It’s that time of year again, when the warm breezes of summer are blowing and we get the urge to travel. It’s a great time to see new sites, or visit with family and friends. I recommend a bit of preparation so traveling with diabetes doesn’t have to be a challenge and be more enjoyable:
- Have a Plan. About one month prior to your trip, visit your doctor and tell them about your destination. They can help you understand about potential vaccinations and if you need them when you travel abroad. This gives you time if you develop any reaction to a vaccination. Get a physical with blood work to make sure all your diabetes numbers are in order. Discuss any issues that concern you before you leave.
- Get Organized. Make a list of your medications, doses and reasons why you take them. Include your allergies on the list. If you are traveling alone, you need to have an emergency contact in your phone and listed on your medication card. Better yet, invest in MEDIC-ALERT, a service that has an 800 number with all your health info available. Call 1-800-432-5378 for details.
- Carry Identification. You need to have identification indicating you have diabetes. If you are traveling abroad, you should have the I.D. in the language of the country you are visiting. Carry a simple phrase book in the language of the country you are visiting. A medical I.D. bracelet is an important way to communicate your health conditions with others, if you cannot.
- Carry a Letter. Most of the time, you do not need a letter indicating you are carrying needles or lancets, but it is a good idea just in case.
- Stock Up on Supplies & Medications. I recommend having one extra week of your medications and supplies if you are traveling in the U.S., and two weeks of supplies if you are traveling outside of the country. This will take the worry out of unexpected changes in your travel plans.
- Health Insurance & Trip Insurance. Check with your own insurance carrier and see what coverage is available prior to your trip. Many times, if you travel with a tour group, the insurance does NOT include preexisting conditions, including issues with your diabetes. Remember, Medicare does NOT cover your
healthcosts outside of the United States.
- Carry All Diabetes Supplies. Carry all of your diabetic supplies, including your glucose meter, with you. Your diabetic supplies are sensitive to heat, light and humidity. Medications can also be sensitive to these conditions. Always carry glucose tabs and a food snack consisting of protein and carbohydrates. Peanut butter and an apple, or cheese and whole-wheat crackers are convenient options. This will help you avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can make you weak for hours if not treated promptly. This will help you feel your best and have energy to enjoy your vacation.
- Move. When traveling by car, plane, or train, you should stand and walk around, wiggling and rotating your ankles and feet. Do not cross your legs except at the ankles to promote better circulation. Sitting for long periods of time with no movement may encourage the formation of blood clots, which can lead to more serious complications. People with diabetes are more prone to blood clots.
- Drink. Flying and hot weather can lead to dehydration. I recommend drinking fluids that do not contain caffeine or alcohol. Water is always your best bet. If you are unsure about the local water supply, drink bottled water to avoid potential gastrointestinal problems.
- Keep a First Aid Kit Handy. No matter how or where you travel, it is always a good idea to have a first aid kit that contains the following items (at a minimum): Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, sunscreen, bug spray, over-the-counter medicines for heartburn and diarrhea, and aspirin or other medicine for fever or pain.
- Eat in Moderation & Stay Active. I definitely recommend enjoying new foods and flavors. However, watch your portion sizes. Be careful with all-you-can-eat buffets and all the glorious food they serve on cruises. When traveling abroad, be careful where you eat to avoid stomach issues. Traveling is a good time to enjoy activity and exercise. Enjoy walks, bike rides, swimming, golf, tennis and other fun activities.
- Take Good Care of Your Feet. Wear pool shoes by the pool, in the shower and at the beach for protection. Wear good sturdy and supportive shoes and fresh socks daily. You may also consider putting powder between toes to reduce the risk of developing fungus from sweaty feet. Apply lotion to feet and heels after showering. Taking care of your feet will allow you to enjoy your sightseeing even more.
Live life to the fullest and enjoy EVERY MINUTE! Take pictures and remember all the good times and be safe.
NOTE: Consult your doctor first to make sure my recommendations fit your special health needs.
Each year sees new trends in all sorts of things. The home health industry is one area where you might not think that there would be trends but there really are. As far as trends in this area go, since 2010 the trend has had to do with the Affordable Care Act. That is changing now and there are other things moving into the spotlight.
Readmission Rate Reduction
Money is always a factor when it comes to speeding up times for people to be released from the hospital but due to the Affordable Care Act, there is even more of a focus on money. There is a part of the Act that deals specifically with readmission to the hospital. Because of this, hospitals are now trying to discharge their patients even more quickly in order to reduce more health risks as well as to reduce costs. A direct result of this was seen last year when almost 18 percent of patients in Medicare had to be readmitted to the hospital after having been discharged for less than a month. That number does happen to be lower than the rate for 2013 but this is still around 2,000,000 people being readmitted each year which then costs Medicare an average of $26 billion. It is estimated by officials that $17 billion of that amount is from readmissions that were avoidable.
The thing is, care does not always end right when a patient is discharged from the hospital. Home health is a vital component in the prevention of additional health issues. By monitoring discharged patients closely and using the latest technology for software and data collection, all of the parties who are involved can benefit.
These days, both families with loved ones who are aging and health care providers are both asking quite a bit from the home health organizations. This can be difficult to handle and even more so if the organization is not being run efficiently. In 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have projected that the payments Medicare makes to these home health agencies will see a reduction of up to $60 million. This new rule is just one of several rules that are said to show a strategy that is broader and administration wide in order to deliver care that is better at a cost that is lower through finding more efficient ways to use information, pay providers and to deliver care. In order to increase the efficiency of your agency, look for a system of software that will be able to let you know when the eligibility of a patient changes or when any billing change happens.
Regardless of what the trends are in the field of home health, your home health agency will always be one that is a necessity. If you stay abreast of changes then you and your agency will have the knowledge and the confidence that is required to be leaders in the field.
Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) summed up Tuesday’s Health Bill proceedings by saying “There is going to be a herculean effort to get this done, even if every member doesn’t get everything he or she wants.” Tuesday represented the latest highlight in the ongoing battle between Democrats and Republicans to come up with a cost-effective and beneficial solution to the current state of health care.
While the redone Bill showed that the Democrats are willing to compromise, it opened the door for further negotiation rather than gaining approval from the GOP. The Health Care Bill was originally scrutinized by Republicans because the massive reform bill was placed under a deadline, which left the Dems in undeniable control and nullified any supposed bipartisanship.
The Bill did address legitimate concerns voiced by both parties. It called for more regulation of insurance providers, expanded consumer protection, and raised government subsidies for helping people buy insurance. Baucus also reduced the amount of premiums paid by low to middle income households from 3% (low income) and 13% (middle income) to 2% and 12% respectively. He also cut the maximum penalty for families without insurance in half, from 3,800 to 1,900. The bill also maintained the delicate balance of keeping Obama’s core reform policies intact, while adding money to the health care system.
While it did show a Democratic willingness to compromise, it still failed to win over anyone from the other party. The most important obstacle to overcome is still the cost. $856 billion (maybe) is better on the eyes and ears than the previous 1 trillion plus bill, but its still a hard pill for Congress to swallow. Also, the plan calls for cutting $500 billion in Medicare funds over the next 10 years. This type of cut will almost undoubtedly have an effect on the care provided to seniors. Baucus bumped up a 6 billion dollar a year fee on insurance companies to 6.7 billion dollars a year, and also called for a tax on high-cost insurance plans to lessen the impact of the taxes on Americans over the next decade. The problem with these kinds of fees and taxes is that the insurance companies usually hand the costs back down to the consumer. This could actually accelerate the problem they are trying to stop, rising health care costs. And lastly, even Baucus seemingly acknowledged a lack of protection for doctors. At this time, there
There are several more benefits and problems that could be brought up now. But there are over 500 more amendments to this bill to deal with. This ongoing process could be ongoing for a while. And it would seem that in the interest of America as a whole, it should. But Nancy Pelosi upheld the time constraints saying monday “We will have legislation that will be passed in a matter of weeks, it will be signed in a matter of months by Barack Obama and it will have a very positive impact on America’s families.”
The plan, in its present forms, is not clearly endorsed by the president. It still remains unclear exactly how he feels about reform. The guidelines he previously set forth aren’t totally represented by this plan, so it leaves many wondering what his final take on this bill is. Also, the public option issue is up in the air. While Nancy Pelosi insists there will be no bill passed without a public option, other Democrats are suggesting the provision could possibly be left out. There is even speculation that Obama is no longer backing the public option plan.
And the ugliest part of this whole mess is the question of motive. Sure, we know what the poor and middle class want. They want affordable health insurance. They want great coverage. They want better regulation of the insurance companies, and they want choices. They don’t, however, want these improvements funded by huge
If you are considering undertaking a course of osteopathic treatment in Australia, it is important to know to what extent your treatment will be covered under either Medicare, the government-funded universal health scheme, or by your private medical health insurance.
A patient in Australia with a chronic condition (e.g. a long-standing musculoskeletal condition), which is being managed by a GP, is eligible for a Medicare rebate for a maximum of five sessions of osteopathic treatment in a calendar year, as provided by an osteopath registered with the Osteopathy Board of Australia. There are, however, certain conditions that are applied in order for a patient to be eligible for the rebate.
Firstly, treatment by an osteopath must be recommended by a GP who has provided MBS Chronic Disease Management services to the patient, and as part of the patient’s GP Management Plan (GPMP) and Team Care Arrangements (TCAs). A referring GP is required to use a referral form that is provided by the Australian Department of Health and Ageing, and this form should be presented to the osteopath at the first treatment session. Once all five sessions have been undertaken, if further treatment is required, a new GP referral is required. Second, if more than five sessions of osteopathic treatment are undertaken, subsequent sessions are not covered by the Medicare rebate. Third, the osteopath is required to provide the referring GP with a written report, usually at the conclusion of the treatment, that will detail the treatment provided, any tests or assessments carried out, and plans for future management of the patient’s condition.
A patient who has private medical insurance but who opts not to claim on that insurance for their osteopathic treatment, instead choosing to claim their Medicare rebate, is also eligible to claim for the cost of five sessions of treatment in a calendar year, provided the above conditions are met.
Private health insurance
As osteopaths in Australia are Allied Health Professionals, a patient for whom osteopathic treatment is covered by their private health insurance scheme does not require a referral from a GP to undertake a course of treatment. Generally speaking, a private health fund will offer either a form of ancillary or extras cover that will: entitle a patient to a set number of osteopathic treatment sessions throughout a calendar year, depending on the level of cover; or, pay a contribution towards the cost of osteopathic treatment sessions, up to an agreed amount.
However, it is important for patients to check with their health fund that osteopathy treatment is covered in their particular scheme, and what other expenses they may be liable for. It is also important to know that patients who have chosen not to claim the cost of their osteopathic treatment on their private health insurance, and have instead opted to claim their Medicare rebate, cannot use their private health insurance cover to cover any shortfall between the Medicare rebate and any fees paid for their treatment.
In many instances, homeowners do not have appliance insurance, and do not even realize that such a home insurance rate has been created. When we purchase our household appliances, they usually come with manufacturer warranties. As consumers, we think of these warranties as an insurance policy against our appliance. But warranties only last a little while, and often cover only defects.
It is important to look at the concept of appliance insurance and to understand this financial protection product so you can make an educated decision on whether to carry a policy and how to structure it for your own protection. Take a gander at these three tips on appliance insurance to help you pick whether to take advantage of this type of financial product, and to find the best possible price on an insurance policy to suit your needs.
KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF APPLIANCE INSURANCE
People who are considering adding appliance insurance to their monthly home loan price or their overall insurance price need to consider the potential price versus the rewards offered by such a policy. There are quite a lot of possible examples that can explain the benefit of having your appliances covered.
One rather obvious example is in a heating and cooling system. Heating and Cooling units are not cheap to repair and even more expensive to purchase brand new. Having a good insurance policy in place in the event your HVAC breaks down can really save you some cash.
There are some renters who will correctly point out that purchasing any insurance plan limits their cash flow. For this reason, many would prefer to simply place the money they might otherwise spend on appliance insurance in the bank. But at the same time, it is sensible to also acknowledge the possibility that for most of us, extra income just leads to extra spending. If your family tends to spend more when there’s more around, appliance insurance is actually a great idea because it represents a “forced savings” account preparing you for any appliance-related maintenance.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT INSURANCE PLAN
With that said, it is also important to convey that not every appliance insurance policy is the same. Renters and Homeowners thinking about buying their appliances properly insured should know what to look for in a fair policy. Look over many plans from different providers to understand the right fit for you. People compare car insurance and health insurance all the time. Why should you not compare appliance insurance and save money like them?
As time passes and appliances get older, the possibility of failure sky rockets. Insurance that covers older appliances at a lower out-of-pocket cost to you is going to make more sense if your appliances have been around for quite some time. But in brand-new homes with all new appliances, this is not going to be much of an issue.
Based on your needs and your specific situation, choose a plan that makes the most sense. If you feel like there’s a great possibility of the need for or replacement in the not-so-distant future, look at policies with broad coverage and low deductibles. If your things are newer and you just want to have a little extra coverage, you might be willing to pay more on a claim out of pocket in order to keep your insurance rate down.
When an appliance breaks down, in many cases it requires more than a little repair to get it working again. This is particularly true of appliances that are not as new. Just finding the problem and procuring replacement parts can be quite a expensive task in itself. Solid appliance insurance is essential to keep these costs in line. When you have good coverage, you lean on the insurance provider to pay the major expenses, even up to full replacement.
The latest issue simply re-states the application of provisions in the law.
-Health insurance policies can not be rescinded by insurance companies after September 23, 2010, for any reason but for the more egregious acts of fraud.
-Health insurance policies can not have lifetime maximum benefits after September 23, 2010.
-Children under age 19 can not be excluded from coverage due to a pre-existing health condition.
-Dependents are allowed to remain on parents’ coverage until age 26 regardless of marital and student status.
These rules apply to individually purchased plans of insurance as well as group plans. Grandfathered plans are not exempt from these items.
As the weeks turn into months and months into years, prevailing thought seems to suggest that the small group health plans (group plans under 50 primary insured lives) and individual plans will become virtually indistinguishable. That is, each plan type will look identical and the only difference will be how the plan premium is billed.
Because small group plans have already operated under stricter regulation such as guaranteed issue, we can develop an idea of the future premiums of individual insurance from the small group market when it began to operate under strict controls.
Contrary to expectations, the premiums did not rise as much as expected. However, the ACA does insert other issues that will undoubtedly impact future premiums. As mentioned previously, the Medical Loss Ratio is likely to have the most significant impact. As you may recall, the MLR is the requirement that insurance companies in the “under 50 market” must hold claims to no less than 80% of premiums paid. This can result in premium rebates or potentially large increases.
A second factor that will place upward pressure on premiums is the guarantee issue. Small group plans are guaranteed issue and pre-existing conditions are covered from day one as long as the individual has maintained ongoing coverage for the past 12 months. Otherwise, pre-existing conditions are subject to a waiting period.
ACA does not contain any language related to waiting periods for pre-existing health conditions in the small group market or individual market. HHS is expected to address this concern before January 1, 2014. Insurance companies see this oversight as a big concern, especially since the law will require guarantee issue with no serious mandate for individuals to enroll in insurance other than a “modest” penalty.
Another factor likely to exert pressure on individual plans is the new age rating schedule as set forth by ACA. The premium for the older adults can not be more than four times the rate for the youngest adult. The age rating schedule varies from one insurance company to another, but on average, the current range is about six to one.
Because insurance companies are not likely to lower the premiums for older adults, young adults should expect significant increases in premiums as insurance companies try to close that gap by January 1, 2014.
At that time every individual will be required to buy health insurance or face a penalty. The penalty will be $695 per person per year, up to a maximum of three per family ($2085 total), or 2.5% of household income by 2016. From January 1, 2014, the penalty is $95 (X 3 per family) and in 2015, $325 (3 X per family).
Individuals who object to health insurance for religious reasons are exempt from the penalty as are prisoners, American Indians, undocumented aliens, or others who suffer financial hardship.
The fed will assist in premium payments if household income is between 133% and 400% of federal poverty level (FPL). The amount of the subsidy will vary based on the level of household income in the FPL range. The very bottom could get a 100% subsidy. Additionally the fed will also help pay the out of pocket expenses that arise such as assistance with copays and coinsurance.
Still other individuals will qualify for expanded eligibility under Medicaid.
Because of the laxity of penalties for non-enrollment, some experts believe HHS will have to issue revised regulations restricting enrollment in individual health insurance to prevent people from foregoing enrollment until they become sick. These regulations could look similar to the current Medicare enrollment periods. That is, open enrollment would be restricted to a specific time of year. Failure to enroll during this time would result in the penalty being applied.
Perhaps one of the most troubling aspects of health care reform is what could happen to Medicare beneficiaries.
Health care reform did not change the benefits or delivery method of Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D. It did never the less include some language that implies Medicare Part C beneficiaries may suffer the most.
Part C is also known as Medicare Advantage coverage. Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage with or without Part D (prescription drug coverage), have paid little to no premium other than their Part B premium. This almost certainly will change.
Insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage receive subsidies from Medicare and in return are responsible for all claim payments. Medicare no longer is responsible for claim payments for beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.
Over the next 10 years, $50 billion will be extracted from Medicare Advantage subsidies to help finance the rest of the health care reforms, namely the subsidies passed to low income households and the expansion of Medicaid.
Most, if not all, of the $500 billion have to be replaced. The only available source is higher premiums. This could result in a doubling to tripling of current premium levels. Those who pay nothing for their Medicare Advantage could easily see premiums of $150 or much more.
Medicare Advantage plans will probably begin to align themselves with provider networks if they do not do so presently. Some carriers may even discontinue offering Medicare Advantage plans altogether.
If a carrier drops its Medicare Advantage offering, its beneficiaries will be eligible for a special open enrollment in another Medicare Advantage, a Part D (prescription) plan, or a Medicare supplement plan. Medicare A and B look to be completely free of health care reform.
It is becoming clear many more questions arise as we begin to get answers to other questions. Then again, if the states prevail in their lawsuit over the Constitutionality of the new social program, “Will health care reform then be completely abandoned?”
No one likes insurance companies reserving the right to arbitrarily deny coverage. Insurance companies have agreed to reasonable guaranteed issue requirements, provided a few safe guards are in place to protect the viability of reasonable premiums, such as restricted open enrollment periods and heftier penalties for non-enrollment.
Next time: A recap of articles 1-4.
We all want to protect our loved ones from danger, but it’s impossible to be with them every moment of the day. And unfortunate as it is, scam artists see your aging Mom or Dad as an easy target, knowing full well that elderly individuals are more likely to fall for their scams. Elder fraud often goes unreported, but it’s estimated that over $40 billion is stolen from America’s seniors every year (according to Fraud.org), and, due to a lack of proper senior citizen fraud protection in place, this figure is increasing. Families and friends are fighting back and providing their loved ones with senior citizen fraud protection tips and tools to combat these elder fraud scam artists.
‘If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is’ rings true in many instances. Law enforcement agencies often remark on just how difficult it is to bring elder fraud perpetrators to justice – once an investigator has begun looking into the scheme, the scammers are already moving on to another ploy. There’s just no way to catch them all, which means it’s up to you to help your parents understand and implement senior citizen fraud protection tactics and be on the lookout for people who wish to do them, their property, or their savings significant harm.
How can you help your parents fight back against elder fraud? Aside from a quick lesson in senior citizen fraud protection, a handy cheat sheet by all the phones or computers in the home is often the best way to avoid these common elder fraud tricks, which include the following top ten ways to beat the bad guys.
What to Include on Your Senior Citizen Fraud Protection Cheat Sheet
1. Avoid sending money or providing personal financial information. Be cautious who you disclose your bank account, credit card, and social security numbers to. Suspicious, but realistic looking checks made out for a considerable amount of money should be an elder fraud red flag. Your parents should know that if they weren’t expecting a check, it could be a fake. Tell your loved ones if they have concerns related to this type of senior citizen fraud that protection comes from asking someone they trust for help. Checks such as these are usually accompanied with directions instructing the recipient to call a phone number. The message tells the caller to send taxes on the money he or she just received through a wire transfer service. The scam, of course, is that once the recipient sends the money, their check bounces.
2. Do not speak at length with people who are unfamiliar to you – tell your parents to decline answering questions of a private matter over the phone, Internet, or at the door. Above all, the key to senior citizen fraud protection is caution. If a telemarketer who is pushing a product begins asking for too much information, tell your loved one to request the name of his or her employer, the address, and a phone number. If a caller asks to speak to the man of the house and there isn’t one, tell your mother never to indicate that she lives alone.
3. Do not sign any documents without reviewing them carefully. Your loved one can often be signed up for something he or she may not be interested in and begin receiving phone calls that solicit other products. If anything appears suspect, tell your loved one to contact his or her lawyer or a trusted friend immediately. Many elder fraud con artists will pose as door-to-door salesmen and try to sell your loved one something on the spot, introducing multiple new products and a whirl of paperwork that needs to be signed now and paid for to ‘secure’ it. This potential elder fraud ploy is dangerous, because the friendly salesman is no longer some distant threat with no face; he appears to be knowledgeable and trustworthy. Tell your parents one of the most important senior citizen fraud protection tools available to them is not to allow anyone into the home they don’t know.
4. Make sure to verify all claims. One of the newest elder fraud alerts is related to home construction or improvement, and much like any other industry, scams abound. The best senior citizen fraud protection tip in this instance is to use a well-known contractor in the area. Tell your parents to request references and contact the Better Business Bureau or the National Fraud Information Center if they’re unsure. Create a contract and make sure the work is carried out to the letter; a fly-by-night scheme will probably try to talk down the contract, but if it’s in writing, your loved one ultimately has more recourse. And if the contractor wants the money upfront, tell your loved one to move on to the next choice.
5. Reach out for help before investing or spending considerable amounts of money. Tell your loved one to call you with questions about any investment that involves a significant transfer of money or shares. In many cases, the American Association of Retired Persons can be a lifesaver; this organization regularly sends out information on the latest elder fraud schemes and offers senior citizen fraud protection tips as well as financial planning assistance and consumer rights, all of which can help your parents judiciously decide on various offers and purchases.
6. Shred all bills, notices, and personal mail before throwing them away. Information regarding your loved one’s financial situation is often retrieved by con artists from discarded mail that is not shredded (also known as ‘dumpster diving’). It’s all too easy for elder fraud scammers to get bank account and credit card numbers from statements as well as details on safe deposit boxes, ATM cards, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, and more. Remind your loved one that one of the most important senior citizen fraud protection tips is to tear up all mail before throwing it away. Or, better yet, give him or her the gift of a paper shredder!
7. Recognize predatory lending practices. This senior financial abuse and elder fraud practice, also known as loan fraud, is often perpetrated by mortgage brokers, appraisers, and home contractors looking for a quick buck. Seniors approach these seemingly knowledgeable individuals looking to refinance their homes, but are bombarded by fast-talking scammers who incorporate a must-act clause into the deal. In the end, your loved one will walk away with a high-cost loan with exorbitant fees totaling more than 5% of the entire amount. When talking with your loved one about predatory lending and senior citizen fraud protection tips, remind him or her that other tricks include pre-payment penalties, ‘flipping’ (when a loan is refinanced to generate fee income without providing any net tangible benefit to the borrower), mandatory arbitration, and other unnecessary additions. Don’t let your parents make this decision alone; help them be more informed consumers.
8. Avoid health insurance scams by identifying the red flags. Many lower income seniors rely on their Medicare health insurance, which is why many elder fraud scams originate here. Often, less-than-reputable medical equipment companies target seniors, offering free supplies in return for their Medicare numbers. Tell your loved one that the doctor must order and sign for all equipment and products before Medicare will pay for it. Remind your parents of the most important senior citizen fraud protection tips when it comes to health insurance, including never signing blank insurance claim forms, never providing unchecked medical authorization for billing purposes, always reviewing Medicare’s payment terms closely, never giving out their Medicare numbers to someone they don’t know, and verifying with their physician if they are unsure of a product or equipment that’s been ordered.
9. Bypass the ‘Sucker List’ altogether. Many seniors are eager to win something and often enter numerous sweepstakes, sign up for free magazines, or register for contests. Companies with elder fraud scam artists will keep records of these submissions, meaning your loved ones could end up on what is called the ‘Sucker List,’ making your parents that much more of an elder fraud target. This list usually contains not only people who the scammers believe to be a good target, but have already been successfully targeted before.
10. Just hang up. Scammers know that senior citizens are more polite, more trusting, and a lot less likely to hang up when the call becomes personal; unfortunately, elder fraud con artists take full advantage of this fact. Tell your loved one that if he or she doesn’t know the caller and questions regarding financial or personal matters come up, they can simply hang up on the caller with no questions asked. Hanging up is one of the simplest senior citizen fraud protection methods.
An Ounce of Prevention…
If your loved one has been a victim of elder fraud, please urge them to report it to the proper authorities. Falling for a scam is embarrassing to many seniors, making it one of the most under reported crimes. Their assistance in the matter can help bring con artists to justice and perhaps inspire other seniors to implement better methods of senior citizen fraud protection.
Another invaluable senior citizen fraud protection tool is helping your loved one sign up for the national ‘do not call’ registry to prevent harassing telemarketer calls. It’s a free service, and you can either call 888-382-1222 or register online at www.donotcall.gov. Another website that offers helpful senior citizen fraud protection tips of its own – www.fraud.org/elderfraud – helps fight against con artists by posting regular updates and information. Walking your loved one through potential elder fraud scenarios is as helpful as checking in regularly to go over financial transactions, bills, and emails as well as posting (in plain sight) the senior citizen fraud protection tips outlined above.
Ultimately, the only way to prevent elder fraud is through education, and this requires you to be firm on the subject, providing an insightful look into the various methods of senior citizen fraud protection. Caution is always the key to protection, and your loved one should be provided with a list of helpful sources to contact for additional information, including the National Consumer League’s Fraud Center, American Association of Retired Persons, the Better Business Bureau, and Consumer Action. Above all, make sure your loved one always knows who he or she is dealing with in the course of transactions or investments. And, as always, it’s important to remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of ‘cure.
On June 1st of 2010, the standardized medi-gap supplement plans were changed. Four plans were dropped and two were added. How and why gets to be very complicated. How it affects many policy holders who had coverage in place prior to that date is much easier to explain. Read on and learn why these policy holders would be foolish not to shop around for a new plan.
One major impact of the plan changes was to reduce the pricing on new plans. In other words, the person who had a plan prior to June first of last year, would likely find that they could get the same exact coverage for less if they were to shop their plan to another company. As an agent, I often find there is much confusion here because what many beneficiaries do not understand is that the name of the company is meaningless. If the ABC Insurance offers an F plan, and XYZ insurance offers an F plan, they have to cover the exact same benefits. The only difference is price.
The “Cadillac” plan prior to June 2010 was the “J” plan. It offered a home health care and preventative benefit. Now home healthcare is covered as a standard
I know from experience that
- Part A hospital deductible
- Part A hospital coinsurance
- Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
- Hospice co-payment/coinsurance
- Part B outpatient coinsurance
- Foreign travel emergency – 80% to lifetime max of $50,000 after $250 calendar year deductible
- The Part B deductible – currently $155 annually
- Up to a $20 co-pay for a doctors visit
- Up to a $50 co-pay for an emergency room visit
Other than the small co-pays for doctors visits and ER visits, you will have very little out-of-pocket expense. No deductibles or daily co-pays for inpatient hospital stays are required. You may have less out-of-pocket expenses for some outpatient procedures. Many Advantage plans require the same coinsurance levels as original
What are you missing?
Supplements fill in the gaps left by
One benefit of a standardized plan, is that it lends itself to being easy to shop for online. Unlike an Advantage plan, you don’t need to review dozens of brochures to learn about the differences from one plan to the next. The benefits are the same with
If have group coverage through an employer, you are NOT required to take
If you are collecting social security when you turn 65, you will automatically be signed up for Part A and B
Now, let’s say you are collecting social security, and receive
I realize this is a confusing matter. As always I suggest consulting the advice of a professional. If you have questions about rules and regulations or just need clarification, call the social security office. They will be able to clarify the
Just because they are on