Fear of Losing Home to Medicaid Contributed to Elder Abuse Case

August 14, 2018 By: Roslyn

A California daughter and granddaughter’s fear of losing their home to Medicaid may have contributed to a severe case of elder abuse. If the pair had consulted with an elder law attorney, they might have figured out a way to get their mother the care she needed and also protect their house. Amanda Havens was sentenced to 17 years in prison for elder abuse after her grandmother, Dorothy Havens, was found neglected, with bedsores and open wounds, in the home they shared.  The grandmother died the day after being discovered by authorities.  Amanda’s mother, Kathryn Havens, who also lived with Dorothy,...

Don’t Wait Too Long to Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance

August 14, 2018 By: Roslyn

The older you get, the harder it is to qualify for long-term care insurance. If you are interested in buying this insurance, it is better to act sooner rather than later. Many people put off purchasing long-term care insurance until they need it, but by then, it may be too late. Not only do premiums increase as you age, you also may not even qualify for insurance due to your health. The older you are, the more likely you are to have a pre-existing health condition that will disqualify you from getting long-term care insurance. According to a recent study...

Proposed New Medicare Payment System May Affect Beneficiaries

July 31, 2018 By: Roslyn

The Trump administration is proposing a new flat rate reimbursement system for doctors who treat Medicare patients. Some worry that the plan may reduce payments to specialists and cause fewer doctors to accept Medicare patients. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) says the proposed changes are designed to reduce paperwork by combining four levels of forms required for reimbursement into one form and one fee paid to doctors. Under the new system, doctors who see generally healthy patients and doctors who see more complicated patients would receive the same flat fee. According to a report by NPR, the...

New Law Expands Benefits for Chronically Ill Medicare Advantage Beneficiaries

July 16, 2018 By: Roslyn

Congress expanded benefits for Medicare recipients with chronic conditions in its latest budget bill. The law gives some Medicare plans the option of covering certain non-medical benefits and also increases telehealth services. Passed with bipartisan support as part of the budget bill approved in early 2018, the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2018, gives Medicare Advantage plans the flexibility to cover equipment and supplies for beneficiaries who are chronically ill beginning in 2020. Covered items could include wheelchair ramps, grab bars, visits by a personal assistant, transportation, and meal delivery. Currently, Medicare...

Lawsuit Alleges Assisted Living Facilities Discriminate Against Wheelchair Users

July 16, 2018 By: Roslyn

A lawsuit in New York state highlights an issue with some assisted living facilities: No wheelchairs allowed. The lawsuit claims that state regulations and facility policies discriminate against residents and potential residents who use wheelchairs. Filed on behalf of the Fair Housing Justice Center and an anonymous assisted living resident, the lawsuit alleges that four assisted living facilities in New York refused to admit applicants who were in a wheelchair and threatened to evict or actually evicted residents who started using wheelchairs. According to the lawsuit, state regulations are to blame. The regulations prohibit assisted living facilities from admitting residents...

Where’s My New Medicare Card? How to Find Out the Status

July 16, 2018 By: Roslyn

The federal government has begun mailing new Medicare cards to 59 million Americans. You should keep track of when your new card will arrive and contact Medicare if you don’t receive it. To prevent fraud and fight identity theft, the federal government is issuing new cards to all Medicare beneficiaries that will no longer have beneficiaries’ Social Security numbers on them. The government began mailing the cards in April 2018 and the new cards should be completely distributed by April 2019. The cards are being mailed in phases based on the state the beneficiary lives in. To check the status...

Watch Out for These Hidden Taxes in Your Retirement Plan

July 14, 2018 By: MediaSmack

Watch Out for These Hidden Taxes in Your Retirement PlanIf you have started to further develop your retirement plans, you may have noticed that your taxes in retirement can be a lot more complicated than your working taxes. Social Security checks are not always taxed, which will depend on your income. Tax rates will depend on additional state taxes, as well as any other investments you might have. What Taxes Should I Look Out for in My Retirement Plan? Combined income taxes. How your Social Security benefit is taxed will depend on your combined income. This is also known as your adjusted gross income, plus any non-taxable interest and...

Medicare Extends Deadline for Relief from Part B Penalties

July 6, 2018 By: Roslyn

Medicare is extending its offer of relief from penalties for certain Medicare beneficiaries who enrolled in Medicare Part A and had coverage through the individual marketplace. Beneficiaries who qualify will be able to enroll in Medicare Part B without paying a penalty for late enrollment if they enroll by September 30, 2018. Individuals who do not enroll in Medicare Part B when they first become eligible face a stiff penalty, unless they are still working and their employer’s plan is considered “primary.” For each year that these individuals put off enrolling, their monthly premium increases by 10 percent — permanently....

When Can an Adult Child Be Liable for a Parent’s Nursing Home Bill?

July 6, 2018 By: Roslyn

Although a nursing home cannot require a child to be personally liable for their parent’s nursing home bill, there are circumstances in which children can end up having to pay. This is a major reason why it is important to read any admission agreements carefully before signing. Federal regulations prevent a nursing home from requiring a third party to be personally liable as a condition of admission. However, children of nursing home residents often sign the nursing home admission agreement as the “responsible party.” This is a confusing term and it isn’t always clear from the contract what it means. Typically,...

Problems With Guardianship System Is Focus of John Oliver Show

June 30, 2018 By: Roslyn

John Oliver recently highlighted problems with the guardianship system on his HBO show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. The comedian provided a scary and funny explanation of how guardianship works, ending with a public service announcement by William Shatner, Lily Tomlin and others explaining steps you can take to avoid the guardianship. The show focuses on the abuses of a professional guardian in Las Vegas, April Parks. She is clearly at the far end of guardianship exploitation and is currently facing prosecution on more than 200 charges. But Oliver does a good job of explaining how guardianship takes away rights without...

Court Overturns Obama Rule Protecting Investors Saving for Retirement

June 30, 2018 By: Roslyn

A U.S. court of appeal has struck down a Department of Labor (DOL) rule that was intended to prevent financial advisers from steering their clients to bad retirement investments, but the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed new regulations to at least partially address the same problem. Prompted by concern that many financial advisors have a sales incentive to recommend to their clients retirement investments with high fees and low returns because the advisors get higher commissions or other incentives, in February 2015 President Obama directed the DOL to draw up rules that require financial advisors to act like...

The Difference Between Will-Based and Trust-Based Estate Plans

June 14, 2018 By: MediaSmack

willsChances are that your estate plan is going to involve a variety of different documents, but generally speaking, estate plans are centered around one of two different documents: a Will or a Revocable Living Trust. These documents, while similar, can have vastly different uses. Will-based estate plans use the Will as the primary set of instructions that your chosen representative (or executor) must follow to distribute your assets after death. However, because Wills only take effect after a person’s death, they do not allow for any disability planning while the subject is still alive. This means that, if you utilize...

The Little-Known Tax on Roth 401(k) Distributions

June 5, 2018 By: Roslyn

401(k) over a traditional 401(k) after retirement is that distributions from a Roth 401(k) are tax-free, but there is a little-known situation where distributions can be taxed. Contributions to a traditional 401(k) are made pre-tax, so while it reduces your taxable income in the year you contribute to it, you have to pay taxes on the money you withdraw during retirement. On the other hand, contributions to the Roth 401(k) are made after taxes. This means you won’t have to pay any taxes when you withdraw the money. Some employers offer to match any contributions you make to your 401(k)...

More States Asking to Eliminate Retroactive Medicaid Benefits

May 29, 2018 By: Roslyn

Arizona and Florida are the latest states to request a waiver from the requirement that states provide three months of retroactive Medicaid coverage to eligible Medicaid recipients. Medicaid law allows a Medicaid applicant to be eligible for benefits for up to three months before the month of the application if the applicant met eligibility requirements at the earlier time. This helps people who are unexpectedly admitted to a nursing home and can’t file — or are unaware that they should file — a Medicaid application right away.  Preparing an application for Medicaid nursing home coverage may take many weeks; the...

Finding the Best Retirement Calculators

May 18, 2018 By: Roslyn

Figuring out how much to save for retirement and when you can safely stop working can be difficult. A growing number of online retirement calculators, many of them free, are available to help. Although these calculators can yield vastly different results, they can still be useful tools. Based on information about you and your finances, retirement calculators try to predict how much you need to save to achieve your retirement goals. There are many different types of calculators. Some are web-based while others require you to download a program or an app. The amount of information needed also varies from...

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