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

Medicare Advantage Plans Often Wrongly Deny Necessary Care, Study Finds

In an alarming number of instances, private Medicare Advantage plans are denying coverage for medical services that would be covered under original Medicare, according to a federal investigation.  These denials are likely preventing or delaying medically necessary care for tens of thousands of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries each year. The investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General found that 13 percent of Medicare Advantage plan denials should have been covered under Medicare.  The findings were based on a review by doctors and coding experts of service denials by 15 of the largest Medicare Advantage plans during Continue Reading

Requiring Adult Children to Pay for Aging Parents’ Care

Did you know you could be responsible for your parents’ unpaid bills? More than half of all states currently have laws making adult children financially responsible for their parents, including their long-term care costs. However, these laws are rarely enforced. Filial responsibility laws obligate adult children to provide necessities like food, clothing, housing, and medical attention for their parents who cannot afford to take care of themselves. States may allow a civil court action to obtain financial support or cost recovery, impose criminal penalties on children who do not support their parents, or allow both civil and criminal actions. Generally, Continue Reading

Which States Have Been Hardest Hit by the Nursing Home Staffing Crisis?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused nursing home staffing shortages across the United States, even forcing facilities to close, but some states have been hit harder than others. A new analysis looks at which states are confronting the worst staffing problems. Overwhelmed by the stress of long hours, low pay and exposure to the COVID-19 virus, nursing home workers have been quitting in record numbers. According to the Service Employees International Union, more than 420,000 workers — nearly 10 percent of the workforce — left the long-term care industry between the start of the pandemic and January 2022. The labor hemorrhage Continue Reading

Medicare Now Covers the Cost of COVID At-Home Tests

If you have Medicare, you can now receive up to eight free rapid at-home Covid-19 tests a month at participating pharmacies. The free tests are available without a prescription to all Medicare beneficiaries with Part B, including those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. If you only have Medicare Part A, Medicare won’t cover the cost. To get the tests, you can visit one of the pharmacies participating in the program.  (For a partial list of participating pharmacies, click here.) You do not have to be a current customer of the pharmacy in order to receive the tests, and Medicare Advantage plan Continue Reading

Should You Prepare a Medicaid Application Yourself?

Navigating the Medicaid application process can be complicated, especially if you are applying for long-term care benefits. Hiring an attorney to help you through the process can be extremely helpful. Whether you should prepare and file a Medicaid application by yourself or should hire help depends on answers to the following questions: How old is the applicant? How complicated is the applicant’s financial situation? Is the individual applying for community or nursing home benefits? How much time do you have available? How organized are you? Medicaid is the health care program for individuals who do not have another form of insurance Continue Reading