Plan Ahead Before Seeking Nursing Home Care: Avoid Unnecessary Debt for You and Your Family

Many senior citizens may need the services of a nursing home or at-home care at some point in their life. You might assume that government assistance or health insurance will step in and cover the cost if you cannot afford these services. Unfortunately, neither health insurance nor Medicare covers long-term care. Because obtaining long-term care insurance can be very expensive, Medicaid could become your only option. Medicaid coverage is not a given, however. If you have assets or recently transferred assets, Medicaid may determine you do not qualify for coverage until a certain amount of time has passed. If this Continue Reading

Keeping Your Emergency Contacts and Medical Information Updated for First Responders

If medical personnel are able to access your medical history during an emergency, it could mean the difference between life and death. But if, for example, you are injured, in shock, suffering from dementia, or are otherwise incapacitated, you may not be able to provide that information yourself. There are several systems readily available to help make crucial contact and medical history information available to first responders. Consider taking the time to update your details with the following free tools: On Your Smartphone: Even when your smartphone is locked, you have options for inputting your emergency contacts as well as other Continue Reading

The Powers and Responsibilities of Representative Payees

Do you have a friend or loved one who receives Social Security and is unable to manage her payments? If so, you can request that the Social Security Administration (SSA), the government agency that disburses Social Security, name you as the representative payee for that person. Being a representative payee gives you the power and the responsibility to manage that money for your friend or loved one. (The Office of Personnel Management and the Railroad Retirement Agency also appoint representative payees, and the responsibilities are basically the same.) As a representative payee, you only have the power to handle the Continue Reading

It Pays to Be a Smart Shopper When Buying a Medigap Insurance Policy

Medigap premiums for plans from insurance companies offering the same benefits vary widely, so it pays to be a smart shopper. Federal law requires that each insurance company offers the same benefits for each of the Medigap plans lettered A through M, but each company sets its own premium rates. A Medigap insurance company sets premiums in three ways: Community-rated, where the premiums are the same, regardless of age Issue or entry age-related, where premiums are cheaper if purchased at a younger age Attained-age-related, where premiums are based on your age at the time of purchase When choosing a Medigap plan, Continue Reading

Stop Using Unsafe Portable Bed Rails Immediately, National Safety Commission Warns

An advisory issued in June warns people against using a series of adult portable bed rail models after at least three people — including one in a nursing home and another in an assisted living facility — were entangled in them and died of asphyxia. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission named the following 10 models of Mobility Transfer Systems adult portable bed rails in which it says users may become trapped, resulting in serious injury or death: Freedom Grip (model 501) Freedom Grip Plus (model 502) Freedom Grip Travel (model 505) Reversible Slant Rail (model 600) Transfer Handle (model 2025) Easy Continue Reading

Some Social Security Beneficiaries Can Get Retroactive Payments — But at a Cost

If you need a lot of cash on hand upon retirement, Social Security offers a lump-sum payment option that’s worth six months of benefits. However, it comes at a cost. It is important to understand the details before agreeing to the payment. If you have waited beyond your full retirement age (66 for those born between 1943 and 1954) to begin collecting Social Security benefits, you have the option of asking for back payments. The maximum that Social Security offers is six months’ worth of retroactive payments in a lump sum. The downside is that by taking the lump sum, your Continue Reading

When Is a Nursing Home Eviction Legal, and What Can I Do?

Nursing home evictions, or involuntary discharges or transfers, disrupt the lives of residents, leading to homelessness, separation from familial support systems, and loss of care. As federal law covers all federally funded nursing home residents, nursing home evictions are legal only in particular instances, such as: The nursing home can no longer provide for a resident’s needs. The resident does not pay for care after “reasonable and appropriate notice,” which varies by state. The resident no longer needs care. The resident jeopardizes the health or safety of other residents. The nursing home closes. Causes of illegal nursing home evictions Financial motives are Continue Reading

How to Get Into a Nursing Home as a Medicaid Recipient

While Medicaid helps pay for nursing home care, being admitted to a nursing home as a Medicaid recipient is not always easy. There are several ways to navigate the process, depending on your situation. With the median cost of a nursing home room being more than $250 a day, most families need help paying for long-term care. Medicaid is the primary method of covering the costs for nursing home care in the United States, but in order to qualify for Medicaid, an applicant must have limited income and assets. Generally, nursing homes will only accept patients who can pay for their care, Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules State Medicaid Programs Can Recoup a Larger Share of Injury Settlements

If you are injured due to another person’s negligence and receive Medicaid benefits to pay for care, the state has a legal right to recover the funds it spends on your care from a personal injury settlement or award. Yet in a legal case involving a Floridian teen who was catastrophically injured more than a decade ago, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that state Medicaid programs may be repaid from settlement funds reserved for future medical expenses as well. The decision affects anyone who receives medical care through Medicaid after suffering a disabling injury that results in a lawsuit. In 2008, Continue Reading

Medicare Enrollment Period Extended for Those Who’ve Been Getting a Busy Signal

Medicare is part of the Social Security Administration (SSA), so if you need to enroll in Medicare, that’s whom you contact. But in recent months, phone lines at the SSA were experiencing major technical issues, preventing some individuals from being able to reach the SSA via telephone in a timely manner. These issues affected the SSA’s national 800 number as well as its field office general inquiry phone lines. At the same time, because of the pandemic, SSA offices had not been permitting in-person appointments until early April. Certain beneficiaries — particularly those without Internet access — were therefore unable to Continue Reading