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August 24, 2010     The Ortonville Independent
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August 24, 2010

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Broken bat promotion with Twins scores 18,000 trees At the beginning of the major league baseball season, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) teamed up with the Minnesota Twins to launch "Break a Bat, Plant a Tree," an innovative partnership that has given both sports fans and outdoors enthusiasts good reasons to cheer. According to the agreement, every time a Twins' pitcher broke the bat of an opposing player during the 2010 season, 100 trees would be planted in one of the 73 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas or along one of the 21 Minnesota state trails. When the regu- lar season ended Sunday, Oct. 3, Min- nesota pitchers had broken a total of 180 bats, which will result in the plant- ing of 18,000 trees. "The Break a Bat, Plant a Tree part- nership has been a big hit, and we're grateful to the Twins for coming up with the idea," said Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR's Parks and Trails Division. "It added an element of ex- citement to every at-bat, and our parks and trails will benefit greatly." Nelson noted that the National As- sociation of State Park Directors rec- ognized the Minnesota Twins "Break a bat, Plant a Tree" partnership with Minnesota State Parks and Trails at their annual conference in September. "The partnership was a natural fit," said Patrick Klinger, vice president of marketing for the Minnesota Twins. "The DNR wants to get people out- doors, and now that we have a new out- door stadium, so do we. The state parks and trails contribute significantly to the quality of life we enjoy here in Min- nesota, and we're glad we could help draw some attention to that during the Twins' season." On Friday, Aug. 13, former Twins pitcher and Fox Sports North television analyst Bert Blyleven and Forrest Boe, deputy director of the DNR's Division of Parks and Trails, planted the first ceremonial tree on the Luce Line State Trail, a 63-mile trail that runs from Ply- mouth to Hutchinson. The rest of the trees will be planted next spring at park and trail sites yet to be determined. Based on the success of "Break a Bat, Plant a Tree" in 2010, the DNR and the Twins plan to continue the part- nership next year. Family Living Focus Tips for buying long term care insurance The decision to buy Long Term Care Insurance should not be entered into lightly. There are many things to consider and many options available. Purchasing a policy without making an informed decision can be a costly mistake. Before buying anything, be sure to ask these questions, which serve as a basic guideline of things you need to know. Have you shopped around? Talk to different companies and compare benefits. Do not buy a policy simply because it's the least expensive. Always compare the coverage. Ask each agent for an outline of coverage, which summarizes each feature of the policy. Stay away from agents who tell you this is a one-time offer. Is everything you've been told actually in writing? Make sure that whatever you're told about the coverage is written in the policy. Do you understand everything about the policy? If there is something you don't understand, keep asking until you do understand. Better yet, have an objective third party, such as an attorney, read the policy and explain each item to you. Can you afford the premiums? The important thing to consider is not whether you can afford the premiums now, but whether you'll be able to afford them over the years. Many people on fixed incomes find their policies cancelled when they can't pay skyrocketing premiums. Does your policy have inflation protection and how is that protection computed? A policy that pays $100 a day for nursing home care may sound good now, but what happens years from now when you need a nursing home and it costs $400 a day? Also, make sure the benefit for this coverage is calculated using the compounded interest method rather than simple interest. Does the policy provide death benefits and non-forfeiture benefits? While these features can increases premiums, they can be nice to have. Think of them as a consolation prize. A policy with death benefits pays your estate remiums minus benefits you've already received. Non- forfeiture benefits means that if your policy is cancelled for non-payment, you'll get back some benefits. Who decides when you're eligible for benefits? Insurance companies have different criteria for paying benefits. Some require only a doctor's order. Others base their coverage on the policyholder's ability to perform everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing and feeding themselves. These tasks are called Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs. when an insurance company uses ADLs as a guideline, the difference between someone being able to perform these tasks with physical assistance, supervised assistance can mean the difference between eligibility and ineligibility. Does the policy evaluate mental functions when deciding eligibility? A person with Alzheimer's may be physically capable of performing ADLs, yet they might forget where they live and wander Off or forget to take medications. Unless the policy states that they- take mental functioning into consideration, the policyholder with Alzheimer's disease may be denied coverage. Does the policy require that in order to qualify for benefits, the policyholder needs "one on one continual assistance"? This is a very restrictive requirement and one that is difficult to meet. Does the policy clearly explain claim-filing procedures and the policyholder's rights to appeal decisions made by the company? It is very important that you understand exactly what you must do in order to get your benefits. Have you done a personal inventory of your income and assets? This is important to see not only if you will be able to afford the policy over an extended amount of time, but also how much you can afford in out- of-pocket expenses. Have you answered all medical questions truthfully? When you get a policy, companies usually ask some medical questions and some even ask for a statement regarding your health from your doctor. The company wants to make sure you're a good risk. When you file a claim the company may look for reasons to not pay that claim, so they go over your medical history with a fine tooth comb. If they discover you were misleading about your health, claims can be denied. No matter what the insurance agent says, make a full disclosure about your medical history. If you can't remember much, refer the company to the doctor who treated you. If you're really not sure about something, legally speaking, "I do not recall" is a much safer answer than "I don't know." Have you re-read the policy and. the application to make sure every piece of information is correct? Don't sign on the dotted line without making sure every 'T' is dotted and every "t" is crossed. *Who has the final say over whether or not you qualify for benefits? Often, an insurance company's doctor can overrule your own doctor's recommendations. When it comes to buying Long- Term Care Insurance, your most valuable resource is common sense. Don't allow yourself to give in to scare tactics. Make sure every detail is in writing because a detail can mean the difference between qualifying for benefits or being declared ineligible, and can cost thousands and thousands of dollars. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. If you would like more information on "Tips for Buying Long Term Care Insurance" feel free to contact Gail Gilman-Waldner, Program Development and Coordination - Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging, Inc. and Professor Emeritus - University of Minnesota at 507-389- 8869 or e-mail Gail at Additional resources are available by contacting the Senior LinkAge Line at 1-800- 333-2433 or visiting the MinnesotaHelp.Info website at www.MinnesotaHelp.Info. Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focus information in next week's paper. / BREAK A BAT, PLANT A TREE PROMOTION, a partnership of the Minnesota Twins and DNR, was a huge success this year. Every time a Twins player broke a bat of an opposing player, 100 trees would be planted in one of the 73 Minnesota state parks. The result was 180 brol(en bats, 18,000 trees to be planted. Shown above is Twins mascot T.C. Bear helping deputy director of the DNR's Division of Parks and Trails Forrest Boe, center, and former Twin and current Twins analyst Bert Blyleven plant at tree on the Luce Line State Trail between Plymouth and Hutchinson. The remaining trees  II be planted next spring at park and trail sites yet to be determined. Page 6 00INDEPENDENT Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010