While Medicare generally provides health insurance coverage for those 65 and older, few people are aware of what is not covered by Medicare or how these costs can be quite high. Medical costs such as dental, vision, hearing, long term care services and other out of pocket expenses are not covered by Medicare. According to The Commonwealth Fund, Medicare beneficiaries spend on average over $3000 per year on out of pocket costs. [Read more…]
Millions of older adults fall prey to financial scams each year. Financial abuse currently effects about 20% of Americans age 65 or older and costs them nearly approximately $3 billion per year. In fact, it has become so widespread that The Wall Street Journal has called it an “epidemic” (“Fraudsters Try More Tricks on Elderly”, December 24, 2013). Some of the more common scams include:
- The grandparent scam. A con artist telephones a loved one pretending to be a grandchild in the midst of a crisis, such as being jailed or kidnapped. The “grandchild” of course, needs money to be immediately wired and makes grandma promise not to tell anyone.
- The telemarketer scam. Scammers posing as telemarketers ask for donations to civic causes such as a fake wounded veteran’s charity.
- The government agency scam. Imposters claiming to be employees of a government agency such as the Social Security Administration or the IRS, claim to require immediate payment to receive additional money or avoid fines.
- The sweepstakes scam. Scammers claiming to represent a well-known company, inform their targets they have won a sweepstakes and must pay a small “fee” to receive their winnings.
The House Republicans’ proposed legislation to replace Obamacare is less than a week old and many are already making predictions including that “people will die” without Obamacare. Like me, you may have difficulty recalling people dying due to lack of health insurance before Obamacare. It’s also important to keep in mind that this is only proposed legislation and will likely be modified in the Senate. Nonetheless, let’s look at how the proposed legislation could impact Medicare. [Read more…]
The number of older, wealthier people is increasing and sadly, so is the number of elderly persons who are financially exploited. Despite the widespread nature of such abuse, many states still do not have specific laws criminalizing such behavior – thankfully Michigan is not one of them. Yet despite the growing recognition of financial exploitation, it is routinely overlooked and unreported which some attribute to the belief that it remains a family matter. A recent New York Times article, “Declaring War on Financial Abuse of Older People” details one woman’s efforts to become an activist after her grandmother was swindled out of her life savings. [Read more…]
Seniors have been taking on more and more debt over the last two decades. Many times this can come as a shock to children when their parents die and they discover credit card and other debt left behind. Understanding the implications of the debt is important particularly for those responsible for administering the estate. Once the debt is discovered, the children often wonder if they are now on the hook for the debt. Generally, when a person dies, his or her estate is responsible for the debt and if there is not enough money to pay all the debt, then it will not be paid. [Read more…]