Kent Larsson writes about the proper use of wills, advance directives, trusts, and other estate planning tools, and how how they play a vital role in you receiving proper medical care and helping you to preserve and pass on your assets to your loved ones.
What is next, as Republicans look to reform programs?
It appears that Republicans may be prepared to propose cuts to some of the most popular government programs, according to Financial Advisor in "GOP Laying Groundwork To Cut Future Social Security, Medicare, Welfare Outlays."
Republicans are talking about making cuts to programs for the elderly, such as Social Security and Medicare. It is likely that any proposed cuts would be delayed and not effect current retirees. However, they will still be controversial for Americans who plan to rely on the programs in the future.
Cutting Social Security and Medicare is considered to be like touching the third rail in American politics. These are not popular proposals. Going through with this plan, guarantees that we will not be getting a relief from politics in 2018.
Reference: Financial Advisor (Dec. 6, 2017) "GOP Laying Groundwork To Cut Future Social Security, Medicare, Welfare Outlays."
How you are classified in the hospital will make a big difference in Medicare coverage.
Medicare considers patients who are in the hospital "under observation" as outpatients and will not be covered, no matter how long they are actually in the hospital, according to The New York Times in "Under 'Observation' Some Hospital Patients Face Big Bills."
Elder law advocates have long pointed out that the rule is absurd.
The patient does not always get to choose what the hospital writes down in the file and the patient does not always know the importance of being formally admitted, instead of just being under observation.
There has never been a way for the patients to challenge their designations later, until now.
A judge in Connecticut has recently opened the door for legal challenges.
Reference: New York Times (Sep. 1, 2017) "Under 'Observation' Some Hospital Patients Face Big Bills."
Some people who did not sign up for Medicare on time because of confusion with Obamacare, will not be penalized.
The government has relaxed its penalties for not signing up for Medicare on time for some recipients, according to NPR in "Feds to Waive Penalties for Some Who Signed up Late for Medicare."
When it comes to the federal government and Medicare, it has been required that eligible people either sign up at the right time or they face stiff penalties, if they attempt to sign up later.
However, it has been determined that people who purchased their health insurance through Obamacare’s (Affordable Care Act) marketplaces were not made aware that they needed to sign up for Medicare, when they became eligible.
When looking at the marketplace website, it appeared they were doing everything properly as long as they continued to purchase insurance on the marketplace. They have been granted a waiver of the penalties.
People affected will need to apply for the waiver. They only have until Sept. 30, 2017 to do so.
This waiver is only being granted to those who continued to purchase insurance through the Affordable Care Act, but it is an important step for many elderly people.
Reference: NPR (June 6, 2017) "Feds to Waive Penalties for Some Who Signed up Late for Medicare."
Former executive charges that insurance companies are overcharging Medicare.
A whistle-blower has charged that insurers have used the Medicare Advantage program to make billions of dollars to which they were not entitled, according to The New York Times in "A Whistle-Blower Tells of Health Insurers Bilking Medicare."
The federal government may need to do something to fix Medicare or risk running out of available funds for the program. One recent attempt to fix Medicare was undertaken in the early 2000s and is now known as Medicare Advantage.
The program privatized parts of Medicare by turning things over to insurance companies. The idea was that insurers would do a better job of controlling costs in the program than the government.
However, it has been charged that insurers used the medical coding system to make patients look sicker than they really are. As a result, the insurers easily collect more money from the government than they actually should.
The government has already announced plans to sue one insurer, based on these allegations and more lawsuits against other companies are expected.
It is important for the government to stop this fraud, if true, and any other Medicare fraud.
Reference: New York Times (May 15, 2017) "A Whistle-Blower Tells of Health Insurers Bilking Medicare."
More than half of the states in the U.S. have laws requiring adult children to provide care and support for elderly parents.
Laws have been passed in 28 states that require adult children to provide financial support for their elderly parents, if the parents are unable to pay their own bills, according to the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog in "Filial-Responsibility Laws Could Cost You."
These laws were not used much in the past, because government programs for the elderly, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid provide financial support for the elderly.
Today, with people saving less and living longer, many elderly people are not able to afford the costs of their own care, which is increasing.
Nursing homes in states with filial-responsibility laws are increasingly looking to enforce them against children with parents who do not pay their bills.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (May 3, 2017) "Filial-Responsibility Laws Could Cost You."
Suggested Key Words: Estate Planning, Elder Law, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid