This idea needs to take root:

This creative idea is one that really needs to be looked at.  But we need more geriatric physicians:

5. Geriatric ERs Reduce Stress, Medical Risks for Elderly Patients

The Mount Sinai Hospital emergency room looks and sounds like hundreds of others across the country: Doctors rush through packed hallways; machines beep incessantly; paramedics wheel stretchers in as patients moan in pain. But just on the other side of the wall is another, smaller emergency room designed specifically for those elderly patients. Packed emergency rooms are unpleasant for everyone. But they can be dangerous for elderly patients, many of whom come in with multiple chronic diseases on top of a potentially life-threatening illness or injury. Seniors who come into traditional emergency rooms are frequently subjected to numerous and sometimes unnecessary tests and procedures, according to research and experts. They stay longer and their diagnoses are less accurate than younger patients. And they are more frequently admitted to the hospital by ER doctors overwhelmed by the constant influx of very sick patients. "You’ve got this surge of more and more older adults coming to the emergency departments,” said Kevin Biese, co-director of geriatric emergency medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Yet there hasn’t necessarily been this recognition that [they need] different screening, different treatment and they are going to have different outcomes.”

Social Security had to "think again"

This note appeared in my NAELA newsletter today as a re-print from the Washington Post:

3. Follow Up: Social Security Backs Off Text Messaging Requirement

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently found itself too far in front of many people it serves. Seeking to enhance online protections, the agency required "my Social Security” account holders to use a password sent to them via text message. That was a problem for some older folks who don’t text message and don’t plan to. SSA officials got the message, not sent by text, and reversed course. Text messaging is no longer required. "Our aggressive implementation inconvenienced or restricted access to some of our account holders,” said Mark Hinkle, an SSA spokesman. "We are listening to the public’s concerns and are responding by temporarily rolling back this mandate. As before July 30 (when the text messaging requirement began), current account holders will be able to access their secure account using only their username and password.” Text messaging remains an authentication option and the agency continues to "highly recommend the extra security” it provides, but it is not mandatory. SSA is developing an alternative method that will be available within six months. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), chairwoman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, praised the agency’s decision. "I was troubled that the policy would have placed a high burden on seniors, many of whom do not own a cell phone,” Collins said in a statement released Monday. "While the Social Security Administration should develop ways to enhance security to prevent fraud, they must take into account the needs of seniors and ensure that they have easy access to their accounts.”

Source/more: Washington Post

Saving for Healthcare as we age

The following note appeared as a report from Bloomberg in my NAELA newsletter.  It is very concerning. 

1. Retirees Need $130,000 Just to Cover Health Care, Study Finds

Today's 65-year-olds can expect to spend an average of $130,000 on health care during their retirement, from premiums to co-payments to eyeglasses, according to new estimates. The average single 65-year-old woman can expect to need $135,000 to spend on health care in retirement, while a man will spend $125,000, according to estimates from Fidelity Investments. (The difference is because the woman is expected to live longer — an additional 22 years, vs. 20 years more for the man.) Every year, Fidelity estimates how much it will cost for today's average 65-year-olds to cover health care expenses for the rest of their lives if they retire now. For a while, it looked as if health care costs were holding steady, but Fidelity this year says couples need to set aside a record $260,000 for Medicare premiums and all other out-of-pocket medical costs — up 6 percent from last year and 18 percent from 2014. Prime culprits in accelerating health expenses are prescription drugs, especially high-priced specialty drugs, Fidelity says. And as the economy recovers, retirees are using more health care, driving up costs. Fidelity's estimates, based on an analysis of Medicare's claims database and trends in survey data, assume that retirees are eligible for Medicare and try to capture all the costs it doesn't cover — including premiums, co-payments, and things Medicare doesn't pay for, such as hearing and vision exams. But the estimates are only averages, and people's costs can vary widely, according to where they live and how healthy they are.

Special Needs Fairness Act vote in September

Be sure to give Andy Barr's office a call and ask him to support the Special Needs Fairness Act when it comes for vote in the US House of Representatives in September.  The Senate has already passed this legislation on their side and we need to close the gaping hole in Special Needs Planning for legally competent special needs individuals to "create" their own (Self Funded) Special Needs Trust without the expense and necessity of going to court when there is no parent, grandparent or guardian available.  Under 42 U.S.C. 1396p(d)(4)(A), the self settled trust statute, only a "parent, grandparent, guardian or court" can execute or order the execution of a First Party SNT.  Many special needs individuals on SSI or Medicaid are perfectly capable of understanding a trust and its terms and limitations, why should they have to ask a court to create the trust.  Under the Special Needs Fairness Act, a capable special needs beneficiary who wants to protect their SSI or Medicaid benefits will be able to come to the attorney's office and sign the trust agreement themselves.

You've Done Everything Right..maybe not

From the NAELA Bulletin:  

You think you’ve done everything right: Your parents or other relatives have signed a durable power of attorney. Among other things, it allows you to handle their finances — taxes, bills, bank accounts, real estate sales — if they become incapacitated. Then the time comes when older family members can no longer manage transactions on their own. You take the witnessed and notarized document to a financial institution — a big brokerage firm like Wells Fargo or Ameriprise, or a national or regional bank or credit union. And officials say no, they won’t honor your power of attorney. They insist that the account owners sign the institution’s own power of attorney form — very unwelcome news, because by now the older account holders may not be competent to sign legal forms. That’s why you’re there in the first place. It’s not clear how often similar scenarios, with their Catch-22 absurdity, take place. But Elder Law attorneys across the country say they have encountered financial institutions unwilling to honor valid powers of attorney.

Extra Elder Care Seminar Added

Because of an overflow of requests to attend our scheduled seminars, we have added an additional seminar on -Wednesday, May 25th at 2:00 PM at our office.  Please call to reserve your spot.  Seating is limited!
800-77-4040 or 859-543-0061! We hope to see you there!