NURSING HOME RESIDENT PROTECTIONS

  • Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz a Democrat from Florida and Congressman Tim Wahlberg who is a Republican from Michigan introduced protections for residents in nursing homes during emergencies.
  • The house bill (H. R. 4704) provides in pertinent part that skilled nursing facilities shall meet certain emergency preparedness requirements.
  • The facility must have in place alternative sources of energy capable of powering heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems for at least 96 hours.
  • Failure to comply with these provisions would subject the facility to a civil money penalty not to exceed $100,000.

 

THE CHALLENGES OF JOINT BANK ACCOUNTS

  • Usually, joint accounts are held with rights of survivorship.
  • Often times, joint accounts are made merely for convenience purposes.
  • This means that the account will not necessarily pass later in accordance with a will or trust that was created by a deceased account holder.
  • This problem most often arises when one child has their name as a joint account holder to help parent pay their bills.
  • While some children may feel they have a moral obligation to allocate funds as expressed in a will or trust, others will not.
  • This arrangement also exposes the account to potential attack or forfeiture from creditors of the added account holder.
  • In the ever-changing tax world, there can also be tax related issues in these arrangements including income/capital gain/gift tax issues.

 

TELEHEALTH TREATMENT PRACTICE CONTINUES TO GROW……

• Transportation to medical appointments is often a problem, particularly for infirm and older patients or those who are ill.
• There are often times long waits in physician offices.
• Transportation can be difficult if not inconvenient.
• Patients often need to contact their a local physician team in the event they have health problems occur while they are out of town, traveling, etc.
• Telehealth treatment removes a lot of these obstacles by allowing patients to consult with doctors and fill prescriptions over the Internet or by mobile        phone.
• In Michigan, this type of healthcare service was recognized by statute enabling patients to access their Michigan medical specialists from their own living room or while they are out of town.
• This trend is sweeping the country via the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact that is considered a new component of future medical treatment.

MAKING A WILL

A person eighteen (18) years or older who is of sound mind may make a will. If a person dies without a will they are considered to have died intestate in which case there are special guidelines on the distribution of the deceased’s estate according to state law.

ASSISTED-LIVING COSTS

  • The Assisted Living Federation reports the average age of an assisted living resident is 86 years of age.
  • According to a recent Consumer Reports study, the national median cost of a private one-bedroom in assisted-living costs 43,000 a year, actual nursing home costs can double the expense.
  • Studies have shown more than half of the residents suffer from some form of dementia impairment.
  • Dementia is one of the costliest conditions to society. In 2017 total payments for all individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are estimated at $259 billion.

Four Myths about Medicaid Eligibility

  • You must sell all your assets to qualify

FALSE: Certain assets are classified as exempt, such as your home, personal and household items, certain funeral contracts, a burial plot, and income producing real estate. Also, countable assets like cash, certificates of deposit, as well as stocks and bonds can also be converted to exempt assets with no penalty. For married individuals, additional exemptions apply.

  • If you have a Medicare Card, you are not eligible for Medicaid.

FALSE: Though both pay for essential health care services, their eligibility requirements, administration and coverage are different. Medicare does not require financial needs test for those 65 and over, US citizens or permanent residents who worked at least 10 years in covered employment. Medicaid, on the other hand, is based in significant part on financial need.

  • If all your assets are transferred to a trust, you can qualify for Medicaid immediately.

FALSE: The State looks back about 5 years at any transfers made to a trust before granting eligibility. These transfers may cause Medicaid eligibility for a period of time. The only exception to this is the Spousal Annuity Trust, which when setup in compliance with the rules, allows a couple to exempt all their excess assets from being counted and lets applicants become eligible nearly overnight.

  • Once Qualified for Medicaid, the State will pay for all nursing home care.

FALSE: Medicaid covers almost all expenses needed while living in a certified nursing home, except for incidentals. Recipients must use part of their monthly income to help pay their nursing home costs. This amount is called “patient pay amount” and is calculated by an established formula used by Medicaid.

To find out more about the firm visit www.lipsonneilson.com

MEDICARE STARTER KIT

8 Does and Don’t of signing up for Medicare:

  1. Do give yourself time to learn about Medicare:
  2. Don’t expect to be notified when it’s time to sign up:
  3. Do enroll when you’re supposed to:
  4. Don’t despair if you haven’t worked long enough to qualify:
  5. Don’t worry that poor health will affect your coverage:
  6. Do remember that Medicare is not free:
  7. Don’t assume that Medicare covers everything:
  8. Don’t expect Medicare to cover your dependents:

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Claim it or Lose it

An estimated 1 million tax payers are owed more than $1 billion in unclaimed federal income tax refunds for 2013 according to the Internal Revenue Service. In Michigan alone, the IRS estimates that 33,600 people are owed nearly $34 million in unclaimed federal income tax refunds for 2013.

Of course, taxpayers have plenty of reasons for not filing tax returns like debt, child support or other obligations. Your federal return must be filed within three years to claim your refund or the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury.

Penalties and interest will not be applied if you are owed a refund, however the IRS will hold your refund checks if you have not filed tax returns for 2014 and 2015.

Keep in mind you must file your 2013 tax return no later than Tuesday April 18, if you don’t file it you cannot get the refund.

TAX SCAMS IDENTITY THEFT

As we head into another tax season we should all be vigilant of the ever expanding con artists using the tax system to prey on the unsuspecting. We all probably know someone who has had their identity stolen. The recent well publicized data security breaches at major retailers and Sony has put consumers at risk as we become ever more connected.

TAX RETURN FILING: Part of the new problem is identity thieves know the IRS waits until the March deadline to review EIN’s and Social Security Numbers so these thieves file very early. In that period of time, the thief collects the tax refund and then after the IRS review, the business owner or individual receives communications from the IRS demanding a return of the tax refund.

Quick action is critical. First call the IRS Identity Protection Specialization Unit (800-908-1490). You need to establish a record. Next complete IRS form 14039-Identity Theft Affidavit and submit the form to the IRS. We recommend filing your “correct original” tax return by certified mail or overnight mail with a letter of explanation. You should also contact the Social Security Administration as the improper tax return can affect your credits. It is not a bad idea to pull your credit report as well.

TELEPHONE SCAMS: Often time’s businesses or clients receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS. Please note these calls are frauds. The IRS does not call you over the telephone out of the clear blue. You can also call the Treasury Inspector General if this occurs (800-366-4484) to report the incident.

BUSINESS IDENTITY THEFT: The typical and simple mode of thieves is to select an established business identity and then establish a fraudulent office. That business name will then be used to establish either a new line of credit or a new bank account to purchase goods and services until the credit line or other resources are exhausted, then the thief just moves on.

DORMANT, SHELL AND AGELESS BUSINESSES: Another new method is for thieves to access and online business registries for ones that were previously dissolved or dormant. These businesses are particularly vulnerable to this type of crime because their owners are less likely to be monitoring the situation. The wrongdoer merely takes advantage of a well established history and credit rating to commit the fraud.

RETIREMENT TRENDS

RETIREMENT TRENDS

  • Baby Boomers – The Vulnerable Years

These are the individuals born between 1946 and 1964 who are just beginning to retire. They likely will be receiving Social Security Benefits in addition to those who have had the foresight to have significant retirement accounts in place.

  • Generation X

These are the individuals born between 1965 and 1981. Unfortunately, this is the generation where traditional pensions have long been eliminated and the possibility exists that Social Security may not be around when they retire. Their advantage is they have more time to prepare for their retirement including IRA’s, 401k’s and other retirement strategies.

  • Millennials

These are the individuals born between 1982 and 2000. This group statistically is currently the largest in the US Labor Force. Unfortunately, they also have the largest amount of student and credit card debt. This generation also appears to be the savviest when it comes to contributing to employer sponsored retirement accounts which is the most effective way to prepare for ultimate retirement.

To find out more about the firm visit www.lipsonneilson.com