Tag: florida elder care

2022 Medicare Open Enrollment Tips for You and Your Aging Parents

Are you the adult child of aging parents? Do you look with them each year during Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment Period to see if there are any health and drug plan changes? These changes can range from out of pocket costs and network coverage to providers and pharmacies within their networks. Beginning October 15, there is much for you and your aging parents to review.

Have your aging parents had health care changes this past year? Because of their health changes and possible Medicare plan coverage changes it is wise for every Florida senior to revisit their health plans at least annually and make the changes they need during the open enrollment period. Below we have a few tips that you can use to be sure your aging parents have the Medicare coverage that best meets their needs.

1. Be sure to review the Annual Notice of Change letter that was sent to your aging parents. Your parents, as Medicare beneficiaries, should have received an “annual notice of change” letter from their Medicare plan. They should have received this letter no later than September. Medicare explains all the changes coming in the new year in this benefits letter. You and your aging parents will now see an overview of their plan, including coverage and costs, premiums, deductibles, and copays.

2. Are you and your parents debating whether to switch plans? Do you and your aging parents want to see what additional plans are out there in your area? Be sure to look at The Medicare Plan Finder on the Medicare website. This is an online tool from the government to help you select and compare plans. You enter the zip code of your parents and details about their medications and whether they receive them by mail, then you and your aging parents can compare plans available in your area.

3. What do your parents need as Florida seniors and have their care needs changed, in fact, is there a less expensive option? If you and your aging parents are thinking about switching to a new plan we recommend you start by looking at their medical expenses over the last six months. This way you can get an accurate picture of whether their Medicare plan is the best fit. By reviewing the medical care for your parents in the last six months, you can account for changes in their health as well as changes in their plan. That being said, is there a less expensive option for your aging parents? Premiums for some parts of Medicare are based on your modified adjusted gross income (or MAGI) from two years ago. MAGI also adds in capital gains, Social Security, and required minimum distributions from individual retirement accounts and 401(k) plans. You and your parents, of course, cannot change your income but you can plan for 2022’s premiums.

For more information, we encourage you to call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit Medicare.gov.

Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.

The 10 Point Nursing Home Checklist You and Your Loved Ones Need

Do you have loved ones that you care for and now need skilled nursing care? Are you finding this discussion with your loved ones the most difficult thing you have ever done? We realize that the decision to move your loved ones to a nursing home is hard. How do you find the right one? Will there be challenges? How do you make sure that the needs of your loved ones, both now and in the future, will be met by the facility?

Finding the right facility for your loved ones, that can meet their health care needs, is only the starting place in your research. In addition, what other factors will you and your loved ones need to consider that you may not be aware of yet. Right now, in this blog, we would like to share our 10 Point Checklist that you and your loved ones can read and use in your research as you assess your choices.

1. Financial programs and health care services. Are programs such as Medicaid and long-term care insurance, that can help offset the high cost of care, accepted? Find out early in your evaluation process. Be aware that not all nursing homes provide the same health care services. Make a list of the health care services your loved ones need and use this list to determine if the facility is a fit for them.

2. Location may be important. If your loved ones want to stay in the community where they have always lived, then you must try to find a good nursing home in their community.

3. Change in levels of care and medication management. If the health of your loved ones declines or improves, will they be able to stay in the facility? You need to know this now, so that any moving later on can be avoided. Does the nursing home manage medications or is it considered an additional service? Most skilled nursing homes include this service, but some do not, so be sure to ask.

4. Programs, activities and ways to engage the residents. Knowing that loneliness and isolation are a leading cause of death for Older Americans, it is crucial that the facility offers opportunities for your loved ones to be active and engaged.

5. Communication plan. How does the facility communicate with the families of their residents? Does the facility report to one designated family member about the needs of the resident? Will the facility talk with multiple family members, as well as the agent(s) under the durable powers of attorney of your loved ones? Communication is vital and you need to know the facility’s plan.

6. Online connection plan. Will you be able to connect online with your loved one? Will you and your loved ones be able to use FaceTime, Skype, Messenger, or other methods of online communication? Be sure to see if the facility has a plan to ensure you can connect with your loved ones once they become residents.

7. Licensed by the state. Be sure to look into the facility’s licensing. Is it up-to-date? Have there been any problems? How were challenges addressed?

8. Disaster management and updates on Covid-19. All nursing homes you visit should have a plan for how it will manage disasters. Disasters can range from viruses to natural disasters to power outages, and in Florida, to hurricanes. You need to discuss what to expect and the facility’s plan for handling these issues before signing the contract.

9. Take a tour, read reviews and ask for opinions. Before visiting the nursing home read any reviews you can find online. Once you are onsite, if possible, ask residents their opinions. Get the opinions of family and friends about the facility. Be sure to schedule a tour, but also consider an unscheduled tour so that you can evaluate the facility without it having time to prepare for your arrival.

10. Staff, turnover, and health care provider permissions. Find out about the people working in the facility. Do they seem happy? Caring? Busy? Is there frequent staff turnover? Also, find out if your loved ones’ current health care provider will be able to enter into the facility to treat your loved ones.

These 10 points are just the beginning of the research you will want to finish before placing your loved ones in a long-term care facility. We encourage you to discuss your potential choices, as well as your goals, with your Florida elder law attorney. Your attorney can help guide you in this critical decision so your loved ones can find and access good long-term care.

Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.