Archive for the ‘ Medicare ’ Category

How to Help Aging Parents Without Going Broke


The stress involved in being a care provider for your parents is twofold: You want to make sure they’re not in pain, while making sure that you don’t hurt yourself financially. The balance is a delicate one.

Almost a third of adults ages 40 to 59 have provided financial support to a parent in the previous year, according to a recent Pew Research report. If you’re in that situation, see what you can do to help without burning through your savings or going into debt.

Understand your parents’ finances 

If you’re not used to asking your parents about their money situation, this can be a hard topic to broach. But it’s necessary. You want to know upfront about how far their funds will take them, including retirement savings, pensions and Social Security payments. A more important question is: Can they afford assisted living or a nursing home, should that become necessary, and for how long? Also check their insurance coverage should they need expensive drugs or extended hospital care.

Evaluate health coverage

Make sure your parents will have a way to handle future health costs. Although Medicare can cover hospital, medical and prescription drug costs, there are limits, and some expenses may need to be paid out of pocket. Look into options like the Medicare Savings Program for your state, and also use the National Council on Aging’s free service, BenefitsCheckUp.org, to see what other help may be available to your parents.

Get professional advice

Once it’s clear that your parents will need more help soon, get a geriatric care manager to assess the situation. These professionals work with families to determine the best course of action for quality of life in terms of housing, legal services, home care and other assistance. Who is best fit to hold a power of attorney for your parents, for instance, is an issue they can help you sort out.

Get family involved

If you’re not an only child or if you have family members who can help, don’t try to do it all on your own. It can burn you out, and sharing the financial costs with other relatives can help ensure that it’s a family effort.

Consider hospice care

Sending your parents to a nursing home might not be the best option. If a parent has a terminal illness, hospice can be a good alternative, and Medicare or Medicaid may cover all the costs, including care, medicine and other supplies. You’ll have to make sure the arrangement is approved through your parent’s health coverage. Also note that any conditions unrelated to a covered illness may not come under hospice benefits.

By checking on programs and services that can help your parents, you can make supporting them financially a last resort instead of your first.

Source: NerdWallet, Inc.


Worried about not having money set aside as an emergency fund or for medical expenses? Consider looking into a Members 1st Goal Savings Account! Goal Savings Accounts allow you to choose what you are saving for and name your account. Set the dollar amount and target date for your goal. Save, track and reach your goals!

Does Minimum Coverage Mean Minimum Protection?


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In the event you cause an accident, your auto insurance liability limits cover injuries to the other driver, the other driver’s passengers, and your passengers. Most states, including Pennsylvania, require that you purchase a minimum amount of car insurance. However, purchasing only state minimum limits may not be enough. Having adequate liability coverage can be the difference between being well protected and potential financial disaster.

Q. Pennsylvania requires minimum insurance coverage of 15/30/5. What does that mean?
A. Minimum liability limits of 15/30/5 means the insurer will provide bodily injury liability coverage up to $15,000 per person injured in any one accident, and $30,000 for all persons injured in any one accident, and up to $5,000 for property damages in any one accident.

Q. If I have minimum limits, what happens if I have an accident and damages exceed my policy limits?
A. Your insurance company will only pay up to the amount of your policy limits. So, if you’ve chosen Pennsylvania’s minimum property damage limits of $5,000 and cause
an accident which results in $25,000 in property damage, the insurance company will only pay $5,000, and you will be responsible for payment of the remaining $20,000.

Q. Why would I want to buy more insurance than state law requires?
A. Auto insurance is your safety net, and works best if it provides proper protection. Carrying state minimum protection may be more affordable in the short term. However, because you could be personally liable for damages which exceed your policy limits, you
should seriously consider purchasing liability insurance with limits higher than is required by state law.

Q. Is there another coverage option in lieu of increasing my policy limits?
A. Yes. You could also consider purchasing a personal umbrella policy (“PUP”) for added protection. A PUP is designed to “kick-in” when the liability limits of your auto policy have been exhausted. The bottom line – if you’re legally responsible for damages which
exceed your coverage limits, you’ll be responsible for the difference. The time to discover you don’t have adequate insurance/coverage is BEFORE you’re involved in an accident, not AFTER.

Q. Is increasing my limits right for me?
A. Increasing coverage limits (and/or adding a PUP) may not be as costly as you think. If you’re interested in protecting your and your family’s present well-being and financial future, and securing a little more peace of mind, as your independent insurance agent, we’re here to help answer any questions and help you review your available options.

Contact Members 1st Insurance Services today for a FREE quote!

Personal Insurance:
(800) 283-2328, ext. 5218 or 5245

Medicare, Long-Term Care, Group or Individual Health Insurance:
(800) 283-2328, ext. 6269

Petplan Pet Insurance:
(866) 467-3875

*Personal insurance services available to PA residents only.

Medicare Advantage Enrollment Is Coming!


Are you on Medicare? Don’t forget– the Annual Enrollment period is coming up soon! From October 15 – December 7 you have the chance to make changes to your Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) or Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Plan (Medicare Part D) for the following year. There are many reasons why a different Prescription Plan or Medicare Advantage Plan could be a better fit (perhaps your health has changed). Since premiums and benefits for most plans are changing for 2015, you may want to take a moment to evaluate if your current plan will best meet your needs for the coming year.

If you’re concerned about your choices and need some guidance, Members 1st Insurance Services can help. Call me at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6269. I’ll help you better understand your Medicare options, help you find a plan that fits your budget and lifestyle, and ensure that you’ll avoid any late enrollment penalties.

 

Guest Blogger: Ben Lausch, Health Benefits Specialist, Members 1st Insurance Services (reprinted from the September/October 2014 edition of Avenues)

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