Showing posts with label Medicare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Medicare. Show all posts

Friday, September 2, 2022

Basics Of Medicare You Should Know About

The national health insurance program is geared primarily toward seniors and those who are permanently disabled. Medicare is an extremely important part of many people's lives since it is often their only insurance option.

But like most other government programs, gaining a good understanding of Medicare's basics can be difficult, especially since various rules and regulations change almost every year. 

If you are preparing to enroll in Medicare or have a family member who needs to understand it in more detail, here are some Medicare basics, you should know about from day one.

Medicare is Not Medicaid

Remember, Medicare and Medicaid are not the same programs. If you are eligible for Medicare, your assets and income play no part in determining your eligibility for the program. Being a federal program, Medicare procedures do not vary much if state to state.

Parts A and B

The two major coverage components of Medicare are known as Parts A and B. Part A will cover your inpatient hospital care, inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility, such as a nursing home, hospice care, and home health care services. 

Part B will cover visits to a doctor's office, various types of outpatient care, the most durable medical equipment, and other related services.

A and B Don't Pay Your Total Cost

One of the biggest mistakes many new to Medicare make is assuming Parts A and B will cover 100 percent of their medical costs, which is not the case. 

A and B only cover 80 percent of your costs, meaning you will still need to pay some on your own. To offset these costs, you may consider adding a Medicare Advantage plan to your coverage. 

Often known as managed care plans, Medicare Advantage will require you to pay premiums but will offset what may be very expensive medical costs.

You Don't Have to be Retired

Finally, you need to realize that you do not have to be retired from your job to be eligible for Medicare. Even if you do not plan to retire at age 65, you can still sign up for Medicare. 

To do so, you will enroll online during your Initial Enrollment Period, which will be three months before turning 65 or the first three months after you turn 65.

By knowing what is involved with Medicare coverage, you can make informed decisions to ensure you have the best possible health care in the years ahead.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

4 Moves to Make When Retiring: How to Manage Your Money Effectively

Are you ready for retirement? If not, maybe it’s time to start thinking about it. While many people think of retirement as the end of their working lives, in today’s world, it’s just the beginning of a new phase.

With more and more people living longer than ever, retirement is no longer just a brief period between working and death but rather a different stage in life with its own challenges and opportunities. Do you know when you are going to retire?

Are you saving enough money for retirement? Do you know how much money will be available when you retire? These are some of the questions we should ask ourselves if we want a happy and stress-free retirement.

Evaluate Your Financial Lifestyle

Your financial lifestyle is the amount of money you need to live your current lifestyle. While working, your lifestyle is reduced by debt repayments, taxes, and saving money. 

Try to minimize your financial lifestyle while you are still working to save more money while you are young and healthy. When you retire, your financial lifestyle will decrease. This is because you will receive a retirement income (Social Security, pension, etc.) usually less than your current salary. 

You will also have fewer expenses as you won’t be commuting to work, and also, you may be paying less for health insurance.

Update or Start Estate Planning Documents

If you don’t already have an estate plan, start creating one as soon as possible. An estate plan is a document that outlines how you would like your assets to be distributed amongst your loved ones after your death. 

You can either update your existing estate plan or start a new one by hiring a qualified attorney specializing in estate planning. Some documents that are an essential part of every estate plan include a Will, Durable Power of Attorney, and Health Care Advance Directive. 

These documents will help ensure a smooth transition of your assets to loved ones after you die, as well as ensure that your final wishes are fulfilled.

Enroll in Medicare

The sooner you enroll in Medicare, the less you will have to pay out of your own pocket towards the cost of your health care. For retirees who have worked in the U.S. for at least 10 years, Medicare will cover 80% of all health care costs while the patient will cover the remaining 20%. If you are not yet enrolled, start looking into the Medicare enrollment process as soon as possible.

Protect Your Wealth

Retirement is a great time to consider putting money into a long-term care insurance policy. These policies help to cover the cost of nursing home care and other long-term care expenses. 

If you are considering a long-term care insurance policy, you must purchase it when you are still relatively young. The cost will be much lower than it will be when you are older. Another way to protect your wealth is to set up a gifting strategy. 

A gifting strategy allows you to transfer money to your loved ones while still alive. You can gift up to $16,000 each year beginning in 2022 to anyone without paying taxes on that money. 

You can gift as much as you want, but you must pay taxes on the amount you gift over $16,000.

Retirement is a time of new beginnings, challenges, and opportunities. To make the most of this exciting stage in your life, you need to prepare for it. 

This means saving money, updating your estate planning documents, and enrolling in Medicare, among other things. If you start planning now, you will have a much happier and more relaxed retirement, free from financial worries.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Costs That Medicare Won't Cover and How to Find the Right Supplemental Coverage for You

Three months before you turn 65 years old, you’re allowed to sign up for Medicare, either Part A, Part B, or both. Medicare Part A pays for surgery, hospice care, hospital stays, and skilled nursing facilities. 

Medicare Part B pays for preventive services, outpatient care, some medical equipment, some medical supplies, and visits to the doctor. However, below are some costs that Medicare won’t cover that you will need to find supplemental coverage for.

Deductibles and Copays

With Medicare Part A and Part B, you still have to pay for deductibles and copays. With Part B, you have to cover the $233 deductible, plus 20% of the costs for lab tests, x-rays, and doctor services. 

With Part A, you have a deductible of $1,556 before your coverage kicks in. Medicare supplement plan C is the most comprehensive Medigap policy and covers hospital insurance and costs up to 365 days after you exhaust your original medicare benefits.

Dental Care

Your oral health is an important part of your overall wellness. However, Medicare doesn’t cover dental visits, dentures, fillings, extractions, or cleanings. However, some Medicare Advantage plans, often called Part C plans, may offer additional coverage, including dental care.

Hearing Aids

While Medicare supplement plans C and F may cover a hearing diagnostic test coinsurance, they likely won’t pay for hearing aids. A Medicare Advantage plan might cover the cost of some hearing aids. 

Some insurance companies don’t often offer coverage as they don’t consider hearing aids to be essential devices and that hearing aids are elective.

Long-Term Care

One of the largest expenses after retirement is long-term care costs. Medicare does cover some skilled nursing services, but it does not cover custodial care. For long-term care needs, you may need to turn to a combination of long-term care and life insurance policy.

Overseas Medical Care

If you need medical care overseas, Medicare doesn’t usually cover this expense except for limited circumstances. However, up to a certain limit, Medigap plans C, D, F, G, M, and N cover 80% of the costs (up to a certain limit) of emergency care. 

Travelers’ insurance covers some medical expenses overseas. Even if the country in question has universal healthcare or even free healthcare, visitors typically must pay for care, even if it is cheaper than in the US.

Prescription Drugs

While Medicare doesn’t provide coverage for prescription drugs, Medigap Part D, or the Medicare Advantage Plan do.

Vision Care

Medicare doesn’t cover glasses or routine eye exams unless you have diabetes and need an annual eye exam. Some Medicare Advantage plans do provide vision coverage, or you can purchase a supplemental policy for only vision care.

There are many different Medicare supplement plans available. Some of them are through Medicare while others are through third parties, like Silver American. You can shop around to find the right coverage for you.

When planning for retirement, it’s important to stay knowledgeable about changes to Medicare and Medigap plans to avoid surprises. Once you retire, you want the money you saved for retirement to go towards enjoying your life, not towards medical bills that Medicare won’t cover.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Money for Medicine: Finding Ways to Afford Your Health Care

Everyone wants to know their health will be taken care of. Unfortunately, it can be expensive sometimes. Luckily there are ways you can still afford your health care without having to break the bank. Here are some tips on how to do so.

Use Health Insurance

Everyone should have some form of health insurance, and it doesn’t have to be a crazy expensive one either. If you don't have any yet, get on the internet and look up health insurance companies in your area. 

Many offer plans for really cheap, like non obamacare health insurance, which was created for those without pre-existing medical conditions and who don’t engage in risky behaviors such as drugs. Look into the options out there and you will be sure to find something that works for your budget.

Take Advantage of Free Government Programs

Many programs exist that can help make it possible for you to afford healthcare. A few examples would include programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and even the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare). 

Trying to handle medical issues without some form of healthcare, even government assisted ones, can often make your bills much, much higher and close more expensive treatment options to you. It’s better to make sure you have some kind of avenue towards healthcare than none at all.

Ask about Payment Plans

If you do not qualify for any of the programs mentioned, don't forget to ask if there is a payment plan option available to you. Many hospitals offer this and it can make all the difference in continuing your health care needs. You might even be able to set up a monthly payment that you can afford.

Go to a Free Clinic or Find a Low-Cost Option

If you're in a bind and just can not seem to find any other options available, there is always the option of going to a free or low-cost clinic. 

These clinics will either have you pay nothing at all or a small fee (very small compared to regular clinics and doctor’s offices) for treatment. A simple internet search should tell you if there are any nearby, as they’re all largely community-based.

Look Into Alternative Medicine

A lot of health care options exist that are much less expensive than the normal doctors and hospitals you find in your area. Acupuncture, chiropractors, homeopathic medicine, herbal remedies; there are lots of things you can try before running to the doctor for everything. If this is an option available to you, maybe give it a shot.

If you are financially struggling, these options might be your best bet for taking care of medical needs. Look into them or ask about payment plans to see which ones work best for you.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

How to Determine if You're Eligible for a Medicare Supplement

Have you been utilizing Medicare benefits since turning 65? Have you been growing increasingly concerned about your cost-sharing obligations with Medicare as these unprecedented times are beginning to take a toll on your monthly and yearly healthcare budgeting plans?

Are you now wondering what you can do to fill the gaps in coverage? If all of these questions apply, then you are likely interested in acquiring a Medicare supplement plan. Here is a quick guide about Medicare supplement plans to address eligibility determination.

Eligibility Requirements

If you are 65 years of age or older, then you have fulfilled one of the primary requirements to enroll in a Medicare supplement plan. The other requirement is that you are currently enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. 

You may also be eligible for this type of health insurance coverage if you are under 65 years of age and are eligible for Medicare due to disability.


Medicare supplement plans are designed to help pay your out-of-pocket costs. As you have experienced when using Medicare, you are responsible for the deductibles, copays, and 20% when visiting your healthcare provider. A Medicare supplement or Medigap plan can pay a portion or all of your out-of-pocket costs with added benefits.

Is It Right for You?

Now that you have learned the requirements to be eligible for a Medigap plan, you may now be wondering whether or not this type of plan will benefit you. 

It would be advantageous to acquire coverage if you suffer from a chronic health condition and would like to implement a predictable solution to your healthcare costs. When determining coverage, you may also want to consider how often and frequently you utilize healthcare services.

Types of Medigap Plans

There are ten types of Medigap plans and each can provide you with a robust and complete solution for all your healthcare needs. Generally, all plans will provide benefits to help pay for Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs at an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are exhausted.

Where to Obtain Coverage Help and When to Enroll

There are several private healthcare insurance companies that offer Medicare supplement plans. To save time, consider visiting a one-stop-shop Medigap website that allows you to compare plans from different health insurers like Silver American

You can enroll in this type of plan as soon as you have acquired Medicare Part B coverage. There are no specific dates to enroll in a Medigap plan, so you can choose the date. There is a six-month open enrollment period where you will be guaranteed coverage regardless of your health status

After the open enrollment period, you may still apply for coverage but will likely be subjected to health questions and are not guaranteed acceptance.

Your healthcare costs can now be more predictable to help support your daily, monthly, and yearly budgeting plans when enrolling for a Medicare supplement or Medigap plan. 

Remember to consider the frequency of your visits to your healthcare professional as a factor in determining the right supplement plan for your needs.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Medical Issues You'll Need Health Insurance Coverage for as You Age

As you age, the reality of biology indicates that you are at greater risk of developing certain medical conditions. Unfortunately, in addition to challenging your health, age-related medical conditions can also be a significant financial burden to those who develop them and their families.

Medicare covers many routine healthcare procedures for seniors, but not all of them. This article will discuss some of the most common age-related medical issues that you will need health insurance coverage in case you or a loved one ever experiences them.

Dental Issues

Unfortunately, anything involving work to your teeth is unlikely to be covered by Medicare. According to the Medicare website, the government service does not cover dental procedures or supplies. 

This even includes the most basic procedures like your annual teeth cleaning. That means that you are on your own when it comes to paying for the care that your teeth require, so you’ll want to look at having good dental insurance.


Millions of Americans develop cancer each year. Most people know at least one person, perhaps even in their own family, that has had one form of cancer or another. Unfortunately, old age is one of the most common risk factors for developing cancer.

Treating cancer is extremely expensive. Cancer insurance coverage can cover any medical expenses that result from cancer diagnosis and treatment. By looking online, you can find instant insurance cost calculators to help you get a cancer insurance quote.

Hearing Problems

Hearing loss is common as people age. Once again, hearing-related healthcare is not covered by Medicare or most private providers.

If you require a hearing aid or other medical devices to maintain your ability to function independently, then you might want to consider hearing aid insurance. With a small monthly premium, you can make sure that you will have access to hearing devices when you need them without breaking the bank.

Mobility Issues

Seniors are often at risk of losing their mobility. Luckily, certain pieces of medical equipment, personalized therapies, and other medical interventions can help a senior maintain their independence and remain in their own home.

However, the price tag attached to scooters, stairlifts, and other mobility boosters can be high. Supplemental healthcare insurance agreements often include provisions for these much-needed medical supplies.

530,000 Americans go bankrupt each year due to unpaid medical bills. If you have no health insurance at all, even a single hour-long visit to the local emergency room could be enough to sink your finances. Plan ahead with health insurance coverage.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Budgeting for Medicare

When we talk about health coverage at any age, it’s easy to assume that whatever plan you have will cover the entire cost of any medical expenses you incur. The truth though, is that many plans don’t provide you with complete coverage. You may have to pay a portion of your expenses out of pocket.

With that truth, it can be scary for some, especially those approaching retirement. Not only are you living off your retirement plan and savings, but you also have the added expense of medical coverage, likely through Medicare, and having to pay any additional medical expenses not covered.

Part of your retirement plan should include budgeting for not only Medicare, but for your health in general. To help you out, here are a few tips that will be beneficial when it comes to budgeting.

First, Calculate Your Average Medical Expenses

If you’ve had consistent medical expenses throughout the years, those are likely to continue with you into retirement. You want to have a monthly average of what you spend on prescription medication and any doctor appointments needed. This number will help you decide which Medicare plan is best for you.

If you don’t have any medical expenses right now, that isn’t to say you won’t have any in the future. Start researching what some of the standard medical costs for those in retirement as some may eventually apply to you are.

Know the Different Medicare Plans

Medicare can be confusing. There are many different plans the cover only certain parts of your health. Part A encompasses hospital visits, inpatient rehabilitation, nursing and hospice care facilities, and some home health services. 

Part B covers both inpatient and outpatient care, ambulance services, some hospitalization, clinical research and some medical equipment. Part D is for your prescription drug coverage.

There is a deductible you must pay every year for both Medicare Part A, Part B and Part D. That deductible could change each year (the 2017 deductible for Part B was $183). On top of that, there are your monthly premiums for your plan, and depending on your income, and when you enrolled, that could increase your premium.

There are also Medicare Supplement Plans to help fill in any gaps of your coverage. These plans are in addition to your Medicare coverage and help to cover any additional out-of-pocket expenses you may incur. You’ll have to factor in the different Medicare Supplement rates as well.

Budget for What Is Not Covered

Even with your Medicare and Medicare Supplement plans, there could still be out-of-pocket expenses. For example, most plans do not cover long-term care. They may cover portions or up to a certain amount, but there will still be some expenses left up to you. Those costs can add up very quickly.

Consider any vision, hearing, or dental care that could be an issue down the road. You cannot guarantee that all plans will cover these additional expenses, meaning the cost will fall on you.

So, how do you budget for Medicare? It’s best to err on the side of caution that you’ll have additional expenses not part of your coverage. The more you can have set aside for medical costs, the better off you will be.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

6 Things You Might Not Think To Save Up For As You Get Up There In Years

There are numerous things you can do in preparation for your later years. Here are some important steps you should take as you approach your senior years in life. Here are five things you’ll be glad you saved up for when you start to get older.

Higher emergency fund

An emergency fund for someone in their 20s is much more for someone approaching retirement. Health care becomes more expensive as do common household repairs. Boosting your emergency funds to a higher level may be a good idea as you access your legal, health and homeownership needs.

Medical costs

Medical costs are additional expenses you must consider in aging. Many mistakenly believe that all of their insurance policies will cover care as they approach their later years. With the average life expectancy increasing, one has to be assured that there are ample funds to cover hospitalization, coinsurance and long term care if needed. This will prevent you from putting an unnecessary burden on your loved ones as you get older. People who had Medicare paid $38,688 for care during the last five years of their life, the National Institute on Aging suggests.

Dental Costs

After decades of chewing, drinking, maybe even smoking etc… your teeth are bound to get a little worn down. Some more than others obviously, but the proper care as far as brushing and flossing are always a good idea. Even with the proper care though, dental costs could add up in hurry if you’re frequenting the tooth doctor. Some of these costs could be as simple as a co-pay if you have dental coverage for a simple cleaning. Sometimes though, as you get older, getting more than a simple teeth cleaning done can become common. Dr. Peter Wong does dentures up in Surrey in Canada. More often than not, dentures end up being for those who are getting up there in years. Saving up for stuff like this when you’re younger is good idea. 


Homeownership is something many people don’t consider. When the children leave the home, the retired couple may want to downsize. This may mean taking out another mortgage on the home. Since the home should ideally be paid off prior to retirement, once should plan for closing costs, remodeling, moving and other expenses most often associated with moving into a newer, smaller home. This can be especially important if a person is planning to take out a 15-year mortgage. 

Catch-up contributions

Catch-up contributions give people over 50 the opportunity to catch up on their retirement. If a person reaches the age of 50, one can contribute thousands more over the annual limit. As of 2012, that amount is $22,500. This is good if a person decides that they want to retire a few years earlier or if circumstances happened when they were younger preventing them from saving on a certain level.

Long term care insurance

Long term care insurance is beneficial for those who may end up in a nursing home. Many families are surprised to learn that Medicare doesn’t actually cover the cost of long-term care. Medicaid also has its share of constraints. It cannot be used until the savings are practically depleted. When a person reaches their early sixties, long term care planning is recommended.

Here are five things you should save up for as you get older. Doing these things will prepare you and your family for life’s challenges as you get older. It’s never too late to start thinking ahead about retirement.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How to Find the Right Medicare Plan for You

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Choosing a Medicare plan can be a daunting task. Not only do you have to understand what Medicare does and doesn't cover, you have to understand how it pays for services, when it pays services, and how you can supplement it to ensure all of your medical costs are covered. Your job, when selecting a Medicare plan, is to fit the pieces together to form a coherent, comprehensive plan that you can afford. This guide will help you do just that.

Understanding Medicare

The first step to choosing a Medicare plan is to understand what Medicare is and how it works. Medicare is often touted as the affordable health care plan, but there is actually no limit to the out-of-pocket expenses you could be responsible for under Medicare. For instance, consider that the Part A deductible is not an annual deductible, which means that you may have to pay the same $1,184 deductible multiple times in a year. Paying it once is bad enough, but bills can really pile up if you have to pay it over and over again.

The best way to understand Medicare is to realize that the basic plan is not enough. You need coverage that will ensure that you aren't on the hook for thousands of dollars if your happen to fall into the categories that have you paying deductibles more than once or covering expenses over and above what Medicare will cover. Choosing Medicare coverage should always include choosing a Medigap plan, such as the plans offered by Here is a brief overview of Medigap coverage.

Medigap: Extending Medicare Protection

The best way to understand what costs Medicare doesn't cover is to look at plans that are designed specifically to fill in those gaps. These plans, referred to as Medigap Plans, can vary some from state to state, but the general idea is to cover shortfalls in Medicare. There are ten different Medigap plans labeled A - G and then K - N. Each plan offers different levels of coverage for the following Medicare gaps.

  • Coverage for hospital costs for an additional year after Medicare Part A benefits are used up.
  • Coverage for deductibles associated with Medicare Part A. 
  • Coverage for deductibles and other expenses (called "excess expenses") associated with gaps in Medicare Part B.
  • Coverage of blood transfusions. 
  • Payment for hospice care. 
  • Payment for skilled nursing care. 
  • Coverage for medical care during foreign travel.

The list does go on, but the point is clear. There are a lot of gaps in Medicare coverage and you have to decide how best to fill them. Each of the ten plans covers these gaps in different ways for different costs. Plan F, for instance, covers 100% of the costs that Medicare doesn't. Of course, it is a more expensive plan than say Plan K, which covers most things to 50% of their total cost and does not cover certain gaps at all.

Making Sense of It

Making sense of Medicare takes time and effort. There are advisors available to help you, but a great deal of information is available online. You will need to know what types of coverage you expect to use (you may not need foreign travel coverage, but blood transfusion coverage may be critical) and how much you can afford to pay. Let those two factors be your guides, but remember that there are advisors who know the system well and can help you get more coverage even if you think you can't afford it. The worse thing you can do is go without coverage that you think you need, so be diligent and ask for help. There is almost always a solution.

Billy Henderson has many years of experience in the healthcare industry. He enjoys explaining the ins and outs of the system to help the everyday person understand the options.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Six Ways to Prepare your Family Financially for Retirement

Every family does what it can to financially prepare for retirement. As you prepare to enjoy your golden years, there are things you and your family can do to make sure that the necessary financial resources are available. 

Move Your Retirement Account To Something More Stable

For years, you have allowed your retirement account at work to remain aggressive and build as much value as possible. As you hit the home stretch and are preparing to use that retirement account, you will want to move your investment options to more conservative choices to make sure that you do not lose value in your account. Now is not the time to make risky high return investments. Stick with safer more stable accounts.

Pay Off Your Home

By paying off your mortgage before you retire, you will eliminate that expensive monthly payment and you will open up the equity in your home. If you ever need to borrow money for any reason during your retirement, your home's equity makes an excellent borrowing option.

Buy Long Term Care Insurance

The long term care insurance Spokane residents use helps to supplement any other kind of health insurance that your family may have. It is difficult to predict what kinds of health insurance resources you will have when you retire, and you also never know what kinds of health care costs you will incur. Long term care insurance helps to preserve your retirement savings by providing the care you need later in life.

Look Into Health Care Options

Along with long term care insurance, you will also need a general health insurance policy to cover your healthcare costs after retirement. Always purchase the most complete health insurance coverage you can to help save money as your care needs get more expensive. For example, Medicare offers several supplement options that will help pay for the costs that basic Medicare insurance does not cover. Without these supplements, your out of pocket costs could have a significant negative effect on your finances especially if you require complex prescriptions or anything else not covered in the standard plan.

Pay Off Your Credit Cards

Most retirees live on a fixed incomes that can make it difficult to live if they rack up credit card bills. Pay off your credit cards before retirement and get rid of all of your cards but one. If you can't pay for it in cash when you retire, then you shouldn't have it. Living on a fixed income requires a well planned budget and you won't have room for extra credit card bills in that budget. 

Get Life Insurance

If you do not have life insurance, then get some before you retire. The last thing you want to do is saddle your family with a tremendous financial burden when you pass away. If you have a mortgage or children in college, this is a must.

Planning for retirement is exciting, but it is also a tremendous responsibility. Make sure that your accounts are in order before you retire so that you and your family can enjoy the plans you have made. The sooner you start saving and planning, the easier it will be once you actually retire.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Taking The Burden Off Your Kids: 5 Saving Tips For Your Golden Years

Most people do not look forward to getting older as there are many changes that accompany getting to our so-called golden years. For instance, the children that seniors once cared for frequently have to take care of their parents as they age. Here are some tips that can help take some of the financial burden off of children. Saving for a good retirement is something that people both young and old and start to focus on to make for a better life and truly make their final years golden.

1. Take Advantage of Discounts

Ben Franklin once quipped that "a penny saved is a penny earned." There are many opportunities for senior citizens to save money through senior discounts. Every penny saved is one penny that a senior or his or her children do not have to spend at a later date. Many grocery and restaurant chains offer discounts that sometimes start as early as AARP eligibility at age 50. These are definitely worth looking into.

2. Cash in on Travel Rewards

Many seniors live at some distance from their adult children and grandchildren. Most of these elders will want to visit with family at some point during the year. Rather than having children foot the bill for travel, seniors can sign up for frequent flyer accounts and hotel rewards programs that can pay off in free flights or free hotel stays. The reduced cost of travel can fit a retired senior's schedule much easier than a working child.

3. Downsize

The American Dream for a large segment of society includes owning a large home. After a couple begins to experience an empty nest, there is no longer a need for 4,000 square feet of living space. One of the best ways to free up some additional cash during retirement can come from downsizing. A two- or three-bedroom home will probably suffice for most retirees. Getting rid of a five- or six-bedroom house can be a great move to reduce financial burdens later in life.

4. Look into Assisted Living

Many children feel obligated to take care of their aging parents. These same adult children will frequently need to be a part of a two-income household just to make ends meet. Getting into an assisted living environment can provide for some of the care that a senior needs while also allowing children to continue working. However, you can plan ahead and avoid ending up somewhere you don't like. Looking into assisted living in Clermont FL and other warm weather locales is often preferable.

5. Set up an HSA

When getting closer to retirement age, a good idea is setting up a Health Savings Account. These accounts can pay for some of the routine medical expenses that Medicare might not cover, and this can help take a big burden off of children.

There are many ways for senior citizens to save their adult children some stress. Whether it is looking into assisted living or cashing in frequent flyer miles for a visit, these tips can save money for seniors, and they can also help lessen the financial and psychological burden that their children might feel.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Are Health Savings Accounts the Next Retirement Plan?

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It is no secret that end of life care consumes the majority of health care dollars. In fact, about 80% of all money spent on health care is spent during the last two years of a person's life. The problem with this is that many people have exhausted savings and sold off assets by that point to afford care. Health savings accounts (HSAs) may provide a solution to the problems of health care expenditures in old age. In some ways, they are like a retirement plan for your health needs. 

Qualified Expenses

HSAs, such as those offered by, are health care plans that provide tax benefits. In essence, as long as the money that is put into an HSA is spent on health care, it is tax free. This feature of HSAs has led many to compare them to individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and other tax-advantaged retirement plans. In truth, HSAs are even better than most IRAs because while HSA monies are guaranteed never to be taxed if spent on health care needs.

Qualified expenses can include a number of things that might traditionally be thought of as lodging. For instance, nursing home and retirement community expenses are completely covered so long as the individual lives in the facility due to medical necessity. Even hotel stays, home improvements, care equipment, alternative medicine, certain types of furniture, and more are covered if necessary for medical care. That means that room, board, transportation, and meals can be paid for, tax free, from HSA savings.

Essentially, the HSA offers a true tax free way to save for retirement. Though it may seem like a gimmick, the truth is that it is cheaper to pay for end of life care through an HSA than through Medicare or traditional insurance. HSA money is simply earnings that have been set aside over time. The best way to look at an HSA as encouragement to save for retirement, something everyone ought to be doing anyway.

As a final note, at age 65, HSA money can be withdrawn for non-medical purposes without penalty. Though you will pay tax on the money, it works just like an IRA, so the tax rate is lower than for other types of income. That means that an HSA is probably a better safety net for most people than an IRA due the flexibility that an HSA offers.

How to Treat an HSA Like a Retirement Account

Start Early

The key to a successful HSA that will see an individual through retirement is to start early. An account that is allowed to grow relatively untouched, for an average of 20 years, will be worth a substantial amount of money after compound interest is considered. If you can find a job with an employer who contributes, especially early in your career, savings will accumulate even faster.

Use Other Accounts

There is no rule that says you must use HSA funds before you use other monies to pay for health care. If you can afford it, then you might be further ahead to pay for medical costs without using HSA funds. Then, the roll over from year to year will be greater and the compounding effect will be enhanced.

Don't Touch

Though it will be tempting, from time to time, to use HSA money for some large expense beyond health care, don't do it. The penalty for doing so is 20% over and above the tax you will pay by claiming the withdrawal as income. Leave the money where it is, unless you need it for health care.

Coming Out Ahead

If you start early and save diligently, an HSA could be the best retirement plan you invest in. Remember that HSA funds can be invested, so don't be afraid to go for mutual funds or other investments just as you would with other retirement income. Remember that you are investing in your health with this money, so treat it with the respect it deserves.

Ron Sheffer researches money matters in the healthcare industry. He often blogs about his insights to help people make smart decisions.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

How do you Prevent your Loved Elders from Being Neglected?

There comes a time and age in your life when you feel that you are not being able to take good care of your parents any longer. In such cases, what do you do? One option that many elders go for is nursing home care. If you put your loved ones in a nursing home then it will provide them with skilled nursing round the clock along with giving medicines and all kinds of proper care. However, nursing homes can also neglect your loved ones and deprive them of the care that their patients deserve and what they are being paid for. A nursing home can be pretty expensive to pay for, so if you see any signs of neglect in your loved ones, go in for nursing home attorney assistance immediately. 

Planning for long term care

If you are planning for long time health care for your elders, then there are quite a few things that you need to sit down and consider. That includes looking at the long term insurance plans, and looking at options for nursing homes. You should also make sure that your loved one is able to extract the most out of benefit programs like Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Make sure that their assets are protected and be on the lookout for any form of elder fraud. To help you with these financial decisions, you could also hire an attorney who specialises in elder law and finance cases. In that case, you will know all the legalities and the rights that your loved one has.

Be alert for signs of neglect

The first thing to do is to regularly visit your loved ones in the nursing home. If you cannot be present then make sure that you send someone to do it regularly. There are many warning signs of nursing home neglect and you can hold the home legally accountable for them. These include bad hygiene, malnutrition, forms of physical abuse including fractures, bruises or any form of unexplained marks. All living conditions including bathrooms also fall under this category. Lastly, if a nursing home is making claims of providing professional nursing facilities then any form of medical negligence or substandard care also falls under nursing home neglect.

If you feel that your loved one is facing any of these on a regular basis, then you need to seek legal assistance. Remember that it’s not about abuse, even negligence is criminal and can lead to emotional trauma and in some cases, death too.

What to do in case of elder neglect

If you have definitively verified that your loved one is being neglected then you should remove him/her from the facility immediately and have them placed somewhere else. Then you should inform the local authorities and file a complaint with the social services. If you want to take it a step further, then consider going in for nursing home attorney assistance. Hire the services of a civil lawyer who specialises in a branch of elder law. This should include elder abuse, consumer fraud, nursing home law, etc. If there are others like you, then you could consider going in for a class action lawsuit.

The advantage is that, you can sue for neglect as well. The case doesn’t necessarily have to escalate to the point of abuse. There are industry standards that require nursing homes to provide standard and reasonable care to their patients. If the nursing home fails to provide “reasonable care”, then you have cause or action for neglect cases.

About the author:
Jean is a lawyer specialising in elder law for the past fifteen years. She has helped countless elders to structure their healthcare and finance plans. Recently she has also co-authored an article on nursing home attorney assistance. Jean likes to read novels in her free time.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Loving Care For The Elderly

Loving Care For The Elderly Home health care is a good finance option, and it is ideal for elders and the sick that no longer need hospital care to finish recuperating. This service offers numerous advantageous to elders who prefer to be in the comfort of their home and in familiar surroundings rather than a long-term care center. In-home care providers make it possible for both those recuperating and the sick to stay at home and still carry on with their life in the way that they want. Family members can be with the patients at all times or visit them whenever they want. 

The best In-home care workers do not compromise on the care and treatment they provide. They provide a highly flexible, personalized service. The patients and their families' best interests are given top priority, and all efforts are put forth to give the best clinical, pharmaceutical and healthcare services. The well-trained providers give high quality, compassionate service and take care of all a patient's needs so that they live comfortably. They work in close coordination with the existing medical services and related parameters. 

These services provide freedom, dignity and a sense of belonging. Elders who prefer staying at home and being under the care of a home worker are near their loved and dear ones instead of being in a strange hospital or care facility. A home atmosphere, love and care enhance the healing process. 

Health care includes a range of services. These services include: 

  • Physical therapy 
  • Speech therapy 
  • Dietary Management 
  • Medication and injection 
  • Observations and assessments 
  • Psychiatric care 
  • Occupational therapy 
  • Intravenous medication therapy
  • Chemotherapy 
  • Complicated wound care 
  • Infusion therapy 

Benefits of Home Care 

Home care provides more advantages than being in a residential health care facility or a nursing home. A health care worker ensures that the elderly person receives nutritious meals, timely medication, rest and adequate supervision. 

Healing happens more quickly in a relaxed environment like one's home. Also, the risk of infection is decreased by leaps and bounds. Health care workers who come to one's home enhance recuperation and recovery, and they are also able to provide better personal hygiene. 

This type of care gives patients more control over their atmosphere. The patient can decide on his daily schedule and have the freedom to do things he has always done in his home. 

A home care aide provides companionship. Family members who have to be away from home due to work and other commitments can leave their homes safe in the knowledge that their loved ones are taken care of. 

Cost Benefits 

Nursing homes, semi private rooms and assisted living in care facilities are alternatives to hiring a health professional to come to your home, but they are more costly. A vast majority of patients are opting to be treated at home under the care of home health care workers than in an alien environment for both comfort and finance benefits. However, these facilities are less expensive than what one would have to spend on hospital service or at long term care facilities. Home care health services also reduce readmission finance. The hourly rates vary from state to state and city to city. Rates can vary from $25 to $50. 

Medicare will finance home health care if certain conditions are met. If you are home bound and need skilled nursing care, then you will be eligible for Medicare finance. There are numerous agencies catering to the needs of elders. They provide health care to the elderly who need constant medical care and assistance after being discharged from the hospital. It is important to get the services of an efficient and reliable home health aide. Referrals from friends and family are the best way to find honest and reliable care providers who your finance plan can handle. Online reviews and testimonials can also help you narrow in on the best agencies to contact. 

Author Bio 

Sarah Daren is a writer who creates informative articles relating to the field of health. In this article, she explains a few benefits associate with home health care and aims to promote programs such as a family caregiver program Colorado.

Friday, October 11, 2013

What Are Your Payment Options for Assisted Living?

Most people want to be able to live on their own their whole lives. Unfortunately, your health may start to deteriorate to the point that you can no longer take care of yourself. 

Your family members may not be able to give you the care that you need either. You may need to eventually consider living in an assisted living facility.

Many people are reluctant to use one of these facilities because they feel they are worried about paying for it. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can pay for assisted living.

Utilize Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance will pay for you to go into a nursing home or assisted living facility. The average policy for a 55 year old will cost about $3,500 a year. These policies clearly aren’t cheap, but you will probably be a lot better off purchasing them than trying to pay out of pocket down the road.

Most long-term care policies should cover everything that you need. The average policy will pay for about $4,470 worth of services a month. That is nearly 60% more than the median cost of living in an assisted living facility. 

However, you should ask your insurance carrier what services they will cover and find out how much different facilities cost long before you need them.

Consider a Bridge Loan While Selling Property

You may have trouble paying the premiums for long-term care insurance while you are still working. You may want to take out a bridge loan instead. Bridge loans will pay for your stay at an assisted living facility when you can’t afford to pay upfront. A number of companies offer them.

You will need several people to cosign the loan for you. They will be collectively responsible for making the payments while you are in the assisted living facility. However, one person will usually be appointed to be responsible for making the payments.

The rates on these loans are usually very reasonable. They typically offer a line of credit of up to $50,000 with the same rates as secured home loans. They are ideal for people who are in the process of selling their homes to pay for assisted living.

Look into Medicaid and Medicare Coverage

Many people are unrealistic about what Medicare and Medicaid will cover. They typically aren’t feasible payment options when you have other options available. However, you may still be able to take advantage of them.

Most states offer some form of Medicaid waiver that will allow you to pay for some of your assisted living costs. However, residents in Louisiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina do not offer such coverage. 

You may want to consider relocating to another state if you are a Medicaid recipient and suspect that you may need to enter an assisted living facility within the next few years.

Medicare is also an option worth considering, but you generally can’t use your Medicare coverage until all other options have been exhausted. You will need to deplete all of your assets first.

About the author:

Kalen is a freelance finance and lifestyle writer. He shares tips to help seniors live comfortably after retirement, such as using Senior Apartments in Kalamazoo Michigan.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Unexpected Costs: Five Things That Could Surprise You After Retirement

For well over 30 years analysts and demographers have spoke of the years when the Baby Boomer generation would hit retirement age. That has now come to pass, with more than 5,500 individuals in the United States hitting 65 every day. Those seeking senior living Mesa AZ, offers are arriving in that city by the thousands each year. For those who have planned well, the golden years lay before them. For over half of those new seniors, however, they are financially unprepared for the prospects of retirement. 

In addition, even those who tried to plan financially are finding that there are a number of potential surprises in retirement that upset those plans. Their experiences serve as a cautionary tale of financial issues that can disrupt your retirement plans. Below are five of those potential additional costs of which you should be aware. 

Unanticipated health care costs.

Many retirees have not borne the brunt of their personal health care expenses until they are on their own. Additionally, people that have been healthy all their lives are surprised by sudden diseases and ailments that come with the aging process. With the new Affordable Care Act, there is a great deal of uncertainty and confusion about how best to manage medical costs. One unpleasant irony for many is the more they have prepared and have adequate financial resources, the more they are often charged for their care. This includes surcharges for Medicare patients with higher incomes (currently $85,000 single and $170,000) filing jointly.

Taxes on income.

The fact that social security benefits are subject to taxes above a certain income threshold both surprise and aggravate many. Instead of being seen as the fruit of after-tax dollars, the government stands ready to again rake another share of the income you receive. 

Loss of income

Couples who plan to retire together make plans that deal with average life expectancies. When one spouse passes earlier than planned, the survival benefits lost can upset those budgets. Experiencing injury within the workplace could also effect this loss of income and could create a decrease in investments funds. 

Taxes on withdrawals.

There are very explicit rules concerning the taxation of withdrawals from different retirement savings plans. Aside from the risk of extra taxes and penalties, many find the taxes to be a larger burden than built into their budget. Creating alternative sources of funds will be able to maintain the investment path while decreasing the taxation seen on the withdrawals. 

Greater than anticipated spending.

Financial planners work with individuals to set up spending for 20 to 30 years in the future. Even with allowances for inflation, many retirees find that it simply costs more to live and enjoy their freedom than they ever anticipated. Rather than living a sedentary lifestyle sitting at home, individuals find they enjoy traveling and visiting with grandchildren. Everything from dinner out to giving more gifts than planned can cause shortfalls in the budgets that were established when much younger.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What Will the Health Exchanges Mean for Seniors?

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...
English: President Barack Obama's signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Affordable Care Act will go into effect on January 1, 2014. Most people are trying to prepare for the new law to go into effect. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about the law that may prevent people from making informed decisions. The effect that the health exchanges will have on seniors is especially confusing. You will need to know what the health exchanges are and how they will impact you. Here are some things you should know.

Health Exchanges Won’t Replace Medicare

The federal government recently hired Kelton, an independent consulting firm, to find out what seniors believe about Medicare. Their new survey found that 86% of seniors believe that the new health exchanges will replace Medicare. A number of other seniors believe that the eligibility age for Medicare will increase when the law goes into effect.

Many seniors are foregoing healthcare, choosing not to fill prescriptions or looking for a part-time job because they think that they won’t receive the assistance they need. They may even forego getting assisted living such as by visiting a senior neighborhood living in Reading, PA.

Health officials want to make sure that they understand the new law so that they can make better decisions. Here are some of the misconceptions they want to clarify:

  • Eligible seniors will still receive Medicare after the ACA goes into effect.
  • The ACA will not raise the eligibility age for Medicare.
  • They shouldn’t expect to pay more for prescription drugs.
  • They can begin enrolling in Medicare in October.

Eligible seniors should still apply for Medicare. However, they may find that Medicare won’t cover all the services they need. You will want to know how to buy private insurance on the exchanges as well.

Tips for Buying Insurance on the Exchanges

Many seniors will want to consider buying insurance on the health exchanges. They may not be old enough to qualify for Medicare yet or would rather have a more comprehensive policy. Here are some guidelines to help you choose.

Understanding Your Rights

The Affordable Care Act carries a number of changes for seniors looking to buy health care. Insurers will no longer be allowed to disqualify them from receiving coverage based on their age or preexisting conditions. However, they will be allowed to charge seniors up to three times as much for coverage.

Tips for Reducing Premiums

The health care law prohibits insurers from setting higher premiums based on preexisting conditions. However, it does allow them to charge higher premiums to people who smoke. You may want to consider kicking the habit if you want to reduce your premiums.

You may also be able to receive lower premiums if you participate in an employer sponsored health plan. You should consider doing so if you are still working.

Look Into Subsidies

You will want to see if you are eligible for any of the subsidies. Anyone who is making less than 400% of the poverty line will be eligible for subsidies. You will want to apply for these subsidies if you are below this income threshold.

Understand the Health Plan Classifications

You will need to decide whether you want to pay lower premiums every month or lower deductibles. This will depend on what services you believe you will need in the future.

You can already offset your insurance premiums by paying higher deductibles and copays. The health exchanges will make it easier for you to choose a plan that meets your needs. You can choose between bronze, silver, gold and platinum policies. The bronze policies offer the lowest premiums but the highest deductibles. Premiums will be higher while deductibles will be lower with the other plans.

About the Author: Kalen is a financial advice writer with an MBA. He shares tips to help people of all ages plan for the future.

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