Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’

it’s time for the talk

Written on October 24th, 2013 by Jamesno shouts

I’ll begin this post by saying I have nothing to gain with this discussion, I’m a planner and don’t sell insurance.  With that said I have been around along enough in the industry and working with clients that I have seen the good, bad and ugly when it comes to facing our own mortality and care issues.

This post is for you, whether your age is 40 or 80.  Nobody likes to think about a time when they may need care, let alone their own death.  Guess what, at some point it is guaranteed, and by planning for it and communicating openly you can make life much easier for your family.

If you are in your 40′s or 50′s it is probably time to begin the discussion with Mom or Dad about what happens when they are either mentally or physically unable to care for themselves.  If you are in your 70′s or 80′s , it is time to open up with your family and share some insight into your finances and estate planning.  You need to make it known what your wishes are and make sure your kids understand.  We all like to consider ourselves invincible, especially us guys, I get it.  But it is important that your kids and your spouse can step in if something were to happen.  How many of you are control freaks like me and handle all the finances for the household?  What happens when you are knocked out of the picture and your spouse or kids have to step in?  Will it be total chaos or could they handle everything seamlessly?

I know it is a difficult topic to address, but think of the alternative: don’t have the discussion and get a call one day that your parent has suffered a stroke and will need constant care for the remainder of their life.  Contemplate that scenario for a moment and think about all the questions you would have:

  1. Are Mom/Dad’s finances such that they can cover the cost of home healthcare?
  2. Is Mom or Dad able to care for the other?
  3. Will I have to move Mom/Dad into my home?  Who will care for them while I work?
  4. Do they have a power of attorney that allows me to make medical / financial decisions for them?
  5. If I have a sibling, which one of us takes on this care and how do we equalize the cost?
  6. Does Mom/Dad have long term care insurance to help with the costs?
  7. Are their financial affairs in good order and can I find out easily where their accounts are?
  8. Is there a record of all their possessions, a Personal Inventory-Instructions list for Estate Plan?  What about online passwords to accounts?

So here is my challenge to you:  call a family meeting and begin the process of formulating a plan.  It is much easier to do this when everyone is healthy and not under duress.

One day everyone of us will experience the dreaded call, how will you handle it?

 

it’s coming…..Oct 1…….get ready

Written on September 5th, 2013 by Jamesno shouts

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is just around the corner.  Here are some important things to know:

  • Oct 1:  State / Federal Healthcare Exchanges open for enrollment.  Georgia’s is run by the Federal Government and can be found here:  Healthcare.gov
  • Jan 1: insurance mandate effective (you have to have coverage or will pay a fine to the IRS)

General:  all plans whether purchased direct or through employer must cover 10 criteria which could mean an increase in benefits, but costs as well.  All plans must cover everyone without exclusion for pre-existing conditions and the max cost for someone is capped at 3 times what anyone else pays for the same plan (ie: a 60 year old will pay no more than 3 times what a healthy 25 year old pays for the same plan)

The exchanges will offer 4 plan types:

  • Bronze covers 60% of costs
  • Silver covers 70% of costs
  • Gold covers 80% of costs
  • Platinum covers 90% of costs

Employer coverage:  If you have employer provided coverage you may not notice any difference other than your premiums going up a bit during this Fall’s open enrollment.  However, you are eligible to shop on the Exchanges for coverage as well.

Self Employed: your insurer may still allow you to maintain your current coverage, however costs may be going up if they are required to include more services in your plan.  You do have the option for shopping on the Exchanges to see if less expensive coverage is available.

Tax Credit:  a family of 4 with household income under $94,000 may be eligible for a tax credit up to $2600 to help offset the costs of insurance.

Employer Mandate:  although parts have been delayed for a year, employers of over 50 full time employees must offer coverage.  If the employer offers a plan that covers at least 60% of medical expenses and the premiums do not exceed 9.5% of an employees income, then the employee is not eligible for the tax credit even if they fall under the $94,000 household income level.  If the employers plan does not meet those criteria then the employee can shop on the exchange and get the premium tax credit.

Is this all confusing?  Here is a link to an info graphic that may help:  Kaiser Foundation Health Care Infographic

Summary:  It’s probably a good bet that for the majority of people your health insurance premiums are going to be more expensive.  The upside for those wanting to change jobs or retire early and have held on for medical insurance is that now you have an option and cannot be denied coverage.  Another link for more info:  Kaiser Foundation website

High Deductible plans with Healthcare Savings Accounts may start gaining in popularity very soon for cost reasons, but that is a topic for another post…..