with a belly full of scrambled eggs and scrapple (whatever that was) , I was moved in to a spacious dirty apartment across the street at the ridiculously low price of 200 bucks a month.   Heck my Salary at ‘LAN was 325 a week!  I was rollin in the dough!!!

Nearly got fired for my antics in the first month.  And the the second month.  And the third month.  Would have, but ratings were too good I guess.  Moved to mornings in 86.   The Weems Team was THE thing to listen to in Lancaster for a long time.  Good things don’t last forever.  Neither do good ratings.  In 1991, after run ins with Hershey Park, The Secret Service and infamous Woolworth’s castration homicide case, I was fired.

I surfaced at Top 40 KXXR in Kansas City for wake-ups.  LOVE that town.  Lasted all but 6 months.  Many memories though.  Halle Berry, Eddie Money, Judy Tenuda.  The Chiefs.  Gates BBQ.  Arthur Bryant’s.  Fired again in Febraury of ‘92.  Not my fault really.  The station changed hands and went Country.  Some survived, some didn’t.  And geez, Brother Weems don’t do Country!

After 6 months “on the beach,”  that’s radio speak for no gig, Brother Weems decided he do Country after all!  Dipped my toe in at WXTU in Philly and cannonballed in at WIOV in Ephrata.  Casey & Brother Weems in the Morning.  With Jeff Werner and his million dollar laugh doing news.  Best job ever.  Became Program Director in 95 and 96.  Worst job ever.  Had a blast with the staff and the listeners for 6-7 years, but was burned out, and thankfully, fired again.

The highlight of the WIOV years was attending the marriage of my Music Director.  The girl at the guest book was blonde and beautiful, with a shy dimpled smile that clutched my heart.  Lori Kowalchick was her name, and she traded in the Polish surname for my WelshIrish one in 1997.   Along came my sweetie, Kate Nicole in 1998, and my Buckeroo, Nathan Joseph in 2002.

After another 6 months on the beach, it was abundantly clear Central PA had had enough of Brother Weems.  Alas I had no marketable skills outside of broadcasting.   There’s only one way to make decent money with no qualifications…sales.  However selling Craftmatic Adjustable Beds  was not the answer.  How it took me 2 months of selling them to figure that out I’ll never know.  Selling cars at Lancaster Nissan for 6 months wasn’t the answer either, but it was fun at times.  Though the hours are ridiculous.

While “taking an up” at Nissan, a customer came in for test drive.  He worked for a mortgage broker and they were hiring.  All I knew about mortgages was…I had one.  That, and it was getting harder to pay it selling cars.

There was lots of learning and lots of cold calls.  Rates were 8% for good customers and double digits for bad ones.  My first loan was a 2/28.  The rate was fixed for 2 years at 12.24.  That was one of them there “sub-prime” loans you might have heard about when the economy crashed in 2008.  My employer, Home Team Mortgage specialized in them.  I stayed almost 5 years and have long-lasting friends from my time there.

I joined Wachovia Mortgage in Lancaster in January 2005.  In the summer of 2008 Wachovia was in trouble from billions in dollars in losses from bad loans they inherited from their purchase of Golden West Capital, and would eventually be gobbled up by Wells Fargo.

In September of 2008 I went back to being a mortgage broker. In the summer of 2009, as I was twiddling my thumbs waiting for my next refi…no one was buying houses…I got licensed to sell health and life insurance. I figured it would bridge the gap until the mortgage business came around again.  Well it didn’t take long to figure out that it is easier to find someone that needs some health or life insurance, rather than a mortgage.  So I “retired” from the mortgage business in April of 2011 to devote all my time to insurance: health, life, accident, disability, long term care and….Medicare.

“Obamacare” turned health insurance upside down.  The first ever enrollment started in 2013 and last until mid-April in 2014! It was not fun as an insurance agent, and I realized it was not what I wanted to do going forward.  Luckily some colleagues said, “Do more Medicare! Don’t just do it doing ‘Open Enrollment’, do it year round. All the baby boomers are turning 65!” I took that advice to heart! Medicare is ALL I do…every day…all year long!

On the family side I  put in 9 seasons in coaching Kate and Nathan in soccer, a sport I neither played nor know much about.  It was  fun being with the kids though, hilarious at times, exasperating at others.  Both kids play(ed) lacrosse.  Another sport that was new to me.  Pretty much love at first sight with this fast tempo game!  I ran the Ephrata Youth Lacrosse program for a few years, and now pitch in on the Varsity level as Nathan is in high school as of this writing.

I still love music, can’t function without it.  Sirius/XM, YouTube, Pandora, I’m always listening to something.  Cheeseburgers are still my food of choice.  Golf is big for me again, as Nathan has been playing for last handful of years.

That’s all for now, as of January 2018.

Oct 31

Ephrata Girls U12 Soccer G-Force!

Posted on Saturday, October 31, 2009 in Uncategorized

Another season of soccer has come and gone.  The “G Force” was 2-5 with a 3rd place finish in the Season ending festival.   In a show of team solidarity they all sprayed their hair with purple and gold paint and sparkles, then added some face paint with Gold E’s and their jersey number on their cheeks.  Earlier this week we had fun at our last practice by dressing up and being silly.

Ephrata Girls U12 Fall 09

Ephrata Girls U12 Fall 09Ephrata Girls U12 Funny FaceEphrata U12 Girls Soccer HalloweenEphrata Girls Soccer U12 Wacky Wednesday

Ephrata Girls U12 Funny Face
Ephrata Girls U12 Halloween Practice

Ephrata Girls U12 Halloween Practice

Aug 16

Amish Mass Transit? Bikepooling?

Posted on Sunday, August 16, 2009 in Uncategorized

I was out and about going to Open Houses in and around Ephrata on Sunday and I found myself behind this group.  It’s like 6 Amish women on some sort of bicycle built for as many.  It looks like they could generate a pretty decent amount of speed.  Keep in mind, it’s about 2 pm, 90 degrees and super humid, I’m sweatin in shorts and a golf shirt.  Maybe the secret to keeping cool is wearing an all cotton apron dress!

Jul 28

Missing Person in Ephrata!!!

Posted on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

Ephrata McDonalds

IT’S ME!!!

See the post below about my doctor visit.  I haven’t been to Mickey D’s in 4 weeks!

Jul 27

A (yard) Wasted Weekend

Posted on Monday, July 27, 2009 in Family

Oy!  My aching back!  I trimmed the low hanging branches of a couple of hemlock trees in my backyard on Saturday and Sunday.  Trimming was the easy part.  Bagging the sh$! up was the hard part.  I filled 24 40 gallon yard waste bags.  Good’s Disposal will need to send a fleet just for us.

Saturday afternoon the manual labor was pleasantly put on hold, as Lori and I attended a reunion of her first team from Biggest Loser.  No one was counting calories at this bash!

Sunday was more man against yard.  Call it a draw.  I visited 5 Open Houses in Ephrata, to see what’s for sale  in town.  Still a buyer’s market my friends…giddy up.

Kate and Nathan played Guitar Hero for approximately 9 hours.  Kate only quit to watch the Jonas Brothers marathon on Disney.  Lori gleefully escaped the noise to go to work.  I napped through some of it, but honestly can’t recall Sunday night cuz my back and bones still ached.