Checklist: Hiring a Home Care Provider

Most people prefer to be cared for in their home rather than a nursing home but finding a home care provider for you or a loved one can be daunting. The following are some things to keep in mind when looking for a caregiver. Level of care The first thing to consider is what level of care is needed. This … Read More

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

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 is a practice area defined by the people whose legal needs are served—senior citizens. It is an area of law which grew out of the need for estate planning attorneys to address legal problems facing older clients and their children. Elder law is a remarkably diverse area of practice. It encompasses issues affecting the lives of the “elderly,” a population … 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

What is the DD Waiver and Why Does it Matter for Special Needs Families?

The DD Waiver is the Developmentally Disabled Waiver in New Mexico. It is a Medicaid program that provides services to qualifying individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Often people ask what the “waiver” part means. One of the qualifying questions for the DD Waiver is whether the individual would otherwise qualify for nursing home level of care (NHLOC). If so, … Read More

Update on Special Needs Planning Seminar 2018 Video and Handouts (April 11, 2018)

The Update on Special Needs Planning Seminar was held on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The seminar was hosted at the New Mexico Society of CPAs from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. Presented by: Pregenzer, Baysinger, Wideman & Sale, PC (PBWS) Zia Trust, Inc. The Arc of New Mexico ARCA Presentors: Elaine Solimon, Community Relations Director of ARCA Bridget … 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

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

Elevator Pitch

It happened again last Friday, at a Starbucks. Someone asked me what kind of law I practice. No matter how many times I am asked that simple question, I panic. I’ve never been able to come up with an effective elevator speech (a clear, brief message about what one does for a living, typically about 30 seconds, the time it … Read More

Medicare Prescription Drug Premiums Projected to Remain Stable

With the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, there is good news on the horizon. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has projected that the average premium for a basic Medicare Part D prescription drug plan in 2016 will remain stable. This is estimated at $32.50 per month. For plan years 2011-2015, the average monthly premium for a … 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

What is a Living Will?

In the late 1980’s, people around the United States began asserting their right to self-determination to decide how their medical care should be managed during the last days or weeks of their lives. They invented the term “living will” to describe a document that would describe their intentions and that could be presented to medical providers. Courts and legislatures were … Read More

The Special Needs Alliance

I attended a spring “boot camp” of the Special Needs Alliance last weekend.  I have been a member of this organization since 2002.  It is an invitation-only professional organization of lawyers who have expertise in planning with families who have disabled family members.  These lawyers are a reliable place to start when a family needs to know about trusts, Medicaid … 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

Medicaid Long Term Basics

We have many people who contact us about financing long term care. Sometimes there has been a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another long term debilitating disease, and sometimes there has been a fall or a sudden illness that puts the family in crisis mode. In any case, it is not unusual to have to undo and restructure some preliminary Medicaid … Read More

NAPA Becomes Law

On January 4, 2011, The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (“NAPA”) was enacted by Congress.  This Act creates an integrated national plan to overcome Alzheimer’s, which includes providing information and coordination of research across all Federal agencies aimed at improving the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and to coordinate the care and treatment of patients who have Alzheimer’s. According to the … Read More

Who Is Protecting Seniors?

Ads have been running on TV paid for by the Coalition to Protect Seniors, Inc., which state that people on Medicare should oppose health care reform because it will take away $445 million in Medicare benefits.  Our law firm works very hard to protect seniors, and we have studied the Affordable Care Act, and we do not think that it … Read More