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Which States Have Been Hardest Hit by the Nursing Home Staffing Crisis?
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused nursing home staffing shortages across the United States, even forcing some nursing homes to close, but some states have been hit harder than others.
May 9, 2022
Medicare Advantage Plans Often Wrongly Deny Necessary Care, Study Finds
In an alarming number of instances, private Medicare Advantage plans are denying coverage for medical services that would be covered under original Medicare, according to a federal investigation.
May 5, 2022
What to Do If Your Medicaid Application Is Denied
If you apply for long-term care assistance through Medicaid and your application is denied, it may feel hopeless. The good news is that you can appeal the decision.
April 19, 2022
When to Leave a Nursing Home and Move Back Home
Leaving a nursing home to return home is a goal for many residents and their families, but it requires careful consideration. While returning home is a good move for some, it won't work for everyone.
April 11, 2022
Medicare Now Covers the Cost of COVID At-Home Tests
If you have Medicare, you can now receive up to eight free rapid at-home Covid-19 tests a month at participating pharmacies.
April 11, 2022
Claiming Social Security Benefits at Age 70
If you are about to join this elite group of septuagenarian claimers, it’s important to know when and how to claim.
March 19, 2022
Medicaid’s “Snapshot” Date and Its Crucial Impact on a Couple’s Financial Picture
The date that the agency chooses for this analysis is called the “snapshot” date and it can have a major impact on a couple’s financial future.
March 19, 2022
Biden Proposes Major Nursing Home Reforms, Most Extensive “In Decades”
The Biden administration has announced far-reaching nursing home reforms, targeting staffing and accountability at facilities with deficient care.
March 4, 2022
Home Health Aide Costs See the Sharpest Increase in Annual Long-Term Care Survey
Long-term care costs climbed again in 2021, with rates for home health aides and homemakers seeing the sharpest rises, according to Genworth’s annual Cost of Care Survey.
March 2, 2022
Rather Than End Controversial Medicare Initiative, Biden Gives It a Makeover
In the face of mounting criticism that its Direct Contracting initiative will undermine traditional Medicare, the Biden administration announced that rather than terminate the model, it is changing its name and adding protections against abuse.
February 28, 2022
Medicare’s Controversial Direct Contracting Program Hits Biden Administration’s Radar
The Biden administration is hearing mounting calls to end a program that advocates warn will radically transform Medicare.
February 22, 2022
When to Avoid Naming a Trust as Beneficiary of Your Retirement Plan
Naming a trust as a beneficiary of your retirement plan can be a good idea in some circumstances, but it can be dangerous if you are worried about creditors coming after your estate.
February 22, 2022
Millions of People Could Lose Medicaid Coverage When the Pandemic Is Declared Over
While declining COVID-19 cases are good news, the end of the pandemic could mean millions of Medicaid recipients will lose their coverage.
February 17, 2022
Earned Income Tax Credit Now Available to Seniors Without Dependents
Working seniors without dependents may qualify for the earned income tax credit when they file their 2021 tax returns. The tax credit assists those with low incomes but was previously primarily available to people with young children.
February 17, 2022
What Documents Are Required for a Medicaid Application?
Medicaid applicants must prove that they have limited income and assets in order to be eligible for long-term care services. Before beginning the application process, it is helpful to understand what information you will be required to provide to prove your eligibility.
February 17, 2022
Medicare to Cover At-Home Covid Tests by 'Early Spring'
Medicare beneficiaries will soon be eligible to obtain up to eight free rapid at-home Covid-19 tests per month, and, unlike their privately insured counterparts, they won’t have to pay for them upfront, the Biden administration has announced.
February 11, 2022
When a Social Security Recipient Dies, Survivors May Be Eligible for Benefits
When loved ones pass away, there are lots of considerations, including what happens to their Social Security.
February 5, 2022
Court Rules Medicare Beneficiaries Can Appeal Switch to Hospital Observation Status
A federal court has ruled that hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries who were switched from inpatient to observation status can appeal the decision, making it easier for them to receive coverage for subsequent nursing home care.
February 5, 2022
Medicare Won’t Cover Rapid At-Home Covid Tests
Americans' ability to quickly and easily test for Covid-19 is one of the most important tools for stopping the infection’s spread. This is why the Biden administration recently announced it is requiring private insurers to cover the cost of up to eight rapid at-home Covid tests a month purchased at retail stores and pharmacies.
January 24, 2022
When Can Someone Be Declared Legally Incompetent?
If a loved one is experiencing memory loss or suddenly making poor decisions, you may want the court to appoint a guardian, which requires a declaration of incompetence.
January 24, 2022
California Removing Asset Test for Medicaid Eligibility
California is making big changes to how it determines Medicaid eligibility for long-term care by eliminating the requirement that applicants have limited assets. While the rules apply only to California right now, other states may follow suit.
January 21, 2022
You Can Now Compare Nursing Homes on Staff Turnover Rates and Weekend Help
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it will add data on staff turnover rates and weekend staffing levels to its Care Compare website, giving consumers another tool when choosing a nursing home.
January 21, 2022
Worsening Nursing Home Staffing Crisis Taking a Devastating Toll on Residents, Their Families and Hospitals
Overwhelmed by the stress of long hours, low pay, and exposure to the COVID-19 virus, nursing home workers are quitting in record numbers.
January 20, 2022
Advocates Sound Alarm About Pilot Program They Say Could Privatize All of Medicare
The Biden administration is moving forward with a Trump-era pilot program that would hand over the care of millions of Medicare beneficiaries to private, mostly for-profit, groups.
December 22, 2021
You Can ‘Cure’ a Medicaid Penalty Period by Returning a Gift
Anyone who gifted assets within five years of applying for Medicaid may be subject to a penalty period, but that penalty can be reduced or eliminated if the assets are returned.
December 9, 2021
What Vaccines Does Medicare Cover?
Vaccines can become less effective over time. Even individuals fully vaccinated as children may need to update their immunizations. Medicare Parts B and D offer vaccination coverage.
December 9, 2021
IRS Issues Long-Term Care Premium Deductibility Limits for 2022, and They Look Pretty Familiar
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the amounts taxpayers of different ages can deduct from their 2022 income as a result of buying long-term care insurance, and the figures are almost the same as in 2021.
November 22, 2021
Medicare Premiums to Increase Dramatically in 2022
Medicare premiums are rising sharply next year, cutting into the large Social Security cost-of-living increase.
November 22, 2021
What It Means to Need ‘Nursing Home Level of Care’ for Medicaid Eligibility
When applying for Medicaid’s long-term care coverage, in addition to the strict income and asset limits, you must demonstrate that you need a level care typically provided in a nursing home.
November 12, 2021
In 2022, Social Security Beneficiaries Will See the Biggest Increase in 39 Years
The year was 1983: The U.S. invaded Granada. A gallon of gas cost 96 cents. Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video premiered. That year was also the last time that Social Security recipients saw a cost-of-living increase steeper than the one just announced for 2022.
October 25, 2021
COVID Vaccination Information Added to Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare Site
Individuals who are researching nursing homes can now see staff and resident vaccination rates along with other quality and safety measure information at Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website.
October 5, 2021
Social Security Shortfalls Are Predicted to Begin a Year Earlier Due to the Pandemic
The Social Security trustees are projecting that due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic the Social Security trust fund will be depleted in 2033 -- one year earlier than the previous estimates. Once the fund is depleted, Social Security benefits will be reduced unless Congress acts in the interim.
September 23, 2021
How to Use Intrafamily Loans as Part of Your Estate Plan
When interest rates are low, intrafamily loans can be a good way to assist a relative (typically a child) with purchasing a house or a family business, and in certain circumstances, they can be used to gift money to the next generation.
September 17, 2021
It’s Medicare Open Enrollment Time: Is Your Plan Still Working for You?
During Medicare's Open Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15 to December 7, beneficiaries can freely enroll in or switch plans.
September 15, 2021
Armed with a New Report, White House Pushes Congress to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs
The Biden administration is calling on Congress to pass proposals to lower prescription drug prices, including allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies and capping out-of-pocket spending by Medicare beneficiaries.
September 14, 2021
Online Survey Helps Older Adults Assess Their Financial Vulnerability
All older Americans are vulnerable to financial abuse, but there are certain circumstances that make someone more likely to be scammed.
September 8, 2021
Four Ways the Coronavirus Pandemic May Affect Long-Term Care Insurance
The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the elderly, particularly those in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. This has raised questions about how the virus has influenced the costs and provision of long-term care insurance, which covers care in facilities and sometimes at home as well.
August 30, 2021
Industry Group Reports 2021 Premiums for New Long-Term Care Insurance Policies
Prices of new long-term care insurance policies for 2021 have been posted in the annual report from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, an industry group. The price increases apply to new, not current policies. Comparing the 2021 prices with 2020 is difficult, however, because they refer to two different types of policies.
August 30, 2021
What to Do If You Are Appointed Guardian of an Older Adult
Being appointed guardian of a loved one is a serious responsibility. As a guardian, you are in charge of your loved one's well-being and you have a duty to act in his or her best interest.
August 26, 2021
Husbands Usually Don’t Consider Their Wives’ Future When Deciding When to Take Social Security Benefits
The amount of Social Security benefits a surviving spouse receives depends, in part, on when their deceased spouse began claiming benefits. However, husbands usually don’t take survivor’s benefits into account when claiming benefits, according to a recent study, meaning that many widows will needlessly experience a significant drop in income.
August 26, 2021
Nursing Homes Grapple with Whether to Force Staff to Get Vaccinated
As COVID-19 cases start to rise again due to the highly contagious Delta variant, nursing homes are considering requiring staff members to be vaccinated. Only 59 percent of nursing home staff are partially or fully vaccinated nationwide, and the percentages are much lower in some states.
August 25, 2021
Medicare Would Cover Dental, Vision, and Hearing Under Senate Democrats' Spending Plan
The Senate Democrats' proposal for a $3.5 trillion spending plan includes expanding Medicare to provide dental, vision, and hearing benefits. The proposal is now being negotiated in Congress.
August 25, 2021
Three Changes You May Want to Make to Your Estate Plan Now Due to the Pandemic
You may need to reevaluate some elements of your estate plan in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
July 20, 2021
Make Sure Your Beneficiary Designations Match Your Estate Plan
Many types of property and investments pass outside of probate and allow you to designate who will receive them after your death. It is important that these designations are kept up to date and are consistent with the rest of your estate plan.
July 20, 2021
Estate Planning When You Have a Stepfamily
Ideally, when a second marriage joins two families together, it should be a joyous occasion that creates one bigger family unit. Unfortunately, it too often also creates inheritance fights between stepparents and children.
July 20, 2021
How to Divide Up Personal Possessions Without Dividing the Family
To avoid family feuds after you are gone, it is important to have a plan and make your wishes clear.
July 20, 2021
Supreme Court to Hear Case That Could Increase the Bite That Medicaid Takes Out of Settlements
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case disputing how much states can recoup from Medicaid recipients’ settlements in personal injury cases.
July 20, 2021
You May Be Overestimating Your Social Security Benefits
Studies have found that workers overestimate how much they will receive in Social Security benefits when they retire.
July 20, 2021
Using a Minority Valuation Discount to Reduce Estate Taxes
While the current estate tax exemption is quite high, a closely held family business may put your estate over the limit.
July 20, 2021
Ability to Withdraw Money Early from Retirement Plan Without Penalty Expires at the End of the Year
If you are experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you may want to consider withdrawing money from your retirement account while you still can.
July 7, 2021
What Is Critical Illness Insurance and Is It Worth Buying?
Many employers offer critical illness insurance as part of their benefits package. What is this insurance and is it worth purchasing?
July 7, 2021
Who Should Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance?
Buying long-term care insurance is one way to protect against the high cost of long-term care. However, this type of insurance may not be for everyone, so consider all your options.
July 7, 2021
Can You Visit Nursing Home Residents After They are Vaccinated?
Once your loved one has had both doses of the vaccine, you may be able to visit, but precautions are still necessary.
July 7, 2021
Annual Long-Term Care Survey Finds Steep Rise in Assisted Living Facility Costs Amid Pandemic
All long-term care costs rose sharply in 2020 but assisted living facility costs increased the most according to Genworth’s latest annual Cost of Care Survey.
July 7, 2021
Four Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Digital Estate
While the internet makes our lives more convenient, it also adds new complications. For example, what happens to all our online data and assets if we become disabled or die?
July 7, 2021
Using Estate Planning to Prepare for Medicaid
Long-term care involves not only a loss of personal autonomy; it also comes at a tremendous financial price. Proper planning can help your family prepare for the financial toll and protect assets for future generations.
July 1, 2021
Medicaid's Coverage of Nursing Home Care
For better and for worse, Medicaid is the primary method of paying for nursing home care in the United States. But navigating the Medicaid system is complicated and confusing. Here are the basics.
July 1, 2021
Paying Taxes When Selling an Inherited Vacation House
While it may seem great to inherit a vacation house, in actuality it may not be practical to keep the property, especially for tax reasons.
July 1, 2021
Medicaid’s Home Care Waivers Can Help You Avoid a Nursing Home, But the Line May Be Long
Medicaid long-term care benefits traditionally pay mainly for nursing home care, but the federal government can grant “waivers” to states allowing them to expand Medicaid to include home and community-based services.
June 30, 2021
Thousands of Elderly and Disabled SSI Recipients Accused of Owning Property That Isn’t Theirs
In December 2018, the Social Security Administration (SSA) had a nasty surprise for a 74-year-old woman just scraping by while living in senior citizen housing in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood.
June 30, 2021
Dual Eligibility: How Qualifying for Both Medicare and Medicaid Can Help With Costs
Qualifying for Medicare hardly means free health care -- there are still premiums and deductibles.
June 30, 2021
Passing Assets to Grandchildren Through a Generation-Skipping Trust
Passing assets to your grandchildren can be a great way to ensure their future is provided for
June 30, 2021
Will Electronic Wills Be the New Normal?
More and more transactions are done digitally, but estate planning has lagged behind technology. That may be changing, though. Even before the coronavirus pandemic made social distancing necessary, electronic wills were gaining legitimacy.
June 17, 2021
The Ins and Outs of Guardianship and Conservatorship
Every adult is assumed to be capable of making his or her own decisions unless a court determines otherwise. If an adult becomes incapable of making responsible decisions, the court will appoint a substitute decision-maker, usually called a "guardian," but called a "conservator" or another term in some states.
June 17, 2021
The Hazards of Do-it-Yourself Estate Planning
Many websites offer customized, do-it-yourself wills and other estate planning documents. Although such products are convenient, using them could create serious and expensive legal problems for heirs.
June 17, 2021
The Film 'I Care a Lot' Highlights Vulnerabilities in the Guardianship System
Netflix’s popular new movie, I Care a Lot, may be far-fetched in a lot of ways, but it does highlight some real weaknesses in the guardianship system.
June 17, 2021
What Is a Directed Trust and What Are Its Benefits?
Directed trusts can be a useful estate planning tool, allowing you to place your family’s assets in a trust but benefit from the expertise of an advisor who knows more about the handling of certain trust functions than you may.
June 17, 2021
Watch Out for These Potential Problems with Life Estates
Life estates can be an excellent tool for Medicaid planning, probate avoidance and tax efficiency, but there are potential problems to look out for.
June 17, 2021
The Attorney's Role in Medicaid Planning
Do you need an attorney for even "simple" Medicaid planning? This depends on your situation, but in most cases, the prudent answer would be "yes."
June 17, 2021
Medicare's Limited Nursing Home Coverage
Many people believe that Medicare covers nursing home stays. In fact, Medicare's coverage of nursing home care is quite limited.
June 17, 2021
How to Create an Estate Plan That Includes Your Pet
Pets are members of the family, so it is important to consider how to provide for them in your estate plan just as you would the human family members.
June 9, 2021
Using Life Insurance as Part of Your Estate Plan
Life insurance can play a few key roles in an estate plan, depending on your age and situation in life.
June 9, 2021
Moving to a New State? Be Sure to Update Your Estate Plan
While legally you may not need all-new estate planning documents if you move to a different state, you should have your documents reviewed by a local attorney in your new home.
June 9, 2021
Married Couples Need an Estate Plan
Don’t assume your estate will automatically go to your spouse when you die. If you don’t have an estate plan, your spouse may have to share your estate with other family members.
June 9, 2021
Biden Administration May Spell Changes to Estate Tax and Stepped-Up Basis Rule
A new administration usually means that tax code changes are coming. While it remains unclear exactly what tax changes President Biden’s administration will usher in, two possibilities are that it will propose lowering the estate tax exemption and eliminating the stepped-up basis on death.
June 9, 2021
What You Can’t Do With a Will
While a will is one of the most important estate planning documents you can have, there are things that it won’t cover. A will is just one part of a comprehensive estate plan.
June 9, 2021
You Can Stretch the Gift Tax Limit by Paying for Education or Health Care
If you want to make a gift to family members but have exceeded the annual gifting limit, there is another way. Payments for a family member’s education or health care expenses are exempt from the gift tax.
June 9, 2021
Senators Propose Sweeping Changes to the Taxation of Estates and Inherited Gains
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders (D) has introduced legislation that would require more estates to pay estate tax and that raises the amounts they would pay. Another proposed law would eliminate the step-up in basis that inherited assets currently enjoy.
June 9, 2021
How an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust Can Be Used to Avoid or Reduce the Estate Tax
With the federal estate tax exemption possibly about to be lowered, it may be time to think about steps you can take to keep your estate from being taxed. An irrevocable life insurance trust allows you to pass on money to your heirs while avoiding both the federal estate tax, as well as any applicable state estate tax.
June 9, 2021
Court Case Illustrates the Danger of Using an Online Power of Attorney Form
A recent court case involving a power of attorney demonstrates the problem with using online estate planning forms instead of hiring an attorney who can make sure your documents are tailored to your needs.
June 9, 2021
Younger Adults Now More Likely to Have a Will, According to Survey
A new survey has found that motivated in part by the coronavirus pandemic, younger adults are now more likely to have a will than middle-aged adults. Nevertheless, the overall percentage of Americans with a will has dropped over the past several years.
June 9, 2021
President Biden Proposes Billions in Increased Funding for Home Health Care
President Biden has introduced a plan to spend $400 billion over eight years on home and community-based care for the elderly and people with disabilities. The money would go to expand access to care and support higher-paying caregiving jobs.
June 8, 2021
Non-Borrowing Spouses of Reverse Mortgage Holders Receive Expanded Protections
The federal government has expanded access to protections for spouses of reverse mortgage holders who are not named in the loan document, allowing more such spouses the ability to stay in their home if the borrowing spouse dies or moves to a care facility.
June 8, 2021
How You Can End Up in Medicare’s Donut Hole, and How You Get Out
Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plans can have a coverage gap—called the "donut hole"--which limits how much Medicare will pay for your drugs until you pay a certain amount out of pocket.
June 8, 2021
Saying Medicaid Estate Recovery Keeps Families in Poverty, Advocacy Groups Call for Abolishing It
To qualify for Medicaid coverage of long-term care, you must satisfy very complicated financial eligibility rules—rules that often can be traps for the unwary. One of the most significant traps is Medicaid's right to recover its expenses from your estate after you die – a practice known as “estate recovery.”
June 8, 2021
Latest John Oliver Rant Details Failings of Our Long-Term Care System
In a profanity-laced episode of his HBO show that is by turns hilarious and deeply disturbing, comedian John Oliver delivers one of his trademark rants, this one exposing the “abuse and neglect” that he says is all-too-prevalent in our system of long-term care.
February 21, 2019
IRS Announces That Face Masks and Related Purchases Are Tax Deductible
If you have significant medical expenses, you may be able to deduct them from your taxes.
February 21, 2019
Medicaid Recipients Have a Little More Time to Spend Down Their Stimulus Money
The one-year deadline for nursing home residents on Medicaid to spend down their first round of stimulus checks is here, but they may have a little extra time.
February 21, 2019
How the $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill Aids Seniors
President Biden has signed the latest COVID-19 relief bill which provides assistance to seniors in a number of ways.
February 21, 2019
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