OCTOBER 2018 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 29
LI’S LOOTED CHEDDAR
BY TIMOTHY BOLGER
Robert Ehrlich of Sea Cliff was a commodities
trader studying consumer habits when he had
a multimillion-dollar idea while reading product
labels in the snack-food aisle of his local
Marveling at how cheese was not listed as an
ingredient in cheese puffs, Ehrlich set sail in 1987
to plunder his piece of the bloated American snackfood
market armed with Pirate’s Booty all-natural
white-cheddar cheese rice and corn puffs — a
healthier alternative to traditional junk food.
“Most of the ingredients in cheese puffs you
couldn’t even pronounce,” Ehrlich told Columbia
University News Service.
Pirate’s Booty struck gold. A decade later,
the puffs were being sold in stores nationwide,
earning $50 million in annual sales. The parent
company Ehrlich founded, Robert’s American
Gourmet Food, later dubbed Pirate Brands, also
made Smart Puffs and Original Tings.
The success was not without scandal. The Good
Housekeeping Institute found that Pirate’s Booty
was mislabeled as low fat, when it in fact
had 8.5 grams of fat, not 2.5 grams as advertised
at the time. The company blamed
a manufacturing snafu, corrected the labels
and reformulated Pirate’s Booty so it now has
5 grams of fat.
Despite the drama, corporate profiteers found
their way to Long Island to dig up the cheese-dusted
treasure. Ehrlich’s partner, Mike Repole, negotiated
a deal to sell the Pirate’s Booty snack group
to New Jersey-based B&G Foods — the baked beans,
Cream of Wheat and bagel crisp maker — for $195
million in 2013. The next day, the new owners laid
off all 55 employees of the Sea Cliff Pirate’s Booty
Ehrlich, who made $70 million in the deal, has
since launched a new healthy snack: SexyPop, a
nutritious popcorn. Last month, news broke that
B&G is selling Pirate Brands to The Hershey Company
for $420 million, more than double the price
B&G paid five years ago. The deal is expected to
close in the fourth quarter.
No word if a chocolate-flavored Pirate’s Booty
Pirate’s Booty is billed as the healthy snack
food. (Photo by Mike Mozart).
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF ATTENDING A FREE MEDICARE SEMINAR
If you missed the Medicare annual open
enrollment period, eligible beneciaries can still
enroll in a health plan without penalty, if he or she
qualies for Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
AgeWell New York offers Medicare educational
seminars to help you navigate eligibility and
enrollment during SEP.
These are a few important items to keep in mind,
so you can get the most out of attending a
Medicare seminar to help you make the right
decision about your Medicare coverage.
• Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage
Plans. What’s the difference? What are the pros
and cons? You should have all your questions
answered and know all your options before
making a decision.
• Medicare, and or Medicaid eligibility. Some
plans offer options for those with varying levels of
Medicare and those with Medicare and Medicaid.
Talk to advisors about your levels of Medicare and
or Medicaid and nd out if there are plans options
best suited for your health and personal care
• Enrollment periods and late penalties. The
enrollment period for Medicare is up to three
months prior to turning 65, and 3 months after
turning 65, but there are a few special enrollment
opportunities that you could qualify for. You should
be aware of late enrollment penalties and when
you could be eligible to enroll in a Medicare plan.
• Provider Network: Health plans are continually
expanding and/or modifying their provider
networks. Find out if your primary care physician
or specialists are in the plan’s network. If they are
not, ask about making a request for the plan to
reach out to your physicians to invite them to
participate in the network.
• Health and Wellness Benefits: Many Medicare
Advantage plans offer various health and wellness
benets over and above what is provided by
Original Medicare. These may include dental,
vision, hearing, transportation, over the counter
(OTC) drugs and products, alternative medicine,
and tness programs. A Medicare seminar is the
place to nd out what benets the plan covers and
you can access these benets.
• Care Navigator or Care Manager: Some plans
give you access to a Care Navigator or Care
Manager. These professionals are assigned to
assist you with accessing providers and health
services, supporting your medication
management, setting up a care plan based on your
clinical and functional requirements, and ensuring
that you receive routine screenings and
preventative services. Find out if these services
are available to you and how it works.
• Drugs in Formulary: Be aware of the plan’s
formulary and if the drugs your physician is
prescribing is included. Ask the plan about their
process for you to request consideration that your
drugs be included.
AgeWell New York offers Medicare Advantage
Prescription Drug Plans serving communities
in the New York Metropolitan area. Contact us
today to attend a no-cost Medicare seminar in
your community at 718-696-0205,
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit