Volume 7, Issue 4 April 2016


Our monthly newsletter addresses consumer insurance topics as well as timely information on issues affecting senior citizens in Louisiana.


To find out if Consumer Advocacy will be in your area or to request a speaker for your organization or group, call (225) 219-0619 or send an email to: consumeradvocacy@ldi.la.gov

Upcoming Events

2016 Annual Health Care Conference (Hosted by the Louisiana Health Care Commission)

Date: April 12, 2016
Time: 7:30 a.m.
Location: Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel
7000 Bluebonnet Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA 70810

Louisiana Automobile Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention (LATIFPA) Meeting

Date: April 12, 2016
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Location: Louisiana Department of Insurance, Poydras Hearing Room
1702 North 3rd Street, Baton Rouge, LA

View Louisiana's Open Meetings Law on the legislative website by clicking here.


Saving Money on Medicare with SHIIP

The Medicare Savings Program and the Low- Income Subsidy program can help you cover the cost of Medicare premiums if you meet certain income and asset guidelines.

The Medicare Savings Program can save you money by reducing out of pocket costs. It covers Medicare premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance.

The Low- Income Subsidy or Extra Help Program aims to help people with limited income and resources. Some of the benefits include prescription drug costs and assistance with monthly Medicare drug plan Part D premium. To qualify you must have Medicare Part A, Part B, or both. Residents receiving Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid automatically qualify for the Extra Help Program, there’s no need to apply. The Social Security Administration manages the program. Click here for more details and guidelines in English or Spanish.


cellpone in car

 Distracted Driving: Take Back Your Drive

Every day commuters in Louisiana are facing a danger that is entirely self-inflicted. Driving while distracted, and the accidents that result from it, are taking lives and contributing to increasing insurance premiums all over the country. April is National Distracted Driving month and many federal and state agencies are sounding the alarm. In the past year, car related fatalities have jumped by 14 percent and the incidence of injury by accident has increased as well.

In Louisiana, it is illegal to:

  • Use a cellular phone or mobile device to text message or post to a social networking site while operating a vehicle on any public road or highway is illegal. The fine is $175 for the first offense, and $500 for each offense after the first.
  • Use a headset while driving is prohibited and carries a penalty of $25 plus court costs per offense.
  • Operate a mobile device or cell phone in any manner is prohibited while driving through a school zone during the posted hours, with only very few emergency situations exempted. The fine for a first offense is $175 and any second or subsequent offenses carry a fine of up to $500.

A study by the National Safety Council found that one in four fatalities on the road are caused by distracted driving. Do your part by refusing to text and drive. Speak out when you see friends at the wheel using their cell phones. Refuse to text back when you know people are driving. Even one death from a preventable cause is too many.



Thinking Ahead and Saving Now

With National Retirement Planning Week taking place April 11-15, it’s a good time to review your long-term financial plans and goals. From changes in employee benefits to spikes in health care costs, there are a number of challenges impacting retirement financial planning. The National Retirement Planning Coalition has teamed up with dozens of partners across the country, including the Louisiana Department of Insurance, to offer guidance. The Coalition offers a number of online resources including:

  • Resources for your current life stage. Whether you’re a student or in your seventies, this online tool offers tips on everything from managing your 401(k) to understanding Social Security.
  • Budgeting basics. Rather than just restricting your spending, this guide offers advice on a proactive approach to saving for the future. 
  • Retirement Planner calculator. Do you know how much you will need to have saved in order to retire? You can use this online calculator to help craft your retirement plan.
  • Social Security planning. Get answers to critical questions such as when you should stop working and when will you receive benefits.

During National Retirement Planning Week, the Coalition is hoping to demonstrate it is still possible for Americans to retire on their terms.  For more information head over to www.RetireOnYourTerms.org

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Office of Consumer Advocacy
(225) 219-0619 or (800) 259-5300

P.O Box 94214

Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9214