Friday, May 18, 2007

Insurance Commissioner releases Medicare Advantage tips

Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marcy Morrison has received numerous complaints from seniors considering enrolling in Medicare Advantage plans. Seniors say insurance agents are not making them aware of plan benefits and conditions, such as that enrollment may require changing doctors, hospitals or specialists.

Morrison encourages seniors considering Medicare Advantage plans to weigh all their options. More than two dozen companies offer more than 30 plans. Here are a few tips.

  • Don't sign any enrollment form in the first meeting with an agent. Take time and talk to someone from the Division of Insurance's Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program, 1-888-696-7213.
  • Know what you're getting -- some plans provide medical coverage only, others include the Medicare Part D prescription program.
  • Check with your doctors and hospital to find out if they take the plan you want.
  • Understand how billing differs -- once a consumer buys a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare is no longer billed for services and Medicare Supplement no longer pays for claims.
  • Enrollment or disenrollment into a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage is limited to January through March every year.
  • Enrollment or disenrollment from the program with no prescription plan coverage can happen any time of the year but consumers with prescription coverage from another source may lose that coverage.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cheyenne Mountain Resort pool gets high marks has come up with a list of the top 10 hotel lap pools in North America — and Cheyenne Mountain Resort in the Springs is No. 2 on that list.

Here’s what the Web site, which promises expert recommendations for athletic-minded travelers, says about the resort’s watery wonder:

"Guests in residence between the end of May and the middle of September can enjoy Cheyenne’s 8-lane, 50-meter outdoor competition quality lap pool complete with backstroke flags, pace clock, and all of your favorite swim toys. Year round, the resort offers an indoor 25-meter option, too, but getting a true Olympic-size water box is a rare treat."

Housing update scheduled for next month

It's no secret home construction and sales have slowed over the past eight to 10 months. But are market conditions poised for a change? The Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs will co-sponsor a members-only update next month, discussing topics such as housing starts, inventory, closings and available lots. The market overview will be presented by Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, a business-to-business media and information company that serves residential and commercial builders. The overview will take place from 7:30 to 9 a.m. June 20 at the SilverWood Hotel, northwest of Interstate 25 and Garden of the Gods Road in northwest Colorado Springs. The cost is $15 per person. Call 592-1800 to register or go to and click on "housing market update."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Colorado Springs mayor discusses state of the city

Mayors have all the fun. They run the city council meetings, shake hands with visiting celebrities and even ride in limos with the president. To that end, Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera will deliver the big one -- the "state of the city" address -- as part of a Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce luncheon next month The event takes places from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 5 at the Antlers Hilton hotel, 4 S. Cascade Ave., in downtown Colorado Springs. The cost is $25 for chamber members, $30 for non-members and corporate tables go for $300. To register, call 575-4389 or go to

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Nonprofits invited to apply for grants

Grant applications are being accepted for the 14th annual Wells Fargo Community Assistance Fund.

Wells Fargo will contribute $260,000 to an estimated 200 qualified community-based nonprofit organizations. The average grant ranges from $500 to $1,500. Eligible organizations must be certified 501C(3) and have an annual budget of $350,000 or less.

Applications, available at all Wells Fargo stores throughout the state, are due June 29.
Last year, Wells Fargo donated $4.2 million to community groups around the state.

Oakwood is not Oakwood

Denver-based Oakwood Homes wants Colorado Springs-area home buyers to know: it's not affiliated with Oakwood Construction and Oakwood Building and Development. Those companies were featured in a recent KOAA-TV news story that reported on a Canon City-area development and problems homeowners are having with cracking walls, ceilings and other structural defects. Jay Walther, president of Oakwood Homes' Colorado Springs division, sent letters to area media outlets to make certain they understand his company has no relationship with those mentioned in the KOAA report -- although KOAA also added such a qualifier at the end of its story. Oakwood Homes bills itself as Colorado's largest privately held, local builder. It entered the Colorado Springs market in 2006, and currently is one of the more active builders in Fountain, south of town. More information on Oakwood Homes: 380-5040 or

Monday, May 14, 2007

JoyRides auction this week

A reminder that your chance to buy a piece of JoyRides Family Fun Center is this week. JoyRides closed its doors for good last fall. On Thursday, everything from bumper boats to office supplies will be sold in an onsite public auction at 5150 Edison Ave. (There’ll also be online bidding at You can preview the offerings from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday.