Category Archives: Uncategorized

A New Strategy for Saving Money: Aug 2015

A New Strategy for Saving Money: Aug 2015

atretch2Actually, the strategy has been around for a while, but not the tools/plans/policies to impliment it.

Elsewhere in this web site we have discussed the relative merits of medicare supplement vs medicare advantage plans.  We know that with a medicare supplement plan like plan F, we basically prepay for every expense we might have (except for prescriptions which are covered under a Part D plan). It’s a great idea, and with an eye on the real purpose of insurance  (cover worst case years), it makes sense.  The big problem is that the typical $250/mo per person is out of reach for many seniors.

The other most common option is a Medicare Advantage plan, offered at $0/mo prem or low costs, depending on the insurance company.. and this is “pay as you go”, with a max out of pocket limit in the area of three times the max out of pocket of a Med Sup plan.   If you have a healthy year with few needs.. you win, but let’s think again.. the reason for insurance is to protect you in a BAD year.  Now you are looking at MOOPs of over $6000.

Is there an answer?   There is, and it’s what this is about. But first, let’s think where most of the “pay as you go” expenses in a Med Advantage plan are going to come from. That is hospital expenses.  You pay up front and dearly for those   costs.   So what is the answer for a person with a limited budget but who wants to avoid the high use costs?

The answer is to take the MA plan that suits you best, but to that, add a Hospital Expense plan.  These are offered by at least 3 national providers, and in the range of $35 per month and up, depending on the coverage you want. $50 might be more typical, but compared to $350 or so plus for a Med supplement, this makes sense.

Ask me (or your agent, if not me) about the details.

 

 

How Can I Help My Grandkids with College

There are many ways.  If they are close to college now, the obvious is about every dollar you can send will help.  But there may be some serious limits on how much that can be.

What about my “young” grandchildren… possibly combined with a limited “help” budget?

We have a simple answer but before we say it “directly” let’s consider a couple key things: You want to have what ever you can do GROW and grow at the best POSSIBLE SAFE rate possible. Those are two key words. So you don’t want to RISK putting $X into an invetment for them, only to have the investment (Probably market) crash.   Take these two things together.

You may want to be able to either do a lump sum or do a certain amount monthly, and have the ability to change that.

OK.. We have just the vehicle!  If you would like now to discuss some specifics, as to  how much $50 a month could become from the time the “baby” is born until he or she goes to college, contact me.. Joe.. 321 821 5393

Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement–Which is Best

Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement
Which is Best?

Have you given this any serious consideration? You should, because other than plain Original Medicare, these are you only two choices.. and Original Medicare, with all it’s potential for serious financial damage should not even be in the picture.. PERIOD!

My name is Joe Leech; I’m a senior myself (77) plus a long time professional in the health insurance profession. I hope I have your attention. This will be a serious discussion; it is NOT a sales presentation.

So the question is: “Which is Best?”

There is no pat answer for every single person, but there are two major considerations: One is objective, the other, subjective.

Of the first: It’s economic consideration. A Medicare Supplement plan costs money every month. Some, even “many” people—simply do not have the resources to even consider making the choice. ANY monthly insurance premium forces them out of the market. It may be the choice of eating, paying utilities, or having a med sup insurance. For them, the only clear choice is the best Medicare Advantage plan they can find, including if available, a Medicaid Advantage plan if the economic circumstances qualify them for this. Unfortunately for many in this circumstance, they are not even aware of the extra options they may qualify for. So one answer of the question is this: If economics prohibit the consideration, there Is No Question.

For the rest of the people—: It boils down to this: How Much Risk Are You Willing to Take? Is your bet that you will never come down with a major medical expense, and if you do, you’ll be able to cover it? And how much are you willing to cover?

You may be one of the few that says, “society will take care of me; no hospital will turn me away” and you’d probably be right. You could think: “As long as I have original Medicare, and they will get something, they will take me” Probably right, but you could owe balances for a life time… but what if you don’t want that? And what if your condition is not an emergency? How will you get care? Basic medical providers are daily opting out of taking new Medicare (only) patients, and many are opting out of many of the popular Medicare Advantage networks. Most of those care providing facilities are limited in services, access to the state of art equipment to keep you alive or comfortable. If you are a “charity case?” what kind of care will you realistically receive? Is that a gamble you are willing to take?

Or maybe on the other hand you are one of the rather “well to do”. Your medical bills can run easily into multiple six figures. The point is, would you want your hard earned money to be depleted this way? Relatively routine procedures like knee and hip replacements or bypass procedures can run into high “six figures”. For most of us, those options are simply not acceptable. If they are for you, you may as well stop reading.

If you are still reading, it means you DO have options: A Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage Plan. So which becomes the better choice? What is the criteria for determining that?

It is quite simple: Choose the one with the LEAST out of pocket expense.

You could say to yourself: I expect no out of pocket expense, or playing the odds, I’ll take the plan type with the least regular or monthly out of pocket but look at the plan with the greater monthly (insurance cost), subtract the difference then put that away in a special medical savings account. If something happens, I’ll have the reserves to cover it.

Really? If the difference in monthly premium cost is only $300, and you have good savings habits, you have put away $3600 in a year. But your OOP is $7500. First, did you save so you have it, but more importantly, did you get care you really wanted in a network based probram with choices beingmore and more limited every year?

If not, then it becomes a simple matter of number crunching… but let’s get a little further intro your head:

These are the cold hard facts: A Medicare supplement plan (generally a Plan F or in that family) will always be less than the max out of pocket spent in virtually ANY Medicare Advantage plan and beat it in most cases of being 1/3rd the money, including the premiums.

You can find the max out of pocket (we’ll call MOOP from here) by consulting your official medicare guide provided to you each fall by the government. In there are the MOOPs for all of the major MA plans. They typically run in the area of $6500.

You’ll have to do some research for the MOOPs on Med sup plans. First, as these are not govt funded, the govt does not publish a single place to find them. Next, because there are so many variables, such as your age (does not apply for MA) and also smoking status, the number will vary, and the 3rd variable is the area you live in.

The one thing that does make it easy to compare is the fact that every carriers benefit for any given plan is identical to every other carriers, so all you really need to compare is pricing. .. but even that is not easy because you may not know what plans to use to compare, and not every company offers every plan.

In general, the only two plans to truly use and compare are Plan F and Plan F +. These cover 100% of your costs.

And what is the best way to do that research? Talk with a multi line broker that can offer you the plans from several companies, and always ask him or her for your quote on F and F+. If they can not offer you both of these, time to find a different agent or firm.

As a very general comparison (if you agree that MOOP is the only valid number to look at), a typical MA plan will come in at $6700.

In comparison, a typical F+ plan will come in at $2500.

That is a lot of money!

But there are many other factors that also favor the F./F+. First is that the future OOPS. Most Med Sup plans annual increases are under 5%, and more typically 3.2% on a 10 year running average, and this compares to increases of MOOP of higher percentages with MA.

MA plans typically have been downsizing the actual procedures covered.

MA plans in most cases, particularly if you go for the lowest MOOP which will always be an HMO, restrict you to the places or people you’ll get medical services from. In short, the Insurance Company, not YOU, will be making many of your care choices.

So it boils down to this: Do I want to have lower costs and less risk and also be able to have freedom of choices, or do I want to pay more and have fewer choices? It’s really that simple.

If this makes sense to you, and now that we are in AEP where if you have an MA plan and you want to change to the plan that makes sense, call me, signal me, text me… what ever and let’s sit down and compare and start you on savings.

Contact information: Joe Leech, Leech Insurance /Local Senior Benefits. Com or
phone 561 213 4709:

 

 

 

Emergency Senior Medical Records Access

In a medical emergency, everyone would agree that time is of the essence in treating the patient, but doing the “right” treatment often must consider the person’s medical history. So many times for seniors, there is no spouse, companion, or other to ask, particularly if the patient is unable to answer questions or respond on their own.

A very unique and affordable senior benefit is a service offered by PHR solutions that makes the senior’s medical records virtually instantly available to the first responders, and in saving the time, may well make the difference between a life and death outcome.

We are pleased to know Laurel Bennett, CSE, MBA as a local representative for PHR, and a person who can explain the service and help the interested party enroll. If you are :the person” or a care taker, family member, etc, you can contact Laurel right here in Palm Beach county at 561 379 5335. We are happy to present this as a SE Florida Senior Solution to this vital problem

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Unique Prescription Drug Copay Assistance

There is a rather unique but not well known program for Rx drug assistance.  As the criteria for qualification may change between the updates of this post, we will just provide the link to this resource..  We do have clients using it.

To learn more and see if you might qualify, CLICK HERE.

 

(posted Jul 2, 2013)

Senior Personal Financial Assistant/Assistance

Many seniors (and soon-to-be-seniors (people 55 and over)) face some unique challenges. In some cases, these people are now away from the routine of working and keeping up with events; possibly for various reasons they have not kept up with technology dealing with personal finances, and in some “worst case” situations, the person has lost a spouse who handled so many matters. Having to do the most simple routine tasks can be overwhelming.

There may be no one to step in and help, particularly a person with no vested interest in trying to benefit from “managing” the finances.

This is where Jane M Freedman of JMF Associates can be of tremendous help. As a senior herself with over 25 years of experience in the  financial world (plus impressive academic credentials), we are happy to recommend her.

What Jane can do for you includes:

  • Assist with writing checks
  • Paying Bills
  • Keeping checkbook balances and reconciling those.
  • Compare statements with purchase and income stubs to make sure all is being credited.
  • Checking credit card statements for accuracy.
  • Other book keeping such as organizing
  • Referrals to professionals in fields of insurance, investments.

When you contact Jane (and all contacts are client initiated); she will NOT call you, you can expect a courteous appointment to be made in your home and a “needs assessment” be done at no fee. She will then estimate the number of hours of her services you may need, and will give you the approximate cost with hourly rates ranging from $25 and up depending on the complexity of needs.

Lastly, be aware that this involves ONLY contracted hourly services. Jane is not affiliated with  or sells any financial product. She contracts for SERVICES only. You will not be “sold” and only hear from  any sales person if you ask her for referrals, and YOUR name will not be given out. It will be your decision to contact any referral.

A contract will be accomplished between yourself and JMF clearly outlining duties and responsibilities, and of course, the statement of full confidentiality. No friends, neighbors, or relatives will be consulted without your specific consent. JMF is bonded and carries comprehensive Errors and Omissions Insurance.

For your complimentary appointment to see if this benefit is for you, contact Ms Jane Freedman, Managing Director, JMF Associates,  561 863 5518.

“Final Expense” or Burial Benefits

Not the easiest topic to write about, but one that is vitally necessary.

The first benefit we want to talk with our readers about is the benefit of peace of mind, particularly for those we leave behind.

Anyone who has had to “help the transition” from life to death for a friend, relative, family member knows the tremendous amount of work done from the moment the person “passes”.  It starts with hundreds of questions that need to be answered for the issuance of the death certificate. It has to do with information for the obituary.   Then starts the process of is the “transition” to involve a full blown funeral? If so, where? Who will be the pallmearers? What is the desired music? Is there an officiating minister? Or is there to be a simple cremation? With or without a viewing? What becomes of the ashes?

All these questions need to be answered in some of the moments of highest stress.But much of that stress can be avoided if this information is prepared in advance and kept updated, and as a senior benefit, we are happy to sit down with you and present you with a nice booklet where you can begin to Get Your House In Order.

At that little “sit down” we’ll also share with you some anticipated costs, and help you evaluate with your current assets how you can manage theee. The  most common way is a specialized type of insurance called “Final Expense Insurance” and it can be obtained by virtually any person, or any age, and regardless of standard or normal insurability for life insurance.. This benefit, when issued, will be issued tax free.

If you have not considered the senior final expense benefit, this is the time.

There are many other topics to consider. Some may be Burial Services, Cremation Services, Funeral Arrangements,  Funeral Ceremonies,Funeral Chapels,  Funeral Expenses, Funeral Financing, Funeral Flowers, Funeral Homes, Funeral Insurance, Funeral Life Insurance, Funeral Planning, Funeral Planning Service,  Funeral Planning Services, Funeral Plans,  Funeral Pre Planning, Funeral preparation, Funeral Preplanning, Funeral Service, Funeral Services,  Life Planning,  Local Funeral Services,  Planning Funeral Arrangements, Prepaid Funeral Plans, Prepaid Funerals,     Whole Term Life Insurance

PS.. We’ll also help you with information on free govt provided funeral expenses and information on National Cemeteries (one just south of Wellington on SR7).

Senior Dental Benfits

There’s two things to consider in the area of Senior Dental Benefits. One obviously is the dentist and the care, but the other thing is how you are going to pay for those benefits.

As we age, so do the fillings we had done 30 years ago and they can crack and quickly lead to an infected root which means an expensive root canal job. Gums recede and this leads to another whole set of problems.

Trouble is that these problems can take major money to correct.

You may think you are covered as you have dental insurance, and as you have not really used it much in the past other than for cleanings, xrays, and possibly an occasional filling… you just are not aware of some of the shortcomings. The first one is that many policies auto cancel or are not in force beyond the age 65.

Another pitfall is that the maximum benefit paid in any given year may only be $1000 or $1500. My friend, for major dental work that gets you nothing!

Then many plans have waiting periods and if you are just thinking of taking a new plan out, you may not have the coverage when y ou need it.

Fortunately here in Fl (one of only 3 states with this plan) there is a good senior dental benefit that has none of these pitfalls. YOu can contact the webmaster for information or get it on your own at http://bestfldentalinsurance.com

This is a benefit every senior should know about, even those with dentures.

Senior Legal Benefits

Legal benefits availability is not commonly on the top of the radar for most seniors, but at very minimum, a checklist of concerns of seniors and or their care takers should include this topic with the goal of at least an initial review on turning 65, and then a yearly update thereafter. Having this done by a conventional attorney can easily run into “3 figures” or more.  Not so with this local senior benefit or senior solution you are going to learn about now..

Topping the list would be a will or possibly a revocable living trust.  The reason is obvious: a change of beneficiaries such as grandchildren may be added; a beneficiary may have passed away; the senior could have become active in retirement in some charitable work and wish to leave something to this cause.

Legal Shield is one exceptionally affordable solution to this need, and while they do  offer the preparation of revocable living trusts, there is a minimal additional charge for that service. However, their services do include will  preparation, as well as access to professional legal counsel that can help the member decide if a RVT is the better vehicle.

Another obvious matter may be in the areas of real estate, particularly if renting. Are there landlord problems? Possibly discriminatory rental increases? Neglect of maintenance matters in the seniors home that truly are landlord responsibilities, but in the past were handled by the renter when physical conditions were better?

Legal  Shield not only covers the senior but also the spouse or significant other at the same base cost. The firm has been in business for 40 years and has over 4 million people as members attesting to it’s value.

While Legal Shield representatives are independent associates, and  there are many to talk with, it is our privilege and pleasure to recommend Joan Quittner right here in Palm Beach County.  Joan is the consummate professional and Legal Shield is her principal and primary profession, and she does it well. This recommendation is based on a personal knowledge of this lady. In addition, she is a senior herself and truly relates to her peers.  Joan can  be reached for a free consultation appointment at 561-307-3687 and definitely tell her Joe referred you to so that you can receive a Free Bonus of a Special Report for Seniors on addressing and solving other senior concerns.

Lastly, seniors are special and often easy targets for identity theft which can wipe out savings in a moment. Legal Shield also offers top Identity Theft protection, so be sure and ask.

Medical and Pain Care… without drugs, surgery, and all that

Aging can be a pain! And there are certain pains that to some extent are unavoidable, such as those associated with arthritis. But even that can be managed in many cases without medication by improving circulation.

Actually, many of our pains are due to the fact as we become seniors, we simply are less active physically on the most part. This means muscles don’t get used and moved that we did when we were younger, and as you don’t use certain parts of your body… pains come to you when you do. Or your body slips “out of alignment”.

For others, physical activity increases. With more free time in retirement, you may be on the golf course 3+ times a week; or you may go hiking or something.

The body in so many cases will heal and correct itself, but the body has to be set up to do that, and the “set up” can be evaluated by a good chiropractor… one who understands and specializes in senior bodies.  One who will not arbitrarily “crunch your bones”, but who will evaluate why you might hurt, and if a chiropractic regimen can alleviate the pain.

You may have begun to accumulate toxins in  your body as our metabolism changes;”crud” may start to accumulate in your colon.

All of these issues can be addressed with the senior benefits of sound chiropractic management. This is used in conjunction with traditional medicine when indicated, but the senior who does NOT include chiropractic management in their staying healthy regimen is missing half of the picture.

We all know that there are literally hundreds of chiropractors to choose from but     on this senior benefits site, we would like to recommend Dr. Ed O’Neill, DC. While there is generally a nominal fee for his initial visit which includes a physical, it’s not one of those “paper history interviews” that many chiropractors advertise as a “first free visit”should he prescribe a regimen of treatment, it may be covered by medicare.(80% coverage per standard medicare terms)  He will work with you and an MD or DO for the prescribing of x-rays and tests so that these also will be covered.

You have nothing  to lose but everything to gain. See the PAGE in this blog for further information.

Financial Benefits for Seniors

As we age, a couple of things dhange. One is our access to, or awareness of many things that occur in the financial area.

Another is that our investment objectives change, starting with tolerance for risk.

What was a good investment plan for us in our 40s and 50s may not be good now. We may be more interested in protecting the assets we have accumulated.

So the the question becomes, “who can you trust” for a no pressure evaluation? Someone who will honestly guide you withoUT their eye on the commission they might make if they change your plan. A person who not only has taken the required “Senior Ethics” courses, but who believes in them.

We believe we know such a person, and you knowing a person like this is certainly a benefit.

Having said that, contact us for the that person’s name  and we will be happy to pass it to you.

Free Prescription Help

Many seniors are fortunate enough to have a good prescription plan, usually a Medicare Part D plan. While these plans look very good, what most people who use them are not aware of is that there are two costs associated with every prescription filled.

The first and obvious cost is the copayment, usually associated with the Tier the medication is in. Simple to understand.

But there is a silent or hidden cost, and this is the cost that the plan picks up, and this is most relevant because as you start to use your plan each year, the clock starts ticking with every prescription fill and each one adding as a user moves toward the gap or donut hole as it’s been known.

Once you are there, until you spend your way out and reach the “catastropic coverage” co pays, your out of pocket cost become very significant.  Your plan propsectus or Summary of Benefits will tell you EXACTLY what to expect… but sadly, many people never read these publications.

Fortunately, the vast majority of seniors don’t routinely have enough prescriptions to worry about this.. but all should be aware of it.

Is there a way to avoid “the gap” or the donut hole?  Yes, and that is to pay for your prescriptions on your own. What y ou do “on your own” does not add up.  But working “on your own” can be very costly in a direct manner.. but there is an option. It is a good free prescription discount card, and you can get yours from us, no strings attached. While you could download and print one from your computer, we’ll do better than that for you. We’ll bring it to you in person and explain thorougly where and how to use it.

To get  your personal free prescritpion discount card in Palm Beach county, just pick up the phone and call us at 561 2214 4709