A Reluctant Hero

This is getting serious. I started looking for a small Okinawa island, one of the many that dotted the horizon in the chain—to possibly set down. Never thought the “Hog” would let me down as I lined the nose of my Corsair to hit between a line of trees on a small atoll 3,000 ft. below. I was losing power fast, with oil pouring out of the engine and a partial loss of flight controls.And —I was mad—no, red hot, that I had been caught. With every jink and turn, there was no way to fight back— with guns— as the Jap kept pouring it on.Six Months Earlier – The Mediterranean 1943After the propeller was pulled through a few rotations to clear the cylinders, I energized the cartridge starter and brought the mixture to full rich as the engine turned over. The bang of my starting cartridge bounced off the other aircraft on the USS Tulagi flight deck and I was waved forward for launch and unfolded the wings in preparation. With wing hinges in position, I pulled the D ring to lock them and waited for a repositioning signal for my launch.After six months of constant training we felt we were ready for anything the Germans would throw at us in the “Med.” With a full moon hanging over our task force, our night launch proceeded past the Straits of Gibraltar. On the north passage of the strait we took advantage of the tides. The prevailing winds out of the east did not require a large carrier turn into the wind. We coordinated with the fleet big gun ships (USS Nevada, Arkansas, Texas, Quincy, Omaha and Tuscaloosa) to provide spotting support. The scuttlebutt was—prepare for something big.Our squadron’s primary task was not fun. Patrolling low and relatively slow over a set of coordinates while we looked for activity to target was what we did well, but disliked intensely. The frequent loitering to more precisely redirect fire, unnerved many in our squadron. It was tedious and dangerous– from shell fire in close proximity to our aircraft. We also often picked up rows of holes in the wing and fuselage from small arms fire at low altitudes. The call to “get high,” so as not to get hit, often preceded a salvo of 16″ shells from our ships. At first it was amazing then quickly turned to frightening to actually see fired shells flying into our designated targets. One of my squadron buddies was instantly vaporized by a direct hit from one of these 16 inch guns.The Med proved to be fairly navigable but frequent unpredictable storms concentrated in the western Mediterranean and northern shores. The azure waters from 5,000 ft did not tell the whole story. The mountains held suffocating heat and unpredictable sea winds and sand—not good for plane or pilot.On July 14, CAG led 5 sections of F6F Hellcats on a strike into the Italian mountains, north of Cape Negre. Ollie (Ens Edward Olszewski) and I were on a rail head strike as bombers. After our first few attacks on the railroad junction we were vectored to another target in the south of France. With the throttle pulled back to a max range setting, in combat spread, I pulled the canopy back, unclipped my oxygen mask, grabbed my Lucky Strikes and lit up. Ollie, off my starboard wing saw my actions but choose to remain focused and vigilant while I decompressed.I was finally beginning to understand why I joined the Navy and placed myself in harm’s way. The fun and stupid games of skiing off huge moguls and trying to stick the landing in trees, strapped into an old parachute flying behind a car in a parking lot, skydiving into corn fields gave me clues as to my need for a little more out of life—to fly airplanes off carriers—YES!Naval flight provided all I needed. We were action driven, adrenaline grabbing, above average intelligence males who needed an approved legitimization of our warrior spirit. Safety was a term we would gladly redefine from its civilian definition.Operation Dragoon-Southern FranceWe were now flying (August, 1944) in Operation Dragoon—just a few hundred reconnaissance and interdiction sorties against German rolling stock and strikes in support of U.S. Army troops landing in southern France. Dragoon was developed to protect the flank of the Allied Normandy advance into Germany.There we were, a flight of F6F cruising along over the Med, stroking throttles that never seemed to hold the required setting, eyeballing the sky for Germans that never seemed to show, monitoring temps and pressure for variance and being refreshed by the cold of altitude against the heat of the blazing sun through the canopy.One quick scan of the instruments told me I was not alone.The small black dot didn’t grab my attention right away until it suddenly moved across my field of vision. Was this welcome allied air company or one of the few German HE 111 bombers we were told to look to keep an eye out for?


Nope — A wayward fly was flying the needle on my compass better than I. Besides providing a needed gut check, this stowaway gave me a welcome bit of humor and some support in my task to stay alive. My thoughts moved to the book, “God is My__,”— you know the title. I named him Louie and wondered how he would take to our impending combat. I now had my own little copilot— a welcome friend this day.Our approach to the second target was through beautiful cumulus clouds with streaming sunshine followed by broken clouds with a low overcast. With the target finally in sight we closed up in right echelon in preparation for the preplanned roll in dive to the target. As we took our spacing for the dive to the target, each pilot began toggling switches to arm their rockets or bombs for release. “Don’t screw up,”— I told myself— as I armed up and rolled in.With my airplane’s belly pointing to sky I looked out the canopy and pulled hard to stay with my wingman. Everyone was hanging in their straps working their butts off. My flurry of effort included; Kicking rudder, compensating for aircraft drift, keeping separation from those ahead as we passed between cloud layers, readjusting power settings, confirming the arming up checks, eyeballing the bursts of flack at various altitudes, continued reconfirmation of the target location, flinching at the close burst of flack which seemed to be just above my canopy, wiping the sting of sweat out of my eyes, aligning the pipper for release… and of course flying my F4F Hellcat. It was a good feeling to see my comrades strung out in front of me. Even so, with the sudden change of altitude, flack bursts and the altimeter unwinding I found myself unconsciously trying to get as small as possible to keep safe.Then bomb release and pull up, followed by jinking and trying to keep the aircraft from the inevitable stall shudder as we grabbed for altitude in the join up. I wrapped up the F6F in an effort to quickly rendezvous with the returning strike group 5 miles off my port wing tip. We were fortunate that no one got bagged as flight lead took us back to the boat. Looking back on the target— secondary explosions and fires told of our success this day.Without a hand signal or radio call warning, Ollie banked hard away from our formation giving chase to two He 111s he had spotted. A direct line gave Ollie a pure in trail shot as he pumped.50 caliber bullets into the German and knocked him out of the sky. Ens Wood broke off and headed southbound to follower the splitter.On the way back to the boat the excitement was contagious. Intermittent hooting and hollering over the radio echoed our victories. Back onboard the Tulagi Ollie provided the play by play of his shoot down of the two Ju 52 transports while and Wood received credit for 2 Heinkel bombers. Not too shabby for a spotter squadron’s first tangle with the enemy.Even so, my vision of war as a naval officer certainly did not fit the image of death and destruction we wrought on the German troops in southern France. A numbness hung over our squadron from both fatigue and the sight of the killing from our bombs and guns up close. The loss of friends only added to the emotional drain as we gutted it out until our naval squadrons were of no further use in the allied European effort.After 15 days of a heightened state of German destruction and death we were ready for a break. Our work had demoralized the Germans. We were taking them apart one tank, rail line, vehicle and ship at a time. Our unrelenting harassment of motorized columns and impact of naval gunfire turned their retreat into a rout.Little did we know that our European efforts would be recognized by the French population and specifically the town of Pennautier for many years. The town’s people recognized that our Hellcats played a big part in completely wiping out the German presence in their town and country side. In a 2001, a remembrance ceremony for 7 navy pilots was held. The tablet in marble, in the town square, with each pilots name includes; Lt CMDR W. F. Bringle, Ens W. C. McKeever, Ens J. M. Denison, Ch P. Skelly, Ens R. Candler, Lt J. M. Alston and Ens F.Fenzel. It is engraved as an homage and thank you from the town’s people for hunting and chasing away the “German wolves.”After months in the “Med” our ships and aircraft were redirected for combat against the Japanese in the Pacific.Operation Musketeer – LuzonThe squadron proceeded into the Pacific onboard the USS Wake Island (CVE 65).During this time Jap suicide attacks had been picking up and we kept a wary eye out for them. Our patrols were continuous as our small task force passed through the Surigao Straits near Leyte Island. While circling off shore in preparation for another strafing run on a Jap naval installation I caught a glimpse of a glistening metallic dot through the wind screen.Nah, couldn’t be my winged cockpit buddy from the Med — now in full glistening armor. No—The pack of Zeros grew in size as I called out their high and low positions. Flight lead heard my call and turned into the onslaught. They were coming hard— directly at us— Vals (carrier borne Jap dive bomber), Oscars with more Zeros in high cover.As they passed through our section at speed it was obvious that ramming us was their intention. I quickly wheeled and got a solid deflection shot on a Val which, for some reason took its time burning. As I poured more lead onto this burning bomber the sound of metal hitting my aircraft registered. I broke the engagement and dove to increase energy for speed protection in this battle. The Zero did not follow me down and I chuckled at such a quick victory. Bomber turned fighter pilot in a day-I never would have thought.But the realization that our enemy had nothing to lose in our aerial engagements and would seek to take their lives with mine was sobering. This variable now brought a whole new dimension to our fight in the air and I wondered how our tactics would change to fight this new menace.Gratefully back aboard, we received new orders for Okinawa and more of the same. You know—Okinawa, one of those little dots on the map— south of Iwo Jima?Bad Day over OkinawaOur job was to destroy ground/sea targets, shipping, merchant men and Jap island ports. Our flight of 4 was booking along at 6,000 feet and around 400 knots. Suddenly I found myself fighting for my life. Where did those Zeros come from and how did they surprise us?The fight was on. I was now a gun fighter— a new and exciting but uncomfortable role— maybe now a chance to really stand out from the intensive ground attack missions we had been flying.We had been told to initiate a fight at a superior altitude against the Zero and carry enough speed to “boot out of there incase.” “Oh, and the Zero cannot turn right.”I saw my chance to for a shot and followed him down. The Zero made a right turn and I smirked as I pulled the trigger in a perfectly setup deflection shot. He instantly reversed, splitand somehow got on my tail—no right turns my foot. Time for the “boot out”? —but it was too late. My F4U Corsair shuddered from hits to my wing and engine. I kept turning right — but he stayed with me and even cut inside my turn.The melee above continued between my VOF-1 “Rebel” Squadron mates and our enemy—a flight of 16 Vals and their fighter cover. While diving to shake my opponent his 20mm bullets hammered my armored seat and took chunks out of my right wing as he followed me down. He was drilling me good.I glanced down at my wing root leading edge and noticed the damage to the oil cooler area along with additional 20 mm bullet holes throughout the engine cowl. This was not good. I confirmed the damage with a glance at my rising temperature and pressure gauge readings. To make matters worse the propeller would not cycle—a shot up prop governor—GREAT. Just a matter of time now, I thought. Stan, my crew chief, was really going to be happy with me. His airplane was now full of holes.Whoever proffered that a Zero could not turn right had better rethink their position because I was finding out the hard way. Thankfully the pounding stopped as tracers from my wingman’s F4U lapped off my port wing. One of my boys finally got to him.I had what seemed like a second to take stock of this situation. With temps and pressures rising fast—I was going down.While coaxing the throttle and propeller controls the heat and humidity at a lower attitude finally caught up. Adrenaline was only going to take me so far today. The heat was just another impediment in my fight to survive and I knew I’d be a puddle of jello in short order if I did not get out of the Corsair—one way or the other.How had this guy survived his role as a Kamikaze or being killed —like the best of Japanese fighter pilots earlier in the war? I guess the 4 swastikas painted on Al Wood’s F6F-5 aircraft fuselage caught his attention. He was experienced and motivated and I was paying the price.I had to concentrate on the landing —now! If I survived this crash—an ocean dip would feel great.I rolled back the canopy for some ram air, tightened the harness and felt an immediate rush from the sea scent. It was strong and refreshing.I needed to keep my F4U flying as long as possible with the airspeed above 80. The small atoll ahead looked like it had enough room for a let down on what looked like hard coral. A gear down landing might be possible—I told myself.


My sink rate was getting critical as the prop would just not bite the air. Maintain control—stretch the glide—wow, only holding 10 inches of manifold air pressure (MAP) with the possibility of a runaway prop? Keep the nose down—no buffet yet—-just 300 yards to go—I’ll hit the ocean before I stall this bird—I told myself.A fully oil covered wind screen now forced my head out of the cockpit. Boy, did this bird have a snout. I could hardly see over the engine nacelle for my straight in to the tree line. Descending—150 yards now looked like 500—getting heavy on the controls.I hoped that the Japs name, “Whistling Death” for the mighty Corsair only ½ fit for me today.Almost over the beach—time to dirty her up with the gear and hold enough airspeed to hit the atoll—Hold 77 knots or it’s all over, Willy!Whoa—Geez, where am I? Must have passed out. The smell of engine oil and fuel, sea salt, rotting vegetation and my aching back and neck all conspired to wake me. I lifted my head—to terrible heat—how long I had been out? My seat harness had done its job for I was in one piece with minor scrapes and only a little pain. The fear of fire pushed me out of Corsair while the beach and a stand of palms provided escape. I turned to look back at the extent of the F4Us damage and realized how lucky I had been to survive.One wing lay several yards down the beach, in line with a furrowed ditch in the sand from the aircraft with parts all over the place. To my surprise—no fire. My Corsair had saved my lifeFinding a bit of shade I took stock—first aid kit, ammo bandolier, 1911 45 revolver, canteen, escape packet and more in the wrecked Corsair. Contemplating my next move my body started to squawk— just like the seabirds around me who were unhappy with this new invader. Scanning the tree line for the enemy, I thought about a short run to the surf to help with the many cuts and abrasions— not to mention the pig pen like smell that was following me.I hoped this island in the middle of the Okinawa chain was small enough not to contain a garrison of Japs or any of the others on the horizon.The hot afternoon sun slowly yielded to a few boiling clouds and cooler sea breezes. Near sunset, with a watchful eye, I finally found glorious relief in the surf while looking to the sky for my squadron mates.What I didn’t know was that one of my squadron mates saw my smoking aircraft crash and radioed for a PBY rescue. Once back on the USS Wake Island I learned I was finally credited with my first kill as a Navy Pilot— from the Luzon shoot down. Even so, I was saddened to learn that we lost a good friend, Lt (Jg.) Thomas Murphy this day.ReflectionsOur outfit had been together eighteen months in two theaters of war. That was 12,994 combat hours of flying with 25,968 total flight hours.With the surrender of the Japanese at Okinawa our escort carriers were reformed and squadron VOF-1 was renamed VOC-1. We were no longer needed in the Pacific Theater. Eighteen months spent together had yielded much success and many gave of themselves selflessly to achieve our goals. Our squadron was now headed for decommissioning in the states. A welcome rest and thoughts of the future waited.I thought long and hard about returning to the University of Michigan but just could not pass up being one of the first to fly the Navy’s first jet. Here we go—again.Biography – Lt. William Robert CandlerWilliam Candler is a graduate of the University of Michigan in aeronautical engineering. He served on board 4 carriers, during WWII, in the Mediterranean and the Pacific Theaters of war as a Naval Aviator in VOF-1 and VOC-1 squadrons. Candler flew the following aircraft: F4F, F6F, F4U, YP-59 and FJ-1— and is credited with downing one Japanese Aichi D3A2 “Val.”Lt Candler saw action in multiple spotting and bombing/straffing raids and campaigns over Luzon, Okinawa, Iwo Jima, France and Italy.Lt Candler was awarded the American Area/European Area/Asiatic and Philippine Liberation and Campaign ribbons. In addition he received 13 Air medals and 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses during his military service.By: D Stuart White

Better Planning

Better planning. It is often said if work is not ready in time. It is also seen as a solution for organizations to increase efficiency or a better service. It is all true and can thus be saved much money. If this money for the picking, why do we still not done?

Effective planning in practice is not so easy. Understanding the different types of planning is a first step. As is known in which a planning organization desired, then a road to be made to such a plan to come.

Planning is receiving attention. It has worked there since organizations. Yet planning is not an area where organizations always successful.

The constantly changing circumstances, think of changing availability of staff. The standard 40 hours for all is long past time. There are unexpected events. Suddenly there is additional demand in the market, etcetera. Despite the continuously changing circumstances is necessary for efficient operation. The competition is not that extra space (eg in the form of additional people) in an organization is to smooth out the changes.

There is still debate whether there are as many as possible should be centrally or planned. Central planning makes it much easier for all resources as efficiently as possible way. Decentralized planning produces the advantage that the local changes can easily be played, partly because the planner knows the people who planned and are thus relatively easy to bear in mind such as someone once one hours is not available.

The timeliness of planning will include illustrated by a recent article in a magazine automation, which by KPMG introducing a central planning as one of the solutions put forward for redundancies to prevent secondment providing ICT.

What little is written about the people who planned to carry. Rarely is the question whether the documents the employee as it likes to bring the project to which he is assigned. Of course there will a planner in practice into account. If this happens do not explicitly adopt or unconsciously. This may be the main reason why in practice there are many decentralized planning.

To clarify how an organization can better pick up the schedule, we first distinguish the following planning concepts.

-Agenda Planning

-Planning Tasks

-Project

-Planning Agenda

-As the name implies, is planning agenda only to establish a planning agenda of the different resources to come. This could mean hourly, half day or a fixed time each day in the calendar is planned. This situation occurs frequently in field personnel or resources for an organization that posting a few days or weeks makes available to its customers. Also in the planning in a call center is often referred to agenda planning. See also the article: Scheduling Optimization for Call Center

Planning Tasks

In planning tasks are tasks in the various resources planned. A task is an activity that after a certain date should start before a certain date and should be ready. The task is how long it must be taken to implement this. Accounting firms and advertising agencies work with many planning tasks. The professional knows that in a given week 5 to 6 hours per job tasks spend, but he himself can fill in what order the tasks it handles. The worker will not be told where exactly where he needs to work. As it is known when it is off than he himself would appreciate the week to complete.

Project

Is often thought to project when discussing planning. When planning a project involves the planning of several interdependent tasks. Construction projects are a good example. In one building, the foundation can be ready before the start of the masonry walls. The development of software is a good example of a project that requires project.

When planning a focus in the organization, it is prudent to first determine what type of planning is involved. Is there planning calendar, task and project planning. Sometimes, there are several species in a planning organization. It is advisable to first look into the planning issues, which are predominant in the organization.

Existing planning rules

Any exceptions must be made on what the planning rules is created. This has two advantages. It is clear that the planning rules and those rules need to be evaluated and which were probably useful in the past but not now, or how certain rules otherwise be filled. It is through critical to the planning rules used to look and not too quick to accept that a rule is still relevant today, may be more flexibility in the creation of the plan are achieved. This increased flexibility often leads to cost savings. In a service environment, eg the rule that in 95% of reports within 3 hours after the reported failure of the service technician must be present. If this rule is replaced by 95% of reports in the interference within 8 hours after the notification must be resolved, give the organization more flexibility and gives the customer that what is really important to her.

Central or decentralized planning

It should also be given to whether centrally or will be scheduled. If manual is planned, there is often much to be said for a decentralized planning to make. In a little volume it is not central to overlook. If automation can be planned it is easier to central planning. However it is important that the various departments can exert influence on how the schedule is created.

Specialties

The peculiarities should properly be identified.

The desired capacity is every first Monday of the month 30% higher on January 1 and 60 resources are needed. The details of the various resources must be known. The one the other works 36 hours every 2nd Friday of the month only in the morning until 11 hours et cetera.

Employees hold in general if not on them when they decided to have no effect. Furthermore, it also possible that a section on special circumstances at issue. This should be factored in or planning.

Inventory

What are the unforeseen circumstances that may arise? What is the priority when it comes to? Who decides this? How can we determine whether, based on the experience gained in the past, take account of unforeseen circumstances in the future? Ad hoc solutions have always possible, but just a good inventory of the expected “unexpected situations”, the number of ad hoc solutions are limited. This is an important aspect, because practice shows that many developed planning systems failed, precisely because of unexpected circumstances often ad hoc solutions are chosen so that it seems more the rule than the exception.

Culture

Around the planning process there is often a culture. By force of habit is already planning a certain way. The way the plans are made is often a process of evaluation of years. It requires courage of the people here to open fully candid and critical look at. Therefore it is important that this happens in a constructive and open atmosphere.

If all the above aspects are examined, can be examined whether and how the planning process can be automated support. Often there may soon be offered to help the planner. This could for example the use of Excel or a comprehensive planning package. The proposed plan will always be judged by the planner and still be adjusted before the final planning.

The rules for the different schedules used, strongly determine the final schedule. This in turn determines to a large extent the costs are made in the organization and the quality of the services provided. Consider this in all circumstances or based on minimal cost should be scheduled as long as the minimum quality requirements or that there are strategic projects to naming, where even at maximum quality must be planned. Although planning in the final form a strong operational process, regular involvement of management is still required, because the planning rules used to continuous change.

Planning is important in organizations, but is often a difficult process. A process that is time consuming, not always with conclusive results. By identifying what type of planning situations exist, create better understanding of the possibilities. By then the clear and critical process inventory, creates a picture of what the organization. Precisely by existing rules into question could possibly be playing much. If the rules are known which will be scheduled, look how the process can be automated can be supported. This can save time for the planner and lead in complex situations to ensure better planning, because in a short time, the various alternatives can be calculated.

Health Insurance Rate Increases And Grandfathered Health Plans – Should You Go Down With The Ship?

Everybody is getting large health insurance rate increases this year. The size of the increase is making many people look for alternative health insurance plans. One type of plan is being especially hard hit with double digit increases, and those are grandfathered health plans. We’ll cover what’s happening and what you can do to protect yourself from the rate increases that are taking place.

You may be thinking, “What’s a grandfathered health insurance plan?” The answer is, if you have a health insurance plan that was in place on March 23rd of 2010, and you haven’t made any changes to your plan, you’re still in the same plan, then you have a grandfathered health insurance plan. If you’ve been in the same plan for 5, 10, 15 years, then you have a grandfathered health insurance plan.

Grandfathered plans have some special exemptions and characteristics, so we need to go over those in a little bit more detail. The easiest way to do that is to tell you a story about a recent client. That client’s name is Barry.

Barry and his wife are 52, and they have two daughters; one 21, and one that’s 16. Barry shared with me that their letter basically told them their new rate was going up almost 24% and they would be paying $1389 a month. They were in an Anthem PPO Share 5000 plan, and they’d been in that plan so long, he didn’t even remember when they actually started it. The rates had increased progressively from one year to the next.

But this year, the rates were finally high enough that he said he didn’t want to pay that much anymore, he wanted to find an alternative. So he called his agent, and then he called Anthem Blue Cross directly. In both cases, they told him to “just ride it out” and wait to see what happened in 2014, after the Affordable Care Act kicked in. That wasn’t an answer Barry was willing to live with because he wanted a solution today.

So when Barry called he shared the above information and his fear that he would have to pay higher rates. When queried about the health characteristics of his family, he said they were all healthy, and that other than one or two colds, they did preventive care and that was pretty much it. Their current plan was very rich in benefits that they weren’t making use of, based on what he’d described.

After running a set of quotes for the family, and scanning all of the different options, it became clear that one of the best options for them was the Health Net PPO Advantage 3500 plan. The reason is because it gave them two office visits for a simple copayment, and then all of the preventive care was free. That’s not something that they had in their PPO Share plan. They actually have to pay for their preventive care as part of their deductible costs in that plan.

The monthly premium on that Health Net plan was only $480 a month, so they were saving a little over $900 per month, or $10,900 per year. Barry really liked that. But he said, “There’s a big difference in benefits between these two plans. Can you show me a plan that’s a little bit closer to the benefits we have in our grandfathered plan, but at a lower cost?”

So looking through the list again, the closest match was the Cigna Open Access 5000/100% plan. It has a $5000 deductible and has unlimited office visits, which is very similar to the plan they currently have. But the monthly premium is only $928 a month. They could still save almost $500 per month, and $5500 in savings over the course of a year. Now, I don’t know about you, but saving $5500 to $10,900 is a pretty substantial amount of money for any family. Barry loved the heck out of that.

But he was still a little bit concerned. He said, “I like those plans, and I’m glad that there is an option that looks like it could save us a ton of money. But what am I giving up if I leave this grandfathered plan?” He needed to know what the advantages and disadvantage of a grandfathered plan are.

Advantages Of Grandfathered Health Plans

The advantage is that it’s outside of the Affordable Care Act. It’s not regulated, so it doesn’t have to have all the essential health benefits, and it doesn’t have to add all the extra benefits required by the Affordable Care Act. So hopefully, it’s going to have a lower cost. But that’s the only advantage of a grandfathered plan.

Disadvantages Of Grandfathered Health Plans

There are a number of disadvantages to grandfathered plans. First of all, they don’t free preventive care. For a family that has people over 50, that can actually be pretty substantial when you start looking at colonoscopies once every few years or so.

Secondly, in all health insurance plans, when it initially starts and gets to its largest size, there’s a pool of people that are inside of that plan. The premiums that the pool of people pay, covers all of the medical expenses for everyone in the plan. But over the years, as people leave that plan and move to lower cost plans or plans that better fit what they currently need, the number of people in the plan shrinks. This the typical lifecycle of a health insurance plan. At some point, the people that are left in the plan are either people that just never bothered to leave, or people that have health conditions that prevent them from being able to leave the plan. At that point in time, the rates for the plan start to climb much faster than the rates in other plans.

The last nail in the coffin for grandfathered plans is that because it is outside of the Affordable Care Act, come 2014 when the rates go up yet again, people on the grandfathered plans are not going to be able to qualify for subsidies. So they’re going to get no financial assistance at all, they’re going to have to pay for all their preventive care, and the rates on their grandfathered plan will increase again, so it probably isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense to stay in the old plan.

At that point in time, Barry was pretty much ready to change plans. He understood why his plan was going up so much; he liked the fact that there was a solution for him; and he actually started to get kind of frustrated. He said, “My agent and the Anthem Blue Cross representative both told me I should ride this out. Why did they do that? That doesn’t make any sense.” Not wanting to say something bad about somebody else, I told him that if he had asked the same question a year ago, I would’ve said to let it ride. Just stay in there and wait for more information, because nobody knew what the Affordable Care Act plans were going to be, and nobody knew what the rates were going to look like on the new plans.

However, a lot has changed since January of last year. During the summer and fall, the Affordable Care Act “metal” plans were described. Not the specific benefits, but what they’re going to look like in terms of benefit levels. The insurance companies, have given indications about what the pricing is going to look like for these new Affordable Care Act plans. What they’re saying is that the average cost is probably going to be anywhere from $300 to $500 per person each month. So for a family like Barry’s, it’s anywhere from $1200 to $2000 per month. The cost of the Affordable Care Act plans and his current grandfathered plan are pretty much even right now, and his plan is going to go up even more next year.

Barry decided there’s really no benefit to staying in his grandfathered plan, because he’s not going to get any subsidy help, and he’s not going to get free preventive care in the grandfathered plan.

The end of the story is that Barry’s family was accepted, and they were going to take a dream vacation this year, using some of that $11,000 they’re no longer paying to a health insurance company.

As you can see from this case study, it’s really important that you stay on top of what’s happening with the Affordable Care Act, because things are going to start moving very quickly this year. States and the feds are beginning to quickly build the exchanges, and the insurance companies are creating the new metal plans to go inside and outside the exchanges. Knowing what steps you should take to position yourself and your family to be able to make a smooth transition to the new Affordable Care Act plans is important.

If you have a grandfathered health plan there are some exemptions that you have to consider, along with determining where your grandfathered plan is in its lifecycle, to determine if it makes sense to stay with the plan you currently have, or if making a change is a better option. There’s no sense going down with the ship if you don’t have to.

Life Improvement: When Is It Time Not To Plan?

Many of us have all heard the age-old saying that failing to plan is planning to fail. And many of us know the value and power that is found in setting goals, especially written ones. Every business guru, diet guru, sports guru… any guru… take your pick from the plenty there are… all of them stress one thing: have goals, will succeed. So we know this works. At the same time, we all hear of the importance and immense power of letting go, detachment. So we also know that this works. But it all sounds contradictory at first, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t. The question then is, when is it time to plan, and when is it time to let go (not plan)? Put in another way, when does planning help you, and when does it harm you? When do things “go bad” not in spite of your plans, but because of them? That is the question, the answer to which will allow you to drop off the stress and worry baggage, stop unwittingly messing yourself up with plans made at the wrong place and time, and generally empower and free you a great deal.

Well, to begin with, it is a good time to define a plan so that we know what we are talking about. A plan is a vision; a template which when followed guarantees a certain outcome. It is a collection of cause-and-effect clusters that all work together to produce one final desired outcome. The essence inspires a vision that defines the becoming of a form, through process, that will hold the expression and experience of the essence that inspired it. That is a plan. Obviously, a plan with missing or incorrect inputs will not lead to the correct outcome,because it is not based on truth, on the Universe as it were, on the Laws It Works By. So you can imagine that an incomplete plan will work, but it won’t – it can only hope to approximate. Incomplete plans don’t work fully, no matter how one deludes themselves prior to the frustration of seeing the plan dashed against the rocks. Moving on, a plan made at the level of your ego is a personal plan. You make it because you have certain hopes and fears and you wish to avoid what you fear and make what you hope for happen. Without fear, you would rarely plan personally. Most plans are defensive; defensive against some imagined attack. A feature of a personal plan is that they have a future imagined “good end” to aim for and a “bad end” to avoid. Therefore, a personal plan is based on judgment (against yourself and others) and abstract assumed scenarios as part of its inputs. Its driving force is partially based on fear, as all things from the ego level are.

Here is a key point: personal plans are made from a vantage point that has no vision of all factors involved in all dimensions of space and time, and that is why the ego assumes things in an attempt to fill in the places it has no idea about. At this level of consciousness, you can only see what is right Here Now, and for most humans that is a tiny slice of eternity. Of all the millions of cause-and-effect components required to cooperate all across the universe for your desire to be fulfilled, your egoic self is only aware of a tiny percentage of them. That is why its plans are never complete. But then there is a part of You that is nonphysical and aware of all, all, the components and how they would exactly fit into the space-time continuum to guarantee that your desire is fulfilled. That part of You is Everywhere, that is why It Knows.

Now, I would like you to stop for a moment and remember the last time you had a flash of insight, an ah-ha that made you smile with delight at how smart you are. We have all had those moments where, literally out of the blue, we get it! You could be taking a piss while daydreaming about the ocean, when this brilliant solution for your business appears in a flash in your mind, and you get so excited! It’s a funny thing how they happen. Have you ever wondered why they come to you as finished plans? Seriously, remember the last time you had one. You did not construct it, put it together, or formulate it. You know, you did not put it together, block by block, until it became the genius idea that it was. You just found it all done for you, there, flashing in your mind. And you ran out and told your friends what you just thought of, never once stopping to consider just how you thought of it. Really, who put it together? Think about that. You found it complete, perfect for your needs. Who put it together with such wakeful intelligence that is aware of all that is involved so much so as to produce such a suitable idea? What about musicians? Many chart-topping artists report that they simply find the music in them; they hear it then write it. They don’t put it together; they more like report it. The same goes for many inventors, many artists, and so on.

By the time you get one of those flashes of insights, by the time it enters your mind, it is already a copy. The original is out there somewhere, where it was put together by One who has full vision and was capable of bringing to you what you had not managed to package together yourself. But remember, there is only One Mind, separation is a mental illusion, just like time is a mental illusion (time is thought “stretched” out into “space” to demonstrate and experience it; you recognize sections of eternity “at a time” to experience process, space demonstrated). You “heard” the thought, the inspiration, because you were listening, at that point empty in relation to the matter. If you remain empty, you could continue, day by day, to listen to the rest of the plan, which includes how to execute the vision, what inputs to use, when to make what move, and so on. The place where the original plan came from is your own Higher Mind, that part of your individuation that is still in perfect recognition of its unity with All That Is, the part of you that sees all and knows all, the part of you that is not in the experience called human, the divine essence. Now here is the greatest news: no divine plans are incomplete. None! So none can possibly fail when executed as planned. The Planner Sees All, Directs All. The only thing that can interfere (which means it introduces inefficiency to your personal experience) with a divine plan is a personal plan. This is not because a personal plan is more powerful; it is because the right to free will is upheld with the highest respect. You have heard many times that you have many aspects of you, some of which you are conscious of and others of which you are not. When they are not aligned, you experience conflict and confusion. So now we know the difference between a personal and a divine plan. A divine plan is not some plan made by some foreign god to impose on you; it is Your Own answer to your questions, from a level that sees all (Spirit) to one whose experience is one slice of the whole at a time (human). But it is all you. That is why those flashes of genius that you get are so complete, yet they are specific to the very problem or desire you had.

Now let us go back to this goal-making business. Personal plans have a function, but only when used to free the individual. It is the only time they can help you. And this is why. Imagine a person who feels like a victim (in anything, any area of life). They have given up hope. They feel powerless, incapable of making anything happen. Now, if something happens that triggers their courage or anger enough to make them decide to do what it takes to make things work for them, they begin to become self-reliant. They drop the victim mentality. They make a plan; a way in which they feel will get them out of their desperation. Now, every time a human has a desire, the non-physical part of that human starts inspiring this human with ideas from a divine plan, ideas which are guaranteed to work. However, if you have so much personal thoughts and emotions distracting you, you cannot hear these inspirations. You must still yourself. Like a calm pond, one which will instantly be aware of any rock thrown in. If you are like the Niagara Falls inside, you will not notice the rocks being thrown in.

Anyway, back to our example. This person, far from calm, will only hear parts of the plan being given them. They will, out of fear and a belief that they can fail, that there is some danger somewhere, they make a personal plan. They use inputs from inspiration, whatever they can hear and are not afraid to follow, and they also make up scenarios, imaginings based on their fears, and use these in the planning process. At the end of it all, what they invariably find is that the plan works in certain portions. They are elated! Even if not everything worked as planned, at least something worked! And this way, they rise out of desperation and can now start to direct their life. The point here is that from the place they were, the helplessness they believed to be in, any plan was a good thing. Any plan! And goals are great, because they give a point of reference, something to aim for. As you can see, even the worst personal plan, one with 10% success, is still a great thing for one who though they had zero power. It is something to celebrate and honor.

But then there comes a point where self-confidence and self- reliance is believed in enough to no longer be doubted. At this point, making personal plans becomes a great hindrance. Once you have proof that your life can be deliberately lived instead of under the idea that you are a victim of forces beyond your control, it is time to start using complete plans. That means that the ego’s personal plans are no longer useful. They were a crutch to remind you how to walk, with their goals and all, but now that you can walk on your own, you need a new tool to show you how to run and fly. That is a complete plan, a divine plan made by the higher aspect of Who You Are. You are much larger than you imagine yourself to be. Let us examine how this works.

Under the rule of personal plans, a person would ‘hear’ the insight, the flash of genius, stop everything they are doing, and excitedly run to the office to start planning how to make this plan work! They assume it is ‘my idea’ and ‘I must make it work against threat of failure’. They make plans which rely largely on assumptions (an assumption is anything that is not What Is) because they cannot see the Whole Picture. So by mere fact, their personal plans will have elements in them that interfere with the smooth progress of the original insight, the divine plan. This is where you start to fail because of your plans, not in spite of them. To begin with, you do not know what the vision you saw in your mind is for, its complete use to the entire universe. The universe is not personal; it works as a Whole. But the Original Source of the idea does. You also do not know what the millions of cause-and-event components required are; you can only guess a few of them. And you do not know at what points in the space-time continuum they require to be inserted for everything to work perfectly; but the Maker of the Original Plan does. Now watch how a personal plan messes you up at this stage. Your plan is based on dates and deadlines that you pull out of the blue. It is full of standards that you have determined indicate whether you have succeeded or failed. Let us say you miss a deadline, and something happens that is opposite of what you had hoped and expected. What happens to your ego then? Does it not rush to judgment, calling you a failure, asserting the belief that things can go wrong and that you need even more control, and increasing the level of fear and anxiety? So next time when faced with a similar situation, you put even more focus on what you fear and then it happens again! Simply because you focused on it and thus created it. It becomes a viscous cycle. And you keep reaching for more control. And you experience more stress instead of less. And fear increases. You never once to consider that there is nothing wrong with you or the universe, nothing unsafe. You never stop to consider that it is your personal plan that was grossly mistaken due to relying on a fear-created ego.

Now let us see why the most successful people all preach the power of letting go. Let us look at how one would proceed in the above example, but by listening.

A person would hear the insight, and automatically know or remind himself or herself that all divine plans are complete, all the way to the end. They know that the vision is complete in the Mind of the One, and it cannot ever fail. So it is simple. In the same way, they listened to and heard the great idea that made them all excited, they would remember that their copy is just a copy. The original is still out there, along with everything needed to make it manifest. So they would listen and wait. They would know that at the right time and place, they would receive the next piece of the puzzle. They would rest, not stressing about making plans to ‘make sure’ it happens. And it makes sense. If they did not compose the first idea, why can’t they trust that Whatever composed it will also give forth, at the right time, everything else needed to make it work?

Imagine the universe is a big circle and you are a little circle within that big circle. Now a personal planner assumes that the big circle is at war with him or her, the little circle. In their fear over this imagined state of things, they make up a phantom world in their mind, with assumptions about the future and how the rest of the universe will act and react, and they plan against this. It is so draining. One who does not make personal plans but listens to their higher aspect, on the other hand, sees the big circle as part of them, part of the whole, with only an intention to love them and make sure all is OK, because all is One. They have chosen to believe in peace and love rather than separation and scarcity. This is a choice, and it is the choice that allows them to let go. They realize that they are best served focusing on the little circle, their Here Now, which is what they have full knowing of. And they awaken within that circle that is them, here, now. They chose to put all their attention here, now, and because they do this, they are aware of their emotions and thoughts. Presence gives them the ability to control their here, now. So they choose, here now, always, to make their here now happy and well. Here, Now, they follow whatever cues come up, always deliberately choosing their thoughts and emotions, here now, and not throwing their mind into some imagined past or future. In other words, they make every here now moment golden, and because all life is a successive moments of infinite Here Now, their lives automatically work perfectly! You have seen them or heard of them. That is how they do it. Clarity, simplicity, power, peace, calm… all rewards of being present and following complete plans, letting go of personal plans once you recognize that their use as a crutch is complete. They become purely efficient, effortless.

Such people walk this earth without the baggage of plans and worries, and things work better for them! They recognize that the universe is not personal, yet it is only, only, loving and all else is our self-created illusions. Just because we do not understand something does not make that thing wrong. There are more things relating to your life than you are consciously aware of at this level of your existence. Remember that your life always creates the next moment of your experience out of your intentions. Whatever you give attention to grows. You are therefore held hostage by your own personal plans. So what is the point of your mind at this level, in relation to planning? Well, it is to execute that plans it receives, knowing with certainty that they cannot fail. It is to fashion all of your existence here into an appropriate vessel to execute these plans. The plans are already perfect. All they need is a suitable vessel to manifest through. You have to become a certain person for certain things to flow through you. It is this that you can use your lower mind for, by following cues from the higher mind. The attainment of success is not something that one comes by through chasing after success – it is something one attracts by the person they become. You form a vibration match with what you desire. It is an inner journey of transformation. You can call it education, training, skills, self-help, discipline… it is all an inner transformational journey resulting in a frequency match. It is guaranteed. That is all you have to do. The rest is done for you (admit it; you don’t know how it is done, how all those things are coordinated universally to make this amazing miracle called life work with predictability!)

You now have a progression of the use of various types of plans. In the beginning, personal plans can be used to establish self-reliance in a being that has lost hope. However, there comes a time when that crutch, the personal plan, because the very problem itself, the cause of failure instead of being the cause of success. That’s when its time to let go of the crutch. It is time to dare give trust a chance, to dare believe that the universe is loving (not dangerous, as you have been indoctrinated to assume) and see what happens! Give it a go! Find out for yourself. Let go, truly, a few times and listen to the plans as they come and see what happens! Gather your own evidence instead of holding on to personal plans because you are afraid something could “go wrong”. You don’t have to carry that huge unnecessary load. Drop it. It is very liberating! Try it a few times and see how you like it.