Preventing a Will Contest

Emotions can run high at the death of a family member. If a family member is unhappy with the amount they received (or didn’t receive) under a will, he or she may contest the will. Will contests can drag out for years, keeping all the heirs from getting what they are entitled to. It may be impossible to prevent relatives from fighting over your will entirely, but there are steps you can take to try to minimize squabbles and ensure your intentions are carried out. Your will can be contested if a family member believes you did not have the Continue Reading

Make Reviewing Your Estate Plan One of Your New Year’s Resolutions

The beginning of a new year is a good time to take a look at your estate plan to make sure it is up to date. Less than half of people actually have any estate planning documents in place and many of those people may have outdated documents. Documents that were created when your children were born may need updating 20, 30, or 40 years later, after your family and financial situation have changed entirely. Estate planning is all about five essential documents. Here they are in order of importance: 1. The Durable Power of Attorney The most important estate Continue Reading

For Better or for Worse, States Are Turning to Managed Care for Med

More and more states are switching to a managed care model when dealing with Medicaid long-term care patients, a change that has resulted in a loss of services in some cases. Many states use managed care to deliver care to their regular Medicaid populations, but until recently, the care needs of the elderly and disabled have been viewed as too complex for the managed care model.  But states are increasingly turning their state-run home health programs over to private insurance firms to provide managed long-term services and supports (MLTSS). The number of states with MLTSS programs increased from eight in Continue Reading

Repealing Obamacare Will Have Consequences for Medicare

One of President-elect’s Donald Trump’s campaign promises was to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, and Republicans in Congress have vowed to make repeal one of their first acts in the new term. While repealing Obamacare will have implications for millions of younger people covered by the insurance, it will also affect Medicare beneficiaries. To begin with, the ACA requires insurers to provide free preventative care coverage to Medicare beneficiaries. Without that requirement, seniors may end up having to pay for many preventative care services. In addition, the ACA reduced prescription drug costs under Medicare Part D and Continue Reading

Is It Better to Remarry or Just Live Together?

Finding love later in life may be unexpected and exciting, but should it lead to marriage? The considerations are much different for an older couple with adult children and retirement plans than for a young couple just starting out. Before deciding whether to get married or just live together, you need to look at your estate plan, your Social Security benefits, and your potential long-term care needs, among other things. Whatever you decide to do, you may want to consult with your lawyer to make sure your wishes will be carried out.Here are some things to think about: Estate Planning. Continue Reading

Part B Premium Will Rise Slightly for Most Medicare Beneficiaries in 2017

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has announced the Medicare premiums, deductibles, and coinsurances for 2017. After holding steady at $104.90 a month for four years, the standard Medicare Part B premium that most recipients pay will rise 4 percent to about $109 a month.  However, approximately 30 percent of beneficiaries will see their Part B premium rise from $121.80 to $134 a month, a 10 percent increase.  Meanwhile, all beneficiaries will face a higher Part B deductible, which will go from the current $166 to $183 in 2017. The reason for the two different Part B premiums is that Continue Reading

When Can You Delay Taking Medicare?

While you are eligible to apply for Medicare when you are 65, there are circumstances where you might not want to, particularly if you are working full time for a larger employer or contributing to a health savings account. However, there can be penalties if you don’t sign up at the right time, so it is important to know when you can delay signing up for Medicare without facing a penalty. You can first sign up for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period, which is the seven-month period that includes the three months before the month you become eligible (usually Continue Reading

IRS Issues Long-Term Care Premium Deductibility Limits for 2017

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is increasing the amount taxpayers can deduct from their 2017 taxes as a result of buying long-term care insurance. Premiums for “qualified” long-term care insurance policies (see explanation below) are tax deductible to the extent that they, along with other unreimbursed medical expenses (including Medicare premiums), exceed 10 percent of the insured’s adjusted gross income, or 7.5 percent for taxpayers 65 and older (for 2016; this rises to 10 percent in 2017). These premiums — what the policyholder pays the insurance company to keep the policy in force — are deductible for the taxpayer, his Continue Reading

Typical Social Security Recipient Will Get $4 Benefit Increase in 2017

Social Security benefits will rise only slightly in 2017. This follows no increase in benefits in 2016 and small increases for many of the previous years. The small bump in 2017 will likely be eaten up by higher Medicare Part B premiums. The nation’s more than 65 million Social Security recipients will get a 0.3 percent cost of living increase in payments in 2017. This is expected to raise the monthly payment for the typical beneficiary by $4. Cost of living increases are tied to the consumer price index, and low inflation rates and gas prices means smaller increases. The Continue Reading

It’s Time to Reassess Your Medicare Choices

Are your Medicare plans still working for you? Medicare’s open enrollment period, in which you can enroll in or switch plans, runs from October 15 to December 7.  Now is the time to review your options to determine if switching plans could save you money. During this period you may enroll in a Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan or, if you currently have a plan, you may change plans. In addition, during the seven-week period you can return to traditional Medicare (Parts A and B) from a Medicare Advantage (Part C, managed care) plan, enroll in a Medicare Advantage Continue Reading