Seniors Would Lose Important Medicare Benefits Under Trump-endorsed Healthcare Plan

By Cynthia Wilson

If you’re a senior citizen or a primary caregiver of a senior who relies on Medicaid and Medicare coverage, don’t ignore what the Republicans and President Donald Trump have proposed in their health care plan. There’s a lot at stake.

Here’s the bill, if you don’t trust news reports and want to read it yourself. (Good luck with that!)  The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation’s version of the proposed law is simpler to read. Based on my experience with elder care and other caregivers caught between raising a family and caring for a elderly or disabled parent, here’s a quick synopsis of the financial dangers I believe many families will face.

Prescription Prices Ver1

Photo courtesy of

  1. Seniors will pay for prescription drug coverage with. Currently, seniors benefit from a provision in Obamacare that uses savings from hospitals and doctors payments to help eligible seniors pay for their prescription medication. President Trump has endorsed the bill, but neither Trump nor Republicans have said if seniors can continue to expect this help.
  2.  At the least, the American Health Care  Act calls for raising the age of full retirement benefits to 67, possibly 69. While you can still draw social security earlier, expect a lower monthly payment ranging from 10 to 40 percent and you still won’t quality for Medicare until 67. That means if you can’t get insurance through an employer, you’ll have to turn to state exchanges where you’ll likely pay more for it.
  3. Obamacare lets insurers charge older, less healthy people, up to three times more in premiums. The Republicans’ plan allows insurers to charge the oldest people on a plan up to 5 times more for premiums, if you don’t let coverage lapse. If you do, insurers can add a 30 percent surcharge. (More on that later.)
  4. The Republicans’ health care bill offers tax credits to help people pay for insurance. But the $4,000 tax credit for an eligible person 60 years and older is nearly half the $9,900 currently offered under Obamacare.
  5. Although the Republicans’ proposed law doesn’t let people deny coverage to folks with pre-existing conditions, it assesses a penalty by letting insurers charge an additional 30 percent of  the insurance premium if you don’t have coverage for more than 2 months.  So if you don’t quality for Medicare and don’t have access to employer insurance, you’re at greater risk for being uninsured even if you quality for a  tax credit but still can’t afford health care coverage.
  6. The Republicans’ health care plan cuts Medicaid funding to states. If your family relies on Medicaid to help pay for a senior or disabled parent’s nursing home care or at-home care expenses, expect some decrease in aide or service. Your state may even make it harder to qualify for Medicaid benefits. The children of seniors who can’t afford the care will have to pick up the slack, if they can afford it. Some may even have to quick their jobs or work fewer hours.
Posted in American Health Care Act, Republican Health Care Plan, Trump Health Care Plan Tagged with: , ,

Scams targeting the elderly are common after severe storms

By Cynthia Wilson

Now that the winds of Hurricane Sandy and Wednesday’s nor’easter have subsided another disaster is likely to get underway soon.  Prepare for waves of scam artists going door to door promising to repair property for a good price.

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath (Photo courtesy of Flight Dreamz 2012)

They especially like to pick on elderly and disabled people who have little help or just don’t want to bother their kids.  The elderly will often turn to strangers because they want to prove that they still can manage their own affairs.  Sometimes, they fear that an adult child might try to convince them to leave their home.

In any case, don’t let someone take advantage of your parent or elderly loved one.   If your parent owns a home and you can’t immediately get there to it,  ask a friend or neighbor you trust that lives closer to them to check for signs of damage at the home. With your parent’s permission, they might take pictures of items they believe needs repairs and send them to you.

You can then can help your parent’s find reputable contractor’s using rating services such as Angie’s List or Service  Also remind your parents to beware of charity scams, which may involve people calling or visiting people in unaffected areas or states to collect money for storm victims.  Remind your parent’s to never give anyone personal information of any kind over the phone or in person, especially if they  did not contact organization.

You may also like:

A disconnected cell phone can save your life


Enhanced by Zemanta

Posted in Caregiver tips, Home safety tips, Scams Tagged with: , , , ,

November elder care book signing events


Senior Care will be front and center in the coming months as federal and state lawmakers grapple with how to reign in long-term care costs for senior citizens.

I will discuss the economic and political trends that will affect how families care for their loved ones during their senior years and share ways families can make sure that their loved ones get the long-term care they expect without inheriting their health care debt or jeopardizing the family’s financial stability during a book signing.

When: Nov. 8, 2012, 7-8 p.m. and Nov. 11, 2-3 p.m.

Where: Resurrection Church, 4910 N. Woodlawn, Bel Aire, KS 67226

For more information call 888-715-8022


Enhanced by Zemanta

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

Voter scams targeting elderly

By Cynthia Wilson

The elderly vote is obviously an important one.  So much so that voter fraud efforts may be at their highest levels this election cycle,  with senior citizens at the center of the fraud in many cases.

voting day in a small town

Voting day in a small town . Photo courtesy of Muffet

While the economy is top of mind for many voters this presidential election years, potential Medicare  reform is likely what’s motivating many senior citizens to cast their vote this year.  So they’ve become the latest target in voter fraud and manipulation.

People pretending to be election officials have called elderly voters in at least three states (Florida, Indiana and Virginia)  inviting them to vote by telephone. The callers are telling the elderly that if they vote by telephone they will not have to worry about casting their ballots at their polling sites on or before election day.

Some seniors like Kurtis Killian, a Republican from St. Augustine, Florida, immediately knew that the telephone call he received is a scam.  But this can be a very tempting offer for a home bound senior citizen, or someone who doesn’t drive, have easy access to transportation or someone to take them to the polls.  Then again, if voting by phone were possible and legal, almost everyone would do it.

But these calls obviously aren’t intended to get more people voting.  The calls are intended to cheat elderly people out of their vote. The calls may also be an attempt to get important information that can lead to identity theft.

Police haven’t discovered who is begin the fraud, but the FBI is investigating.  In the meantime, seniors once again, are being preyed upon.  If scams like this succeed, the elderly and the rest of the country  will suffer the consequences.

It’s nobody’s business who anyone chooses to vote for. But no one’s vote should be stolen from them, especially in the privacy and comfort of their own home.

Make sure it doesn’t happen to your, your mom, dad or any other elderly person.

You might also like:

Medicare investment tax practices hurt Medicare

Enhanced by Zemanta

Posted in Medicare and Medicaid reform Tagged with: , , , ,

Romney can’t keep promise that Medicare proposals won’t immediately affect seniors

By Cynthia Wilson

Governor Mitt Romney hasn’t provided many details about how he will keep his promise to cut Medicare spending and prevent changes in coverage over the next 10 years.  However, the one detail Romney has given, that he will repeal the Affordable Care Act, lets me know that he can’t keep his promise that my mom and other seniors currently relying on Medicare will not be immediately affected.

Mitt Romney in 2007 in Washington, DC at the V...

Mitt Romney

To repeal ObamaCare , as many people call the Affordable Care Act, means that my mom and other seniors will automatically pay more for prescription drugs because ObamaCare eliminated the so called “donut hole” that required seniors to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs until they met a certain out-of-pocket limit. For example, prior to ObamaCare, an insurer might pay the first $1,500 of a policyholder’s prescription drug costs. After that amount was met, the policy might require the senior to pay the next $2,000 in prescription drug costs before the insurer resumes payment towards any more prescriptions in a plan year.

But that’s not what scares me the most? Whether you like ObamaCare or not, if Romney succeeds in repealing the law, Medicare will go broke in 2016 without any clear way to fund the Medicare trust.   That’s seven years before Romney says my mom and other Medicare eligible seniors will see any changes to their coverage.  How will mom get her insulin, other medications and tests paid for then?

But that’s not all. Medicare could be bankrupt even sooner if Romney succeeds lowered taxes beyond what is allowed by the so called Bush tax cuts. Medicare is supported by payroll taxes, but if Romney lowers taxes further, the Medicare Trust could lose even more funds if the Medicare tax rate is also lowered.  Medicare most certainly will lose revenue if ObamaCare is repealed because repealing the law will eliminate the new Medicare tax on investment income that was included in the law to recoup money lost after top level corporate executives and investment portfolio managers started taking the bulk of their everyday earnings through stock payouts and dividends to avoid the Medicare tax and pay a lower tax rate.

I’m all for cutting spending, but Romney’s signature Medicare proposal is not a sound plan to protect seniors who need Medicare now. Unless Romney plans to borrow to fund Medicare, he cannot guarantee senior citizens that his proposals will generate the funding Medicare needs to remain viable. That not only puts senior citizens at risks immediately, it jeopardizes the viability of health care providers and middle class families trying to help care for their elderly loved ones.

Don’t be fooled by vague promises.  If you do, you’ll pay for it sooner than you expect and in ways you can’t imagine.

You may also like:

Investment income tax practices hurt Medicare

Enhanced by Zemanta

Posted in Medicare and Medicaid reform, News you should know Tagged with: , , , ,

Join Cynthia for a book signing

I will  read from and sign copies of my book, “Who Will Take Care of Mom? A Guide for Family Managed Senior Care” at Resurrection Catholic Church, 4910 N. Woodlawn Road, in Bel Aire, KS on Saturday October 6 from 9:30-10:30 a.m., and Wednesday October 10, from 7:15-8:15 p.m.

Posted in Uncategorized

With long term care industry shrinking, could assisted living be next?

By Cynthia Wilson

For months now I’ve been hearing that the long term care insurance industry is shrinking.


Insurance (Photo credit: Alan Cleaver)

Although long term care insurance is billed as a must-have to help protect senior citizens pay for  extended care services, such as nursing home treatment , in-home care and assisted living facilities, consumers just aren’t buying the polices.  Those people with polices aren’t cancelling as the industry expected, either. That’s probably because they bought the polices when premiums were very low and have great coverage that may include lifetime benefits. The result is that insurers haven’t been able to pocket the premiums or the interest income they had hoped for because of historically low interest rates. So many insurers are pulling out of the market, while those that remain are raising premiums and cutting benefits.

I don’t see how that can be good for nursing homes or the assisted living industry.  Nursing homes may not be as hard hit by insurers’ decision to abandon the long-term care market or cut benefits. Residents who need nursing home care may still qualify for Medicare and Medicaid coverage.

But residents who choose assisted living are paying for a living arrangement that caters to their needs in their senior years, offering the elderly their own space.  Assisted living is offered in a variety of forms. Residents may chose a single room, small house, condo or apartment. But those are out-of-pocket expenses that residents are responsible for, unless they have medical needs that activate their long-term care insurance policies for care in this type of living arrangement.

This year, monthly rental fees for assisted living units ranged from $600 a month to $7,900. Currently, the average cost of assisted living in the U.S. is about $3,400 a month for a single bedroom, single occupancy unit. That does not include the cost of help with some daily living activities such as bathing, feeding, dressing,  or preparing medications.

Those costs shut many seniors out of the assisted living market.  With fewer insurers in the market, higher premiums and less generous coverage, I expect that many more seniors will not be able to afford to live in an assisted living community.

So one has to wonder if assisted living communities aren’t in store for some downsizing.  Residents should remember that assisted living facilities are  businesses which are dependent on the housing market and getting tenants as much as they are dependent on seniors and people with disabilities who need medical care.  The sub prime mortgage crisis that sent housing prices tumbling around 2007  led  some  assisted living and senior housing communities to file bankruptcy. Residents who paid a lump sum upfront for their units and care lost their investments.

A decline in long-term care insurance coverage may be the next big solvency test for the assisted living industry.

You may also like,

A first hand account of private Medicare plans on middle-class children of aging parents

Investment income tax practices hurt Medicare

Mom needed a help at home, but didn’t want a stranger


Posted in Caregiver tips, Medicare and Medicaid reform, News you should know, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , ,

There’s no escaping the affect elder care will have on our lives

By Cynthia Wilson

The ongoing debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney about who has the best plan for Medicare and senior sr citizens is confusing and frustrating for many who are paying attention.  Americans, particularly seniors and their caregivers, aren’t sure who or what to believe.

But at least people are talking, and that’s good because the largest generation of Americans will be retiring over the next 20 years.  That will affect us all at home and at the office.

Here’s my take on the situation in a recent Q&A interview with, a leading investing and financial news website.

Other articles you might like:

Investment income tax practices hurt Medicare

A first hand account of private Medicare plans on middle class children of aging parents


Posted in Medicare and Medicaid reform Tagged with: , ,

Investment income tax practices hurt Medicare

By Cynthia Wilson

Ever wonder how Medicare is funded?

Medicare Part A hospital insurance is funded by payroll taxes.  Americans  automatically receive this coverage when they become 65 years-old. If you receive a paycheck or income from self-employment, you have to pay this tax to support this coverage.

However, investment income withdrawn on holdings held at least a year are taxed at the maximum capital gains rate of 15%. That tax revenue goes into the nation’s general fund.  Those taxes may help fund Medicare but are not specifically earmarked for Medicare.

Many corporate executives and investment fund managers no longer receive most of their income via a payroll check like most Americans.  Instead they  receive stock in the company or the funds they manage. When they sell the stock or receive a dividend payment,  the income is taxed at the capital gains rate.  So taxes on ordinary income that previously would have been collected to fund Medicare are not.

Although investment portfolio managers charge a management fee for the funds they oversee many, if not most, don’t receive the fee as ordinary income.  Instead they opt to channel the untaxed fee back into the fund and take payment in the form of investment income, which is taxed at the lower capital gains rate.

This practice is another important reason that the Medicare trust is underfunded. Millions, if not billions, in payroll taxes that used to help fund Medicare is no longer being collected.  Americans currently pay Social Security taxes on up to $110,100 of their taxable income.  But there is no limit on the amount paid on taxable earnings for Medicare’s Hospital Insurance taxes, which funds Medicare Part A.

Perhaps there should be a limit on the Medicare tax paid annually. However, the current practice of allowing anyone to avoid paying into the Medicare fund by taking their income for work performed through capital gains is not right.

Why should a 16-year old working at the drive-through at your favorite fast food restaurant be required to pay into the Medicare fund while the chain’s top executives and investment analysts are allowed to dodge the tax because they take advantage of tax loopholes that allow them to be compensated with stock and other investment income?

The 16-year old worker and the executives contribute to the success of the company. And the analysts don’t sit passively by awaiting their investment income. They “manage”  the funds. Under this nation’s Medicare rules, they all automatically receive Medicare Part A insurance when and if they reach the age of eligibility, which currently is 65.

If federal lawmakers don’t reach an agreement on the tax code before the Bush Tax Cuts expire, starting in 2013 the maximum federal tax rate on long-term capital gains will be 23.8%, in part because the Affordable Care Act assesses a 3.8% Medicare tax on qualifying capital gains income to get back some of the  funds Medicare lost because of investment tax practices. The maximum tax rate on dividend income will be  43.4%.

The higher dividend tax rate should be enough incentive for Republicans to abandon their no “higher tax under any circumstances” position and work with the Democrats to reach an agreement to put America and Medicare on more stable ground. Even billionaire industrialist David Koch, who supports Mitt Romney, thinks tax increases may be necessary.

It’s time to stop pretending otherwise. If we don’t, then we all lose.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Posted in Medicare and Medicaid reform, News you should know Tagged with: , , , ,

Romney attorney attempts to silence non-supportive Republicans at national convention

By Cynthia Wilson

Yahoo News reported recently that several state delegations at the Republican national convention in Tampa, Fla.  were pissed-off because  Mitt Romney’s top attorney initiated a national Republican party rule change that would allow the GOP presidential candidate to veto and replace state delegates.

Mitt Romney at one of his presidential campaig...

Mitt Romney at one of his presidential campaign rallies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The goal was to  make it much harder for grassroots candidates and insurgents such as Ron Paul to win delegate backing at the national convention. Currently states choose the delegates who will go to the national convention. Those delegates vote for candidates, allotting them the delegate votes they won  in their primary or caucus.  The change proposed by Romney’s attorney would  allow a candidate to replace any delegates with those who are more supportive of his candidacy.

So what has this got to do with senior citizens and elder care? In this case a lot because most of Romney’s money supporters are wealthy American’s who don’t want to pay the taxes they once did to support Medicare.  Taxes they will now have to pay because of the new Medicare tax accessed on investment income in the Affordable Care Act.

Romney supporters avoided serious embarrassment at the national convention by reaching a deal over the proposed rule changes.   According to Yahoo News a compromise deal  now requires the delegates who are pledged to vote for a certain candidate at the national convention to do so or be dismissed.

Nonetheless the new rules, which are expected to be adopted, will significantly reduce the chances that grassroots candidates like Ron Paul can win delegates without also getting substantial support from primary or caucus voters.

Republicans should be worried that Romney supporters tried to take their voice and vote away.  I doubt it will be the last time that they try.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Posted in Medicare and Medicaid reform Tagged with: , , ,
Content Protected Using Blog Protector By: PcDrome.

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

Videos, Slideshows and Podcasts by Cincopa Wordpress Plugin