Won’t Medicaid or Medicare protect my future health?

The two names look and sound very similar. That’s confusing and unfortunate, because the two programs exist for very different reasons. But can you – and should you – depend on either to protect and provide for your future health? Let’s take a look:

Medicare is a government program that provides limited health insurance for people 65 or older, and those younger than 65 with certain disabilities. Eligibility for Medicare is not tied to financial need. It is an entitlement program paid for through Social Security taxes.

Medicaid provides extremely basic health coverage for low-income, financially dependent people. You have to qualify to receive it. Although Federal laws provide the basic outline for Medicaid, it is administered differently in every state.

Both Medicare and Medicaid have undergone changes recently, and with the advent of the Affordable Health Care Act, there will undoubtedly be more changes in the future.

If you believe Medicare will take care of you in your old age, think again. Medicare is for medical purposes. Yes, Medicare covers everyone, but we can’t rely solely on it. Medicare does NOT pay for Long-Term Care. Medicare and a supplement cover medical care, not any type of custodial care. And Medicaid comes into the LTC picture only for the impoverished.

No – it’s up to us. Up to you. Decide what is important to you and together we can map out a future plan to meet ALL your needs.

Ed and I work to help our clients keep their assets protected for whatever their future medical care needs may be. No matter what government program changes may occur, or what medical or financial challenges lay ahead, there is nothing that beats knowing you’ve planned carefully and knowledgeably for all possibilities. 

Planning helps our clients rest easier. Ed and I rest easier too, knowing their best interests are being protected.                ~ Elise

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Preparing for planning

You’ve probably heard the saying, “proper prior planning prevents a poor plan!” When you’re relatively young and healthy, no one wants to think about Long-Term Care health insurance. But planning ahead is what makes this program so wise.

The Flashlight Story is a great example of this from Patrick Broccolo, owner of Senior1Care in a marketing meeting recently:

With the history of violent thunderstorms and tornados in Indiana, what’s the one thing we should all have ready for outages or damage? A flashlight, of course, but preferably with working batters. Patrick has the flashlight but it needs D batteries. He admits that it would be easy enough even to grab some off the end cap of the grocery or hardware store. But when does he actually buy the batteries? After the crisis – after the electricity is out.

Obviously, you get the message. Here’s few ideas for keeping your “batteries” in place:

  • Get regular checkups to keep yourself healthy as possible for as long as possible.  
  • Consult your accountant and lawyer.
  • Talk to your family about your future plans!
  • Do not assume Medicare covers everything.
  • Consider what could happen if you need Medicaid.
  • Look at Long-Term and Short-Term Health Care insurance and find out what options work best for you.

Your “flashlight” should be charged up and ready when you need it. Be sure you look ahead and are prepared for your future!   ~ Elise

Health costs are skyrocketing. You need additional insurance protection.

AARP keeps telling us this fact, and I keep reminding my clients to pay attention: The U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world.  AARP’s 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 studies all point to just how expensive it can be to have healthcare in our country. What’s more frightening is that medical costs continue to rise each year. Dramatically.

Here are the facts according to reports from both AARP and the American Heart Association:

  • Americans spend an average of $8,200 per person on general health care every year (For comparison, Canadians spend just $4,400 annually).
  • A typical hospital stay costs an average of $236 per day in India, $655 per day in France and a whopping $3,949 per day in the U.S. (2011 Comparative Price Report Medical and Hospital Fees released by the International Federation of Health Plans.)
  • The first day of hospital admission averages $1,246, while the cost of discharging a patient averaged $304.
  • An average hospital stay in the U.S. is about $18,000. In the Netherlands and Japan, the 2nd and 3rd most expensive, comparable costs are $4,000 to $6,000 less.
  • U.S. average hospital charge for coronary artery bypass was $122,743 in 2010.
  • Average U.S. cost of hospitalization for a stroke was $87,600 in the same year.

These prices are averages, and don’t reflect costs paid by health insurance. These prices also only reflect hospital costs. Add your surgeon’s bill, your anesthetist, medications, plus quite often, rehabilitation and home health care, and frequently, nursing home care. Even Medicare or a good general supplemental health plan will only pick up 80% of these costs. (That still leaves a substantial amount on the table to be picked up by YOU!)

Don’t let a health crisis deal a critical blow to your finances. Be ready. Advance care planning is a conversation you need to have with a health insurance professional BEFORE anything happens!

~ Elise

 

 

What is the difference between Medicaid & Medicare?

As a health insurance professional, I deal with this confusion all the time. Here’s what you need to know:

Although Medicaid and Medicare sound alike and are both government programs, they exist for very different reasons.

  • Medicaid is a federal program, administered by each state. It provides basic health coverage for low-income, financially dependent people. You must qualify for eligibility, which is tied to financial need.
  • Medicare is also a government program. It provides health insurance for people 65 or older, and people under age 65 with certain disabilities. Medicare is not tied to financial need. It is an entitlement program paid for through your Social Security taxes.

Since the U.S. healthcare system is THE MOST EXPENSIVE in the world, it makes sense to find health care insurance that assures you complete health care coverage, even if you have Medicare.

That’s because “having Medicare” will not pay your bills when you:

  • Need financial assistance while you are going through a critical illness. (But having Critical Care Health Insurance will pay you cash.)
  • Require prolonged health care assistance when you are older and in need of assisted living, nursing home care, hospice or home health care (Like Long-Term Care Insurance does.)
  • Need a cash benefit over and above any other medical insurance or disability insurance (As Short-Term Care and Critical CareHealth Insurance will provide).

I am sensitive to the worry I see in my potential clients’ faces when they consider how they want to be cared for, should they face a health crisis. That’s why health insurance advance planning makes good sense.

There is nothing that beats surefooted planning for all possibilities. That helps our clients – and me – rest easier, knowing they are protected.

 

What IS Long-Term Care insurance?

Long Term Care insurance may seem complex, but in fact – it’s based on a very simple concept – being prepared.

Long-Term Care insurance (LTC) is a protection product sold in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada. Simply put, LTC covers health costs that employer health insurance, private health insurance, hospital insurance and health costs that Medicare does not cover. What are these health costs addressed only by LTC insurance?

  • Home healthcare
  • Assisted living
  • Adult daycare
  • Respite care
  • Nursing home care
  • Hospice care

LTC insurance has been around for quite awhile. Why is it being talked about so much right now?

  • People are living longer lives
  • Families are living farther apart
  • Health care costs are dramatically rising

Is Long Term Care primarily for the elderly? The facts tell a different story. 40% of those receiving long-term care today are between the ages of 18 and 64. But LTC is also for those over the age of 65. In fact, studies show that 60 percent of individuals over age 65 will require at least some form of long-term care services during their lifetimes.

But the thing about Long Term Care insurance is that it must be purchased BEFORE  it is needed. That’s because, once you have a condition that requires long-term care, you will no longer qualify for coverage.

It’s confusing, in a way, to plan ahead. How do you know what you’ll need? That’s where I come into the picture.  With 25 years of experience, I’m uniquely positioned to help you figure that out.

~ Elise

 

Long-Term Care insurance = being prepared for the future

Many of us think that if we have life insurance, Living Will, employer health insurance or private health, or Medicare, we’re all set. But unfortunately, that’s just not the case. I’ve seen what unexpected health crises can do when there hasn’t been forethought and planning, and it’s not pretty. In this regard, my insurance CLTC certification and training are important, but just as important is my 25 years of experience.

Because I know what CAN happen, I know how to protect you from as many potential problems as possible. As the co-founder of Your LTC Resource, my job is to assure that singles, couples and families are protected in as many ways as possible when it comes to their future healthcare needs.

That phrase “as many ways as possible” is incredibly important. We can’t know what our future mental or physical health will be. That’s why we need to have Long-Term Care insurance that is flexible as well as responsible.

Being flexible means both Long-Term and Short-Term Care insurance. It means taking a good look at your present health insurance policies, and finding the gaps. The more planning we do, the better prepared you’ll be for every health and financial contingency.

When you do our Long-Term Care planning homework, the payoff in your future is well worth the time.

~ Elise