Category Archive: Planning for the future

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Buying an Annuity Doubler to Pay for Long-Term Care

Submitted by: Kathleen Flammia, P.A., Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, One Senior Place Resident Business

Kathleen FlammiaMedicare beneficiaries may now discuss options for care at the end of life with their health care providers.

Beneficiaries of course were already free to talk about advance care planning with their doctors or other qualified health professionals, but the practitioners could be reimbursed for such discussions only during a patient’s “Welcome to Medicare” visit, a time when the topic may not seem very relevant. As of January 1, 2016, Medicare will pay physicians for speaking at any time with Medicare beneficiaries and their families about different options for care and treatment at the end of life.

These purely voluntary conversations will help enable patients to end their lives on their own terms. Patients are often unable to express themselves when a crisis is at hand and a decision needs to be made about how much or little care they want when facing a terminal illness. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one-quarter of Medicare’s budget is spent on patients in their last year of life.  For many patients, life-prolonging medical procedurs are unwanted and unwelcome.  A 2011 study found that when medical personnel know what kind of care a patient wants at the end of life, Medicare can be spared significant sums and the patient is more likely to die at home rather than in a hospital in some areas.

Now that discussions about advance care planning are a regular Medicare benefit, seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries will be able to learn about health care options that are available for end-of-life care, such as advance directives, palliative care and hospice care.  They can then determine which types of care they would like to have, and share their wishes with their practititioners and family.  After sufficient conversations with their doctors and other health professionals, the beneficiaries may be ready to execute legal documents, such as advance directives or “POLST” forms, and name a health care proxy to ensure that their wishes will be carried out. Studies have found that 40 percent of people over age 65 have not written down their wishes for end-of-life treatment.

An early version of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) would have allowed Medicare to pay for these patient discussions, but former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and other opponents of health reform characterized them as government “death panels,” and the provision never made it into the final health care legislation. The Obama administration tried again in 2011, enacting a Medicare regulation that would have reimbursed doctors for discussing end-of-life planning with patients during their annual checkups, but quickly reversed course and withdrew the regulation, apparently fearing that it would revive the specter of  ”death panels” at a time when the health reform law was under fierce attack from Republicans.

Under the new regulations, the advance care planning discussions can take place during the annual wellness visit or at a separate appointment.  They are a reimbursable benefit under Medicare Part B and there will be a copayment if the conversation is not part of the annual wellness visit.

Talk to your elder law attorney about drawing up the documents to help ensure you receive the end-of-life medical treatment you want — no more and no less.

###

The Law Office of Kathleen Flammia has been serving Orange County and surrounding areas for the past fourteen years. Kathleen Flammia began her Elder Law practice in the heart of Winter Park, Florida after being in the criminal defense arena for 15 years.

Medicare Now Covers Conversations About End-of-Life Care

Submitted by: Kathleen Flammia, P.A., Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, One Senior Place Resident Business

Kathleen FlammiaMedicare beneficiaries may now discuss options for care at the end of life with their health care providers.

Beneficiaries of course were already free to talk about advance care planning with their doctors or other qualified health professionals, but the practitioners could be reimbursed for such discussions only during a patient’s “Welcome to Medicare” visit, a time when the topic may not seem very relevant. As of January 1, 2016, Medicare will pay physicians for speaking at any time with Medicare beneficiaries and their families about different options for care and treatment at the end of life.

These purely voluntary conversations will help enable patients to end their lives on their own terms. Patients are often unable to express themselves when a crisis is at hand and a decision needs to be made about how much or little care they want when facing a terminal illness. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one-quarter of Medicare’s budget is spent on patients in their last year of life. For many patients, life-prolonging medical procedurs are unwanted and unwelcome. A 2011 study found that when medical personnel know what kind of care a patient wants at the end of life, Medicare can be spared significant sums and the patient is more likely to die at home rather than in a hospital in some areas.

Now that discussions about advance care planning are a regular Medicare benefit, seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries will be able to learn about health care options that are available for end-of-life care, such as advance directives, palliative care and hospice care. They can then determine which types of care they would like to have, and share their wishes with their practititioners and family. After sufficient conversations with their doctors and other health professionals, the beneficiaries may be ready to execute legal documents, such as advance directives or “POLST” forms, and name a health care proxy to ensure that their wishes will be carried out. Studies have found that 40 percent of people over age 65 have not written down their wishes for end-of-life treatment.

An early version of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) would have allowed Medicare to pay for these patient discussions, but former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and other opponents of health reform characterized them as government “death panels,” and the provision never made it into the final health care legislation. The Obama administration tried again in 2011, enacting a Medicare regulation that would have reimbursed doctors for discussing end-of-life planning with patients during their annual checkups, but quickly reversed course and withdrew the regulation, apparently fearing that it would revive the specter of “death panels” at a time when the health reform law was under fierce attack from Republicans.

Under the new regulations, the advance care planning discussions can take place during the annual wellness visit or at a separate appointment. They are a reimbursable benefit under Medicare Part B and there will be a copayment if the conversation is not part of the annual wellness visit.

Talk to your elder law attorney about drawing up the documents to help ensure you receive the end-of-life medical treatment you want — no more and no less.

###

The Law Office of Kathleen Flammia has been serving Orange County and surrounding areas for the past fourteen years. Kathleen Flammia began her Elder Law practice in the heart of Winter Park, Florida after being in the criminal defense arena for 15 years.

Can Social Security Benefits Be Garnished to Pay Debts?

Submitted by: Kathleen Flammia, P.A., Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, One Senior Place Resident Business

Kathleen FlammiaIf you don’t pay your debts, creditors can get a court order to garnish your wages, but what if your income comes from Social Security? The answer is that it depends on the kind of debt.

For most types of debt, including credit cards, medical bills, and personal loans, Social Security cannot be garnished to pay the debt. If you owe money to a creditor, the creditor can go to court and get an order to take money from your bank account. If your Social Security check is directly deposited in the bank, the bank is required to protect Social Security benefits from garnishment. When a creditor tries to freeze a debtor’s bank account, the bank is required to look at the debtor’s previous two months of transactions to determine if the debtor received any Social Security benefits by direct deposit. For example, if you receive $1,500 a month in Social Security, the bank is required to allow you to use up to $3,000 in your account.

If you receive a Social Security check and deposit it in the bank yourself, the bank can freeze the entire amount in the account. You would be required to go to court and prove the money in the account came from Social Security.

There are certain debts, however, that Social Security can be garnished to pay for. Those debts include federal taxes, federal student loans, child support and alimony, victim restitution, and other federal debts. If you owe federal taxes, 15 percent of your Social Security check can be used to pay your debt, no matter how much money is left.

For student loans and other non-tax debts, the government can take 15 percent of your Social Security check as long as the remaining balance doesn’t drop below $750. There is no statute of limitations on student loan debt, so it doesn’t matter how long ago the debt occurred. (In fact, student loan debt may be the next crisis facing elderly Americans. In 2015, bills were introduced in the House and Senate, HR 3967 and S 2387, to stop the government from garnishing the wages of elderly and disabled Social Security recipients.)

The rules for child support and alimony vary depending on the law in your state. The maximum amount that can be garnished is 50 percent of your Social Security benefit if you support another child, 60 percent if you don’t support another child, or 65 percent if the support is more than 12 weeks in arrears.

These rules do not apply to Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is protected from garnishment even if the creditor can garnish regular Social Security. Social Security Disability Insurance can be garnished in the same way that Social Security is garnished.

If you feel your Social Security is being improperly garnished, contact your lawyer.

For more information about Social Security, go here: http://www.elderlawanswers.com/social-security.

###

The Law Office of Kathleen Flammia has been serving Orange County and surrounding areas for the past fourteen years. Kathleen Flammia began her Elder Law practice in the heart of Winter Park, Florida after being in the criminal defense arena for 15 years.

Memory: Health & Hope Q&A with Kathi Ridner, One Senior Place Director

Kathi Ridner at her desk 2015 croppedKathi Ridner, Director, answers questions about the upcoming special event, Memory: Health & Hope at One Senior Place Brevard/Space Coast on Friday, February 19th at 1:00 pm. This program is also being offered at the One Senior Place Greater Orlando in Altamonte Springs on Friday, February 19th at 10:00 am.

Q: Why host an event such as “Memory: Health & Hope” at One Senior Place?

A: From the time we opened our doors 10 years ago, One Senior Place has focused on hosting educational events and presentations that provide the seniors of Brevard County with information that will help them age well. There are amazing strides being made in clinical research in the field of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Many of us are concerned about our memory changes, and up until now it has been a very sad and frightening prospect. The purpose of this special event is to share a sense of hope, for the first time ever.

 

Q: In your own words, what sets Dr. Cajal above other doctors in the area to discuss dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease?

A: Dr. Cajal is not only an expert in Alzheimer’s, Dementia and the aging brain, but as a Triage Specialist and Neuroscientist for Compass Research, she can speak about the strides being made in the clinical research arena. This information is not always available to physicians practicing medicine in the traditional office or hospital setting at this time.

 

Q. What is the deadline for people to call for a free memory screening appointment?

A: Compass Research conducts baseline memory screenings at no charge by appointment at One Senior Place in Viera on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month from 12-4pm. Since this is an ongoing service that we offer, people can call 321-751-6771 to schedule an appointment anytime that it’s convenient for their schedule. 

 

Q. What is the deadline for RSVP?

A: People interested in attending should call as soon as they can since we have limited seating.

 

Q. Why should seniors attend this event?

A: One Senior Place has always strongly advocated for seniors and their families to be armed with information, and this event will shed new light on a subject that concerns all of us.

The Experts in Aging Ask: “How is Your Memory?”

The Latest Research on Dementia Prevention and Treatment

Dr. Cajal Seminar(Viera, FL)  January 26, 2016 –  Viera-based One Senior Place, the Experts in Aging, will host Dr. Marieke Cajal, Triage Specialist and Neuroscientist at Compass Research, for a presentation on “Memory: Health & Hope” on Friday, February 19th at 1:00 PM.  Dr. Cajal will discuss memory loss, the aging process and the newest research regarding the prevention and treatment of dementia.  The Compass Research seminar will focus on signs, symptoms and treatments for memory loss and Alzheimer’s Disease.  Dr. Cajal will share the latest information and answer audience questions. Free memory screenings will be available by appointment to those who are concerned about their memory.  Seminar seating is limited and an RSVP is required.  Refreshments will be provided at the Viera marketplace for senior resources at 8085 Spyglass Hill Road.  For more information about One Senior Place, the experts in aging, visit their website at www.OneSeniorPlace.com or call (321) 751-6771.

Director, Kathi Ridner, is excited to share the wealth of new information recently uncovered about memory loss.

“We’re living in a tremendously exciting time for medical breakthroughs,” said Ridner.  “New information is coming to light that may help prevent the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.  Even more exciting is the possibility of an actual cure in our lifetime.”

“Memory: Health & Hope” will be followed by two additional memory events in March and April: “Dinner with the Doctor” and a showing of the movie, Alive Inside.  For information on these and the dozens of events presented annually by One Senior Place, call 321-751-6771.  One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families.  To learn more about One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging visit www.OneSeniorPlace.com.

##

Photo 1 (attached)Dr. Marieke Cajal, discusses the latest findings on memory loss and its prevention on Friday, February 19 in Viera.  To reserve a seat for the event, RSVP by phone to 321-751-6771.

 

Dr. Marieke CajalPhoto 2 (attached)Dr. Marieke Cajal will discuss the latest research regarding the prevention and treatment of dementia at One Senior Place on February 19. Reserve a seat by calling 321-751-6771.

 

About Compass Research and Dr. Marieke Cajal –  Dr. Cajal is a Triage Specialist and Neuroscientist at Compass Research, one of the country’s leading research facilities in the area of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Cajal has also worked as a researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, and as a visiting researcher for Harvard Medical School. Within Compass, Dr. Cajal performs various cognitive assessments, as well as aids families in identifying opportunities for research.

Compass Research is a clinical research company dedicated to testing investigational medications that cover a broad range of diseases and disorders. Their staff has over 400 years of combined clinical research experience in all fields of medicine, and they are proud to be at the forefront of Alzheimer’s and Dementia research. Compass currently is exploring the prevention of memory loss with genetic testing and medications aimed at preventing or delaying onset of memory loss and Alzheimer’s Disease.  Compass serves over 200 sponsors, from small bio-techs to the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and has completed over 1,300 trials.  More about Compass Research is available on their website at www.CompassResearch.com.

 

About One Senior Place– Now in its tenth year, One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging, is a marketplace of resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their family caregivers in Central and East Central Florida.  Completely unique, One Senior Place at 8085 Spyglass Hill Road in Viera is a one-stop information hub and mini-mall “revolutionizing the way America shops for elder care and services.”  One Senior Place is home to a wide variety of senior-focused businesses, a resource library and is the site of educational seminars and presentations for seniors.  In 2008, One Senior Place was named Florida’s Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.  In Brevard, they were honored as  Business of the Year by the Melbourne Regional Chamber of Commerce.  A second location, One Senior Place Orlando, opened in Altamonte Springs in December of 2011.  More information about One Senior Place and One Senior Place Orlando can be found on the company website at www.OneSeniorPlace.com or by calling 321-751-6771.

The Experts in Aging Ask: “How is Your Memory?”

The Latest Research on Dementia Prevention and Treatment

Dr. Cajal Seminar(Orlando, FL)  –  One Senior Place, the Experts in Aging, will host Dr. Marieke Cajal, Triage Specialist and Neuroscientist at Compass Research, for a presentation on “Memory: Health & Hope” on Friday, February 19th at 10:00 AM.  Dr. Cajal will discuss memory loss, the aging process and the newest research regarding the prevention and treatment of dementia.  The Compass Research seminar will focus on signs, symptoms and treatments for memory loss and Alzheimer’s Disease.  Dr. Cajal will share the latest information and answer audience questions. Free memory screenings will be available by appointment to those who are concerned about their memory.  Seminar seating is limited and an RSVP is required.  Light refreshments will be provided at the Altamonte Springs marketplace for senior resources at 715 Douglas Avenue.  For more information about One Senior Place, the experts in aging, visit their website at www.OneSeniorPlace.com or call 407-949-6733.

Aging Services Manager, Emily Stowers, MSW, is excited to share the wealth of new information recently uncovered about memory loss.

“We’re living in a tremendously exciting time for medical breakthroughs,” said Stowers.  “New information is coming to light that may help prevent the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.  Even more exciting is the possibility of an actual cure in our lifetime.”

“Memory: Health & Hope” will be followed by two additional memory events in March and April: “Dinner with the Doctor” and a showing of the movie, Alive Inside.  For information on these and the dozens of events presented annually by One Senior Place, call 407-949-6733.  One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, and on-site services for seniors and their families.  To learn more about One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging visit www.OneSeniorPlace.com.

##

 

Photo (attached)Dr. Marieke Cajal will discuss the latest research regarding the prevention and treatment of dementia at One Senior Place on February 19. Reserve a seat by calling 407-949-6733.

 

About Compass Research and Dr. Marieke Cajal –  Dr. Cajal is a Triage Specialist and Neuroscientist at Compass Research, one of the country’s leading research facilities in the area of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Cajal has also worked as a researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, and as a visiting researcher for Harvard Medical School. Within Compass, Dr. Cajal performs various cognitive assessments, as well as aids families in identifying opportunities for research.

Compass Research is a clinical research company dedicated to testing investigational medications that cover a broad range of diseases and disorders. Their staff has over 400 years of combined clinical research experience in all fields of medicine, and they are proud to be at the forefront of Alzheimer’s and Dementia research. Compass currently is exploring the prevention of memory loss with genetic testing and medications aimed at preventing or delaying onset of memory loss and Alzheimer’s Disease.  Compass serves over 200 sponsors, from small bio-techs to the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and has completed over 1,300 trials.  More about Compass Research is available on their website at www.CompassResearch.com.

 

About One Senior Place– Now in its tenth year, One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging, is a marketplace of resources and provider of information, advice, and on-site services for seniors and their family caregivers in Central and East Central Florida.  Completely unique, One Senior Place is a one-stop information hub and mini-mall “revolutionizing the way America shops for senior care and services.”  One Senior Place is home to a wide variety of senior-focused businesses, a resource library and is the site of educational seminars and presentations for seniors.  In 2008, One Senior Place was named Florida’s Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.  In Brevard, they were honored as  Business of the Year by the Melbourne Regional Chamber of Commerce.  A second location, One Senior Place Orlando, opened in Altamonte Springs in December of 2011.  More information about One Senior Place and One Senior Place Orlando can be found on the company website at www.OneSeniorPlace.com or by calling 407-949-6733.

Hope is Not a Plan

TER Email and Web

Many of us remain optimistic that we will stay young forever. We expect to maintain vibrant heath and an active lifestyle, but the reality is that life often has other plans, and aging is an inevitable fact of life. The inconvenient truth is that up to 70 percent of adults will experience extended care in their lifetime, and 90 percent of those who wait too long to apply for Long-Term Care insurance will be denied. A majority of adults also feel that being a burden to their families is their greatest concern. Faced with these realities, there is no time like the present to plan for your future.

“I tell people that hope is not a plan,” says Teresa Risner, president of LTC Advisors at One Senior Place Greater Orlando. “They can’t simply assume they will never require long-term care. It’s always best to think ahead and ask yourself what kinds of things can negatively impact your life and/or your nest egg.”

LTC Advisors is dedicated to preparing people for a time when they will need extended care to stay independent. Every member of the LTC team understands the true impact of long-term care, as each of them has cared for a loved one and knows how challenging and expensive long-term care can be. “The process starts with talking to people about their future concerns, which is never an easy conversation to have,” says Risner. “Nevertheless, having a discussion about their current health, long-term financial outlook, retirement goals and needs/wants is an effective way to get them to apply a big-picture view of what retirement actually looks like for them.”

Risner stresses that there are all kinds of ways to prepare for your future, but that every person is different and requires a tailored solution. When applicable, LTC Advisors works with a client’s financial planner and/or trusted advisor to explore options and come up with customized recommendations that help each client plan accordingly. The company takes a holistic approach to finding the right solution for each individual, which may include considering one or more of the following: long-term care insurance, life insurance, annuities, financial planning, life settlement, Medicare/Medicaid, claims counseling and insurance analysis.

“The money to pay for long-term care has to come from somewhere, and most often it’s savings and retirement contributions that get hit the hardest, which in turn threatens a family’s ability to live comfortably,” says Risner. “It’s hard when you see people who are desperate and don’t have enough money to get the proper care they need. I tell my clients to get ready because your future is coming whether you want it to or not.”

Risner believes the challenge is to get others to see things objectively and from a present-day perspective. For example, long-term care insurance rates on older policies have gone up drastically in recent years because of assumptions insurers made decades ago. In the early days of long-term care insurance (1970s), insurers based rates on the older life insurance model, which they eventually learned wasn’t a viable comparison. “Long-term care insurance has much lower lapse rates because people who buy this coverage generally hang onto it – and claim. Coupled with the fact that we are living longer and the cost of healthcare has gone up drastically, we are seeing insurance companies raising their rates to make their pricing models more stable,” she explains. “People may need to be prepared for rate increases and other possible changes in the healthcare landscape.” But policies issued today in most states are governed by new regulations issued by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and adapted by most states. These regulations mandate that policies are priced fairly and accurately based on everything that’s been learned.

Modern medicine is keeping people alive longer. Today, if you have clogged arteries, doctors can most likely fix you. In many cases, cancer is no longer an automatic death sentence. Blood pressure and cholesterol medications are keeping people alive and have helped raise overall life expectancy rates. As a society, we are also eating healthier and exercising more.

“What killed our grandparents may not kill us, and this is important to understand because many individuals believe they’re simply going to go quickly, be it from a heart attack or stroke,” says Risner. “This simply isn’t true anymore. People are living longer, but as a result they will more likely need some form of long-term care as they continue to age, and they need to be financially prepared for that.”

To find out more about LTC Advisors at One Senior Place Greater Orlando and how their certified professionals can help you plan for your future, contact Teresa Risner, LTCP, CLTC, at 407-949-6722.

 

***

 

One Senior Place is a comprehensive, one-stop resource office with access to information, advice, and services for seniors. Not only are a variety of businesses available in one location, but we also offer educational seminars on a regular basis, and our Senior Resource Library is available to help you find what you are looking for. Call 407-949-6733 for more information or for a complimentary consultation with a One Senior Place Aging Services Expert.

 

ACCESS AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE AND THE INSURANCE MARKETPLACE

By Nancy Dzamba, Social Security Manager in Lake Mary, FL 

grandparents with grandkidsThe Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides Americans with better health security by expanding coverage, lowering healthcare costs, guaranteeing more choice, and enhancing the quality of care for all Americans. Everyone is entitled to affordable healthcare.

Under the law, a new “Patient’s Bill of Rights” gives the American people the stability and flexibility they need to make informed choices about their health. Some of the benefits of this coverage include:

  • Ending Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions for Children: Health plans can no longer limit or deny benefits to children under 19 due to a pre-existing condition.
  • Keeping Young Adults Covered: If you are under 26, you may be eligible to be covered under your parent’s health plan.
  • Ending Arbitrary Withdrawals of Insurance Coverage: Insurers can no longer cancel your coverage just because you made an honest mistake.
  • Guaranteeing Your Right to Appeal: You now have the right to ask that your plan reconsider its denial of payment.

Open enrollment began in November and ends January 31. Compare healthcare plans so that you can find the best one for you, and sign up before the enrollment period ends. You can learn more about the insurance marketplace and how to apply for benefits at www.healthcare.gov.

If you are 65 or older, you are entitled to Medicare. Certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for Medicare, including those who have disabilities and those who have permanent kidney failure. The program helps with the cost of healthcare, but it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care.

You can access everything you need for Medicare, including online applications and publications, at www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare.

Social Security and affordable healthcare go hand-in-hand. The Affordable Care Act and Medicare help ensure that you and your family are covered.

 # # #

Stay Informed
 
Business Directory
Senior Living Options
Directory Search
In-Home Care
About Us
FAQ
Testimonials
Articles & News
For Professionals
OSP University
Request Information
Revolutionizing the way America shops for elder care and services.
Home | Code of Ethics | Privacy Policy | Sitemap © Copyright 2018, One Senior Place - Orlando, Florida..