PlaneTalk masthead, cleaned, 12-10
March 2014
Count Down
      Have you been dreading signing up for health insurance? If so, we have good news. To find out which HMO and PPO plans are available to you and how much they will cost, you only need to know 4 easy facts: the number of people you will enroll, their ages, your household income, and your zip code.
     March 31 marks the deadline for penalty-free enrollment in a qualified health insurance plan. If you lack insurance coverage for more than three months during 2014 and do not qualify for an exemption, you will owe a penalty with your 2014 income tax bill. If you miss the deadline, you will still be able to enroll; penalties will be prorated for people who have coverage for one to nine CoveredCA logo months.
     If you want to enroll, visit Covered California's website, Note that the URL is a .com, not a .org or .gov. Look for the logo at right to be sure you are on the official website.
     To learn which plans are available, how much they cost, and whether you or your family will qualify for a subsidy, use the "Shop and Compare" tool (see link at lower right of the web page for individuals and families). Paper applications, available on the same page, can be printed and mailed in. To apply electronically, visit Covered California's home page and click on "Apply Now."
     If your Internet service is slow, you might benefit from researching your enrollment options in the PlaneTree Health Information Center. You do not need a library card to use our fast Internet connection and be helped by our staff and volunteers. You'll find the PlaneTree Center on the second floor of the Cupertino Library, behind the elevator. Check our hours of service here.
     You may also want to attend one of the health insurance presentations listed at right in our Events column. For more difficult questions and problems, you can obtain help from Covered California. If you call, the representatives who (eventually) answer your call are helpful and informed
PlaneTree Health Lectures
       All talks are free to the public and will be presented in the Cupertino Community Hall, next door to the Cupertino Library.
PlaneTree Logo without name.
In English
    Diabetes 101
    Taimur Habib, M.D.
    7 p.m., Monday, March 10

In Mandarin
     Related reading materials in Traditional Chinese will be provided at these talks. Our co-sponsor is the S. Ku Foundation, which focuses on health promotion and disease prevention. Please share this flyer with friends and family.
    Recognizing and Coping with Depression
    Katherine Fan, M.D.
    2 p.m., Sunday, March 23
    Post-Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    Jill Kuendig, M.F.T.
    2 p.m., Sunday, May 4
Giving Life
     You could save the life of someone with a blood cancer such as leukemia by donating peripheral blood stem cells or bone marrow. Everyone between 18 and 60 years of age is encouraged to register.
    Learn about the donation process and register as a potential donor at Be The Match. Persons 18 to 44 years of age can speed along the donation process by attending a local registration drive. (Scroll up after clicking "Find a Drive.") Or participate in the Walk+Run fundraiser and registration drive on Saturday, April 5.
    Organ donation after death is encouraged by many religious groups, is not a barrier to having an open casket, and costs nothing for the donor and his or her family. Donors may be old or young, and can choose which organs to donate.
    By donating, you could save the lives of up to eight people. If you are uncertain and want to learn more, this brochure covers the basics; more information is available here.
    To register as a future donor, visit Donate Life California.
News You Can Use
      Testosterone supplementation has become popular and is often prescribed even when there is no formal diagnosis of low testosterone. Some medical experts have safety concerns.
Hay Fever
     Now that rain has come, pollen will soon be blowing in the wind. If you or your child has seasonal allergies, it is time to prepare your defenses. Avoiding pollen and controlling symptoms from the beginning may result in greater comfort and lower drug use than waiting until hay fever is raging. has comprehensive information to help you limit allergen exposure, choose the most effective over-the-counter and prescription medications, and learn to safely rinse allergens from nasal passages (e.g., use a neti pot).
     For hay fever complicated by asthma, MedlinePlus's resources on asthma will be helpful for adults and parents of children.
     News reports about mammography for breast cancer screening have left many women confused. Otis Brawley, M.D., an oncologist and the American Cancer Society's chief medical officer, The Venus de Milo statueis an expert in this arena. He notes that these challenges have led reputable organizations to differ in their screening guidelines for women at average risk. 
     If you are wondering whether you should have a mammogram, you may find it helpful to first watch this video interview with Dr. Brawley and then read his article before talking with your doctor.


Have a Good Rest
Pillows at head of bed     If your slumber is disturbed by heartburn, sleep apnea, or neck, back or other joint pain, changing your sleep position may help you sleep more soundly. Here are additional tips for pregnant women and people with restless leg syndrome.
Attention, Baby Boomers
     About 1% of Americans are infected with the hepatitis C virus. Most do not know they have this disease, which slowly and silently causes major liver damage. People Vial of bloodwho test positive for hepatitis C can usually be treated successfully.
     If you were born between 1945 and 1965, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you get tested. Although hepatitis C is most commonly found in Baby Boomers, people with other risk factors should also be tested. The test is typically covered by insurance.
In This Issue
PlaneTree Health Lectures
Giving Life
News You Can Use
"Thank You!"
    The talented, dedicated, and hard-working volunteers who host the Showcase of Miniatures have made it a magnet for some of the best miniaturists in the world. Tellingly, last year's show was featured in a British, a Spanish, and three American magazines.
    As the caliber of artistry and craftsmanship has risen, attendance has too. Admission ticket sales to last year's show raised $18,000 for PlaneTree. We are so fortunate to have this support.
    This year's Showcase promises to be phenomenal too, with 18 international and 92 American dealers. Mark your calendars for the weekend of October 11 and 12 and plan to join us at the 39th annual Showcase of Miniatures!
Visit us on Facebook
for more healthy news and fun!
Like us on Facebook
No Facebook account?
No problem! Anyone can visit.


Please share!



Lily pad in bloom
    All events are open to the public; pre-registration may be required. There is a fee for events marked with an *asterisk.
Harmonica therapy for people with pulmonary disease (COPD or emphysema)
Mountain View - 2nd & 4th Friday of every month
Health insurance
Multiple locations & dates
Cupertino - Mon., Mar. 3
Mountain View - Wed., Mar. 5
Advance care planning
San Jose - Fri., Mar. 7
Financial planning for families with dependents with special needs
San Jose - multiple dates
Adjusting to a new baby sibling*
Mountain View - Sun., Mar. 9 or Sun., Apr. 6
Exercise class for fall prevention*
(description; registration)
San Jose - Course begins Mon., Mar. 10
Nutritional supplements
Palo Alto - Tues., Mar. 11
Fall prevention
San Jose - Tues., Mar. 11
Learning disabilities & ADHD*
San Jose - Tues., Mar. 11
Toilet training
Mountain View - Wed., Mar. 12
Hearing aids
San Jose - Wed., Mar. 12
Healthy South Asian meals
Fremont - Wed., Mar. 12
Mental health resources for immigrants & underserved groups
San Jose - Wed., Mar 12 & 26
Special education
San Jose - Thurs., Mar. 13
Mountain View - Fri., Mar. 14
Chinese medicine & acupuncture during cancer treatment (scroll to last page)
Mountain View - Sat., Mar. 15
Providing healthier food choices in work environments
San Jose - Tues., Mar. 18
Healthy eating
Milpitas - Wed., Mar. 19
"Look Good, Feel Better" workshops for women with cancer
Sunnyvale - Wed., Mar. 19 or Mon., Mar. 31
Self-care for parents of kids with special needs
San Jose - Tue., Mar. 25
Heart-healthy nutrition
Mountain View - Wed., Mar. 26
Mountain View - Fri., Mar. 28
Overuse injuries in youth sports
Mountain View - Wed., Apr. 2
Seasonal allergies
Mountain View - Tues., Apr. 8
Exercise class for arthritis
San Jose - Course begins Mon., Apr. 7
Save the Date!
Caregivers Count Conference
Campbell - Sat., May 3
Support PlaneTree!
Your generosity will support this newsletter, plus PlaneTree's website and other health information services.
Please note: You do not need a PayPal account.
Thank you!