Category: Medicare

Identifying the Early Signs of Dementia

Identifying the Early Signs of Dementia

If you’re an older adult experiencing memory lapses, lack of focus or confusion — or you have a loved one with those symptoms, you may be concerned about the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. However, other treatable conditions can cause similar symptoms, and they can be easy for doctors to miss, says Ardeshir Hashmi, M.D., a geriatrician and section chief of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Geriatric Medicine. There are clues that can help you in identifying the early signs of dementia.

“Sometimes there’s just a very superficial workup and then [the doctor says], ‘Here’s a pill for Alzheimer’s,’” Hashmi says. (While no drug has been proved to stop or slow the progression of dementia, there are several federally approved medications that can help manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.) “Before you make that conclusion, you should rule out all the other things that can be confused with dementia — things that are easily reversible.”

AARP’s recent article entitled “6 Medical Problems That Can Mimic Dementia — but Aren’t” identifies some common medical problems that can be mistaken for the early signs of dementia.

  1. Medication interactions or side effects. Older adults are more likely than younger people to develop cognitive impairment as a side effect of a medication. Drug toxicity is the reason in as many as 12% of patients who present with suspected dementia, research shows.
  2. A respiratory infection (including COVID-19). Any untreated infection can cause delirium — a sudden change in alertness, attention, memory and orientation that can mimic dementia. When you have an infection, the white blood cells in your body are sent to the infection site, causing a chemical change in the brain that makes some older adults feel drowsy, unfocused or confused. Respiratory infections are harder to diagnose in people over 65 because they are more likely to lack classic symptoms, such as a fever or a cough.
  3. A urinary tract infection (UTI). Research shows about 1 in 10 women older than 65 and up to 30% of women over 85 reported having had a urinary tract infection in the past year. Men are also more likely to experience UTIs as they age. However, most UTIs, and the accompanying cognitive issues, can be diagnosed with a simple urine test and then treated with an antibiotic.
  4. Sleep problems or disturbed sleep. If your sleep-wake cycle is disturbed or you have insomnia, you may experience dementia-like symptoms. These include trouble focusing, confusion, mental fatigue and irritability. Some older adults also suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep-related breathing problem that can deprive your brain of the oxygen it needs while you slumber, possibly causing long-term damage. Many seniors don’t realize they have this. Tell your doctor if you have signs of apnea, such as loud snoring, waking up gasping or choking, uncontrolled high blood pressure, a morning headache, or a dry mouth upon waking. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, using a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) while you snooze has been shown to be an effective treatment.
  5. Dehydration. If you take diuretics or laxatives, they can contribute to water loss. If you seem foggy or confused, see if your urine is dark yellow or brown, which can indicate a lack of fluids. Another sign of severe dehydration is a white coating on the tongue. To prevent dehydration, older adults should aim to get at least 48 ounces of caffeine-free fluids (six 8-ounce glasses) a day.
  6. Normal pressure hydrocephalus. This is a treatable disorder in which cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain, disrupting and damaging nearby brain tissue and causing cognitive problems. A neurologist can diagnose normal pressure hydrocephalus using brain imaging and cerebrospinal fluid tests. It is treated by inserting a shunt into the brain to drain the fluid.

Know that dementia isn’t a normal expected part of aging. 11% of adults 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Identifying the early signs of dementia can dramatically increase the benefits of therapies and treatments. If you would like to learn more about dementia, and other related illnesses, please visit our previous posts.

Reference: AARP (March 21, 2022) “6 Medical Problems That Can Mimic Dementia — but Aren’t”

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

 

The Estate of The Union Season 2 premiere - Millennials’ Mysteries Uncovered Part 2

 

Read our Books

Medicaid annuity might be an option

Medicaid Annuity might be an Option

What happens when one spouse needs nursing home care? Medicare typically does not cover long-term care.  The current median monthly cost of a private room at a nursing home is about $8,000, according to the recent article “A ‘Medicaid annuity’ may be a useful option when your spouse needs nursing home care” from CNBC. For people with limited assets and income, Medicaid will pay. However, what about families who have some assets but are not wealthy enough to be able to pay for their care without leaving the well spouse impoverished? It is a common situation, which requires advance planning. A Medicaid annuity might be an option for your family to consider.

For some families, spending down assets by paying off debt or making purchases to qualify is one way. For others, buying a Medicaid Compliant Immediate Annuity is another. This allows the couple to convert countable assets for Medicaid purposes into an income stream for the well spouse.

Medicaid Compliant Annuities are complex financial instruments and are not for everyone. They are often used in a crisis situation, when there are no other options.

Medicaid has a five-year look-back period in most states. The program reviews all assets and transactions from the prior five years to make sure assets were not transferred out of ownership solely so the person can qualify for Medicaid.

All assets are counted, whether they are owned by the ill spouse or the well spouse. The limits on assets, which include cash, investments and bank accounts, among others, vary slightly by state. However, they can be as low as $2,000. An experienced elder law attorney helps to navigate this process.

For a married couple, in some states, the healthy spouse may have up to $137,400 in total assets. Anything above that is considered available to use for long-term care. Some states have limits on income, while other states do not count the healthy spouse’s income.

If a couple has $100,000 above the state’s asset cap, they can purchase an annuity payable to the well spouse, based on their own life expectancy. For the annuity to be Medicaid compliant, it must meet several requirements. The state has to be named the remainder beneficiary for at least the amount Medicaid paid for the sick spouse’s nursing home care. The annuity must be an immediate annuity, meaning the income stream begins immediately, and it must be irrevocable.

Medicaid programs are run by the state, so each state has its own rules, asset limits, etc. A detailed conversation with a local elder law attorney with experience with Medicaid will be helpful in deciding of a Medicaid annuity might be an option for you. There are some states that do not allow the use of annuities for Medicaid planning. If you would like to learn more about Medicaid planning, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: CNBC (Jan. 26, 2022) “A ‘Medicaid annuity’ may be a useful option when your spouse needs nursing home care”

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

 

The Estate of The Union Episode 14: Needle in a Haystack - Finding the right Caregiver is out now!

 

www.texastrustlaw.com/read-our-books

What are Home Caregiving Options for Parents?

What are Home Caregiving Options for Parents?

At least 2.4 million U.S. workers provide in-home personal and health care for older adults and people with disabilities. That number has more than doubled since 2010, according to PHI, a New York–based nonprofit advocacy group that works to improve the quality of direct-care services and jobs. What are the best home caregiving options for your parents?

AARP’s recent article entitled “How to Hire a Caregiver” says that a shift in long-term care from institutional settings like nursing facilities to those aging in place in their own homes and communities has fueled the growth. This is also likely to continue as the population ages. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the 65-and-older population, which was just over 54 million in 2019, will grow to 94.7 million by 2060.

There are several types of paid in-home caregivers that provide a range of services.

  • Personal Care Aides. PCAs aren’t licensed and have varying levels of experience and training. They serve as helpers and companions. They can provide assistance with bathing, dressing and do some housekeeping, as well as transportation to shopping and appointments. Training requirements for caregivers vary by state, and some states have no formal standards. This will be an out-of-pocket expense because Medicare or private health insurance typically doesn’t cover them.
  • Home Health Aides. HHAs monitor the patient’s condition, check vitals and assist with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and using the bathroom. HHAs also provide companionship, do light housekeeping and prepare meals. This group must meet a federal standard of 75 hours of training. Their training and certification varies by state.
  • Licensed Nursing Assistants (LNAs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). LNAs and CNAs observe and report changes in the patient, take vital signs, set up medical equipment, change dressings, clean catheters, monitor infections, conduct range-of-motion exercises, offer walking assistance and administer some treatments. Any medical-related tasks are performed as directed by a registered nurse (RN) or nurse practitioner (NP). CNAs also provide help with personal care, such as bathing, bathroom assistance, dental tasks and feeding, as well as changing bed linens and serving meals. As with home health caregivers, federal law requires nursing assistants to get at least 75 hours of training, but some states have other requirements.
  • Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). These skilled nursing providers have to meet federal standards for health and safety and are licensed by states. They evaluate, manage and observe a senior’s care and provide direct care that nonmedical and home health aides can’t. Their tasks could include administering IV drugs, tube feedings, and inoculations; changing wound dressings; and educating caregivers and patients. Some LPNs are trained in occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy. Medicare covers home health skilled nursing care that is part-time or intermittent, doctor-prescribed and arranged by a Medicare-certified home health agency.
  • Registered Nurses (RNs). This group has a nursing diploma or an associate degree in nursing. They’ve passed the National Council Licensure Examination and have satisfied the other licensing requirements mandated by their state’s nursing board. RNs provide direct care, administer medications, advise family members, operate medical monitoring equipment and assist doctors in medical procedures.

These are some of the best home caregiving options for your parents. Work closely with an elder law attorney to ensure you have all of the options available to you and your family. If you would like to learn more about home care, and other long term care issues, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: AARP (Sep. 27, 2021) “How to Hire a Caregiver”

Photo by Alex Green from Pexels

 

Estate of The Union Episode 12 is out now!

 

www.texastrustlaw.com/read-our-books

restructure assets to qualify for Medicaid

Restructure Assets to Qualify for Medicaid

Some people believe that Medicaid is only for poor and low-income seniors. However, with proper and thoughtful estate planning and the help of an attorney who specializes in Medicaid planning, all but the very wealthiest people can often qualify for program benefits. There are ways to restructure assets to qualify for Medicaid.

Kiplinger’s recent article entitled “How to Qualify for Medicaid says that unlike Medicare, Medicaid isn’t a federally run program. Operating within broad federal guidelines, each state determines its own Medicaid eligibility criteria, eligible coverage groups, services covered, administrative and operating procedures and payment levels.

The Medicaid program covers long-term nursing home care costs and many home health care costs, which are not covered by Medicare. If your income exceeds your state’s Medicaid eligibility threshold, there are two commonly used trusts that can be used to divert excess income to maintain your program eligibility.

Qualified Income Trusts (QITs): Also known as a “Miller trust,” this is an irrevocable trust into which your income is placed and then controlled by a trustee. The restrictions are tight on what the income placed in the trust can be used for (e.g., both a personal and if applicable a spousal “needs allowance,” as well as any medical care costs, including the cost of private health insurance premiums). However, due to the fact that the funds are legally owned by the trust (not you individually), they no longer count against your Medicaid income eligibility.

Pooled Income Trusts: Like a QIT, these are irrevocable trusts into which your “surplus income” can be placed to maintain Medicaid eligibility. To take advantage of this type of trust, you must qualify as disabled. Your income is pooled together with the income of others and managed by a non-profit charitable organization that acts as trustee and makes monthly disbursements to pay expenses on behalf of the individuals for whom the trust was made. Any funds remaining in the trust at your death are used to help other disabled individuals in the trust.

These income trusts are designed to create a legal pathway to Medicaid eligibility for those with too much income to qualify for assistance, but not enough wealth to pay for the rising cost of much-needed care. Like income limitations, the Medicaid “asset test” is complicated and varies from state to state. Generally, your home’s value (up to a maximum amount) is exempt, provided you still live there or intend to return. Otherwise, most states require you to spend down other assets to around $2,000/person ($4,000/married couple) to qualify.

Sit down with an experienced elder law attorney and your estate planning attorney. Together they can help restructure your assets to qualify for Medicaid. If you would like to learn more about Medicaid, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: Kiplinger (Nov. 7, 2021) “How to Qualify for Medicaid”

Photo by Marcus Aurelius from Pexels

 

Estate of The Union Episode 12 is out now!

 

www.texastrustlaw.com/read-our-books

common errors with Medicare enrollment

Common Errors with Medicare Enrollment

Money Talks News recent article entitled “5 Things Most Seniors Get Wrong About Medicare” reports that recently, the insurance website MedicareAdvantage.com surveyed more than 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries and found that they share common errors with Medicare enrollment. The researchers said that this ignorance can mean seniors wasting money and forfeiting benefits. Here are the errors most seniors make with Medicare enrollment, and how such things really work.

  1. Premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance. Many survey respondents were unable to correctly define these terms:
  • Deductible: 59.7%
  • Coinsurance: 55.5%
  • Premium: 56.1%

A deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket for care before your insurance kicks in. Coinsurance is what you often pay for services after you’ve met the deductible — for example, a common coinsurance requirement is 20% of service costs. Your premium is the amount you pay each month for coverage.

  1. Out-of-pocket spending limits. One thing about most health insurance plans is that they restrict the amount you’re expected to pay out of pocket. However, when talking about original Medicare, nearly three-quarters (73.7%) of survey respondents don’t realize they could be hit with an unlimited amount of coinsurance bills for Part A and Part B coverage. It’s a big reason why Medicare supplement plans are so important, if you’re choosing original Medicare. Many Medicare Advantage plans — also known as Medicare Part C — come with out-of-pocket limits. After you reach this limit, you pay nothing for the Part A and Part B care that is included in your plan.
  2. Part D’s late enrollment penalty. Only a fifth (20%) of Medicare beneficiaries knew that there’s a penalty if you sign up late for Part D prescription coverage. After your initial Medicare enrollment period ends, you may owe a penalty if there’s a period of 63 or more consecutive days when you don’t have Medicare drug coverage or other equivalent prescription drug coverage. If you have a penalty, you’ll have to pay it for as long as you have Medicare drug coverage.
  3. The fall open enrollment period. Every year, the federal government schedules an open enrollment period when you can make changes to your existing coverage. This period always starts on October 15 and goes until December 7. However, 59.7% of Medicare beneficiaries didn’t know the start date, and half of that percentage falsely thought open enrollment starts after October 15.
  4. Virtual services covered because of the pandemic. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual health care has become more widely available. As a result, the federal government now permits Medicare to cover some of these services. However, a large percentage of beneficiaries are unaware of that fact. Here are the percentages of survey respondents who didn’t know that the following services now are covered:
  • Virtual e-visits with a physical therapist: 81.9%
  • Virtual telehealth visits for preventative health screenings: 56.6%
  • Virtual telehealth visits for mental health counseling: 54.1%

Working with an experienced Elder Law attorney who can help you avoid these common errors with Medicare enrollment, and allow you the full benefits you have earned and deserve. If you would like to read more about Medicare benefits and how to enroll, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: Money Talks News (Nov. 3, 2021) “5 Things Most Seniors Get Wrong About Medicare”

Estate of The Union Episode 11-Millennials’ Mysteries Uncovered!

 

www.texastrustlaw.com/read-our-books

What should women know about long-term care

What Should Women Know about Long-Term Care?

A longer retirement increases the odds of needing long-term care. An AARP study found more than 70% of nursing home residents were women, says Kiplinger’s recent article entitled “A Woman’s Guide to Long-Term Care.”  What should women know about long-term care?

Living longer also increases the chances of living it alone because living longer may mean outliving a spouse. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, “In 2018, women comprised 74% of solo households age 80 and over.”

The first step is to review your retirement projections. It’s wise to look at “what-if” scenarios: What-if the husband passes early? How does that impact their retirement? What if a female client lives to 100? Will she have enough to live on? What if a single woman needs long-term care for dementia? Alzheimer’s and dementia can last for years, eating up a retiree’s nest egg.

Medicare and Medicaid. Government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, are complicated. For instance, Medicare may cover some long-term care expenses, but only for the first 100 days. Medicare doesn’t pay for custodial care (at home long-term care). Medicaid pays for long-term care. However, you must qualify financially.

Planning for long-term care. If a woman has a high retirement success rate, she may want to self-insure her future long-term care expenses. This can mean setting up a designated long-term care investment account solely to be used for future long-term care expenses. If a woman has a modest degree of retirement success, she may want to lower her current expenses to save more for the future. She may also want to look at long-term care insurance.

Social Security. Women can also think about waiting to claim Social Security until age 70. If women live longer, the extra benefits accrued by waiting can help with long-term care. Women with a higher-earning husband may want to ask the higher-earning spouse to delay until age 70, if possible. When the higher-earning spouse dies, the widow can step into the higher benefit. The average break-even age is generally around 77-83 for Social Security. If an individual can live longer than 83, the more dollars and sense it makes to delay collecting until age 70.

Estate Planning. Having a comprehensive estate plan is a must. Women (and men) should have a power of attorney (POA). A POA gives a trusted agent the ability to write checks and send money to pay for long-term care.

When it comes to long-term care, women should know their own health and the potential drain on the retirement savings. Work with a financial advisor and estate planning attorney to make sure your later years are secure.

If you would like to learn more about long-term care, please visit our previous posts.

Reference: Kiplinger (July 11, 2021) “A Woman’s Guide to Long-Term Care”

 

Beneficiary Controlled Trust can protect your legacy

Taking Medicare or Employer’s Health Plan

As we get older, a common dilemma approaches: Do I consider taking Medicare or keep my employer’s health plan? Let’s say that you work full time and have a very good medical insurance plan, but it’s costly, especially if you also have been covering the rest of your family. Say that the spouse is 60 and permanently disabled and has been told he’s eligible for Medicare. A common question is whether the working spouse should remove the disabled spouse from the employer’s coverage and go with Medicare. What’s the best option?

NJ Money Help’s recent article entitled “Should we take Medicare or keep an employer health plan?” explains that there are different components of Medicare to cover specific services: Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part D.

Medicare Part A helps pay for hospital and facility costs. Medicare Part B helps pay for medical costs, like doctors and medical supplies. Medicare Part D is for prescription drug coverage. Most people don’t pay a monthly premium for Part A, but there are premiums associated with Part B and Part D coverage.

If an individual is 65 and has received disability benefits from Social Security for 24 months or has received certain disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board for 24 months, he or she will automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B.

You should also know that you can decide to delay Medicare Part B by contacting Social Security after you become eligible, and you receive the card. Discuss this option with your employer’s health care benefit department to understand how Medicare may or may not work with your current coverage. This is because there are some plans and health benefit plans (especially those with fewer than 20 employees) that become secondary to Medicare, when an enrollee becomes eligible for Medicare.

If you decide to participate in Medicare Part B, understand that there’s a cost. The premium is based on your income, and the standard Part B premium in 2021 is $148.50 per month, if your income was $176,000 or less in 2019 for a married filing joint return. The Medicare Part B premium increases as your income increases.

Medicare Part B pays for many of your medical bills. However, not all the costs for covered health care services and supplies are included. As a result, many seniors buy a supplemental insurance plan, called Medigap. This plan will pay for some of the remaining health care costs, like co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles that are not covered by Medicare.

Remember that it’s important to enroll in Medigap coverage within six months following Medicare Part B enrollment. Medigap is an additional cost along with your Medicare Part B premium and is sold through a private insurance company. To determine what will be more cost effective, you’ll need to compare the Medicare costs with your employer plan. There are many things to consider when taking Medicare or your employer’s health plan. Consulting with an experienced Elder Law attorney who has worked with Medicare coverage and knows the ins and outs.

If you would like to learn more about Medicare coverage, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: NJ Money Help (Aug. 13, 2021) “Should we take Medicare or keep an employer health plan?”

New Installment of The Estate of The Union Podcast

 

www.texastrustlaw.com/read-our-books

the most common Medicare mistake

The most common Medicare Mistake

Although not everyone is required to enroll in Medicare at the age of eligibility, many people must do so or risk lifelong late-enrollment penalties. CNBC’s article entitled “If you’re still working when you turn 65, be sure to avoid costly mistakes with Medicare” says the most common Medicare mistake is to believe that you don’t need Medicare and to miss enrolling in it when the time comes.

Approximately 10 million workers are in the 65-and-older group, or 17.9% of that age group, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The general rule for Medicare enrollment is that unless you satisfy an exception, you are allowed a seven-month enrollment window that begins three months prior to your 65th birthday month and ends three months after it.

One exception? If you have qualifying insurance with your employer.

Original, or basic, Medicare includes Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (outpatient care coverage). Part A doesn’t have a premium, provided you have at least a 10-year work history of contributing to the program through payroll (or self-employment) taxes. Part B has a standard monthly premium of $148.50 for 2021, although higher-income beneficiaries pay more through monthly adjustments. About half (43%) of individuals opt to get their Parts A and B benefits delivered through an Advantage Plan (Part C), which typically includes prescription drugs (Part D). It may have a premium.

The rest go with basic Medicare and may pair it with a Medigap policy and a stand-alone Part D plan. Note that higher-income beneficiaries also pay more for drug coverage.

It’s crucial to understand that this common Medicare mistake creates late-enrollment penalties that can last a lifetime. For Part B, the surcharge is 10% for each 12-month period you could’ve had it but didn’t sign up. For Part D, the penalty is 1% of the base premium ($33.06 in 2021) multiplied by the number of full, uncovered months you didn’t have Part D or creditable coverage.

The general rule for workers at companies with at least 20 employees is that you can delay your enrollment in Medicare, until you lose your group insurance (when you retire). Many people with large group health insurance wait with Part B but sign up for Part A because it’s free. It also doesn’t hurt you to have it. However, if you have a health savings account and a high-deductible health plan through your employer, you can’t make contributions after you enroll in Medicare, even if only in Part A.

If you remain with your current coverage and delay all or parts of Medicare, make certain that the plan is considered qualifying coverage for both Parts B and D. If you’re unclear if you need to enroll, ask your human resources department or your insurance carrier to confirm.

However, some 65-year-olds with younger spouses also might want to keep their group plan. Unlike your company’s option, spouses are required to qualify on their own for Medicare, regardless of your own eligibility.

If you have health insurance through a company with fewer than 20 employees, you should sign up for Medicare at 65, whether or not you stay on the employer plan. If you do choose to remain on it, Medicare is your primary insurance. However, it may be more cost-effective in that scenario to quit your employer coverage and purchase a Medigap and a Part D plan (or alternatively, an Advantage Plan,) rather than keeping the work plan as secondary insurance.

Workers at small companies frequently pay more in premiums than employees at larger firms. The average premium for single coverage through employer-sponsored health insurance is $7,470, research shows. However, employees contribute an average of $1,243 — or about 17% — with their company covering the remainder. At small firms, the employee’s share might also be far higher. The bottom line is this: Don’t forget to enroll when it is your time.  This most common Medicare mistake could lead to a financial disaster.

If you would like to learn more about Medicare policies and how to manage your coverage, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: CNBC (July 22, 2021) “If you’re still working when you turn 65, be sure to avoid costly mistakes with Medicare”

Episode 7 of The Estate of The Union podcast is out now

 

www.texastrustlaw.com/read-ou-books

women should plan for long-term care

Women should plan for Long-Term Care

Women face some unique challenges as they get older. The Population Reference Bureau, a Washington based think tank, says women live about seven years longer than men. This living longer means planning for a longer retirement. While that may sound nice, a longer retirement increases the chances of needing long-term care. Thus, women should consider how to plan for long-term care.

Kiplinger’s recent article entitled “A Woman’s Guide to Long-Term Care” explains that living longer also increases the chances of going it alone and outliving your spouse. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, in 2018 women made up nearly three-quarters (74%) of solo households age 80 and over.

Ability to pay. Long-term care is costly. For example, the average private room at a long-term care facility is more than $13,000/month in Connecticut and about $11,000/month in Naples, Florida. There are some ways to keep the cost down, such as paying for care at home. Home health care is about $5,000/month in Naples, Florida. Multiply these numbers by 1.44 years, which is the average duration of care for women. These numbers can get big fast.

Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare may cover some long-term care expenses, but only for the first 100 days. Medicare does not pay for custodial care (at home long-term care). Medicaid pays for long-term care, but you have to qualify financially. Spending down an estate to qualify for Medicaid is one way to pay for long-term care but ask an experienced Medicaid Attorney about how to do this.

Make Some Retirement Projections. First, consider an ideal scenario where perhaps both spouses live long happy lives, and no long-term care is needed. Then, ask yourself “what-if” questions, such as What if my husband passes early and how does that affect retirement? What if a single woman needs long-term care for dementia?

Planning for Long-Term Care. If a female client has a modest degree of retirement success, she may want to decrease current expenses to save more for the future. Moreover, she may want to look into long-term care insurance.

Waiting to Take Social Security. Women can also consider waiting to claim Social Security until age 70. If women live longer, the extra benefits accrued by waiting can help with long-term care. Women with a higher-earning husband may want to encourage the higher-earning spouse to delay until age 70, if that makes sense. When the higher-earning spouse dies, the surviving spouse can step into the higher benefit. The average break-even age is generally around age 77-83 for Social Security. If an individual can live longer than 83, the more dollars and sense it makes to delay claiming benefits until age 70.

Estate Planning. Having the right estate documents is a must. Both women and men should have a power of attorney (POA). This legal document gives a trusted person the authority to write checks and send money to pay for long-term care.

Living longer means women should plan for long-term care. Work with your estate planning attorney and financial advisor to craft a plan that ensures you are well cared for should long-term care be needed.

If you would like to learn more about long-term care, and other related issues, please visit our previous posts.

Reference: Kiplinger (July 11, 2021) “A Woman’s Guide to Long-Term Care”

Photo by Matthias Zomer from Pexels

Episode 6 of The Estate of The Union podcast is out now

 

www.texastrustlaw.com/read-ou-books

increase in benefits for vets next year

Increase in Benefits for Vets Next Year

A new plan, to be voted on by a House Appropriations subcommittee, asks for $113.1 billion in discretionary spending for VA programs in fiscal 2022. The plan should see an increase in benefits for vets next year.

That’s an increase of about 8% from current levels and about $176 million more than what President Biden asked for in his budget proposal released last month.

Military Times’ recent article entitled “House lawmakers back big budget boost for Veterans Affairs programs” says that if it were approved, the proposal would result in total department spending of more than $270 billion in 2022.

“This bill demonstrates a strong commitment to our servicemembers, their families and our veterans,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., in a statement accompanying the budget proposal release.

“It’s a blueprint to make our VA and military stronger and more responsive to all those who proudly protect America, now and in the past,” the Democratic Congresswoman said.

Total department spending is expected to be more than $250 billion in fiscal 2022.

This draft budget also includes $10.9 billion for military construction projects next fiscal year—roughly $3 billion above current year levels and $1 billion more than the president’s request.

House appropriators are expected to vote to pass the plan to the full chamber soon. A possible vote on the package is expected in late July.

However, it will likely still be months before a final budget agreement is reached on VA and military construction spending with the U.S. Senate.

The latest plan calls for $97.6 billion for veteran medical care spending, of which $778.5 million would go towards gender-specific care for women veterans ($73 million more than what the White House requested), $902 million for medical and prosthetic research ($20 million more), and $84 million for “whole health” initiatives ($10 million more). In total, it looks like a significant increase in benefits for vets next year.

If you would like to learn more about veterans health care and other related issues, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: Military Times (June 24, 2021) “House lawmakers back big budget boost for Veterans Affairs programs”

Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

Episode 6 of The Estate of The Union podcast is out now

 

www.texastrustlaw.com/read-ou-books

Information in our blogs is very general in nature and should not be acted upon without first consulting with an attorney. Please feel free to contact Texas Trust Law to schedule a complimentary consultation.
Categories
View Blog Archives
View TypePad Blogs