- A Medicare Primer
Understanding Medicare can be quite a task. I’m going to briefly explain the basics, as well as what some of the new changes will mean. Most of this information is from Medicare.gov, which is an excellent, but often overwhelming, resource.
- Getting Help: Part 2
Once you’ve made the decision to hire someone to help take care of your elder and determined what level of help is required, the next step is to interview applicants. Always consider several candidates for the job. It’s the best way to find a good match. When interviewing prospects, ask the following questions:
- I Have the Power to Withhold Mom’s Medical Treatment
Can I complete my mother’s mail-in ballot, voting as her proxy? While the answer may seem obvious, I wasn’t sure if it was legal or not. I know how she would vote in most cases. For those candidates and issues in doubt, I would not cast a vote.
It seems perverse that I have the legal power to determine what medical procedures my mother gets or does not get, what services she accesses, and how she spends her money (a moot point now that she is on Medicaid), but I can’t legally cast a vote on her behalf for an initiative that will directly impact her life.
- Long-term Care Insurance: Before You Decide to Buy
Buyers of long-term care insurance are often motivated by the expanded choice of care facilities that insurance provides. No longer are they limited to nursing homes and assisted living campuses that accept Medicaid. Don’t assume, however, that those facilities are somehow substandard or less than desirable. Do your homework and visit the homes in your area before you conclude anything.
- Long-term Care Insurance: What Are Your Odds of Needing It?
The following statistics are from materials prepared by the federal Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
For folks turning 65 in 2005, 79% of women will need long-term care, while 58% of men will need it. (Women’s longevity has a downside!) Here is what the records show for both sexes:
- All by Itself, Managing the Money Is a Full-time Job
I have job, a full-time job. Since I manage two adult day service associations—Washington Adult Day Services Association and National Adult Day Services Association—it sometimes feels like I have two full-time jobs. (I’m absolutely not complaining; my architect husband has been out of work since January.) And I have been managing my mother’s finances and care for about two years, which means I essentially have three jobs.
- Reduce Medicare Expenditures?
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Paula Span, a well-respected writer in the health care arena, about adult day services and an article she was writing for the Kaiser Foundation. During our conversation, Paula mentioned that she did not particularly want to deal in the politics of aging. I have heard that perspective before among people who write in the aging “space.”
- The Government Will Take Everything When Mom Goes into a Nursing Home
This statement is untrue, IF you know what you’re doing. All states have Medicaid programs. I emphasize the name only because most of my clients confuse Medicare with Medicaid. They are two completely different government programs—with one exception, which will be covered in my next blog.
- Obama Wants to Reduce Entitlements
Most people have little interest in budgets and policies that impact services to older adults—until the issue becomes personal. When Mom or Dad needs home care or adult day services or a nursing home, families suddenly sit up and pay attention. And that is a good thing.
- I Hate Using Medicaid for Mom’s Assisted Living
Some Medicaid bureaucrats and state legislators have it all wrong. The commonly encountered misconception that families sock away the elder’s financial resources and eagerly await eligibility for Medicaid is a misguided perspective at best. More likely, it’s a point of view born of personal inexperience.
I just wrote a check for $6,000 to pay my mother’s February care at the assisted living. The check for February represents the end of Reva’s money. After years of independence, thrift and pride, my mother is broke, flat broke.