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Pib

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  1. US Vets: Plan "B" or not?

    I hope above is true....but below is a snapshot form the Joint U.S. Military Assistance-Thailand RAO website talking FMP in Thailand. Seems to conflict somewhat with above. I'm now confused on which is correct....your info or the RAO. What is the source of your info? Thanks.
  2. US Vets: Plan "B" or not?

    Would love to see such a list. I'm aware that Bumrungrad (and maybe a few others) accepts/direct bills Tricare for "active duty" personnel and their dependents "as the U.S. military has made that contract arrangement with them"...but once again that is for active duty and their dependents. But for military "retirees" using Tricare my understanding is Bumrungrad (and maybe a few others) will not direct bill Tricare but they will take a 25% payment of the bill (you pay that) and then give you X-amount of time for you to file a claim for reimbursement and then you go back and pay the remaining balance. But they do this on a case-by-case basis for retirees.
  3. Splitter for satellite

    All a quad C or KU band LNB usually is a two output LNB "with a multiswitch built-in " which turns it into a four output LNB. For example below quad KU LNB where it specifically talks the built-in multiswitch in order make it a quad LNB. It's probably easier for a person to have a multiswitch in his ceiling/residence at the junction point where TV cables spreadout/run to your different rooms/settop boxes like in my house. That way you only need two cables running from that multiswitch inside your residence (protected from the sun & rain) up to the two output LNB mounted somewhere outside on a dish....possibly mounted a good distance away and somewhere high that is not easy to get to. Just less total cabling to deal with. Instead of four cables from your settop boxes "all the way" to the LNB, it's four cables "part of the way" to the multiswitch inside the house and then just two cables for the rest of the way to the LNB/dish.
  4. US Vets: Plan "B" or not?

    Tricare, inside or outside the U.S., predominately applies for active duty personnel, military retirees, and their dependents. Just being a veteran does not qualify you for Tricare except in some special cases like being medically retired from active duty before you served an entire career like say 20 years. Now many veterans who served X-amount years but didn't make a career of it and those who did serve an entire military career say of 20 years or more have a VA disability ratings ranging from 0% to 100%. Any veteran (or military retiree) can apply for VA care and their disability rating will be the key factor in determining what Priority Group, 1 thru 7, they will be given for medical care. In your case a 0% disability rating put in in Priority Group 5....which is easy to be in for "any" veteran...it's pretty much the group for those with nothing wrong with them at the time the priority group rating was issued to you based on the VA evaluation of your health, service connected issues, etc. Until you get into Priority Group 1 thru 3 which includes those folks with various levels of disability rating from 10 to 100% your chances of getting VA medical care "in the U.S." are very low....unless you just happen to live very close to a major VA facility....then it might be a tad above very low to just low. And even then the VA support of your medical condition can come with all kinds of fine print related to whether your condition can be considered service connected, etc...etc...etc. If you think VA medical care is going to equal Medicare medical care in terms of availability to you especially in your case with a VA 0% disability rating then you are making a big mistake in thinking.
  5. US Vets: Plan "B" or not?

    When you say fully enrolled in the VA system, do you mean you enrolled while in the States or in Thailand? If you enrolled outside the U.S. then you are saying your enrolled in the VA Foreign Medical Program (FMP) which is a somewhat different enrollment process than VA enrollment in the U.S. As far as I know there are no VA FMP facilities/providers in Thailand. Assuming you are enrolled in VA FMP you would still need to pay 100% upfront for medical care and then seek reimbursement through the VA FMP. And as you know the VA only covers medical conditions related to your specific rated disabilities; not just any medical issue/accident that may strike. VA coverage is usually challenging enough even when living in the U.S.; if living outside the U.S. it gets a lot tougher unless maybe living in a country that has some VA FMP providers/facilities. Now if you are a military retiree (with or without a VA disability rating) covered under Tricare which does provides worldwide coverage--even in Thailand--your Tricare coverage ends when turning 65 "unless you sign-up for Medicare Part B." Now Medicare does "not" provide coverage/reimbursement outside the U.S. except in some unique emergency situations for certain countries, but the fact you are paying the Part B premium keeps you in the Tricare system under the Tricare for Life (TFL) program....same coverage/reimbursement at 75% as regular Tricare...same worldwide coverage. You continue to send you reimbursement claims to Tricare. And when back in the States you are covered by both Medicare and Tricare....in this case your medical provider or you first send your claim to Medicare ...Medicare usually reimburse at 80% and then automatically send the claim to TFL who pick up the remaining 20%....end result 100% reimbursement minus any annual deductibles for Medicare/Tricare. The annual Medicare Part B premium is now $134 unless you might be paying a little less for now like the $120 your mentioned due to previous years where a person was protected from Medicare premium increases under the "hold harmless" law related to no-or-low Social Security COLA increases. But with inflation growing again and Social Security now getting back into COLA increases the "hold harmless" rule will not protect a person from Medicare premium increases...will only take a year or two to get a person back to the most current Medicare premium.
  6. Splitter for satellite

    OP, Assuming you have a big C-band dish (approx 1.5 meters in diameter) along with a C-band LNB since you said you have an LNB with two outputs/cables coming from it. While a small KU band dish/LNB can also use multi-output LNB like shown in KittenKong's reference seems the great majority of folks in Thailand who use KU band are using little dish approx 75cm in diameter with a one output/cable LNB mounted on it....like those that come from TrueVisions. Anyway, you need to understand that setup box send either a 13VDC (approx 11 to 15V) or 18VDC (approx 16 to 20V) signal depending on channel polarization/selected to the LNB. Each channel willl have what is caused a horizontal or vertical "polarization" when it's transmitted from the satellite along with a specific frequency and other identifying coding. For the LNB to receive a channel from the satellite it needs to be in the polarization modem as being transmitted from the satellite. The LNB has to receive certain info "from the settop" box or middeman device like a multiswitch to be in the proper polarization mode which changes which little antenna within the LNB is used and also changes the LNB frequency band to receive the channel. The voltage used to select vertical polarization is approx 11 to 15VDC and for the horizontal polarization approx 16 to 20VDC. And in any case where the LNB receives a voltage of say in the slightly above 15V to slightly below 16V the LNB can get confused because it's not sure which polarization is really being asked to switch to...it's like no-man's land. Let's say the LNB sees 15.5V being sent to it (a no-man's land voltage) but actually the settop box you are using is sending an 18V horizontal polarization/channel selection. But due to long cable length between the box and LNB which causes a several volts voltage loss "or another box on the same LNB cable due to using a "splitter" is set to a vertical polarization channel which pulls down the voltage" that 15.5V is right in the middle of the polarization voltages. The LNB incorrectly decides to switch to vertical polarization mode which means the horizontally polarized channel you are wanting to view appears as "No Signal", just a black display, just nothing, etc. In your case since you are using a "splitter" that splitter is feeding through voltages from two settop boxes and if one box happens to be set to a vertically polarized channel (13V) and the other to a horizontally polarized channel (18V) the LNB ends up seeing an average voltage of 15.5V and the LNB can make the wrong polarization selection due to that no-man's voltage. And not only you can't see the selected channel but it might mess up the channel the person is viewing with the other box in another room. But if both boxes happen to say be set to a horizontally (or vertically) polarized channel then the voltage being sent to the box is not affected...neither box messes up....both get to view their different channels. Anyway, you generally must use a "multiswitch" not a splitter when dealing with multioutput LNBs....just completely different animals although they look very similar. Or maybe you can find a four output C band LNB but the downside to that is you need to run additional cables from your LNB to your boxes. But with a multiswitch you just need a two output LNB run the multiswitch...and then from that multiswitch is branches out to ever how many boxes you have. If you have a 2 input/6 output multiswitch you just hook the 2 output LNB to the multiswitch and then hook 1 to 6 to that switch. Now someone might say I have a TrueVisions KU band setup....it only has a one output/cable LNB but I running two boxes off it with a "splitter." A splitter is OK in this case....will not cause a problem "because the TrueVision boxes and channels "only use the horizontally oriented" voltage/channels. That is, the boxes "only" use the 18V horizontally oriented voltage...True only transmits its channels using horizontal polarization. Therefore, two boxes on the same line going to the LNB via a splitter are both sending 18V...always sending 18V regardless of channel selected...one of the boxes never sends the 13V vertical orientation voltage which would pull down an 18V horizontal orientation voltage from another box like how "C-band" setups/LNBs/boxes can send either polarization voltage depending on the channel you want to view.
  7. Splitter for satellite

    You will need a "multiswitch", power or unpowered. Powered is better if you have long cable runs/minimizes signal strength and voltage loss. A multiswitch allows input from multiple LNB outputs to be distributed out to multiple settop boxes with the multiple boxes inferring with each other and causing various problems...like the problem you have having where two of the boxes are occasionally confusing the LNB ouptut...getting confused between a horizontal oriented channel and a vertical oriented change. Below are some examples of unpowered and powered "multiswitchs." And don't confuse a splitter with a multiswitch...they are very different devices. Unpowered multiswitch...just passes thru LNB power from the settop boxes to the LNB(s). Powered Multiswitch....its own power supply supplements the power to the LNB(s) to minimize voltage LNB power voltage drop which results in a more reliable power voltage to the LNB. Below is an example of powered multiswitch....a 5 input, 6 output multiswitch but the 5th input is just a terrestrial input Very, very similar (maybe the actual one) I have used for around 8 years. It takes the input from four C and KU band LNB outputs (i.e, a two output C band LNB and a 2 output KU-band LNB)...and then distributes those signals to 6 different settop boxes without the boxes interferring with each out and confusing the heck out of the LNBs. Its 18V power adapter died about a year ago after 7 years of use and it caused some horizontal-oriented channels to not be display because the power coming from the settop boxes due to my long cable runs to the LNBs via the multiswitch was causing a several volts voltage drop making the LNB think it was getting supplied 12-15 volts which is required for vertical oriented channels...the C-band LNB was getting confused as to whether a vertical or horizontal oriented voltage/channels was being asked of it...end result a "No Signal" message on the TV for some channels. Replaced the power adapter (cost about Bt150)....good to go again on all channels. 9Sat multiswitch webpage...a store here in Bangkok I have bought a lot of TV and other electronic stuff from over the years. Very good prices. Lots of satellite TV installers get their stuff at this store and then go sell it/install it for you. I go directly to the store to the buy...but you can order via phone also I guess as I see ladies taking orders via phone whenever I visit the store. Google Translate is your friend at this website http://9sats.com/product/product.php?cat=75.77
  8. Regarding K-bank they follow the same policy as Bangkok Bank....or should I say all Thai banks. See below from K-bank fee schedule regarding an account inactive for over one year which has a balance of less than Bt2,000. And once the inactive monthly fee drains the account to zero balance the account is closed. Now although below fee schedule says effective 20 Mar 17 don't think that's when the inactive account policy first started for K-bank...the date is just the date of their latest/current fee schedule. Their inactive account policy has been on K-bank previously dated fee schedule for a long time....many years....because it's a general policy that Thai banks follow with slight variations.
  9. The general rule for dormant accounts which Thai banks follow is when the account drops below a Bt2,000 balance "and" there is not "owner-initiated" activity for 12 months such as a deposit, withdrawal, or transfer the bank will begin to charge a month maintenance fee of around Bt50/month until the account balance reaches zero and then the account is closed. "Bank-initiated" activity to your account such as an interest payment, annual debit card fee, etc., does not count as user activity. Above is Bangkok Bank's current policy now and even 9 years ago also when they first sent me a letter saying such because they hadn't seen any activity on one of my savings accounts with them for 12 months with was below Bt2,000 balance. It was an account I only had a few hundred baht in and just hadn't transferred any fund into/out of for over a year. To fix the issue, I used my Bangkok Bank ibanking to transfer some more funds into the account and they were know happy but I later transferred it out to below Bt2,000 again...but now I'm once again just keeping "over" Bt2,000 in it to avoid me forgetting to generate some user activity every 12 months. Someone might be thinking why do I even keep this account open since I have other Bangkok Bank savings accounts, well, this is a special Direct Deposit savings account for U.S. govt benefit payments that I stopped using years ago, but have kept it open with a low balance in case I need to start using it again for U.S. govt payments. See their policy at this Bangkok Bank weblink regarding how they handle dormant accounts. I'm sure you find other Thai banks have a very similar policy as it just the general policy followed by Thai banks with variations such as the monthly fee they might charge. And some banks may even have tighter policies in locations where there is a lot of farang turnover and their accounts seem inactive and have a low balance....Thai banks are just not to fond of low balance, inactive accounts. Letting an account balance stay below Bt2,000 for over 12 months just puts the account in the bank cross-hairs for review. If opening an account and knowing you will not use it for over a year like maybe you are going back to the home country for a while leave "over" Bt2,000 in the account and be sure to keep in mind automatic charges/fees that might draw it below that Bt2,000 while you are gone like an annual debit card fee of several hundred baht. Remember, the bank needs to see some "user" activity every 12 months when the balance drops below Bt2,000. Below snapshot from a media release summarizes current rules/law for a dormant account "below" Bt2,000. And a "proposed/draft" law also dealing with dormant accounts of "over" Bt2,000 but the account must be dormant for over 10 (ten) years....and any money the govt gets from a dormant account could be recovered by the former account owner or his/her heirs with the proper proof they were the account owner.
  10. Just changed over to LED lighting

    Yea...a plug-and-play type approach....and LED light that was engineered to specifically work without any rewiring/removing the ballast, but did require replacing the starter which was really just a "fuse" in the physical form of a florescent starter. See Youtube video below. And different manufacturers sell LED lights which require no-to-very little tinkering by a person other than replacing the florescent lights with the LED lights. Leaving the ballast in is not really the best way because its unneeded for an LED and the ballast will continue to use (waste) a little power and the replacement starter (fuse) might blow or have dirty contact one day. But if it prevents a person from having to pay someone else to rewire a fixture (i.e., remove the ballast and starter) then it's still probably a good way to go. See Plug and Play article below the video. But for me, like the OP, when it comes to putting LEDs in a florescent fixture I"m going to retrofit the fixture by removing the ballast and starter along with the little bit of fixture rewiring required. When the dust settles you only have the LED circular/straight tube with its driver (power supply) which might be internal or external to the LED....more and more now days the driver is so small it's just made part of the LED circular/straight tube. Article on Various Plug and Play LEDs http://www.ledsmagazine.com/articles/print/volume-11/issue-6/features/led-tubes/how-do-plug-and-play-t8s-stack-up-against-ballast-bypass-led-lamps.html
  11. Just changed over to LED lighting

    LED lighting does not require a ballast; they only require their driver circuit (fancy name for their power supply circuit). However, some LED lighting is engineered to work with a ballast from an existing circuit...helpful to those folks who are not comfortable in removing the old ballast/starter and a little bit of rewiring. Maybe that is what you saw in HomePro. See below partial quote and full article. https://insights.regencylighting.com/which-lamp-types-are-ballast-dependent
  12. Typical excuse given by a bank branch when they don't want to open an account for someone...try to blame govt....say the govt changed the law/rule when the govt has not changed a thing. It's always easy to blame someone or something else versus your own organization. Largely depends on the personnel at each branch. The Bank of Thailand or other govt agency has not changed any rules/passed any new laws regarding what is required for a non-Thai to open a bank account; it's just individual bank policy although they all flow the same general guidance established over the years. Are Thai banks tightening-up on requirements for foreigners to open bank accounts? Maybe....maybe not. Wouldn't surprise me with all the bank scams that occur....identity theft....pressure from other world govts for Thailand banks to get serious about anti-money laundering...etc.
  13. Just changed over to LED lighting

    Replace standard/fixed speed A/Cs with a properly size inverter A/C. I swapped out a 18K BTU fixed speed A/C in early Jan with a 23K inverter A/C and have seen a big reduction in my kilowatt usage per day....especially since this particular A/C runs 24/7. Full details at this ThaiVisa thread.
  14. Just changed over to LED lighting

    Yeap...older eyes need more light than younger eyes. https://www.thespruce.com/lighting-for-aging-eyes-2175153
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