Consumer Information


Home Energy Assistance Program is back for 2017-18
HEAP is a federally funded program that assists low-income New Yorkers with the cost of heating their homes. HEAP also offers an emergency benefit for households in a heat or heat-related energy emergency. Nearly 1.5 Million Households Received Assistance Last Winter
Households that need help paying their heating bills are able to apply for assistance from the Home Energy Assistance Program. Those looking to lower their energy bills (or at least prevent them from rising) may benefit from the regular maintenance of their heaters and furnaces in order to keep them working efficiently and reduce the need for a full replacement – you can find information on such services here. The program provides financial assistance to help low-income and elderly New Yorkers keep their homes warm in the winter months and cool in the summer months, businesses aren’t in need of this Assistance Program due to being able to possibly achieve decreased utility bills thanks to being able to switch to Business Gas packages for example.
heapgrid“The Home Energy Assistance Program is vital to helping struggling households afford the costs of heating their homes during the cold New York winters,” Governor Cuomo said. “It provides some much-needed relief, especially for low-income working families, as well as senior citizens on a fixed income. I encourage anyone in need of this assistance to apply before the coldest weather sets in.” With this being said, it is not only residents in New York that can find ways to lower their energy bills. It could be as simple as checking out these Pulse Power plans, for example, in the hopes of finding lower energy rates. This could help households save money too!

The Home Energy Assistance Program is funded by the federal government and is overseen by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Eligible households can receive a one-time benefit depending upon income, household size and heating source. For the 2017-18 season, a household of four can earn up to $53,484, or $4,457 a month, and still qualify for assistance.

Regular Benefit
Regular benefit component assists households that pay a high proportion of household income for energy.

Emergency Benefit
The Emergency benefit component assists qualifying low-income New Yorkers who are facing a heat or heat related energy emergency and do not have resources above the established limits. If you have an emergency, contact your local department of social services office.

Heating Equipment Repair or Replacement
The Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement benefit component help eligible low-income homeowners repair or replace primary heating equipment necessary to keep the home’s primary heating source functional. Alternatively, you can use Buric Heating and Air Conditioning for your furnace repair if you are not able to get this primary assistance for your home.

Cooling Assistance
The Cooling Assistance component provides for cooling assistance services to HEAP eligible households that include an individual with a documented medical condition that is exacerbated by heat. Because the amount of funding is very limited, cooling assistance services will be provided on a first come, first served basis.

Income Guidelines
HEAP Gross Monthly Income Guidelines

Questions regarding the HEAP program should be directed to your local department of social services office or the OTDA Hotline at 1-800-342-3009.

Medical billing fraud usually begins with a letter. Today I brought the mail in as usual, but unexpectedly Kurt opened up what was soon discovered to be a bill from a medical provider that we used. Kurt as usual handed the bill over to me and said “what is this, you take care of this.” He does not keep track of these things and as in most families I (the wife) am the record keeper and bill payer. I reviewed the bill and was SURPRISED to see that I was being charged for the entire procedure, even though I was informed that our Health Insurance company would be responsible for the claim. I immediately called the service provider to inquire why I was receiving this bill and I was told by the medical provider that our health insurance company indicated that we had not met our deductible. I told the medical provider that we do not have a deductible and that prior to the procedure being done we were informed by the medical provider that they accepted our insurance and a copay was requested and paid. The medical provider indicated that they were an In-network provider, thus the acceptance of the co-payment.
Kurt and I were outraged by getting a SURPRISE bill because we were told that this was an in-network procedure. Outrage then turned to action. I am fortunate and so are you, my readers, because one of Kurt’s areas of expertise is executive level preparation and training to detect fraudulent medical billing practices. Kurt is trained to implement complaints, appeals and grievance procedures with medical insurance companies, including HMO’s ,MCO’s and other managed long term care plans (MLTC). Luckily there are companies that can help support this for future medical billing issues as well, over at Coronis Health there is software that is protected using industry lead technology for medical centers, etc.shutterstock_306283364
These are 10 steps that have been taken to date to resolve this issue of what we consider to be fraudulent medical billing.
1. Call the Medical Provider and dispute the bill (claim).
2. Call your health insurance provider complaint department:
• Their purpose is to try to resolve any complaints you have with both in-network and out-of-network providers. You as the consumer have a right to make a formal complaint and to request an appeal of any medical bill that you feel misrepresents any procedure that was done, including overbilling or any allegation of fraudulent billing. Kurt recommends that you formally request of the complaint/grievance representative that they document this encounter as a formal complaint/grievance.
3. Ask for the Complaint/Grievance Representative’s employee identification number. You have to be able to document the person, date and time you logged your complaint.
4. Clearly inform the complaint/grievance representative of your allegation of fraud and or problematic billing.
5. Documentation becomes more complete if you include these simple steps:
• Always try to complete documentation requirements by answering the following questions: Who, What, When, Where, How and Why, (the why is often the most difficult and most subjective). If you prepare your documentation to answer those questions you can be confident that 95% of your documentation requirements will be accurate and fulfilled.
6. Get the reference number for your complaint.
7. There are different levels of grievance complaints that you can request from Standard to Emergency Expedited levels. The health insurance carrier is required to respond in a specific time frame based upon the level of complaint that you have made. Anywhere between 45 days to as little as 24 hours of turn around time back to the consumer.
8. The Health Insurance carrier may recommend that you to follow the ‘Information for Members in New York Insurance Plans: Emergency Services and Surprise Bills’
Click on link for steps to follow: Info_ Mem_NY_InsurancePlans_EmergencyServices_SurpriseBills
9. DON’T PAY THE BILL! If you feel you have been fraudulently billed or have been surprised by a bill

Our next steps; we are going to follow the Emergency Services and Surprise Bills protocol. We may choose to contact the NYS Attorney General Office to inform them of our allegation of Medical Billing Fraud if we need to take that step. This will be contingent on whether or not this SURPRISE bill is resolved appropriately. Stay tuned!

Special thanks to Kurt H. Leggard, R.N. who helped co-write this article. Kurt is a Registered Nurse, Consultant and a specialist in Long Tem Care, Medicaid Services and Heath Care Grievances, Complaints and Appeals.

New York State Department of Health Medical Fraud Link:

Claim it! App hits the Apple Store offering Free Swag
Who doesn’t like things that are FREE.. The new Claim it! app, which launched in New York City on “Black Monday” December 1st, offering free swag to users and all they have to do is watch a 15-second video ad in exchange. Think about it, for watching a 15-second commercial you could win $5 Metro-card, Chipotle gift cards or even Beats Headphones valued @ $380. You gotta CLAIM IT! to WIN IT!Unfortunately, Hamptonites the Claimit! truck will not be in the Hamptons right now, so you will need to make a trip to the city to claim your item should you win it….I hear however Claim it! might take a road trip sometime in 2015.

According to the press release, prizes will range from Beats headphones, designer handbags, high-end cosmetics, Nike and Air Jordan footwear, Sony Playstation 4s, AMC movie theater tickets, Chipotle gift cards, MTA MetroCards, and much more.screen322x572-2

Download Claim it! on your iPhone (application download is free from the Apple App Store)
Register once with just a phone number (no name or email required)
View daily and weekly offers, select items you would like to win and submit a claim
Watch a 15-second video and you are automatically entered to win

Prizes are Redeemed:
Winners are drawn every Sunday and notified via SMS notifications
Winners will receive a unique code and have one week to claim their prize
Locate a Claim it! truck, scan your code, and redeem your prize
Anyone can use their weekly claim to automatically win and redeem a low value item (drinks, snacks, etc.) when in range of the truck’s iBeacon

Claiming an offer is easy and takes less than a minute
New offers are added every Monday and expire the following Sunday when winners are drawn
Users get to claim one of three regular offers each week
Exclusive offers can be claimed by users who check the app frequently
Thousands of winners are chosen every week via a fully automated randomized winner selection
Easy prize redemption
Users who opt-in see special offers that are tailored to their age and gender (i.e. women see more cosmetics offers)
Anyone in range of the iBeacons on the Claim it! truck can automatically win lower value items
Incredible items every week of things people really want (not samples)
Winners must be 18 years or older to redeem prizes. Only the code is necessary to redeem.
Claim it! has plans to expand to other major cities in the very near future. New Yorkers can download the Claim it! app from the Apple App Store HERE

*You must be at least 17 years old to download this app.
Sorry Android users this APP is for iPhone users only….Requires iOS 8.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

3 Tips on Buying BabyStuff and Why to Buy From Warehouse.
Thinking to buy you need not worry anymore as number of online stores offer baby clothes, toys and other baby essentials at unbelievable rates. Shopping online indeed saves lot of time and efforts, as one does not have to physically visit one store to another store and can also avoid hassles of carrying those bulky shopping bags.
From items such as nappies, cot bedding, baby carrier to baby crib, there are number of items you will require for your tiny tot. Several online stores and baby warehouse offer wide variety of baby essentials comprising of impressive designs, colours and price range.

If you are planning to buy some baby stuff, then take into consideration below mentioned tips that will help you to buy right ones:3 Tips on Buying Baby Stuff and Why to Buy From Warehouse copy

1. Check materials – It is very important to check quality of material used for making different types of baby stuff. For baby clothes, it is best to pick clothes made from cotton. New born babies have very sensitive skin and easily get rashes, so for this reason cotton made clothes are best for your tiny tot. If you’re not sure where to buy good quality baby clothes from, check out something like these sleepyhead accessories.

Before you buy baby toys, it is essential to know the composition of toys. Why? Some toys have high mercury or lead content, so you should avoid buying those toys as it can prove dangerous or hazardous to the health of your baby. As with all baby products, when buying baby toys you should read trusted reviews to see which ones are not only safest but also the best.

2. Exact size – Make sure that you know the exact measurements of clothes you are thinking to buy for your baby. You should understand one fact that buying online has drawback too i.e. one of which is that you cannot try clothes physically on your baby. For this reason, you should know exact measurements of clothes.

3. Buy from reliable online stores – It is important to buy baby stuff from reputed online stores as this will give you satisfaction regarding your purchase. Browse website, check product range, customer reviews and testimonials to ensure that website is authentic one.

While this was about tips regarding how to buy the best baby stuff online, let us discuss how you can make some savings while buying baby essentials from baby warehouse. 3 Tips on Buying Baby Stuff and Why to Buy From Warehouse copy

Why to consider buying baby essentials from warehouse?
Warehouse stores are very large and sell wide variety of baby stuff, much more than boutique or specialty store offers. As they sell products in huge quantity, manufacturers often give them products at much lucrative discounts which they in turn pass discount to buyers. No matter, from which warehouse you choose to buy, you are sure to get better prices at baby warehouse than what you can expect from baby specialty shop.

Thus, it is advisable to take into consideration above mentioned tips and if possible buy baby essentials from warehouse.

Nothing calms a baby like a Mother’s Loving Touch

For the past four years, Lauren Piccirillo has poured her heart and soul into a special project called Shop kids’ shorts, tees, swimwear, sneakers, sandals and sundresses at NORDSTROM. Plus, get free shipping on every order.“>Baby Soothe, Mother’s Touch™. Lauren has teased us about it on social media, but now the secret is finally out!! Lauren is very proud to unveil her first mom invented innovative Shop NORDSTROM for cute, cool kids’ summer essentials.“>baby product to the world — a revolutionary, patent-pending infant massaging device that mimics a mother’s gentle touch to naturally soothe crying babies. She says she know you will love it as much as she does!! Check it out: Baby rockers and bouncers have been used for years to soothe a crying or over-energetic baby, if you’re wanting to read a review of the 12 best baby bouncers available, you might want to have a look into best for mums.

A KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN has been started for the is product, please contribute anything you can to the project. [button color=”yellow” link=”” size=”medium” font=”tahoma” align=”right”]Click Here..Kickstarter[/button]

You can also spread the word like crazy through social media and email to all your friends and family!! — Just follow this link, and with two quick clicks, you can share to all your friends and help to get this product on store shelves!! Please help Lauren to make this product a reality.brothers

Mother’s Touch™


Baby Soothe, Mother’s Touch™ is a revolutionary patent-pending infant massaging device that easily calms a crying Shop NORDSTROM for cute, cool kids’ summer essentials.“>baby. Through innovative massaging “fingers” that simulate mother’s affectionate touch, babies instantly feel nurtured and comforted. This baby gadget facilitates a peaceful environment for both parent and child. Perfect for on-the-go, multi-tasking parents who need a little extra help, and an extra boost for things like sleep training with the Ferber method, or parents’ preferred method.


  • Mimics Mother’s Gentle Massaging Touch: The only device to simulate a Mother’s circular clockwise massaging motion, to naturally soothe a crying, fussy baby.
  • Safety First: The device has numerous safety features, including an Auto Shut-off feature if baby rolls on top of the device.
  • User-Friendly: Two clips are attached to the device that easily fasten to a baby’s onesie or blanket.
  • 100% Drug-Free: The device massages teething, colicky, or fussy babies due to separation anxiety or sleep issues. Use a drug-free solution to naturally ease baby’s discomfort.
  • Portable: Perfect for on-the-go parents. Drop the gadget in your pocket or bag, and you can soothe your baby anywhere!
  • No More Guilt: Parents can relax a little now knowing baby is calm and not crying.
  • Facilitates A Peaceful, Stress-Free Environment: Baby is calm and soothed; therefore, Mothers and Fathers are more relaxed as well.


  • Sleek, Aesthetically Beautiful Design: Function that is rivaled by a minimal form; beautiful because of its elegant simplicity.
  • You Will Want To Show Off Your Baby Soothe, Mother’s Touch: Parents everywhere will be asking about your new Baby Soothe, Mother’s Touch device, and where you got it!

Little Pim