Tag: Medicare

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.

Medicaid Planning for Florida Seniors

Did you know that, according to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, a person turning 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services, including assisted living or a nursing home? The median cost of a private room in a nursing home is over $100,000 annually, according to the Florida Health Care Association. Medicaid planning involves legally and ethically protecting assets for those who do not already qualify for Medicaid, and for those who qualify but may be expecting an influx of money, such as an inheritance or a personal injury settlement, so that individuals can make their money last longer and lead to the highest possible quality of life. 

The laws governing Medicaid can be complex. For 2021, the income cap to qualify for Medicaid in Florida is $2382.00, per month. If your monthly income, from all sources, exceeds the limit for this year, you will not qualify for Medicaid. You may, however, consider creating either a Miller Trust, a Qualified Income Trust (QIT), or a Supplemental Needs Trust. A Miller Trust is an irrevocable trust that accepts any monthly income over the income cap or slightly more, even though the Trust still uses that money to pay for your long-term care, minus a small personal allowance. These types of trusts may be structured so that certain assets and income sources are removed from the Medicaid calculation, allowing a person to then qualify to receive Medicaid benefits to cover the cost of long-term care.

Medicaid planning may require a thorough examination of your total asset portfolio. Our office can help you protect your home and other assets. This can be especially important if one spouse needs care and the other can live independently. Do you have questions? Please contact our law practice to learn more. We are here for you. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties.

Medicare Part D – What You Need To Know

If you’ve reached the point in your life that you’re insured by Medicare, you’re not alone. Tens of millions of American seniors also rely on Medicare to help pay for their healthcare needs, such as hospital care and outpatient medical services. But you may still be wondering if your prescription drugs will be covered. As of 2017, more than 42,000,000 Medicare beneficiaries had prescription drug coverage through Medicare part D, which is optional.

Anne’ Desormier-Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA, offer some insight. Medicare part C, is an alternative to original Medicare, as it allows program beneficiaries to receive their Medicare benefits through a private health insurance plan. But you may need to purchase a stand-alone drug plan if your specific Medicare Advantage Plan doesn’t include prescription drugs.

Medicare part D, pays for outpatient drug expenses. Each approved part D plan covers different drugs and co-pays for brand name and generic covered drugs. One way to get the Medicare part D enrollment process started, is to call 1-800-MEDICARE to locate prescription drug plans in your area.

There are other ways. To find out more, an elder law attorney can help with this matter and more. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service, but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs. Do not wait to contact their office for support.

What Is Medicare Part D and What Options Apply?

Tens of millions of American seniors rely on Medicare to help pay for their health care needs.

As long as someone is age 65 or older, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident living in the country for at least five straight years, and either they or their spouse paid Medicare taxes during their working years, they’re eligible for Medicare. The program offers government-funded health care coverage in a variety of areas, such as hospital care and outpatient medical services.

Another area of coverage is for prescription drugs. This is what’s known as Medicare Part D.

For most of its history, the Medicare program did not offer a prescription drug benefit. But that changed in 2006, when a bipartisan Congress added the coverage.

By 2017, more than 42 million Medicare beneficiaries had prescription drug coverage through Medicare Part D, which is optional. About 60 percent had a stand-alone prescription drug plan in conjunction with Original Medicare, also known as Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (outpatient medical services). The other 40 percent had a Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan.

Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part C, is an alternative to Original Medicare as it allows program beneficiaries to receive their Medicare benefits through a private health insurance plan. Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, although you may need to purchase a stand-alone drug plan if your specific Medicare Advantage plan doesn’t include prescription drugs.

For those enrolled in Original Medicare, the only source of prescription drug plans is through private insurance companies because Medicare A and B do not cover outpatient, or outside of a hospital, prescriptions. Medicare Part D, however, does pay for outpatient drug expenses. Each approved Part D plan covers different drugs and copays for covered drugs, which include both brand-name and generic products. It does not cover over-the-counter medications like cough syrups or antacids, prescription drugs like Viagra, or cosmetic treatments like hair growth elixirs or weight loss pills.

Here are several ways to get the Medicare Part D enrollment process started:

Call 1-800-MEDICARE to locate prescription drug plans in your area.
Log on to Medicare’s Prescription Drug Plan Enrollment Center.
Fill out the paperwork sent by mail from Medicare.
Call the private insurer with the specific prescription drug plan you want to join.
Call MedicareResources.org at 1-855-593-5633 and talk with a licensed agent.

Does this article raise more questions than it answers. We know that dealing with any elder law issue can be difficult. Do not wait to contact our office for support.