Tag Archives: medicare

Have you done your end of life planning yet?

oldIt’s something no one wants to think about, much less actually do.  However, it’s critical that you make a plan so that your wishes can be carried out.

Do you care about whether the doctor takes heroic measures?  Do you want to be kept on life support?  Do you want to receive treatment if there’s no chance of you resuming a normal life?  Equally as important, who do you want to have the authority to make these kinds of decisions for you if you aren’t able to do so yourself?

Last year, a change was made to Medicare so it will pay your doctor to take the time to talk with you about these important considerations.  You should ask your physician to discuss some of the issues and to help you towards decisions.  Don’t wait until you’re in the ER and in the middle of a healthcare crisis.  Make your decisions now, put them in writing thru a healthcare directive or healthcare power of attorney and be prepared.

For more information about end of life planning, go to our website www.diesmart.com.


Do your parents have $260,000 to cover health care expenses in retirement?

Assisting aging parents is something commonly encountered by financial advisors as children are having discussions with them.older-woman-with-doctor_istock_640_02062013

Legal:  At the least, parents should have an up-to-date will, power of attorney and healthcare directive.  It’s equally important that children know where these documents are kept.  The healthcare documents should also be provided to each parent’s physician.

Medical Expenses:  A research study by conducted by Fidelity Investments found that a 65-year old couple who retired in 2016 will need an estimated $260,000 to cover their health care expenditures in retirement.  These figures apply to retirees with traditional Medicare coverage.  It is important to be aware that Medicare does not cover long term care, something there’s a chance nearly 70% of senior citizens will require.

Housing:  Where would your parents like to live if they have to leave their current home?  Has downsizing been discussed?  What if they need more assistance with their day-to-day activities?  It’s important to discuss this topic with them while they are still healthy.  That way, you can have a plan in place so a transition will be easier if required.

Having conversations with your parents about topics like these is very important.  They may not be easy but they will be very helpful for planning and to avoid conflict in the future.

For more information about aging and planning for end of life, check out our website www.diesmart.com.

Your Medicare premium may jump 52% next year!

cost increaseThere’s a Social Security Administration law that says that if they fail to boost the annual cost of living adjustment in any given year, they can raise the cost of Medicare for wealthier subscribers. Since the SSA has announced that there will be no cost of living adjustment for 2016, more than 15 million United States seniors will face a premium jump from $104.90 to $159.30 or more.  This is because of a little known law that punishes wealthier Medicare users when that adjustment is not made.

The only way this can be avoided is if Congress or the Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell intervenes. If you want to weigh in on this issue and try to stop the increase, contact your congressman immediately.

For more information about Medicare and other issues related to our aging population, go to www.diesmart.com.

Medicare to pay for end-of-life care counseling

Effective January 1, 2016, Medicare plans to pay doctors to speak to patients about their end-of-life care. The doctors will provide counseling and discuss options that range from care that’s more focused on comfort than extending life to doing whatever is possible to resuscitate a dying patient. Some doctors are already having conversations about this topic with their patients but are not billing for it.

Medicare payment will ensure that more doctors will have these conversations which many feel are critical to high-quality care.

The Institute of Medicine issued a report last year which found that few people make their wishes known so many deaths “are filled with breathing machines, feeding tubes, powerful drugs and other treatments that fail to extend life and make its final chapter more painful and unpleasant.” The report, “Dying in America” is free as a PDF or can be paid for and ordered as a bound volume.

While most people have given thought to how they would like to die, many have found it difficult to communicate those views and choices to family and loved ones and, in many cases, family and loved ones have their own perceptions and views about death that can influence discussions about dying.  Most people envision their own death as a peaceful and an ideally rapid transition. However, with the exception of accidents or trauma or of a few illnesses that almost invariably result in death weeks or months after diagnosis, death usually comes at the end of a chronic illness or the frailty accompanying old age. Even though death is very much part of the cycle of life, thinking and talking about one’s own death usually remains in the background, at least until its prospect become more probable or imminent.

Thru the new Medicare offering doctors will be able to discuss with their patients how they would like to die, and to encourage them to put their wishes on paper and share those wishes with their family.

The Cost of Dying

Paying For Long Term Care.

Today’s front page article in the San Jose Mercury News is titled “The Cost of Dying.”      The article  talks about the cost and blessing of taking care of a loved one dying a lingering death.

If you are one of the estimated  55 million caregivers now caring for a parent, a spouse, or a child,  you are familiar with the pain and strain of a lingering death.    Costs  that families pay out of their own pockets because Medicare pays only for treatment, not in-home “custodial care.”   Hospice helps, but patients must be judged to be within six months of death and its benefits don’t cover prolonged care.    Private insurance doesn’t cover care, unless the patient has a long term care policy.    Costs that aren’t included in our retirement budgets, but can bankrupt a family.



Die Smart Plan For Old Age