Who Gets the Call? Are Your Emergency Contacts Up To Date?

Nobody wants to think about a medical emergency happening to them. But everyone needs to recognize the importance of being prepared.

No matter your age or how healthy you are, emergency contacts are one of the most important ways to be ready in case of a medical emergency. After all, unforeseen events like car accidents, severe weather events, or natural disasters can happen to anyone, anytime. An emergency contact is more than a formality when filling out enrollment forms or completing paperwork at a doctor’s office. Immediate health issues might necessitate quick communication with family or specific healthcare professionals in times of need.

How to Choose Your Emergency Contact:

Having reliable emergency contacts can act as a safety net. Your emergency contact list should be people who:

  • Are close to you, you trust, and know your needs and wants.
  • Can talk knowledgeably to medical professionals about your medical history, current medications allergies, and chronic conditions.
  • Can make critical, life-saving medical decisions.
  • Is willing and mentally fit to take on the responsibility.
  • Also has the legal right to act on your behalf.
  • Can provide emotional support and comfort in times of distress.

How to Ensure a Reliable Emergency Contact

  • Regularly Update Information: Contacts might change over time. Whether it is a change in phone number or someone else becoming the primary point of contact, be sure to keep the information up to date.
  • Multiple Contacts: Having more than one emergency contact is always a good idea. This increases the chances of reaching someone quickly during urgent situations.
  • Clarify Roles: Clearly outline what each emergency contact is responsible for. For instance, one might be the primary contact for medical decisions, while another could be for logistical or day-to-day concerns.

The importance of emergency contacts cannot be overstated. These contacts serve as a bridge, ensuring you are always connected to loved ones and receive the care and support you need, no matter the situation. By maintaining updated and reliable emergency contacts, you can ensure the well-being and peace of mind. Likewise, being prepared for the cost of emergency medical transportation also can’t be overstated. A ground ambulance or air transport could cost thousands of dollars. Medicare may not cover this. Medical Air Services Association (MASA) provides the MASA Emergency Shield Plan for lifesaving emergency transportation services. Services are paid in full, with no deductibles, co-pays, or dollar limits. Whether you’re home or traveling, MASA Emergency Shield covers your ambulance or airlift, regardless of your age or medical condition. Plus, you can get your plan through a trusted source: NCRGEA and AMBA. Get your plan now at www.AMBAmedtransport.com/NCRGEA or call 800-956-1228.

The Easiest (and Tastiest) Recipe Ever for Healthy Pancakes

We all love pancakes, right? They’re filling, a great winter comfort food, and – oh, yes! – absolutely deeeelicious! But this carb-heavy favorite don’t help us stick with our New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Or can they?

This recipe is from a reader in Texas. She describes these pancakes as a good source of protein, fiber, and – believe it or not – flavor. She writes, “I know ingredients like rolled oats and cottage cheese don’t sound like the ideal recipe for pancakes but give them a shot. They look like regular pancakes, and they sure do taste them too! It’s simply phenomenal you’re also cutting calories with these!”


  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup rolled oats (dry)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Put all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet and spray with non-stick cooking spray or use a non-stick pan. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake. Flip when they begin bubbling.
  3. Cook until golden brown.
  4. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Tip: You can serve these up however you usually like your pancakes! with some powdered sugar and fresh berries.

Getting on Track to Meet Your Financial Goals

Get the Steps with Our Year-End Checklist

As you get ready to welcome 2024, it’s important to make sure you’re financially prepared. Do you have the insights and protections you need to maintain peace of mind in the new year? Here are the essential financial tips to take now.

7 Steps to Meet Your Financial Goals

Review Your Financial Plan

Whether you and your significant other have plans to travel more in 2024 or have had a medical setback and need to accommodate for the extra expenses, if there are any changes in your goals or situation, review how those expenses will impact your financial goals. Carefully plan how to make the necessary adjustments to avoid financial issues down the road.

Check-In on Your Emergency Fund

If you dipped into your emergency savings in 2023, try rebuilding it, the sooner the better. The conventional wisdom for many household financial goals is to maintain 3 to 6 months of expenses in a liquid account to help cover unexpected expenses.

Check Your Credit Report

Each of the major credit bureaus allows consumers to access one free report each year. Take the opportunity to double-check your credit score and identify any unexpected errors.

Take Steps to Lower Your Tax Liability

Do you have the opportunity to lower your tax bill by taking advantage of year-end tax loss harvesting? Not only can selling off losing investments potentially help lower your 2023 taxes, it also lets you use that money to rebalance your investment portfolio to ensure it’s up-to-date and in line with your financial goals and risk tolerances.

Year-End Charitable Donations

Another great way to lower your taxable income and increase your financial goals is through charitable donations. Research if a donor-advised fund (DAF) will allow you to receive an immediate charitable tax deduction in 2023 by filing an itemized return while having the flexibility to make donations from the DAF to your favorite charities later.

Review Estate Planning Documents and Beneficiary Designations

Regardless of your age, if you haven’t implemented estate planning documents, it’s important to do so ASAP. If you haven’t reviewed your documents in a while, be sure to do so to ensure they remain with your current wishes.

Likewise, beneficiary designations can supersede your will and trust directives. Be sure to locate and identify the designations of your assigned beneficiaries and update them if necessary.

Review Your Existing Insurance Coverage and Risk Management Needs

2024 is a new year, and with it you may also have new needs for your insurance coverage. If there have been any changes in your life or health that necessitate updating your current benefits. Additionally, maybe there are some policies you’d like to add for the additional peace of mind they can provide you and your loved ones.

As NCRGEA’s trusted benefits partner, AMBA provides knowledgeable Customer Service Associates and insightful Field Agents who are here to help you review options and determine the right coverage for you – whether it’s dental insurance, vision plans, or other policies. They’re just a phone call or an online form away. It’s nice to know that anytime you have questions about your insurance benefits, someone is ready to assist.

Request a FREE Benefits Review with an AMBA field agent at amba-review.com/NCRGEA or call 800-956-1228 Mon.-Fri 8am-5pm EST.

Living Power Poised to Be Bigger and Better

LivingPower November/December 2023

Army General James Van Fleet once said, “I’m always willing to accept change, as long as it isn’t change for the sake of change. If that change will result in a better way of doing things, then I’m all for it.” NCRGEA feels confident he would have agreed with the changes coming to Living Power.

Starting in January, Living Power has a completely new look and feel with a different publishing schedule — in its new quarterly magazine format. While continuing to keep members informed on matters that are important to them, Living Power will have more in-depth articles, more photographs, and a more user-friendly layout.

“The new magazine will provide us with a great format for telling the story of the positive impact that those who have worked in local and state government continue to have on North Carolina and our economy,” said Tim O’Connell, NCRGEA Executive Director. “It will allow us to better inform our members, recent retirees, and lawmakers on the ins and outs of pensions and healthcare plans.”

He added, “In addition, the magazine will allow us to present information in a more visually appealing format and provide content that complements our digital communications.”

In her role as Community Liaison at NCRGEA, Deryl Davis-Fulmer focuses on the many ways NCRGEA members are active in their local communities and in state-wide organizations. Regarding the new magazine, she is excited about the opportunity it provides to “shine a light on their accomplishments and maybe inspire others to get involved with their communities.”

Current feature columns along with new content enabled by the expanded format include:

  • NCRGEA Executive Director and Board of Directors President columns
  • State Treasurer’s column
  • Contributions from various Council of State members
  • NCRGEA member profiles
  • District Community Connections column
  • Calendar of upcoming NCRGEA events
  • Puzzles and games that will provide opportunities to engage and win prizes

To complement the new quarterly schedule of the magazine, other communications channels including social media, email, and the NCRGEA website, will be used to provide late-breaking news and timely information to members. The magazine will be available in both print and digital formats, so look for the print version to arrive in the mail and sign up for the digital version if you have not already done so. The digital magazine can be accessed via email or on our website.

Look for these exciting changes to Living Power coming in January and be sure to read to stay informed about all the ways that NCRGEA is advocating for and informing you. Get ready for change — not for the sake of change, but for a better way of doing things!

District Community Connections

LivingPower September/October 2023

By Deryl Davis Fulmer

Members attending the September NCRGEA Fall Conference in Greenville

Dear Fellow Retirees,
Can you believe it? Fall is already here! The year has flown by; before we know it, it will be Christmas.
Please make sure you send us your holiday recipes, desserts, or drinks that you have enjoyed over the
years and want to share. We will publish our first NCRGEA Digital Holiday Recipe Book on November
3rd, just in time to enjoy it during the holidays. Be a part of this exciting and new activity and show off your culinary skills! Here’s the link: www.ncrgea.com/submit-a-recipe.

In June, we launched our first Virtual Lunch and Learn webinars, developed to share important topics that will help you to navigate retirement, understand aging concerns, and have information at your fingertips to improve your quality of life. It was held via Zoom on Wednesday, June 28th, from 12:30-
1:30 pm. It was entitled: Aging Un-Lonely: Staying Connected for your Health. Over 330 members
registered, and over 90 attended. Dr. Megan Smith, UNC-Charlotte; Dr. Cheryl Greenberg, AARP/The Age Coach; and Ms. Rebecca Freeman, NC Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS/DHHS) gave the audience useful tools to help with isolation and loneliness. They encouraged participants to reach out to them if they had questions and/or needed resources. It was a great event and start to our Lunch
and Learn series.

On July 18th, AMBA representative, Jon Green, talked about the benefits of AMBA and the Passport Discount that is part of the NCRGEA membership packet. Members really enjoyed learning about these benefits and immediately began to access them. On August 16th, our third Lunch and Learn was about Aetna’s upcoming role as the third-party administrator for the state’s Health Care Plan. More than 370 members signed up for this informative session, and they asked a lot of questions. Our members are requesting more of these educational presentations, so the Lunch and Learns are currently scheduled as a monthly event on Wednesdays from 12:30 – 1:30 pm. Please watch for the logo and be sure to register to attend. NCRGEA sends information and registration instructions to your email, so it is important that we have your email address. We encourage you to invite friends (members and non-members) to join these events. If you need to provide or update your email address, please send that information to info@ ncrgea.com or call our office at 919-834-4652.

In early July, I had the opportunity to attend the CenterWell Primary Care service launch for Medicare patients who live in Durham and surrounding areas. CenterWell is the largest of such services in the US and has locations in other parts of NC as well. Tiffany Roberts, the new market president, stated, “We are truly delighted to bring CenterWell Senior Primary Care to the Raleigh/ Durham community. Seniors live at the heart of CenterWell’s mission, to deliver personalized care that isn’t rushed, with a dedicated care team that is accessible and focuses on the unique physical, emotional, and social wellness needs of seniors.” For more information about CenterWell Senior Primary Care or to schedule a tour, visit seniorfocusednc.com.

We’ve heard from many of you, and you are interested in securing part-time employment. The Governor’s “Hometown Strong Initiative: Empowering Rural North Carolina” (featured in the July/August edition) may be what you are seeking. Please visit their website: hometownstrong.nc.gov, for more information. Be sure to check it out.
If you are interested in volunteering, please remember the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program and Meals on Wheels programs in your area. These organizations are always in need of volunteers across the state!
If you are in Wake County, please consider volunteering for the Center for Volunteer Caregiving. Your help is needed!

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at deryl@ncrgea.com. Please let me know if you want to join your district’s Community Advisory Board (CAB). And finally, if you are a new retiree, please consider joining NCRGEA and become active with us!
Happy Fall, everyone!