The Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) is possibly one of Medicare’s best kept secrets. According to a recent CNBC article, if you are 65 or older, relatively healthy, and have a high-deductible Medicare Advantage plan, you may qualify for an MSA. Funds in an MSA account accrue interest and grow tax-free. Funds can then be withdrawn for qualified medical expenses. More
Changes in Elder Law
- Changes in Elder Law
- Estate Planning Documents
- Long Term Care Insurance
- Plan Your Estate
- Senior Care
- Social Security
- Special Needs Trust
- Veteran's Benefits
A new regulation from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) went into effect earlier this month, as reported by Investment News. It requires that brokers attempt to find a trusted contact person if they fear a client is suffering from mental incapacity or is the victim of a scam. This regulation is meant to target elder abuse. A trusted contact person should be listed at the time an account is opened or during account updates with existing clients.
The FINRA rule protects brokers from liability if they stop disbursements from a client’s account. The hold can last an initial 15 days and then be extended another 10. More
In past issues of Elder Law Today, we have explained how the Medicaid laws work for married couples when one spouse needs nursing home care. The Spousal Impoverishment Provisions make it clear that the Medicaid program does not intend to impoverish one spouse because the other spouse requires nursing home care. Much of this is based on the spend down of assets and what levels must be met before one qualifies.
The law states that for a married couple, the at-home spouse is entitled to keep a minimum amount of money with no spend down. The minimal spousal share effective January 1, 2018 is $24,720. In addition, the nursing home spouse may keep $2000. In other words, for a married couple for $24,720 (plus $2000 for the nursing home spouse), there will be no spend down. More
Doctors and physiologists are calling for increased awareness of the health risks associated with loneliness, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. A 2010 AARP study found that loneliness among adults age 45 and over is on the rise due to increased divorce rates, social media, and the increased prevalence of single person households. 35% of respondents stated they experienced loneliness, compared with 20% surveyed a decade earlier. The problem is likely more severe for seniors. A 2016 study conducted by Maike Luhmann, a professor at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany, and Louise Hawkley, a senior research scientist at the University of Chicago found that loneliness is most severe for seniors age 80 and older due to hearing loss, immobility, and death of loved ones.
According to Emma Adam, a professor of human development and social policy and a faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, chronic loneliness, not just momentary loneliness that everyone temporarily will experience, can become a serious health problem. More
Seema Verna, an administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently wrote an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal. Verna discusses the financial problems facing both Medicare and Medicaid – and the 130 million Americans who rely on these programs.
She hopes that the Innovation Center, founded in 2010 to test new models to pay for health care, can help to find a path forward for healthcare. Healthcare should move away from central planning in Washington and focus on giving more choices for consumers, says Verna. One goal she listed was to move away from the current fee-for-service system to one that holds providers accountable based on health outcomes. She also wants to issue more waivers to increase flexibility.
Verna’s article demonstrates humility and an understanding that Washington has failed to provide quality, affordable healthcare for our nation’s elderly: More