With open enrollment for 2014 drawing to a close this Saturday, there’s little time for delay. (The process of picking a drug plan in Medicare is totally different from using healthcare.gov, the federal health insurance exchange for people under age 65 who are not in Medicare.) Unlike Medicare’s hospital and doctor benefits, which are managed by the federal government, seniors and disabled people needing drug coverage must choose a subsidized, privately run plan under contract with Medicare. The 36 million enrollees in the program usually have dozens of choices that offer an array of monthly premiums, deductibles and copayments. The plans have different preferred drugs and different requirements for prior approval for expensive generics. Depending on the drugs each person takes, some plans are much cheaper than others.
From Our Members(links open in new window)
The scent of diesel, rusting anchors and fish slurry hung in the humid air of the harbor. I was in Puntarenas on the western shore of Costa Rica, waiting to leave on a scuba-diving trip to Cocos Island – often called an “underwater Serengeti” because of the many species found there, especially the schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks. But I was remembering that this town has a darker side: It is the shark-finning capital of Central America. Though finning is outlawed in Costa Rica, fishing sharks is legal. In 2011, British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and his film crew approached fishermen here unloading shark fins; the traffickers doused the chef and crew in gasoline and forced them out of town at gunpoint. And the protected waters around Cocos Island are especially favored by shark poachers. I moved closer to our boat’s slip and met the other 17 passengers. They were from Switzerland, France, Israel, England and Texas among other places. All were serious divers. And good thing: We were headed out on a 36-hour ride in choppy seas that would take us 330 miles west to swim with the sharks.
Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN) is a nonprofit organization.
If you value their work, please help support it.
WHYY/NewsWorks obtained police reports that say an ICE agent had passed on a tip that a gang member was supposedly selling drugs from Cruz-Garcia's address. Police confirm they found no drugs. They put him on the phone with an immigration agent. After they hung up, they say they took Cruz-Garcia into custody because immigration asked them to.
Bolivia has seized 18.8 tons of cocaine and cocaine paste this year, a drop of nearly 50 percent from 2012's total that reverses a five-year upward trend, raising the question: what could have caused such a sharp decline? The Vice Ministry of Social Defense reported that Bolivian authorities seized 17.4 tons of cocaine paste and 1.4 tons of cocaine between January 1 and November 15 this year, reported AFP. In 2012, a total of 36 tons of cocaine product were seized, meaning that with a month left in the year, seizures are down nearly 48 percent.