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So far PolarisLaw has created 58 blog entries.

What is Estate Planning

What is Estate Planning?   Estate planning is, at its simplest form making decisions in advance on whom to leave your property and assets to at your death.  The simple definition is not what estate planning really is, nor what we want it to be though.  Estate planning is much more.  In fact, estate planning composes more than most people even realize it can.   So, what does estate planning really mean?  A more accurate definition for our clients is that we want them to: Control their property while they’re alive and well, Plan for themselves and their loved ones if they become disabled, Then give what they have to whom they want, when they want, in the way that they want, All while ensuring [...]

2020-08-11T16:48:59-05:00July 27th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on What is Estate Planning

What is a Medical Power of Attorney and Do I Need One?

What is a Medical Power of Attorney and Do I need one?   A medical power of attorney is perhaps the most important tool in your personal estate planning arsenal.  A medical power of attorney is a document that you create to name someone to make medical and health care decisions for you when you cannot.  Without it, no one has the legal authority to make those decisions when it becomes necessary.   How Does It Work This legal document allows you to name an agent and gives them authority to make the medical decisions that you cannot.  The agent has broad powers under Missouri law to make decisions on your behalf, so you need to ensure that your agent is someone that you trust [...]

2020-07-31T13:04:48-05:00July 20th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on What is a Medical Power of Attorney and Do I Need One?

Americans Increasingly Avoiding Medical Care

Americans Increasingly Avoiding Medical Care Despite the fact there are increased numbers of insured Americans, fewer are going to the doctor’s office. Why is this happening? The answer is lack of affordability. Even with the benefits of health insurance, many are struggling to afford medical costs. Kaiser Health Foundation polls since 2015 show continued rising costs.  37% of those polled report having trouble paying their health insurance premiums, 43% had trouble paying their deductibles and 31% had trouble affording co-pays for doctor visits and prescription drugs. According to another survey by the West Health Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago between a third and a half of people aged 45 – 59 and a quarter of those 60 or more went without needed [...]

2020-08-07T10:25:06-05:00April 9th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Americans Increasingly Avoiding Medical Care

When Should You Take Social Security Benefits?

The Social Security Administration has changed the formularies for benefit payouts. Seniors and near seniors need to understand what these changes are in order to optimize their benefit. If you are sixty years of age or more, you are in the forefront of a big change in social security. The full retirement age (FRA), when you can collect your entire earned benefit, has been changed from66 to 67. The implementation of this change will occur in two-month increments over the next six years. While you are still able to begin your social security benefit payments at 62, delaying it until later years, up until the age of 70, will still ensure you receive a larger check for each month you opt to postpone payouts. However, [...]

2020-04-02T08:56:32-05:00April 2nd, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on When Should You Take Social Security Benefits?

Medicare Adapts to Coronavirus Limitations

Medicare Adapts to Coronavirus Limitations In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that it has increased access to Medicare telehealth services. This means that Medicare beneficiaries can receive more benefits from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. The terms "telehealth" and "telemedicine" refer to the ability to exchange medical information from one site to another through electronic communication to improve a patient's health.  With the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases, there is the urgency to expand the use of technology to help people who need routine care. Telehealth will keep vulnerable beneficiaries and those with mild symptoms in their home, but with access to the care they need by phone and video [...]

2020-08-07T10:46:04-05:00March 26th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Medicare Adapts to Coronavirus Limitations

Shoring Up Spousal Protection from Impoverishment

Federal spousal impoverishment protections were set to lapse in March 2019. Two bills were proposed to deal with that issue. H.R. 1343 is still sitting in the House, but H.R. 3253 was enacted on August 6, 2019. H.R. 1343, or the Protecting Married Seniors from Impoverishment Act, would have made certain impoverishment protections permanent. It was introduced on February 25th and referred to the Subcommittee on Health the next day, but no further action has been taken on it. However, H.R. 3253 has been enacted. This bill, also known as the Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act of 2019, temporarily extends the applicability of Medicaid eligibility criteria that protect against spousal impoverishment for recipients of home and community-based services. The extension will run [...]

2020-04-15T09:32:52-05:00March 18th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Shoring Up Spousal Protection from Impoverishment

Better Ways to Treat Alzheimer’s Patients

Better Ways to Treat Alzheimer’s Patients The National Institute of Health (NIH) Library of Medicine reports the most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, accounting for approximately two-thirds of all diagnosed cases of dementia. Alzheimer’s is also one of the most expensive diseases to treat and often results in financial strain on families trying to find and pay for the best care. In the past, care in facilities often resulted in Alzheimer’s patients being separated from others. However, as you’ll read below, facilities are now exploring better ways to treat Alzheimer’s patients while living in a facility. Medical breakthroughs that increase our understanding of how to best treat and introduce disease modification therapies for people living with Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases provides future [...]

2020-08-07T10:26:20-05:00March 12th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Better Ways to Treat Alzheimer’s Patients

Understanding the Qualifications for Social Security

Anyone can become either temporarily or permanently disabled. Some projections are estimating that Americans in their 20s today have an approximate 30 percent chance of experiencing a disability profound enough to cause them to miss three or more months of work before retiring. Despite the risks, most Americans do not carry short or long-term disability insurance. Close to half of all mortgage foreclosures are due to owners being struck with a disability, and fewer than 15 percent of people who purchase life insurance opt for disability insurance. The Social Security Administration (SSA) was tasked in 1956 to address disability and work income by creating a disability insurance program. Throughout its long history, additional rules have contributed to its complex regulations and eligibility requirements that make [...]

2020-03-06T11:02:43-05:00March 6th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Understanding the Qualifications for Social Security

The New World for Long-Term Care Insurance

You have probably heard about the astronomical costs of nursing-home care if you become seriously ill or injured. You might also know that Medicare would cover only a minimal amount of those costs. Private insurance doesn’t seem like a good bet either if you’ve heard horror stories about skyrocketing premium costs and difficulties in even obtaining long-term care (LTC) insurance in the first place. There may be a better way. “Hybrid” policies essentially combine life insurance or an annuity with LTC coverage. (The benefits can be known as “accelerated death benefits” or “living benefits,” or the coverage can be called “life/long term care,” “linked benefits,” or a “combo” policy.) This type of policy will pay if you need nursing care, but, if you never need [...]

2020-02-28T08:53:38-05:00February 28th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The New World for Long-Term Care Insurance

The Retirement Crisis of the Baby Boomers

A study conducted by The Blackstone Group, an independent research firm, on behalf of Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement outlines some very unsettling data regarding middle-income baby boomer retirement care preparedness. According to the survey above, the bleak financial reality of this demographic is that 79 percent of middle-income baby boomers have NO savings put aside to cover their retirement care. Couple this disaster savings scenario with the US government’s admission that for the first time since 1982 Social Security trust funds are being used to pay current benefits to recipients and Medicare’s reserves are being used to cover the costs of that program as well. It is the perfect storm of a looming retirement insolvency crisis. Middle-income baby boomers for this study [...]

2020-02-21T09:08:46-05:00February 21st, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Retirement Crisis of the Baby Boomers
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