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Patricia Carrera

At-Home Services that Can help Senior Veterans

Original Post By Home Advisor

As a senior veteran, you’ve served your country and your loved ones well. Once you enter your golden years, you’ve more than earned the right to enjoy your retirement, prioritizing time spent with your family and friends and on your favorite pursuits. For some senior vets, however, this is easier said than done. Physical disabilities, mental health disorders, and limited funds can make it difficult for these heroes to receive the healthcare, nutrition, and home maintenance services they need.

The good news is that there are services all over the nation that can help senior veterans thrive at home. Whether you need a physician to drop in to give you a physical, a PTSD counselor to help you work through an emotional crisis via video chat, or a contractor who can help create a peaceful home environment for veterans, our guide will help direct you to resources that can help.

Physical and Mental Health Services

Senior veterans with physical or mental health concerns can receive the care they need from the comfort of their own homes. If your primary care physician doesn’t make house calls, one or more of these agencies may be able to help.

American Red Cross – This trusted organization can confidentially connect you with free or low-cost resources in its network of trusted care providers.

Cohen Veterans Network – This program works with veterans and their families to treat mental health issues. Many of their clinicians and other staff are veterans.

Give an Hour – This group’s skilled volunteers provide free mental health services to active and retired military members. Their online search tool makes it easy to find a licensed provider in your area who specializes in treating your emotional health issue.

Military OneSource – This governmental organization helps veterans transition from military service to civilian life by offering a series of consultations that covers topics such as education, jobs, and service-related benefits. While it doesn’t directly provide physical and mental health services, the counselors here can refer you to specialists outside of the organization who can give you the care you need.

Veterans Administration (VA) – The VA has a wide array of services you can access from home, including telemental health programs, smartphone apps, and drop-in physical therapy visits. It also supplies take-home tools and other resources for those who need ongoing care. For example, those who need regular blood pressure checks can receive a digital blood pressure monitor that sends daily results to the patient’s VA-appointed doctor.

Veterans Crisis Line – If you’re having a crisis, you can call, text, or chat online with the Veterans Crisis Line. The specialist you reach will put you in touch with immediate help. Dial or text 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website if you need help.

Vets4Warriors – This nonprofit connects veterans in need of support with volunteers who are dedicated to helping you overcome whatever challenge you may be facing. You can reach out via phone call, email, text message, or online chat. It’s important to note this is not a crisis line.

Food Delivery Services

If putting food on the table is a difficult endeavor — whether due to finances or limited mobility — there are services that will bring you ready-cooked meals or the ingredients to prepare your own.

Feed Our Vets – Feed Our Vets provides food assistance at absolutely no cost to veterans and their family members. If you’re unable to visit one of its local food pantries, you can request help via food delivery or gift cards.

Meal delivery services

No matter your dietary needs or level of cooking expertise, there is a meal box kit service that’s right for you. These companies drop off pre-portioned ingredients and recipe cards for cooking your own fare. They’re a great choice for senior veterans who enjoy cooking but don’t have the time, energy, or ability to track down recipes and shop for ingredients on their own.

Meals on Wheels America – This beloved organization delivers more than 220 million ready-to-eat meals to 2.4 million senior citizens every year. Depending on your needs, a volunteer can come by as often as every day.

Personal assistants

Hiring someone to help with errand running and personal assistant services for seniors and elders is a great option for those who need regular grocery delivery and other day-to-day tasks taken care of. In addition to helping with meals, these specialists do everything from setting medical appointments to fetching prescriptions.

Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Services

No one wants to spend their golden years putting sweat equity into their home, and the older we get, the more dangerous it is to take on household tasks by ourselves. Fortunately, you can hire anyone from local cleaning pros to nearby handymen to take care of just about anything home related. In addition to household maintenance and upkeep, you should also consider bringing in specialists to make your home senior-friendly and design it to be safe for aging in place.

Some contractors offer senior discounts and/or veteran discounts, and some are even fellow retired service members. In addition to service professionals you can hire, there are many organizations that offer grants for home modification that can help with the cost of retrofitting your home for different mobilities, whether service-related or simply a natural part of aging.

Need a Pro For Your Home Project?

We can help you find a contractor to help you improve or maintain your home. You may not need to hire specialists, but be sure to take a look around your home so you can work with a pro to address any safety issues.

We owe so much to military members of every age. There are all kinds of professional and volunteer-based organizations that will visit senior veterans in their own homes to help them thrive in their physical health, emotional wellness, and home upkeep. You dedicated yourself to making the dreams of others possible for so much of your life, so take advantage of the services devoted to helping you in your golden years.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal program that offers health insurance to American citizens and other eligible individuals. The program is often called Original Medicare. It has two parts — Part A and Part B.

What does original Medicare cover?

Part A – Part A covers in-patient hospital and skilled nursing care.

Part B – Part B covers doctor visits and outpatient care.

Choosing private plans may provide additional coverage.

Part C – Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) combine Part A and Part B coverage. They often include Part D coverage and other benefits you don’t get with Original Medicare, e.g. glasses, dental, meals, OTC items and so much more. Some plans cost as low as $0 for a monthly premium.

Part D – Medicare prescription drug plans (Part D) help pay for medications. You can get a standalone Part D plan or get a Medicare Advantage plan that includes drug coverage.

Medicare Supplement

Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap) helps pay some or all costs not paid by Original Medicare (deductibles, copays and coinsurance).

Many questions and things to consider. Your health, your budget, your preferences. Have more questions.

  1. When should I enroll for Medicare?
  2. What if I work past age 65?
  3. I have employer coverage, do I need to enroll with Medicare?

If you would like to speak with a licensed and certified professional and receive a FREE review Medicare Programs available do not hesitate to contact us.

Thinking of Opening?

Thinking of opening? See a few guidelines that may help.

MONITORING EMPLOYEE HEALTH

How to stay safe and monitor employee health while also abiding by: EEOC/ADA regulations (equal employment opportunity/American with disability act)
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How to stay safe and monitor employee health while also abiding by: CDC* guidelines (*Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
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How to stay safe and monitor employee health while also abiding by: OSHA* regulations (*Occupational Health Act of 1970)
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How to stay safe and monitor employee health while also abiding by: HIPAA Privacy & Security
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For more information: Slides provided by:
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Protect Yourself From COVID-19 Scams

You may already be taking steps to protect your health during the COVID-19 emergency. Be sure to also protect your identity from scammers by guarding your Medicare Number.

It’s easy to get distracted and let your guard down during these uncertain times. Scammers may try to steal your Medicare Number. They might lie about sending you Coronavirus vaccines, tests, masks, or other items in exchange for your Medicare Number or personal information.

Protect yourself from scams:

  • Only share your Medicare Number with your primary and specialty care doctors, participating Medicare pharmacist, hospital, health insurer, or other trusted healthcare provider.
  • Check your Medicare claims summary forms for errors.

More Info

Visit Medicare.gov/fraud for more information on protecting yourself from fraud and reporting suspected fraud.

Sincerely,

The Medicare TeamNote: You can learn more about COVID-19 and your Medicare coverage on Medicare.gov.

COVID-19 Updates Regarding Insurance

If benefits are needed. See the reference below.

Under the guidance, federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits where:

  • An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;
  • An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and
  • An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.

In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.

For more information, visit https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus

Five Unexpected Ways Life Insurance Can Help Protect Your Family’s Future

A home is a pretty special place. Purchasing a house, is also likely to be one of your largest financial obligations. What would happen to your mortgage if you were not able to pay it? How can you protect your family from having to sell the house if you unexpectedly die? This can affect if your family can still stay in their current home, disruption with school, work & friends. 
We can design a solution that fits within your budget. For more information, contact us.

Does Medicare Pay For Long-Term Care? Don’t Make A Big Mistake!

Original Article Found Here

Rusty had paid for a long-term care policy for many years. Then, one day, his daughter found a cancelation notice for nonpayment of premiums sitting on his desk. 

“Dad, why are you not paying the premiums for this policy?”

“Because I have Medicare and my pipe trade’s policy. I don’t need that one.”

“Dad, get out your checkbook. We’re going to the FedEx office and sending in the payment.”

Three weeks later, Rusty suffered complications from prostate cancer and could not manage his care. He was admitted to a long-term care facility where he lived until his death 13 months later. The long-term care policy paid its share every day, the difference between Rusty keeping or having to sell his farm.

Rusty (full disclosure: Rusty was my father) fell for one of the biggest Medicare myths ever: that Medicare covers long-term care. He wasn’t alone in thinking that. 56% of middle-income Baby Boomers believe that Medicare will pay for their ongoing long-term care.

Medicare does not now and never has covered long-term care.

Problems tend to arise because there’s so much confusion about long-term care, LTC, for short. This Q&A should help clarify some of the issues. 

What is long-term care?

Long-term care, often called custodial care, is a range of services and support to meet health or personal care needs over an extended period of time. This is non-medical care provided by non-licensed caregivers.

Who needs long-term care and why?

Maybe, eventually, every one of us will need this care. Consider these statistics. 

  • A person turning 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and support in their remaining years. 
  • 20% of those turning 65 will need care for longer than five years. 
  • About 35% of people who reach age 65 are expected to enter a nursing home at least once in their lifetime.

The need for long-term care comes into play when the aging process begins to take effect and one loses the ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL). The six essential ADL include the ability to eat independently, dress, walk or transfer from one position to another, bathe, and toilet, and maintain bowel and bladder continence.

Those needing long-term care have a variety of physical and mental characteristics. However, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias top the list of medical conditions contributing to a need for-long-term care. 

Where is long-term care provided?

A variety of settings provide long-term care, including 

  • An adult day-care center
  • A nursing home
  • An assisted living facility or residential care community, and 
  • The most common location, the home, with care provided by a family member or friend. In 2017, over 40 million caregivers provided the equivalent of $470 billion in unpaid assistance.  

Why do so many believe that Medicare pays for long-term care?

The confusion likely stems from the services that Medicare Part A, hospital insurance, will cover. Two of those are inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) and home health care, common settings for long-term care.

So, you may wonder. If a person moves into a nursing home because she needs long-term care or a homecare agency sends an aide to the home to help a patient with bathing, why doesn’t Medicare pay? Simple answer: Medicare pays for care that is skilled, meaning that it requires the skills of a registered nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, or speech-language pathologist. If the average non-medical person can provide the care without additional training, the care is not skilled and Medicare will not pay for it. 

The person is in a nursing home because she is not safe at home and needs help with ADL. It doesn’t take a nurse to bathe a person in her home. Contrast that to skilled care. The person who had a stroke goes to a nursing home for rehabilitation. Once home, a physical therapist visits to set up a home program, and coordinate equipment. 

How can you pay for long-term care?

Let’s be very clear: Medicare does not pay for long-term care. But this care can be very costly. In 2013, total national spending on long-term care services was almost $339 billion. What options are available to help with the cost?

Traditional long-term care policy.

This type of insurance will pay or reimburse for some or all long-term care costs. Many long-term care insurance policies have limits on how long or how much they will pay. These policies can also become costly over time.

Insurance companies can consider health conditions when determining eligibility for coverage. The older the applicant, the more likely he won’t qualify. In 2019, almost one-third of applicants ages 65-69 were denied coverage. 

The type of coverage depends on the individual’s health, financial status, age at application, and other factors. A professional advisor who knows about these policies and the different options can guide the application process. 

Annuities. 

An annuity is essentially a contract with an insurance company. An individual purchases an annuity that the insurance company pays back over a defined period of time. It’s possible to get guaranteed payments for life, even if the amount paid back exceeds the original investment. 

Annuities offer an option for those who want to plan for long-term care expenses in retirement, which could be many years into the future. Given the variety (fixed, indexed, immediate, and variable, to name a few), it’s best to work with a knowledgeable, trustworthy financial professional.

Combination or hybrid products–life insurance with a long-term care rider.

Consumers tend to worry that they will lose the money they spend on long-term care insurance if they don’t use it. In recent years, insurance companies have taken steps to ease these concerns. 

These relatively new products combine life insurance with long-term care insurance. The idea is that policy benefits will always be paid, in life insurance or long-term care. A policy holder can access some or all of the policy’s death benefit for long-term care that meets the company’s requirements. These combination products are still evolving. An agent can help explain the ins and outs.

Health savings account (HSA). 

HSA funds can help cover many long-term care expenses. According to the IRS, qualified medical expenses “also include amounts paid for qualified long-term care services and limited amounts paid for any qualified long-term care insurance contract.” Qualified long-term care services include maintenance and personal care services that a chronically ill individual requires.

Reverse mortgage. 

A reverse mortgage is a special type of home equity loan that allows the mortgage holder to receive cash against the value of a home without selling it. An approved reverse mortgage counselor can discuss the  many considerations, including how the mortgage will work, the criteria for spending the funds, and what heirs need to know. 

Charitable remainder trust.  

A charitable remainder trust allows one’s assets to pay for long-term care services while contributing to a charity and reducing the tax burden at the same time. Payments from the trust can cover long-term care services and, after death, the balance of the funds in the trust goes to the charity.

Medicare Advantage plans. 

Recent policy changes now allow Medicare Advantage plans to cover supplemental healthcare benefits for “daily maintenance.” These benefits may include ADL assistance, transportation to medical appointments, meals after hospitalization, even chow for a service dog. Some plans offer one benefit, others may offer more. The offerings are limited, generally to one benefit in a calendar year and the plan will likely require prior authorization and impose network limitations. 

Not all Medicare Advantage plans offer these benefits and it is the Medicare Advantage plan, and not Medicare, that pays for these services. 

Medicaid.   

This program is funded jointly by individual states and the federal government. Medicaid benefits are guaranteed to pregnant women, children, disabled individuals, and the elderly, who meet certain income limits. One of the benefits is long-term care. 

Those who don’t qualify for Medicaid because their assets are too high have to pay for long-term care. Then, once their assets are low enough, they can qualify for Medicaid coverage. Every state has its own enrollment process, qualification criteria and policies. Find information about a specific state program on Medicaid.gov. 

How can you start planning for long-term care

Here are some beginning steps. 

1.   Learn about long-term care, the different options, and what’s available in your community.

2.   Work with a trusted financial advisor to develop a plan to cover the costs. Consider these two scary statistics. 

  • Fewer than 35% of Boomers have a plan for how they will receive care in retirement.
  • Almost 80% have no money set aside specifically for their long-term care needs. 

3.   Determine who can play a role in your plan. Do not expect your family to be the sole source of support. Explore community resources and caregiving options. 

4.   Incorporate your wishes into the plan. Do you have an up-to-date will, advance health care directive and durable power of attorney for healthcare? Include in your plan important financial information and your long-term care wishes. 

5.   Share the plan with family members, healthcare providers, anyone who you believe will be involved or needs to know. 

Those who believe that Medicare will pay for long-term care or that this care involves long-term care insurance or living in a nursing home may be woefully unprepared for the future. It’s never too late to put together a long-term care plan, your personal strategy for handling decisions in the future.