South Africa’s message to the world from Davos

first_imgThe World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting is around the corner, starting on 17 January. We take a look at South Africa’s message from Davos to the world.Team South Africa is briefed during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos on 21 January 2016. (Image: The Presidency, via Flickr)Brand South Africa reporterTwo elements are at the heart of South Africa’s global message from the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting: the country has a stable economy and is an attractive investment destination.This year’s overall theme for the meeting, taking place as always in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, is “Responsive and Responsible Leadership”. It runs from 17 to 20 January.Speaking to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said the WEF theme was important to ensure societies became more inclusive. Team South Africa, he said, would show that the country was a desirable investment destination.“Responsive and responsible leadership is fascinating both for us, the globe, whichever sector you come from and what is responsible leadership as they see it; it is about integrity and about understanding the environment in a holistic way so that you become part of a co-ordinated effort that they refer to,” Gordhan said.A progressive and transforming economyAmid challenging global economic conditions, there had been significant progress in the country, the Economic Development Department said in a 2016 assessment called The Future of the South Africa Economy from the Mirror of 2016: A review of economic development in 2016.“The economy avoided going into a recession in part through the collective action of business, labour and communities working with government, though growth remained very modest,” the report reads.Although 2016 was a tough year around the world, South Africa’s economy showed resilience. It has more than doubled in size since 1994 and the tax base has increased substantially.The Global Markets Publication said the country had the “best sovereign debt management operations and issuer” in sub-Saharan Africa, the finance minister noted in his medium term budget in October 2016. The World Bank also commended the country’s debt management, describing South Africa as “better positioned to absorb fiscal shocks going forward”.By limiting spending in government, creating dialogue across the nation and following international best practices of improving healthcare, education and social security, South Africa is gradually transforming its economy to be more inclusive.“Economic transformation was a key theme in 2016 and we made significant strides in opening the economy to new black-owned companies and expanding levels of youth entrepreneurship,” said the Economic Development Department.Investment and infrastructure“Investment is about confidence,” joint co-ordinator of the CEO’s Initiative, Jabu Mabuza, told the SABC. “That is why we have been working with government and labour in building confidence. We don’t get money from keeping the money in the bank; we are working with government to invest more.”Mabuza said business had been working with different stakeholders to boost business confidence, which was critical when companies decided where they wanted to invest.Tapping into the country’s oceans economy, R17-billion had been invested and 5,000 jobs created, Gordhan said in his October mini budget. “Licences for oil and gas exploration have been issued as part of the sector growth strategy.”State-owned entities would also be integral to continued growth of the economy and to drive development.Further investment – an estimated R987-billion over three years – would be made into the National Infrastructure Plan, said the department.The CEO Initiative is a group of about 90 chief executives and business leaders working with the government and labour to build confidence in the economy and reignite sustainable economic growth.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Weaving Combo Thread & 3 Needles – Threading, Wigs, Weaving ??

first_imgShipping was extremely rapidly and i am incredibly satisfied with my buy thank you will surely buy again. Shipping and delivery was incredibly quick and i am pretty satisfied with my invest in thank you will definitely acquire all over again :).Excellent product or service, will buy all over again.Features of Weaving Combo Thread & 3 Needles – For Weaving HairWeaving Combo For Weaving And ExtensionsGreat For Intacting Weave To Hair.Weave Last Longer.I tort d sizing of d thread will be greater but asides dat d goods is okay.Needles are best for the. Not a big sum of thread but is alright for sewing the wefts on to the cap. I employed it in conjunction with solid buttonhole form thread. Needles are perfect for the work.So no matter how you weave your hair, you previously have a decision to choose from that fits your sew in fashion.The weaving combo arrived on time the only complaint i have is the color of the thread, i was not offered a colour alternative if i experienced i would have picked black even so i been given brown thread not as content as i could have been that’s why the 3 stars :-(.Really rapid shipping, pretty content with the product even though not nonetheless utilized for earning my wig but by the looks of it will do just the trick.Excelent benefit for money this comes with anything that you need to have for hair weaving. The cotton is wonderful good quality and incredibly durablei will most unquestionably be shopping for this item yet again.I am pleased with these seriously good needles and incredibly solid thread,i have used them twice now and satisfied with the invest in.Love it can buy all i want from just one spot. This solution occur with two loop needles and just one one particular one stright needle. Strong cotton extremely joyful consumer : ).3 excellent needles and thick cotton.Bought this for my weave definitely and to be truthful the gap in the needle was way also modest for the thread to in shape in and it was very hard to thread in common. Nevertheless the thread is very potent and can make the weave final a whole lot for a longer time.The thread is very sturdy to be in a position to sew and not retain breaking and the needles are diverse designs to be ready to go into curves.Excellent thread, i only used the curved needle which was all i necessary to weave.Attempted making use of them for wig producing. The curved needle held bumping into the mannequin. It’s possible because the mannequin are not able to be moved like an genuine head. But the straight needle operates well. On the all round i’m happy with my buy. Fantastic high quality thread and 3 needles provided. What extra can i say, complete deal.Threading, wigs, weaving ??. Necessary it for threading and wig producing its wonderful the string is powerful and get the job done very well with my hair and in my palms.Weaving combo thread & 3 needles – for weaving hair. Weaving combo thread & 3 needles – for weaving hair swift shipping and delivery has 3 different needles, have already tried the curvy needle, really superior, also thread is rather thick and solid.A bit disappointingColour not as shownWeaving Combo Thread & 3 Needles – For Weaving Hairyay continued againNeedles are perfect for theThreading, Wigs, Weaving ??last_img read more

Micah Baldwin on Startups That Suck

first_imgTags:#start#startups jolie odell Micah Baldwin has heard his share of pitches, and at Gnomedex in Seattle, he spouted off to us about startup failure, including bad ideas, saturated verticals, the “rule of three,” YASE (yet another search engine) syndrome, and changing jets mid-runway.All in all, Micah is overwhelmingly positive. For someone who preaches the virtues of failure, he has a lot of faith in ideas others would consider doomed. Watch the video below, and hear his words of wisdom. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts last_img read more

Video: Colin Cowherd, Joel Klatt Explain Why They Believe Michigan State Can Win It All

first_imgColin Cowherd previews the Big 10 Championship on The Herd.colin cowherd joel klatt high on michigan stateMichigan State has an all-important contest this Saturday, as the Spartans take on undefeated Iowa in the Big Ten title game. The contest, which is being played between the No. 4 and No. 5 ranked teams in the College Football Playoff rankings, is a de facto national quarterfinal.Thursday, FOX Sports radio host Colin Cowherd and guest Joel Klatt debated whether they believe the Spartans are capable of not just winning that game – but winning the national championship. Both do, citing Connor Cook, the team’s offensive line and the fact that they’re getting healthy at the right time.Michigan State and Iowa kick off at 8:00 PM on FOX.last_img read more

The World Chess Championship Comes To New York City

6Levon Aronian2786 PLAYERELO RATING 1Magnus Carlsen2853 Source: 2700chess.com 3Vladimir Kramnik2811 7Viswanathan Anand2779 5Wesley So2794 10Pentala Harikrishna2770 4Maxime Vachier-Lagrave2807 One chess grandmaster represents the most democratic country in the world. The other supports, and is supported by, Vladimir Putin. Last night, inside the Plaza Hotel in midtown Manhattan — that urban palace and President-elect Donald Trump’s captured rook — the two prepared to do battle.The World Chess Championship has come to New York City. The tournament captured this city’s imagination once before, in 1972, when its favorite Brooklyn son, Bobby Fischer, clashed with the Soviets in Reykjavik. But this year New Yorkers can only watch, as the Norwegian defending champion Magnus Carlsen and his Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin vie for the game’s highest title. They’re both kids: Carlsen is 25 and Karjakin is 26, yet they’ve lived half their lives as grandmasters. The match is being billed as the youngest championship ever.Here in New York, the faces of chess are diverse, from the outdoor hustlers lining park tables in Washington Square or Union Square to the excellent middle school chess program of I.S. 318 in Brooklyn. But last night, at the pre-tournament Black & White Gala at The Plaza, the guests were nearly all white. Under potted palm trees and crystal chandeliers, the steak was carved and the champagne and martinis flowed, and the scene recalled a VIP cocktail hour in a Vegas penthouse suite before a heavyweight prizefight. (At least the ones I’ve seen in the movies.) 2Fabiano Caruana2823 9Sergey Karjakin2772 8Hikaru Nakamura2779 As both baby-faced competitors faced the camera flashes and microphones, Carlsen looked calm. He has reached the championship before, after all. Karjakin looked a bit lost — nervous, maybe — his voice barely audible above the reporters’ din. And indeed, despite Karjakin’s slightly earlier prodigious bloom, the consensus heavy favorite is Carlsen. He’s rated No. 1 in the world, while Karjakin is No. 9.The best-of-12 match could stretch past Thanksgiving. Game 1 begins Friday afternoon, in downtown Manhattan. My own Elo-based simulations1I simulated 10,000 matches using the players’ current Elo ratings, and assumed that they draw half of their games, which is historically what grandmasters tend to do. The methodology is similar to what I used to simulate the 2014 world chess championships. give Carlsen an 88 percent chance of defending his title. Bookmakers put his chances somewhere between 80 and 85 percent. I’ll be reporting from the match, here and on Twitter. read more

The Ridiculousness Of Conference Tournament Locations In 6 Maps

To someone who doesn’t follow men’s college hoops, a cursory glance at the location of the conference tournaments might suggest that New York City is the nexus of the basketball universe. Last week, Madison Square Garden played host to the Big Ten, a conference primarily made up of schools in the Midwest.1Aside from Rutgers, which the conference added almost solely to get a toehold vaguely near New York. The Big East is now playing its tournament on that same floor, as it always does. And across the river, the ACC is simultaneously playing its championship in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.But in reality, of course, NYC is a far cry from a college-basketball hub.2With all due respect to FiveThirtyEight favorite St. John’s. Rather, this is a symptom of conference tournament locations that increasingly range from the dubious to the downright illogical.To judge just how out-of-whack some of these tournament venues have gotten, we first computed the geographical center of each of the six major conferences,3By which we mean, the Power Five and the Big East. based on the locations of the member schools’ campuses. We then compared each conference’s geographical center4Technically speaking, we calculated the centroid of each conference by finding the shape that covered all of its schools, while keeping its area as small as possible, and then determining the center of that shape. with where its tournament is being played. The Big 12, for example, is playing its conference tournament in Kansas City, which is at least in the same state (Missouri) as its geographic center, near Gentryville, MO. The total distance between the two? Just under 200 miles as the crow flies. That’s the closest any of the six tournament sites is to its conference’s geographic center. And it’s a far cry from the nearly 700 miles that separated the tournament site of the Big Ten and the middle of where its teams, you know, actually are.Below are the tournament sites, ranked by the smallest distance between them and their conference’s geographic center. As a bonus, we also computed suggested tournament sites for each conference based on raw distance — essentially, the closest city to the conference’s geographic center that either contains an NBA arena or has a population of at least 300,000 people. *Suggested tournament location is the closest city to the conference’s geographic center that either hosts an NBA team or has a population of at least 300,000.Based on data from the NCAA and Simple Maps U.S. Cities database 4Pac-12WashingtonSeattle, WACherry Creek, NV648.6 ACCReidsville, NCRaleigh, NC73.2 Big EastMelmore, OHNew York, NY476.9 Big 12Gentryville, MOKansas City, MO196.1 mi 2Big 12West VirginiaMorgantown, WVGentryville, MO699.1 14SECTexas A&MCollege Station, TXHatley, MS516.7 Which schools warp their conference’s shape the most?Biggest distances between campus locations and geographic center of schools’ respective conferences for top six men’s college basketball conferences In fairness, the Big Ten’s tournament isn’t always in New York. From 1998 through 2016, it was played in either Chicago — which is actually our suggested site — or Indianapolis, which is a reasonable 108 miles away from the conference’s center. It was only last year, when the tournament was held in Washington, D.C. — a whopping 533 miles away — that the Big Ten began branching out into seriously unnatural locales. After this year’s dalliance with the Big Apple (which meant the tournament took place a week earlier than usual so that MSG could also accommodate the Big East tourney), the Big Ten will be returning to its more familiar digs of Chicago and Indianapolis for the next few years.Some of these aberrant tournament locations are also being driven by the changing shapes of the conferences themselves. Here are the schools in the conferences we’re looking at whose locations tug on the geographic centers the most: ACCReidsville, NCBrooklyn, NY428.3 Big EastMelmore, OHColumbus, OH73.7 SECHatley, MSMemphis, TN123.1 Conf.geo. Centersuggested tourney locationdistance from center 10Big 12TexasAustin, TXGentryville, MO550.9 Big TenKnox, INChicago, IL65.4 Conf.SchoolLocationGeo. CenterDistance Conf.geo. Centeractual tourney locationdistance from center Pac-12Cherry Creek, NVLas Vegas, NV257.8 3Big EastCreightonOmaha, NEMelmore, OH670.3 12Big TenMarylandCollege Park, MDKnox, IN535.6 5Big TenRutgersNew Brunswick, NJKnox, IN637.9 Remind me … where does our conference play again?Distance from the municipalities closest to the geographic centers of the top six men’s college basketball conferences to their 2018 conference tournament locations and to FiveThirtyEight’s suggested* locations Big TenKnox, INNew York, NY659.5 8Big 12Texas TechLubbock, TXGentryville, MO581.7 6ACCBoston CollegeChestnut Hill, MAReidsville, NC613.2 Big 12Gentryville, MOMemphis, TN175.3 mi 11Pac-12Oregon StateCorvallis, ORCherry Creek, NV535.7 9Pac-12ArizonaTucson, AZCherry Creek, NV574.7 SECHatley, MSSt. Louis, MO336.2 Pac-12Cherry Creek, NVSalt Lake City, UT168.6 Based on data from the NCAA and Simple Maps U.S. Cities database 13Big TenNebraskaLincoln, NEKnox, IN524.9 7Big EastProvidenceProvidence, RIMelmore, OH608.1 15ACCNotre DameSouth Bend, INReidsville, NC509.9 1ACCMiamiCoral Gables, FLReidsville, NC735.6 mi Surprisingly, the presence of a team from Nebraska (Creighton) in a conference whose name contains the word “East” is somehow not the strangest location for a school relative to its conference’s center. No, that honor belongs to the University of Miami, which is over 735 miles from the ACC’s geographic center in Reidsville, North Carolina. (Miami joined the ACC in 2004.) Almost as strange is West Virginia’s membership in the Big 12, which really stretches the conference’s eastern boundary — and of course, Creighton remains a downright odd choice for the Big East.Because of late-comers like the Bluejays, the current Big East’s geographic center sits almost 500 miles away from its longtime conference-tournament site of Madison Square Garden. But New York used to be a much better fit with the original Big East, whose geographic center lay in Pardeesville, Pennsylvania — about 85 miles northwest of Philadelphia and a mere 105 miles away from New York City. When its teams were compressed into a much smaller region in the Northeast, there was a reason the old Big East tourney was the stuff of legends and why it made sense for MSG to play host to the proceedings.These days, we’re treated instead to odd venues like the ACC tournament being held in Brooklyn (what?) instead of North Carolina and the SEC playing in St. Louis (where the only remotely close SEC team is Missouri). It’s just another reminder that in modern college sports’ conference roulette, money dominates any shreds of tradition, geography or common sense.CORRECTION (March 7, 2018, 5:50 p.m.): A previous version of this article used incorrect coordinates for the location of Boston College. The maps, tables and text have been updated. The corrected coordinates changed the geographic center of the ACC to Reidsville, North Carolina, and the suggested conference tournament location to Raleigh, North Carolina. read more

Workarounds for Common Open Source Bugs

first_imgOpen Source CMS PLatforms are certainly no exception to the occasional tech glitch. On one hand, publishers using open source solutions have access to a vibrant online community, which makes it easy to ask questions in a forum and receive help within a few business days. But for immediate open source gratification, it’s helpful to be armed with workarounds that solve platform gripes.“If there’s a bug, we always fix it in the next release,” says WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, “so it’s never around for more than a month or two. The most common issues aren’t ones that are bugs, but generally mistakes from users, typically when they’re trying to modify their template or CSS.” NMP (National Mortgage Professional) Media Corp. relies on Drupal’s modules and executive vice president Andrew Berman has found that common glitches are “most likely to happen in the way you create your themes. Sometimes Web editors want the themes to be a certain way, and the implemented CSS won’t allow them to do this.” But for Berman’s site, which sees “a few thousand uniques per day,” his more recent dilemma posted in the Drupal forum is how to best optimize their database (to free up server space) due to a recent traffic increase. Fixes for Common OS Issues Regardless of the glitch (or a mistake on the part of the user, as Mullenweg classifies the majority of these bugs), knowing what modules are available as well as the workaround options can’t hurt. While there are certainly a number of widely-used systems, Drupal expert Chris Free, director of Web development for Chicago-based firm Chromatic, which works on sites including The Great Political Debate, and Louis Landry, development coordinator at Joomla, offer ideas on how to get solve common open source complaints. While experts confirm that glitches within Drupal, Joomla and WordPress—and the majority of OS systems—are generally remedied in a few months’ time, here are some quick fixes for the time being:Optimizing Servers. With Joomla, the most common problem publishers have is that their servers are not set up optimally, says Landry. As a result, there are problems installing extensions and “doing other things that require proper handling of file ownership,” he says. He recommends that servers have suPHP, fcgi, PHPSuExec, or an equivalent. More importantly, the Joomla Extensions Directory can modify the limitations in the current version of the platform. Caching. “We constantly hear from our clients that things aren’t publishing out,” Free says of Drupal. “The trick is to empty the system cache for the actual CMS.”Category and Structure. One limitation within Joomla is the section/category structure, says Landry. To work around this without using an extension is to rely on the menu system rather than on-the-fly navigation. This means having one master menu and then structure all content using sub-menus and has the advantage of giving you detailed control over your URLs, which is probably the other most commonly discussed topic. To set up your site to take full advantage of menuing, Landry suggests mapping out plans for hierarchical navigation. Then create one master menu with sub-menus to reflect that. In Joomla, presentation of menus is done via modules. Depending on how the site looks, publishers may want to make a separate module (a copy of the main module, but with slightly different parameters) for each sub-menu. Another approach is to use one module and control which levels are displayed. Experiment with start level, end level, and whether to display sub-menu items to get the display you want. Browser Issues. Does your content publish correctly on Firefox but not Internet Explorer? There’s a reason. “That’s a bug in the Drupal system,” says Free. “Typically we tell people to use Firefox when managing content since it does the least amount of damage to markup (IE is a prime culprit).”Formatting. For anyone knee deep in the OS world, formatting can be the bane of your existence. The trick, says Free, is not to copy and paste text directly from Microsoft Word, but do everything in a plain text editor and suggested online resources that can strip out these egregious markups. “It’s not foolproof, but is helpful,” he says of the available modules, which are like plug-ins. After finding and installing these modules, the editors create rich text and function as other word processors (albeit very basic) that write the corresponding HTML as you type.”Permissions. A general complaint with regard to Drupal is “‘I’m trying to change a page on the site and my changes aren’t sticking,’” says Free. Enable the “content permissions” helper module that comes packaged with the CCK as a first step. If it’s already enabled, check the field permissions for that user at “admin/user/permissions.” By default, only users with administer CCK privileges can edit/view each field, he adds.SIDEBAREvents for CMS EnthusiastsHalf the battle in troubleshooting common open source bugs is engaging in open dialog, as well as developing a broad understanding of the platform. While most users may have a love-hate relationship with their open source solution, one of the incentives to is the robust community—both online and in person. Here, some events and groups that offer face time with developers, colleagues and OS experts to gain solutions to CMS gripes:Bay Area TYP03 Users GroupFebruary 4, 2010San Francisco, Californiawww.meetup.com/Bay-Area-TYPO3/?ref=cmswireDrupalCon April 19-21, 2010San Francisco, Californiasf2010.drupal.orgCMS Expo 2010May 3-5, 2010Evanston, IllinoisCmsexpo.net More on this topic Workarounds for Common Open Source Bugs Comparing Open Source CMS Social Media Apps For CMS Making Sense of CMS Options Making Sense of CMS The Rise of the Web CMSJust In The Atlantic Names New Global Marketing Head | People on the Move TIME Names New Sales, Marketing Leads | People on the Move Four More Execs Depart SourceMedia in Latest Restructuring Shanker Out, Litterick In as CEO of EnsembleIQ PE Firm Acquires Majority Stake in Industry Dive Bonnier Corp. Terminates Editor-in-Chief for Ethics BreachPowered bylast_img read more

Wide colour gamut displays are expected to be pres

first_imgWide colour gamut displays are expected to be present in 17% of the total area size of display shipments in 2018, according to IHS stats.The research firm said that the shipment area of wide colour gamut (WCG) displays is expected to reach 32 million square meters in 2018 – including organic light-emitting diode (OLED) and quantum dot technologies.“As competition in the display market intensifies, display and TV manufacturers are looking for new and emerging technologies to differentiate their offerings from competitors and to provide consumers with higher screen resolution. WCG technologies are therefore becoming more popular,” said Richard Son, senior analyst, IHS Technology.last_img read more

On May 1 2012 Porter Stansberry and I made a bet

first_imgOn May 1, 2012, Porter Stansberry and I made a bet. Porter predicted that oil would go below US$40 per barrel within 12 months. I stated that there was no chance that this would happen (my reasons are presented at the link above). Putting our money where our mouths are, we both agreed to bet 100 ounces of silver on the matter. I have a lot of respect for Porter, who is a very smart man. When he talks, I listen. But when he discussed the reasons why he thought oil was going below US$40 per barrel, I knew I had him – this was going to be one of the easiest bets I have ever made. One of Porter’s main arguments was that a global shale-oil revolution would push volume way up and prices way down. It is definitely a sensible argument, yet it was missing something very critical: timing. The shale gas boom that happened in the United States did not occur in a vacuum. Rather, it was built upon decades of experience in new technologies such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. This was then based off of more than 150 years in conventional oil and gas exploration. Today in North America, there are thousands of rigs and hundreds of thousands of skilled oil and gas workers to work on the projects. This simply does not exist in the rest of the world. For a new shale discovery – however large it may be – it would take years just to prove up its commercial viability, another few years to get the infrastructure running, and even more years before it produces enough to matter. This means there are tremendous opportunities to profit – for those who are in the know – while we wait for the rest of the world to catch up. A similar situation is shaping up in the nuclear sector. Many countries rely on nuclear power and are planning to expand its use – the US among them – yet companies involved in the mining and refinement of uranium remain in a slump. We at Casey Research have created a webinar discussing these issues; it’s titled The Myth of American Energy Independence: Is Nuclear the Ultimate Contrarian Investment?, and it will premier May 21 at 2 p.m. EDT. Featured participants include Chairman Emeritus of the UK Atomic Energy Authority Barbara Thomas Judge, former US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, and former Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Herb Dhaliwal. We will provide an expert, insider’s perspective on the global nuclear power scene, showing you how to leverage its rising importance in your portfolio for potentially life-changing gains. Learn more about the free webinar and reserve your place today.last_img read more

For some older adults private Medicare Advantage

first_imgFor some older adults, private Medicare Advantage plans next year will include a host of new benefits, such as transportation to medical appointments, home-delivered meals, wheelchair ramps, bathroom grab bars, or air conditioners for asthma sufferers. But the new benefits will not be widely available, and they won’t be easy to find, during this fall’s enrollment period.Of the 3,700 plans across the country next year, only 273 in 21 states will offer at least one. About 7 percent of Advantage members — 1.5 million people — will have access, Medicare officials estimate. That means even for the savviest shoppers it will be a challenge to figure out which plans offer the new benefits and who qualifies for them. Medicare officials have touted the expansion as historic and an innovative way to keep seniors healthy and independent. Despite that enthusiasm, a full listing of the new services are not available on Medicare’s web-based “plan finder,” the government tool used by beneficiaries, counselors and insurance agents to sort through dozens of plan options. Medicare officials see the added benefits as a key to helping Advantage members prevent costly hospitalizations. Federal approval of new supplemental benefits is “one of the most significant changes made to the Medicare program,” said Seema Verma, the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, at an insurers’ meeting last month. She added that she expects plans to expand the number of services in coming years.Medicare Advantage plans, which are an alternative to traditional Medicare, serve 21 million beneficiaries and limit their out-of-pocket expenses. But they also restrict members to a network of doctors, hospitals and other medical providers. They often offer benefits not available in traditional Medicare, such as dental and vision care, hearing aids and gym memberships. The federal government pays the plans to help cover the cost of each member. Enrollment is underway now for choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, as well as for people in traditional Medicare who want to buy a policy for drug coverage. The deadline for both plans is Dec. 7.Among the new benefits that some Medicare Advantage plans said they will offer are:Trips to the pharmacy or fitness centerin addition to doctor’s appointments for plan members, depending on where they live or their health conditions.A monthly or quarterly allowance for over-the-counter pharmacy products such as cold and allergy medications, eye drops, vitamins, supplements and compression stockings. Doctors or other health care providers who make housecalls, under certain conditions.A home health care aide for a limited number of hours to help with dressing, eating and other daily activities, sometimes including household chores and light housekeeping.However, plans offering these services will likely have only some of the options and will have different eligibility criteria and other limitations. Advantage members will need a recommendation or referral from a health care provider in the plan’s network. Then they may need to have a certain chronic health problem, a recent hospitalization or meet other eligibility requirements.Also, the same services likely won’t be available in every county the plan serves. For example, next year Humana Medicare Advantage members in Texas and South Florida in just two of the 43 states Humana serves will be able to get a free in-home personal care aide for up to 42 hours a year if they can’t be left alone at home. And more than half of the members in Cigna-HealthSpring Advantage plans will have access to free transportation services in all but five of the 16 states and the District of Columbia where the company sells coverage. To find these supplemental benefits, seniors can go to the online plan finder. After they enter their Zip code and get a list of plans available locally, they can click on a plan name. That will take them to another page that offers more details about coverage, including a tab for health and drug plan benefits. That page might say whether the new services are offered. But often the website will simply say that some benefits are available and advise consumers to contact the plan for more information.”There is a lot of information on the plan finder, but there is a lot of information missing that requires beneficiaries to do more research,” says Deb McFarland, Medicare services program supervisor at the Southern Maine Agency on Aging.There are also other variables to be considered when choosing an Advantage plan, such as which health care providers and pharmacies participate in a plan’s network, what drugs are covered and costs. Where available, however, several insurers say the services will be free with no increase in monthly premiums. “We certainly believe that all of the ancillary benefits we provide will help keep our members healthy which is good for them and it’s good for us in the long run,” said Steve Warner, head of the Medicare Advantage product team at UnitedHealthcare, which insures about 5 million seniors or one out of every four Medicare Advantage members.Insurers are betting that services will eventually pay for themselves.Dawn Maroney, consumer president at Alignment Healthcare, which serves eight counties in Southern California, says it’s much cheaper to give an air conditioner to someone with congestive heart failure to keep that patient healthy than to pay for expensive medical treatment. But if the new benefits are such a good idea, they should be available to the majority of older adults in traditional Medicare, says David Lipschutz, a senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy. Medicare Advantage plans have extra money to spend on benefits next year because the federal government increased its payments an average of 3.4 percent, seven times more than the rate of increase in 2018. For free help with Medicare Advantage and drug plan enrollment, contact the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (www.shiptacenter.org) or the Medicare Rights Center (800-333-4114 or www.medicareinteractive.org). Find Medicare’s Plan Finder at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx or call 800-633-4227.Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.last_img read more