An issue with Medicare?

by Hints with Heloise

Dear Readers: Today's SOUND OFF is about Medicare:
"Dear Heloise: I recently tried to find a physician who would take Medicare in my hometown and found out that many, if not most, of the doctors here have dropped Medicare. What's going on?" - H.N., via email

H.N., many doctors are refusing Medicare because of the time-consuming paperwork, strict rules and low reimbursement rates. To find a doctor in your area that accepts Medicare, you can:

• Search the Medicare directory at

• Visit an urgent care center. Most walk-in clinics accept Medicare.

• Choose to stay with a doctor you've used and liked in the past, but if he or she won't take Medicare, you can be charged as much as 15% above Medicare's normal reimbursement. You might also be asked to pay in full at the time of service.
- Heloise


Dear Heloise: What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda? - Lucille E., Wayne, Neb.

Lucille, both baking powder and baking soda are leavening agents, but it's not uncommon to confuse the two.
Baking soda becomes activated when it is mixed with some sort of acid ingredient (lemon juice, buttermilk) and a liquid. This produces carbon dioxide, which allows baked goods to rise while becoming light and airy.
Baking powder is complete, which means it contains baking soda and the acid needed to make the baked goods rise. Baking powder also needs a liquid to activate the leavening process. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: What can I give my fiancee for Valentine's Day? She recently lost 65 pounds, so candy is out of the question. Got any suggestions for me and a thousand other guys? - J.L. in Louisiana
J.L., yes! Here are a few ideas:

• A monogrammed terry cloth bathrobe.

• A simple necklace with her name engraved on a circle or a heart.

• Perfume (choose her favorite scent).

• Essential oil diffuser.

• There are also clubs that send a monthly gift of coffee, tea or wine.
- Heloise

Dishwasher helper

Dear Heloise: I sprinkle BAKING SODA in my dishwasher when I empty it. The baking soda keeps the dishwasher smelling fresh and keeps bugs away. The dishes, when washed, have a great sparkle! - R.M.Q. in The Villages, Fla.

Sprinkling baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher between uses will definitely help to control odor. In fact, baking soda also can freshen and deodorize the microwave and butcher block, and is a great scouring powder in the sink and on the counters. I've compiled a collection of my favorite baking soda hints, recipes and helps into a handy six-page pamphlet. Would you like to receive one? It's easy. Send a long, stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at FYI: An empty grated cheese container makes an excellent baking soda shaker. Be sure to label it or you might wind up with baking soda on your pasta! - Heloise


Dear Heloise: A pool noodle can be used as a headrest for wooden chairs. Cut it to the length you need, then cut through the center of the length. Place it on the chair. - Johnny B., Long Beach, Calif.


Dear Heloise: Many people do not realize that kitchen spatulas might require extra cleaning. Check yours out, because you might have some spatulas that are two pieces (the handle slides out of the scraper). There could be a nasty surprise inside that scraper portion and on that lower portion of the handle. Actually, it can be quite ghastly.  When buying a new spatula, it might be worthwhile to get the one-piece kind. Problem solved. - Mary A., Vancouver, Wash.


Dear Heloise: Your column was on point about clothing donations for women. No less important is a need for men's clothing, especially for military men transitioning to civilian business life. In Houston, there is an organization oriented to outfitting soldiers, sailors and airmen for the business office.I have donated my no-longer-needed suits and shirts. I have suggested the widows of three late friends give their husbands' clothing, too. The suggestions were appreciated.
I hope you publish this idea, especially in support of our military. - Tom C., via email

Always thrilled to support our military! - Heloise


Dear Heloise: To find a handyman, check with your homeowner insurance company's adjuster. Most adjusters know folks who can fix just about anything. - Tommy T., via email


Dear Heloise: When I see my toilet tissue roll about to run out, I replace it with a fresh roll. I continue using the small one until it runs out. That way, I have a roll already in place so I won't find myself in a precarious position trying to get a new roll. - J.S. in North Carolina

Always good to plan ahead! - Heloise

(c)2020 by King Features Syndicate Inc.