Getting Your Money’s Worth at the Doctor

As we get older, it seems, at least for many of us, that our trips to the doctor become more and more frequent.  To make things worse, our trips are no longer one-stop shops.  There’s a different doctor to see for every medical ailment affecting our bodies.  This means, of course, that we go to the cardiologist on one day, the neurologist on another, the eye specialist on a different day—you get the picture—and in no time we find we are spending  most of our time lining up transportation and then sitting in waiting and exam rooms.  The doctor pops in, and before we even know what’s happened, he or she is running out, saying, “I’ll see you again in three months.”  And after he or she is gone, you realize you didn’t even get a chance to ask all of your questions!

Many adult children in the sandwich generation accompany their elderly parents on hospital visits.  Whether going for yourself or with your elderly parents, here are some ways to ensure that you make the most of both your and the physician’s time and energy:

  1. You will be more prepared if you write down your questions as you think of them before seeing the doctor. Keep a running list of them on your refrigerator or somewhere else that is handy for you.  When you go to the doctor, take the list with you.  All of your questions will be right there so you won’t have to rely on your memory, which is especially important if the doctor is in a hurry and wants to rush out the door.
  2. It’s a good idea to take someone with you. There are several reasons for this.  Maybe your hearing isn’t so good or your memory isn’t what it used to be.  Having another person with you lessens the chance that you may not hear or understand everything the physician is telling you.  Also, if you receive bad news of any kind, you’ll have someone with you to support you.  And, most importantly, you can go out for lunch together afterwards!
  3. Be honest and thorough with your doctor in reporting your symptoms, concerns, or problems. If you are not willing to tell your physician everything, he or she may not be able to treat you successfully.  Leaving out information alters the conclusions that a professional can make about your situation.  Some things, like incontinence issues, sexual issues, or loneliness, may be embarrassing to discuss.  Rest assured professionals have heard all of these things before and will better be able to address your issues if they know the whole story.
  4. A pen, a notebook, and sometimes even a tape recorder can be helpful and appropriate to bring with you when you know that a lot of new information is going to be communicated.
  5. Ask the doctor to slow down or repeat information if he or she is talking too fast. It may be necessary to ask the professional to use words that you understand if they are using medical terminology that is unfamiliar to you.  Once, when I got a new diagnosis, I had to do that.  The doctor was rattling on and on, and I was so upset that I was not hearing or understanding very well.  I finally said, “Look, this information may be routine to you.  I’m sure you say it 50 times a day to other patients, but this is the first time I’ve heard it.  I need you to slow down.”  It made a huge difference for the better in the relationship I have with this doctor now.  Sometimes doctors are just in a hurry and don’t realize how that affects the way they relate to you.
  6. When leaving, ask for written information if you feel you did not understand or are afraid you will forget what you were told. Some doctors will do this for you themselves.   If they are not able, ask a nurse to summarize and record the information for you.
  7. Do your own research about your particular conditions or disease processes prior to your appointment. You can learn a lot by discussing medical concerns with trusted friends or acquaintances, going to the library, or by going online.  You will be better prepared and your questions will be more specific.
  8. Know your body! Many times we defer to our physicians because we think they know more than we do.  It’s a good idea to remember that you are the expert on your body.  Recognize changes to your body and report to your physician new signs and symptoms, improvements, stress or emotional changes, drug side effects, etc.   Sometimes subtle body changes can be crucial in determining what is going on in the big picture and may make a difference in how your condition is treated.
  9. Lastly, if you are not satisfied with the way you are treated and if, after asking for what you need, your doctor is not able to provide that for you in a way that makes you feel respected and comfortable, you always have the choice to see a different doctor.

Paul R. Blom, Owner/CEO
Right at Home

P: 952-854-6122

pblom@rah-tc.net

Rightathome.net/twincities/
CaregivingCompanion.com



The Shred Party

What should you get rid of and hold on to? When and why?

If a shred party happens to spring up in your area, you may want to mark your calendar. For many years, shred parties, where a business or organization hosts clients or the public to the use of giant paper shredders, have presented a fun and easy way for folks to rid themselves of paper clutter. Sometimes, it’s more than just paper, as some industrial-sized shredders even have the ability to destroy hard drives and other electronic storage devices.

Protection from identity theft. Of course, this is not just about clutter: old bills and financial documents are just the sorts of things that scammers and identity thieves want to get their hands on. The only way to be totally certain that you are safe is the total destruction of those documents and devices once their practical use has come to an end.

A shred party can also be a nice day out. It’s not unusual for the big shredding trucks to be parked outside on a pleasant spring or summer day. Depending on the hosting organization, the shred party might be attached to some other activity, like a potluck, barbecue, or community celebration.

What do you bring?The better question may be: when is it wise to let go of the documents that you’ve been storing? It’s important to be sure because they certainly aren’t something you can get back from the shredder once they’re gone!

A recent article from CBS News suggests the following guidelines:1

  • For your tax returns, hold on to those for up to seven years.
  • Purchase and sale statements for your house, for your entire ownership of the house.
  • Utility bills, at least one year.
  • Statements from your investment or brokerage account, at least one year.
  • Purchase and sales confirmations related to your investment or brokerage account, at least one year.
  • Statements from your bank account, at least one year.
  • Statements from your credit card provider, at least one year.

It’s important to remember, also, that the above represents a general guideline; different sources offer different suggestions. CBS acknowledges that, in some cases, it’s okay to shred your tax returns after three years. Your financial professional may have a different prescription for you, however, based on their close understanding of your financial life.

Information provided by Candido Palomarez, Family CFO.  He may be reached at (763) 428-1000 or at Candido@Candidoinc.com

Securities and investment advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance services offered through Candido, Inc., which is not affiliated with Woodbury Financial Services. Neither Candido, Inc., nor Woodbury Financial Services renders accounting, tax, or legal advice.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.
1 – cbsnews.com/news/heres-how-long-you-should-keep-tax-records/ [4/26/2019]

Life Insurance with Long Term Care Riders

As conventional LTC policies grow costlier, alternatives have emerged.

The price of long term care insurance is really going up. If you are a baby boomer and you have kept your eye on it for a few years, chances are you have noticed much costlier premiums for LTC coverage today compared to several years ago. For example, in 2015 the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance found that married 60-year-olds would pay $2,170 annually to get a total of $328,000 of coverage.1

As CNBC notes, about three-quarters of the insurers that sold LTC policies ten years ago have stopped doing so. Demand for LTC coverage will only grow as more baby boomers retire – and in light of that, insurance providers have introduced new options for those who want to LTC coverage.1

Hybrid LTC products have emerged. Some insurers are structuring “cash rich” whole life insurance policies so you can tap part of the death benefit while living to pay for long term care. You can use up to $330 a day of the death benefit under such policies, with no reduction to the cash value. Other insurance products are being marketed featuring similar potential benefits.2

This option often costs a few hundred dollars more per year – not bad given that level annual premiums on a whole life policy with a half-million or million-dollar payout often come to several thousand dollars. The policyholder becomes eligible for the LTC coverage when he or she is judged to require assistance with two or more of six daily living activities (dressing, bathing, eating, etc.) or is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or some other kind of cognitive deficiency.2

This way, you can get what you want from one insurance policy rather than having to pay for two. Contrast that with a situation in which you buy a separate LTC policy but die without requiring any long term care, with the premiums on that policy paid for nothing.

The basics of securing LTC coverage applies to these policies. As with a standard LTC policy, the earlier you start paying premiums for one of these hybrid insurance products, the lower the premiums will likely be. You must pass medical underwriting to qualify for coverage. The encouraging news here is that some people who are not healthy enough to qualify for a standalone LTC insurance policy may qualify for a hybrid policy.3

These hybrid LTC products usually require lump sum funding. An initial premium payment of $50,000 is common. Sometimes installment payments can be arranged in smaller lump sums over the course of a few years or a decade. For a high net worth individual or couple, this is no major hurdle, especially since appreciated assets from other life insurance products can be transferred into a hybrid product through a 1035 exchange.1,3

Are these hybrid policies just mediocre compromises? They have detractors as well as fans, and the detractors cite the fact that a standalone LTC policy generally offers greater LTC coverage per premium dollar paid than a hybrid policy. They also cite their two sets of fees, per their two forms of insurance coverage. While it is possible to deduct the cost of premiums paid on a conventional LTC policy, hybrid policies allow no such opportunity.3

Paying a lump sum premium at the inauguration of the policy has both an upside and a downside. You will not contend with potential premium increases over time, as owners of stock LTC policies often do; on the other hand, the return on the insurance product may be locked into today’s (minimal) interest rates.

Another reality is that many middle-class seniors have little or no need to go out and buy a life insurance policy. Their heirs will not face inheritance taxes, because their estates aren’t large enough to exceed the federal estate tax exemption. Moreover, their children may be adults and financially stable themselves; a large death benefit for these heirs is nice, but the opportunity cost of paying the life insurance premiums may be significant.4

Cash value life insurance can be a crucial element in estate planning for those with large or complex estates, however – and if some of its death benefit can be directed toward long term care for the policyholder, it may prove even more useful than commonly assumed.

Provided by Candido Palomarez of Candido, Inc.

Phone: 763-428-1000

Website:  www.CandidoInc.com

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.
1 – cnbc.com/2015/08/07/fer-more-products-that-cover-long-term-care-costs.html [8/7/15]

2 – consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/04/get-long-term-care-from-whole-life-insurance/index.htm [4/16/15]
3 – tinyurl.com/o3ty2j3 [5/4/14]
4 – marketwatch.com/story/hedging-your-bets-on-long-term-care-2013-11-06 [11/6/13]

Who Needs Estate Planning?

Why estate planning is so important, and not just for the rich.

You have an estate.
It doesn’t matter how limited (or unlimited) your means may be, and it doesn’t matter if you own a mansion or a motor home.

 

Rich or poor, when you die, you leave behind an estate.
For some, this can mean real property, cash, an investment portfolio and more. For others, it could be as straightforward as the $10 bill in their wallet and the clothes on their back. Either way, what you leave behind when you die is considered to be your “estate”.

 

“But, I don’t need estate planning … do I?”
Let’s think about that. If the estate is small, should you still plan? Well, even if you’re just leaving behind the $10 bill in your wallet, who will inherit it? Do you have a spouse? Children? Is it theirs? Should it go to just one of them, or be split between them? If you don’t decide, you could potentially be leaving behind a legacy of legal headaches to your survivors. This, quite simply, is what estate planning is all about – deciding how what you have now (money and assets) will be distributed after your lifetime.

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Care Management: What it is and how we help

Geriatric Care Managers, also known as Care Consultants, Care Coordinators or Elder Care Managers are professionals who specialize in working with seniors and their families to coordinate their care needs. A Geriatric Care Manager may be a nurse, social worker, counselor, psychologist or gerontologist who has training and experience specifically in working with older people.  Geriatric Care Managers help with short-term projects or can be involved in a more on-going relationship. Geriatric Care Managers offer a large variety of services to assist older people and their families in meeting their care needs.

Geriatric Care Managers can:

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Partnership Plans for Long Term Care

Many states are assisting their residents to buy LTC insurance.

A helping hand for a pressing need – With the baby boom generation maturing, numerous studies and articles have pointed out the rising need for long term care. Some state governments have directly responded to it.

Now, many states have created partnership programs to encourage their residents to purchase LTC insurance coverage. It only makes sense: if more people opt to privately insure themselves, a state will face less of a burden and less liability when it comes to its own eldercare programs and eldercare costs.

How the partnership plans work – Essentially, these plans provide dollar-for-dollar asset protection when you buy an LTC policy. So for every dollar the policy pays out in benefits, you get an equal dollar amount in asset protection under a state’s Medicaid spend-down regulations.

What does this mean for you? It means that you are able to retain assets you would otherwise have to spend down before you could qualify for state Medicaid benefits. These partnership plans let you protect an amount of funds equal to the amount the policy pays out in benefits and still qualify for state Medicaid assistance (as long as you have used up all policy benefits and still require long term care).

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