3 Health Insurance tips to prepare for open enrollment after job loss

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By Charles Glover, Jr.

Adults confront many challenging options in trying to maximize income and secure adequate health insurance coverage to protect their families. Yet the issue of healthcare extends beyond receiving the best care, it includes paying for those services. After a life-altering event, such as a job loss, preparation and proactive measures are essential to proper healthcare planning, especially as the November 1 start of the open enrollment period looms.

In the state of Georgia there are hundreds of people dealing with job losses each week. This has a serious impact on each individual in the household and raises many concerns because unresolved healthcare needs can be stressful, and many people find themselves scrambling for solutions. If you or someone you know has recently lost their job and need health insurance coverage, follow these steps:

Losing your job is beyond stressful as it can make it difficult to deal with basic needs. Talking to a healthcare professional can help ease those medical concerns.

Losing your job is stressful and makes it difficult to provide for your family’s basic needs. Talking to a healthcare professional can help ease medical concerns.

1. Assess the immediate health needs of the family.
Some medical issues are more pressing than others so it important to know what medical concerns need to addressed first. This knowledge will help narrow your search for the proper care and coverage.

2. Speak with a licensed insurance professional.
Many people have familiarity with health insurance, but there are plenty of nuances that exist within the complexity that is the healthcare system. Speaking with a professional is akin to meeting with an accountant during tax season. It much more likely that all of the concerns of the family, including the need for supplemental and life insurance, are addressed.

3. Have a budget set aside to address medical needs.
Employment status aside, healthcare needs can be stressful, especially if there are concerns related to paying for medical services. Unfortunately, many people will not receive the proper medical attention they need because they think they cannot afford it. A meeting with an insurance professional can help ease the expected financial burden by exploring the most affordable coverage for the family.

ad smallHealthcare concerns are heightened when someone loses a job but it is important to remember that without your health nothing else is possible. In addition to these tips, learn about supplemental and life insurance when you speak with a licensed professional. Affordable healthcare can be just a phone call away. Part two of this series continues next week.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr., your Insurance Advisor, is a senior writer at OnPointPress.net and a Licensed Insurance Professional working with HealthMarkets.

Contact me directly at (646)309-1938 for your health insurance questions and concerns.



Are sororities, fraternities defined by hazing, death, and cover-up?

Chung 'Michael' Deng

Chun ‘Michael’ Deng, a student at CUNY’s Baruch College, was hazed to death by fraternity members at a rental property in the Poconos.

The announcement that up to 37 members of the Asian fraternity Pi Delta Psi will be charged in the murder of Baruch College freshman, Chun “Michael” Deng 19, offers little solace to his heartbroken family. Deng lost his life when he was beaten by members of the Pi Delta Psi fraternity in a hazing ritual, at a rental property in the Poconos, miles from his college campus of Manhattan, New York.

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On Tuesday, September 15, police officials in Pennsylvania announced a litany of charges, including third-degree murder, assault, hazing and criminal conspiracy. But the fact that the culprits were charged with a gamut of crimes stands as a firm reminder to incoming freshmen at colleges across the nation.

Robert Champion, a member of the FAMU marching band, was hazed to death in pursuit of 'brotherhood."

Robert Champion, a member of the FAMU marching band, was hazed to death in pursuit of ‘brotherhood” in 2011.

At this stage of the college semester, students are settling into their classes, dormitory rooms and cliques. Many are considering pledging to different sororities and fraternities, lured by the ‘bond’ of sisterhood or brotherhood.

But before taking the plunge, it is wise for impressionable college students to conduct extensive research about hazing, many of which occurs covertly or ‘underground,’ which means that although the college, sorority and fraternity leaders verbally state that they do no tolerate the practice, off the record many of them not only support the deadly practice, they participate in the hazing activities themselves.

Victoria Carter, a freshman at East Carolina University, died trying to pledge to the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Victoria Carter, a freshman at East Carolina University, died trying to pledge to the Delta Sigma Theta sorority in 2010.

Every year, there are reports of college students losing their lives as they blindly try to pledge allegiance to sororities and fraternities for the bond that these groups purportedly provide. And with each death, comes the ritualistic cover-up from the groups’ leaders, as they cowardly try to preserve the reputations of their groups, at the expense of their innocent victims. So before you are lured by the alleged glamour associated with joining a fraternity or sorority, conduct extensive research on hazing deaths: It could save your life–OnPointPress.net.

SPISE, Caribbean STEM program, hosted successful session

Students participated in another session of SPISE in the Caribbean, learning about STEM careers.

Students participated in another session of SPISE in the Caribbean, learning about STEM careers.

Bridgetown, Barbados, 8/24/2015: Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering, SPISE, a division of the Caribbean Science Foundation, hosted another successful four-week session at the University of the West Indies’ Barbados, campus. The session ended on August 14.

This year, 18 students from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago were selected from 66 applicants. The SPISE students were challenged with classes that included university-level calculus, physics, biochemistry, entrepreneurship and Mandarin, and hands-on projects in under-water robotics and renewable energy/electronics.

SPISE is intended to nurture and groom the next generation of technology entrepreneurs in the Caribbean, in an effort to assist with the economic developmental issues facing the region. SPISE not only achieves this through the subjects offered, but also through career seminars which give the students more awareness of the tremendous diversity of science-related jobs and careers.

In addition, SPISE offers workshops which coach the students on how to optimize their chances of admission with financial aid to the world’s top universities. As a consequence, students from previous SPISE classes are now studying at top universities, including Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Columbia, University College London, University of North Carolina, Florida Institute of Technology, Trent University and UWI.

SPISE concluded with final project presentations by the students and the event was open to the public. The audience included: Dr. DeLisle Worrell, governor of the Central Bank of Barbados; Barbados’ Minister of Labor, Social Security and Human Resources Development, Dr. Esther Byer; Ms. Jacqui Cuke of the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust; Dr. Tony Rossomando of Alexion Pharmaceuticals; Roger Beckles of Emera Caribbean; Jeff Barrus of the United States Embassy for Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the OECS; other business professionals and several parents of the students.

During the event, the robotics, renewable energy, and entrepreneurship projects were showcased, and for the Mandarin presentation, the students sang “Jasmin Flower” in Mandarin (one of the most popular and mainstream traditional Chinese folk songs) which speaks out against corruption by praising the fair and pure Jasmin. The robotics projects required the SPISE scholars to build a basic model of an under-water robot, and then to use innovation and creativity to endow it with movable arms that could collect balls in a water-filled tank.

For the renewable energy presentation, wind turbines were built by student teams, each with its own unique blade design. The designs competed against each other as the audience got excited and involved in how different blade designs affected the effectiveness of wind turbines in producing electricity. The entrepreneurship class concluded with a business plan competition in which groups of students pitched their unique and personalized product and business plan to the audience.

Several members of the audience were given CSF money to invest in the team of their choice, and the winner was decided by the amount of money invested. The products conceived by the students include a portable handheld printer; Haztag, a GPS device to locate any household or miscellaneous object; a wrist band to replace intrusive diabetes monitors; malleable shoes that harden as they are put on but soften when off for easy storage; a component for portable computer and communications devices to allow for built-in projection; and a mobile app to write essays for you on-the-go.

Please visit the SPISE page for more information about the program, or contact Prof. Cardinal Warde at warde.csf@gmail.com or 1-617-699-1281. The CSF is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization with headquarters in Barbados and representatives in several other Caribbean countries. Key partners in the SPISE are the University of the West Indies Cave Hill campus, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and Sagicor. Donations to SPISE can be made here. The cost of sponsorship for each student is US$ 6,000 per student plus airfare.–OnPointPress.net

States invest in lavish sports arenas but cut education budget

The owners of the Cleveland sports teams, (l - r) Indians owner Paul Dolan, Browns owner Jimmy Haslem, and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, were successful in securing state taxpayer funds to bolster profits.

The owners of the Cleveland sports teams, (l – r) Indians owner Paul Dolan, Browns owner Jimmy Haslem, and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, were successful in securing state taxpayer funds to bolster profits.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

According to a longstanding trend, sports ranks higher on states’ priority list than education in many places throughout this country, with Georgia, Ohio and Minnesota becoming the latest additions. While owners of sports teams are making record profits, citizens continue to complain about the inferior quality and rising costs associated with education. But, oddly, the issue has not been given much attention as politicians take their dog and pony show around the country, currying favor for more donations in their  presidential bids.

The cycle of low-income students and inferior education on students' future earning potential.

The cycle of low-income students and inferior education on students’ future earning potential.

Cleveland, for instance, in deciding to fund a new stadium at huge costs to the residents, is a microcosm of the juxtaposition of the values between the highest and lowest class citizens of a city. With unemployment and wages as the backdrop this July, Cleveland officials  decided taxpayers should absorb the cost of building the new, extravagant stadium. City officials argued that the construction project would help generate more jobs.

New York Times writer Michael Powell explained the situation pointing out, “[Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan] Gilbert and his fellow sports billionaires — Larry Dolan, who owns the Indians, and Jimmy Haslam, who owns the Browns — worked together to push through a referendum that extended a countywide “sin tax” on cigarettes, beer and liquor.” The outcome of this decision means that for the next 20 years, taxpayers in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County will contribute roughly $260 million into improvements for the city’s sports arenas and stadiums.

(l-r) Dolan, Haslem, and Gilbert find nothing wrong with asking taxpayers to help them make more money.

(l-r) Dolan, Haslem, and Gilbert find nothing wrong with asking taxpayers to help them make more money.

Meanwhile, this past March, the Cleveland school district proposed a budget that would cut costs by $3.4 million, much to the dismay of the Cleveland Teachers Union and parents in the city. Cleveland Teachers Union President David Quolke asked some searing questions in his consternation over the budget including, “Why are all of these struggling students being denied the resources and teachers they need to become successful? and, How are their academic needs being met?”

The answers to those questions remain unclear, but Cleveland Plain Dealer’s reporter Patrick O’Donnell discerns, “District officials said the cuts are just a prudent way to manage the district’s budget while they keep losing students. Though enrollment declines are still far less than in previous years, the district predicts it will lose 375 students for next school year.”

Cleveland Teachers Union members protest budget cuts for schools with red signs at the school board meeting while staff from the district's central office counter with their own green ones. (Photo courtesy of Patrick O'Donnell/The Plain Dealer)

Cleveland Teachers Union members protest budget cuts for schools with red signs at the school board meeting while staff from the district’s central office counter with their own green ones. (Photo courtesy of Patrick O’Donnell/The Plain Dealer)

The issue of state funds being misappropriated to benefit billionaires at the expense of poor, largely minority, inner-city children has raised alarm in some quarters but so far has not become the major issue that it should in the presidential campaign.

Numerous cities are facing a similar dynamic— inadequate funding for education and other public services but obscene amounts allocated to invest in lavish arenas and stadiums. As Deadspin’s Kevin Draper reports this July, “The Wisconsin Senate voted 21-10 to approve $250 million in public financing for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.” While just a few days earlier in July, “Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a state budget that includes cuts of $250 million to the University of Wisconsin system, among other cuts to public education funding.”

Other reports have stated that one of the owners of the Bucks has bought up property near to the projected site of the new stadium in anticipation of making a windfall on that prime real estate once the stadium is built. Meanwhile, classrooms are over-crowded and children in Wisconsin lack the educational investment that they need to succeed.

Madison District Public Schools will be among those affected by Gov. Walker's budget proposal of $250 million in cuts.

Madison District Public Schools will be among those affected by Gov. Walker’s budget proposal of $250 million in cuts.

These recent examples are following a pattern seen in other cities like Atlanta, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Cincinnati and countless other towns which have professional teams that see the owners receive money that would be better served supporting the local citizens. The theory behind the support for these arenas and stadiums is they will help grow the economy by providing jobs and tourist attractions.

However, economist George Zeller cites studies that show that “The theory that all of these sports teams are producing a gigantic boom is completely false.” The school year has already started in some parts of this country and will resume shortly in other areas. The NFL regular season will also start in a few weeks. Which is a priority for you?.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a senior writer and a licensed insurance professional partnered with HealthMarkets. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twitter.com. Check out www.HealthMarkets.com/cglover for your free health insurance and life insurance quotes.

Medical school set to open at Harlem’s CUNY campus in 2016

City University of New York (CUNY) will open a medical school on it's Harlem-based City College campus

City University of New York (CUNY) will open a medical school on the Harlem-based City College campus

By Carmen Glover

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday, July 14, that the City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s largest public university system, which offers affordable tuition to middle and working class families, the poor and immigrants, will open a medical school in 2016, accepting its first batch of medical students that September.

“This new school is another step toward making medical care more accessible for all,” said Cuomo, who also stated that the medical school “increases employment, research and learning opportunities for students and faculty.”

CUNY's City College is located on Convent Avenue in Harlem, New York City.

CUNY’s City College is located on Convent Avenue in Harlem, New York City.

The CUNY School of Medicine will be housed at the City College campus, located at Convent Avenue in Harlem. City College boasts top-tier graduates including retired Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell. CUNY has a reputation for churning out Pulitzer Prize winners, Noble Prize winners and other exceptional graduates, including Lehman College graduate and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, who have made significant contributions in various fields across the world.

CUNY has run the Sophie Davis School, which offers pre-medical classes, as of 1973, and many students at the school got the foundation which allowed them to pursue medical careers upon graduation. With the CUNY School of Medicine becoming a part of the university’s brand, those students, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, will find attending medical school to be more affordable.

James Milliken, CUNY Chancellor.

James Milliken, CUNY Chancellor.

CUNY Chancellor James Milliken said the medical school, which is being created in collaboration with Saint Barnabas Health System in the Bronx, is a “logical and necessary expansion,” while touting the expected scope of the medical school in training doctors to serve in underserved communities through the provision of increased medical access.

Although CUNY initially offered tuition-free education, that changed decades ago and the yearly tuition increases have marginalized many potential students who are too poor to afford the rising costs. Nevertheless, with CUNY revamping itself during the past decade and introducing an Honors Program, many competitive high school seniors have declined admission to Ivy League universities and chosen to accept full scholarships to CUNY instead, boosting the institution’s reputation as a cheaper alternative which provides quality education.


CUNY was established in New York city 170 years ago and has a rich tradition of educational variety and excellence. President Barack Obama launched his signature initiative for minority boys, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, at CUNY’s majestic Lehman College campus in the Bronx, earlier this spring.–OnPointPress.net.

OnPointPress.net’s Editorial Director earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in counselor education at Lehman College, CUNY.


Caribbean organization, CSF, appeals for sponsorship of STEM students


Caribbean students participating in SPISE program.

Caribbean students participating in SPISE program.

Carmen Glover

The ability for some students to participate in an annual immersion program, scheduled for July 18 to August 15 at the Barbados campus of the University of the West Indies, is in jeopardy, according to a letter from Cardinal Warde, MIT professor and interim executive director of the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF). The immersion program is geared towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers  In an effort to generate support for the students who cannot afford to participate in the program, Warde made an email appeal for sponsorship. The edited email appears below:

“Each summer the Caribbean Science Foundation CSF) offers the Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE) to the most gifted 16 and 17- year- old Caribbean students who are interested in pursuing careers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines. The goal of SPISE is to groom these youngsters to become the next generation of high-tech science and engineering leaders and entrepreneurs in the region.

Caribbean Science Foundation's logo.

Caribbean Science Foundation’s logo.

“The long-term overall goal of the CSF is to help diversify the economies of the region by stimulating more technology-based entrepreneurship, creating more high paying jobs, and thereby raising the standard of living of the people. SPISE uses the facilities of the campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill, Barbados. Key important partners for SPISE are the UWI – Cave Hill Campus, and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

The purpose of this e-mail is to solicit a contribution in support of the five remaining students who are currently wait-listed for admission into the 2015 SPISE. This year we have capacity to serve 20 students. Fifteen students have already been fully sponsored into the 2015 SPISE, thanks to generous contributions so far from this year’s sponsors. The  five unfunded students are from Jamaica, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis and Grenada.

Participants in the SPISE immersion workshop.

Participants in the SPISE immersion workshop.


“The full cost of sponsorship for one student is US$ 6,000 plus round trip air travel to Barbados. With full sponsorship, we brand the student as the SPISE 2015 scholar of his/her sponsor.”

Online contributions can be made by credit card at the CSF Website (via CADSTI) at http://caribbeanscience.org/donation/. Checks made payable in US dollars or Barbados dollars to the Caribbean Science Foundation may be mailed to Caribbean Science Foundation, CARICOM Research Building, UWI Cave Hill Campus, St. Michael, Barbados, West indies By wire to: Bank Name: BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA
SWIFT Code: NOSCBBBB, Bank Key (bank + branch code): BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA (40055), Bank Address: Broad Street, Bridgetown, Barbados, Account Name: Caribbean Science Foundation, Account Number: 9013083.

SPISE participants.

SPISE participants.

SPISE is modeled after the well-known and highly successful MITES program at MIT (http://web.mit.edu/mites/) for which Professor Cardinal Warde also serves as the Faculty Director.  Please view the video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75UUowD7-oM, from SPISE 2012 to capture the real spirit of SPISE. More specifics about SPISE can be found at http://caribbeanscience.org/projects/spise.php. The CSF Website is http://caribbeanscience.org.

For more information about sponsorship, opportunities please contact Professor Cardinal Warde, Interim Executive Director of CSF at warde.csf@gmail.com, Tel. 617-699-1281–OnPointPress.net.



Accomplished educator Ja’Nice Wisdom pushes for access to books in beautiful Jamaica

Educator Ja'Nice Wisdom

Educator Ja’Nice Wisdom is the founder and executive director of  the Read Across Jamaica Foundation that was created to expand reading resources for children.

By Carmen Glover

Twelve years ago, accomplished educator Ja’Nice Wisdom, decided to make a change in Jamaica, West Indies by ensuring that story books were more readily available to children who lacked the resources to purchase a variety of reading material. She created and launched Read Across Jamaica (RAJ), an initiative designed to expand reading opportunities on the island, through a non-profit foundation with the same name.

RAJ, currently underway in Jamaica since May 4, wraps up with activities over the weekend. The theme for this year’s event is “Consolidating the Gains: Collaborating for Growth and Sustainability.”

A reading volunteer participates in Read Across Jamaica event.

A reading volunteer participates in Read Across Jamaica event.

This year, Read Across Jamaica Foundation collaborated with The Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) and the Book Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ) to celebrate Education Week 2015. Activities have included a bus tour across the island where reading volunteers stop at schools in St James, St. Thomas, St. Catherine, Kingston and St. Elizabeth and engage eager students in reading activities with the expectation that the buzz built during the week will permeate the students’ daily lives.

For children whose parents and guardians have challenges with reading, Wisdom is pleased that they “come to the schools to observe and show interest,” which goes a long way in strengthening a reading environment in the home. “We pass on books to the parents and we encourage the children to share the books with their parents,” she said.

Reading volunteer engages children in reading activity.

Reading volunteer engages children in reading activity.

RAJ, Wisdom said  “was launched to reach out and give back to the children. It was part of a research project I was doing at the University of Maryland to see why children were passing through the system” without acquiring the skills needed to succeed. She decided to model a similar system that was used in the USA and tailor it to meet the Jamaican community.

Twelve years later, RAJ is more robust than ever. After the weeklong reading events are completed, Wisdom and her delegation relies on “the schools to provide follow-up,” to ensure that the excitement generated for reading is nurtured throughout the year. “We do not have the capacity to collect the data,” during the weeklong activities to determine the children’s progress, she said. However, “We talk to the students, see their attitudes about reading,” and use that as a gauge to plan for the following year’s events.

Reading volunteer reads to children who interact with excitement.

Reading volunteer reads to children who interact with excitement.

One of the features of the 2015 RAJ is the inclusion of musical ambassadors Tasha T, and Asante Amen who juxtapose reading with the elements of music and poetry. Tasha T, who hails from Toronto, Canada, has been involved in RAJ since 2011 and sees her role as vital to the RAJ initiative and she explained that she utilizes various measures to win the children’s interest and attention.

Read Across Jamaica's Music Ambassador Tasha T.

Read Across Jamaica’s Music Ambassador Tasha T.

“I introduce myself to them as a recording artist and I get them to sing along,’ she explained of her style. “I encourage them to continue reading because everyone has to work together for the children to succeed.”  Tasha T said that she also plays games with the children because her aim is to show the children “what they are capable of and that education is a way of survival.” Tasha T’s signature song for the RAJ initiative is “Educate Yourself,” on the RasVibe label.

Read Across Jamaica Music Ambassador Asante Amen.

Read Across Jamaica Music Ambassador Asante Amen.

As the RAJ initiative has grown over the years, so has the need for books to meet the demand for eager readers. “We need funds. We have a book clinic online and we ship the books to Jamaica,” said Wisdom of the project. “There’s no favoritism with the schools that we visit. We follow each school that we visit for five years.” Citing the scope of RAJ and the goal of expansion, Wisdom invites supporters across the globe to get involved. “We encourage people to visit online and donate funds and books,’ she said.

To contact Read Across Jamaica and Ms. Wisdom, call (301)-672-4133, (876)-852-3418, or email: jwisdom2u@gmail.com.–OnPointPress.net.