Even if you’ve worked hard to save for retirement and create the financial security you want in the future, the need for long-term care could throw a wrench into even the most well-thought-out plans and impact you and your loved ones’ finances. Consider these questions as you begin the long-term care planning process.
5 Questions to Ask When Planning for Long-Term Care
(Family Features) You may not want to consider a time when you might not be able to fully take care of yourself, but the reality is there is almost a 70% chance someone turning 65 today will need some type of long-term care service and support in his or her lifetime, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Even if you’ve worked hard to save for retirement and create the financial security you want in the future, the need for long-term care could throw a wrench into even the most well-thought-out plans and impact you and your loved ones’ finances.
Consider these questions as you begin the long-term care planning process.
What is long-term care?
When should you start thinking about long-term care planning?
How much does long-term care cost?
Long-term care is generally not covered by health insurance, and government programs like Medicare or Medicaid have limitations, which often isn’t discovered until care is needed. However, New York Life offers long-term care options to AARP members and provides specially trained agents who can provide guidance. The agents can work with you and your family to create a customized plan based on your financial goals, helping protect your assets should you ever require long-term care.
Where is care provided?
How much coverage do you need?
While planning for long-term care can seem daunting, you can find more benefits and information to make the process easier at aarp.org/benefits.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
AARP Services, Inc.
(BPT) - As we get older, the ones we love inevitably age too. For many, there comes a time where you are no longer just a son, daughter or family member — you’re a caregiver. Ensuring your aging parent or loved one is able to manage and afford their medical treatments can have an enormous impact on their health and quality of life.
Dan Klein, president and CEO of the Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation, the largest independent charitable organization dedicated to helping people pay their out-of-pocket costs for prescribed treatments, offers five simple ways you can help an aging family member manage their treatment — so you can both live healthier and happier lives.
1. Meet with their doctor or healthcare provider.
Building a relationship with their healthcare provider will help lay the groundwork for future communication and care management. Before attending an appointment, talk to your parent or family member about their needs and concerns, make a list of the medications they are taking and the renewals they may need and determine together what you’d like to accomplish. If drug costs are a financial burden, don’t be shy about asking for samples or if there are less expensive generic equivalents available.
2. Check in with the pharmacist.
Connecting with your parent or family member’s pharmacist is an excellent way to become familiar with their treatment plan and ask questions about potential side effects and interactions of prescribed drugs. Be sure to ask about mail order options offered by some insurance plans and specialty pharmacies, which can save money and time by delivering a three-month supply of medication directly to their home.
3. De-clutter the medicine cabinet.
It is common for those struggling with chronic or multiple illnesses, particularly in old age, to have multiple prescriptions from different healthcare providers, each with complicated regimens that may make it difficult to keep track of what pills to take and when. You can help by ensuring their medicines are organized, accessible and stored appropriately.
Auditing their medicine cabinet is a good place to start. Make note of anything that is running low and order refills where needed. You can visit fda.gov for information on how to appropriately dispose of medications that have expired or are no longer necessary.
A pill organizer box can help keep track of complicated treatment schedules and reduce the risk of missing a dose or doses. Free pill reminder apps, such as Medisafe Pill & Med Reminder, allow you to manage the accounts of multiple family members.
4. Review Medicare or insurance coverage.
Diagnoses and treatments can frequently change and it’s therefore important to ensure your parent or family member’s Medicare or insurance plan still meets their needs. It is worth paying particular attention to their prescription drug plan, which can differ year to year. Online tools, like The National Council on Aging’s Benefits Checkup Tool and Medicare Interactive sponsored by the Medicare Rights Center can help you review benefits and find the best option for them.
They may also be eligible for other Medicare programs — like a Low-Income Subsidy — that can lower out-of-pocket costs.
5. Find out if charitable financial assistance is available.
The PAN Foundation is one of several charities that provides financial assistance for out-of-pocket costs. You can learn more about patient assistance charities at panfoundation.org. You can also download FundFinder, a free app developed by the PAN Foundation that notifies you when assistance becomes available from any of the major charitable patient assistance foundations.
Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment period is a good time to review your current coverage and decide if there may be a better fit based on changes to current plans, your budget or health needs. To make Medicare Open Enrollment part of your healthy lifestyle, follow these five steps.
Protect Your Health and Your Card
Making the most of Medicare Open Enrollment
(Family Features) Eating well and regular exercise are part of a healthy lifestyle, and so is making sure you have the right health care coverage. Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment period is a good time to review your current coverage and decide if there may be a better fit based on changes to current plans, your budget or health needs.
During Medicare Open Enrollment, which runs Oct. 15-Dec. 7, 2017, you can enroll in or make changes to your Medicare health or prescription drug plan for coverage that begins Jan. 1, 2018. If you miss the deadline, you will likely have to wait a full year before you are able to make changes to your plan.
To make Medicare Open Enrollment part of your healthy lifestyle, follow these five steps:
1. Review your current plan notice. Read any notices from your Medicare plan about changes for next year, especially your “Annual Notice of Change” letter. Look at your plan’s information to make sure your drugs are still covered and your doctors are still in network.
2. Think about what matters most to you. Medicare health and drug plans change each year and so can your health needs. Do you need a new primary care doctor? Does your network include the specialist you want for an upcoming surgery? Does your current plan cover your new medication? Does another plan offer the same coverage at a lower cost? Take stock of your health status and determine if you need to make a change.
3. Find out if you qualify for help paying for Medicare. Learn about programs in your state to help with the costs of Medicare premiums (through Medicare Savings Programs), your Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) deductibles, coinsurance and copayments, and Medicare prescription drug coverage costs (through Extra Help). Visit Medicare.gov or call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to learn more.
4. Shop for plans that meet your needs and fit your budget. Starting each October, you can use Medicare’s Plan Finder tool at Medicare.gov/find-a-plan to see what plans are offered in your area. A new plan may:
If you find your current coverage still meets your needs, then you’re done. Remember, during Medicare Open Enrollment, you can decide to stay in Original Medicare or join a Medicare Advantage Plan. If you’re already in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can switch back to Original Medicare.
For more information, visit medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and say “Agent.” TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048. Help is available 24 hours a day, including weekends. If you need help in a language other than English or Spanish, let the customer service representative know the language. You can also get personalized health insurance counseling at no cost to you from your local SHIP by visiting shiptacenter.org. More information about Medicare is available on the Medicare Facebook page and by following @MedicareGov on Twitter.
Protect Your Medicare Card
Protect your identity as well as your health by guarding your Medicare card like you would a credit card. Medicare is aiding in the fight against Medicare fraud by removing Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards and replacing them with a new, unique number for each person with Medicare. Medicare will mail the new cards with unique numbers between April 2018-April 2019. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft:
If someone calls you and asks for your Medicare number or other personal information, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and learn more about how you can fight Medicare fraud at Medicare.gov/fraud.
Information provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.SOURCE:
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Face Your Financial Fears
Take action to save for retirement
(Family Features) Retirement is supposed to be a reward for decades of hard work, but if you haven’t planned well, the milestone may be a dark cloud on your horizon. In fact, new data shows that nearly 50 percent of Americans are most afraid of outliving their income or the inability to maintain their current lifestyle, and nearly 20 percent are worried about having enough money to cover health care expenses.
The research, released by the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council (IALC), also found that despite these very real fears, Americans are failing to take action to address them. For example, a quarter of Baby Boomers, the age group closest to retirement, have less than $5,000 saved for retirement and nearly one in five Americans have no idea how much they’ve saved.
The findings indicate that Americans are afraid of the unknown when it comes to managing their money and retirement. While you can budget for leisure and travel, health care expenses and life expectancy are unpredictable.
“Americans are living longer than ever, so it’s no surprise that the No. 1 retirement fear is that they’ll run out of money in their final years,” said Jim Poolman, executive director of the IALC. “Thankfully, there are strategies and products out there that can help you create sufficient retirement income to last throughout your lifetime, which can help with this crippling fear.”
To take control of the uncertainty and create peace of mind when it comes to retirement, here are some simple steps you can follow:
Make a budget.
Balance is key.
Plan to adjust.
Monitor the balance.
Small changes count.
Make it automatic.
Understanding Fixed Indexed Annuities
According to the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council’s research, 45 percent of Americans are interested in retirement products, such as Fixed Indexed Annuities, that offer steady lifetime income and protect your principal even if the stock market goes down.
Find more tips and tools to guide your retirement planning at FIAinsights.org.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Indexed Annuity Leadership Council
Many seniors are finding their medical expenses exceed what they anticipated when planning for retirement. Whether living a longer, healthier life than anticipated, dealing with a critical illness or paying for ongoing treatment for various ailments, the costs associated with medical care can add up. To help manage your assets in a way that allows you to deal with mounting health care costs, try one of these solutions.
How to Deal with Rising Health Care Costs
(Family Features) Many seniors are finding their medical expenses exceed what they anticipated when planning for retirement. Maximizing the value of available assets can be one of the ways to significantly ease a stressed budget.
Whether living a longer, healthier life than anticipated, dealing with a critical illness or paying for ongoing treatment for various ailments, the costs associated with medical care can add up. If you or a loved one is facing this challenge, it may be time to explore alternatives that allow you to continue to cover your expenses while easing the burden on your bank account.
Consider this story about a woman who sold her $500,000 term policy to pay her medical bills and cover future treatment costs. After her husband passed away, she was having trouble meeting her life insurance premium payments. Years later, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was struggling to meet the cost of her ongoing treatment. She tried to apply for an accelerated death benefit, but didn’t qualify due to her state’s regulations. That’s when she contacted Coventry Direct to explore the option of selling her policy.
One of these solutions may help manage your assets in a way that allows you to deal with mounting health care costs:
Cut costs where you can. Ask your doctor to periodically review your medications to determine whether there are any you can eliminate, either due to improved condition or because other, newer prescriptions make them redundant. Also, talk with your doctor and pharmacist to ensure you are able to fill generic prescriptions when possible for added savings.
Take stock of your financial resources. Obvious assets such as a bank account or home can be leveraged for your financial benefit, but don’t overlook other potential resources, such as a life insurance policy. Many people are not aware that life insurance is personal property, has value and can be sold. Selling your life insurance policy, which is known as a life settlement, may result in an immediate cash payment. A company like Coventry Direct can help you determine whether a life settlement might allow you to sell your policy to help cover immediate needs or relieve the pressure of mounting medical debt.
Be a smart shopper. Shopping around for the best prices may take time, but it can also help you keep more of your money. For example, when it comes to special treatments and procedures, ask for a detailed explanation of charges ahead of time and compare outpatient facilities to hospitals to find the most affordable option.
Seek supplemental coverage. If out-of-pocket expenses are eating away at your savings account and you qualify for Medicare, consider purchasing supplemental coverage. You may find that the monthly premiums are more affordable than the costs you rack up with each new visit or prescription refill.
Managing your medical costs can feel like an overwhelming task, but there are steps you can take, including tapping into your financial assets, that can ease stress and allow you to focus more energy on managing your health and happiness.
To learn more about your options and whether a life settlement is right for you, visit coventrydirect.com/lifesettlements or call 888-858-9344.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
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