It’s Medicare Open Enrollment Time: Is Your Plan Still Working for You?

Senior couple discussing over medical bills in living room

Every year Medicare gives beneficiaries a window of opportunity to shop around and determine if their current Medicare plan is still the best one for them. During Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15 to December 7, beneficiaries can freely enroll in or switch plans.  During the seven-week period, you can return to traditional Medicare (Parts A and B) from a … Read More

What is an Elder Law Attorney and Do I Need One?

elder law attorney

hen Should I Hire an Elder Law Attorney? What does Medicaid planning involve? Do I Need a Durable Power of Attorney? ow do I Find an Attorney Qualified to Handle My Elder Law Needs? Find answers to these questions and more.

President Biden Proposes Billions in Increased Funding for Home Health Care

a woman healthcare professional taking the blood pressure of an older man in his home

President Biden has introduced a plan to spend $400 billion over eight years on home and community-based care for the elderly and people with disabilities. The money would go to expand access to care and support higher-paying caregiving jobs.  As the elderly population grows, our long-term care system is becoming increasingly strained. The AARP found that in 2020, more than … Read More

How You Can End Up in Medicare’s Doughnut Hole, and How You Get Out

photo of an elderly woman wearing bright blue and pink holding two pink donuts, looking concerned

Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plans can have a coverage gap—called the “doughnut hole”–which limits how much Medicare will pay for your drugs until you pay a certain amount out of pocket. Although the gap has gotten much smaller since Medicare Part D was introduced in 2006, there still may be a difference in what you pay during your initial … Read More

Do It, Teach It, Lead It: National Healthcare Decisions Day 2021

Guest Blog By Jennifer O’Brien Originally published April 16, 2021 About a thousand years ago, I was the administrator for an otolaryngology department. The department put on a CME course on endoscopic sinus surgery, that attracted everyone from PGY1s to seasoned, community surgeons because it included a cadaver head lab and numerous didactic sessions, culminating with a world renowned cranial base … Read More

If You Have an ABLE Account or Special Needs Trust Do You Need the Other?

ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts serve different purposes but can be used together to give the beneficiary the most freedom and independence possible. An ABLE Account is a tool that was created by federal law (the same part of the tax code where we find 529 Education plans) to help people with disabilities save some money and be as … Read More

How to Make Life More Enjoyable Through Prolonged Quarantine

Older woman checking phone at home while ironing

As quarantine for COVID-19 continues, many people are wondering how much longer they can stand it. But there are ways that seniors, caregivers, and parents can help make the stay-at-home orders bearable for those that still need to stay home. Excitement as States Reopen The Governor of New Mexico recently announced that the state was lifting some restrictions that had … Read More

What is a MOST Form and Do I Need One?

MOST is an acronym for “medical orders for scope of treatment” and is specific to New Mexico. A MOST form is a great tool for outlining patients’ wishes for medical interventions and end-of-life care when individuals have a serious or life-threatening illness. It consists of a set of medical orders which are integrated into the patient’s medical record and are … Read More

Final Regulations Applicable to Eligibility for VA Needs-Based Benefits

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) proposed new regulations in 2015 regarding net worth, asset transfers, and income exclusions for needs-based VA benefits. These regulations have been finalized and are effective as of October 18, 2018. A couple of the most significant changes are highlighted below: New bright-line evaluation of net worth; New 36-month look-back period for asset transfers. … Read More

Care-Taker Roles Reverse

Generally speaking we don’t plan on spending a Saturday afternoon in the local Emergency Department.  However, as parents age, we as their adult children find ourselves more and more in the care-taker role, which often means accompanying them to doctor’s appointments and sometimes to the Emergency Department.  As I sat with my mother and father in the Emergency Department on … Read More

Medicare Eligibility After Hospital Observation Status

Hospitals must now give Medicare recipients notice when they are in the hospital under observation status. The notice requirement is part of a law enacted in 2015 but that just took effect. Signed by President Obama in August 2015, the law was intended to prevent surprises after a Medicare beneficiary spends days in a hospital under “observation” and is then … Read More

The Alzheimer’s Association Report – Increasing Costs and Impact

The Alzheimer’s Association released a report on March 7, 2017 with updated statistics related to the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s dementia and the growing cost and impact of the disease on families and the economy.  Some startling findings: Unless a cure or improved treatments are discovered, the number of people age 65 or older with Alzheimer’s dementia may nearly … Read More

Medical Treatment for the Elderly – Less Can Be More

Sometimes, what may be considered “best medical practices” is not in our elderly family members’ best interest. I’m not talking about the so-called “death panels” used to frighten the public about universal health care. Rather, I’m talking about the toll that hospitalizations can take on our elderly population. A recent study showed that about one-third of patients over 70 years … Read More

Moving to a New State Can Get Complicated

Posted on July 5, 2016 by The Arc. To read the original article, please click HERE.  By Wendy H. Sheinberg, CELA written for The Arc in partnership with the Special Needs Alliance.  Moving to another state is a challenge for most families. If a family member has disabilities, that challenge is even greater. State benefit programs vary, and states administer federal programs at … Read More

Organ Donation – Best to Include in Advanced Health Care Directive

Organ donation can be a difficult subject to discuss with family members, and can be an even more difficult subject when family members are faced with the decision after a loved one’s death.  However, donating an organ or even a whole body for scientific study, medical education. or to save the life of another can be an important part of … Read More

Illness & Suffering: A Cat’s Viewpoint of the Medical System

My cat Jaspurr stopped eating sometime in the fall of 2015.  I did not notice this because the other cat was finishing up the left overs in all the dishes.  But I finally did notice when he became emaciated to the point that he was skin, bones and fur.  I took him to the vet.  The vet took blood and … Read More

Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones From The Flu

It’s that time of year – flu season! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend getting a flu shot annually. Please see the questions and answers below regarding flu vaccines and other vaccines. Q:        Why do we need a flu shot every year when we only have to get a tetanus shot every ten years or a pneumonia … Read More

Happy 50th Anniversary Medicaid!

July 30, 1965, President Johnson signed the Social Security Amendments of 1965 into law. This law created not only Medicare, but also Medicaid. Medicaid is the joint state and federal health insurance program for low-income people and also allows seniors and people with disabilities get the long-term care they need. Needless to say, Medicaid has become an integral part of … Read More

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

In his latest book – Being Mortal – Dr. Atul Gawande explores disability, diminished capacity and the onset of dementia, not as medical issues but as the natural processes of aging. He urges his readers to confront their own anxieties and reexamine their relationships with their loved ones as life forces them to abandon their independence and become dependent upon others. Meaning … Read More

A Loved One Has Just Been Diagnosed With Dementia, What Should You Do?

Realizing that a loved one has dementia is heartbreaking and overwhelming and most families find that there are many more questions than answers.  One of the best initial steps families can take is to contact their local Alzheimer’s Association chapter.  The New Mexico chapter has locations in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Farmington and Roswell.   You will not find … Read More

In Health Care, Where Does All the Money Go?

I really do not know the answer to this question.  But now that I have your attention, let me talk about two articles that appeared recently.  The first article is titled “With health care, like anything else, we get what we pay for,” which appeared in a February 7, 2011, column by Winthrop Quigley in the Albuquerque Journal.  In that … Read More

What is a Posse?

We know about posses from watching western movies.  The sheriff deputized a group of men by giving them badges, and then they rode off on their horses to catch the cattle thief.  The posse was an organized group who were endowed with certain powers and duties of loyalty to the sheriff all in the interest of a common goal, to … Read More