Tag Archives: seniors

Help Us Help Seniors Beat the Heat!

beattheheat-2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

::UPDATE July 8, 2016 Thanks to promotion and help from the folks over at WTZQ, the community has donated 12 fans and the funds to by 8 more. That’s 20 fans to help older adults in Henderson County beat the heat! While that’s great news, we’re only a quarter of the way through July, and we’re still accepting donations of new, unused fans or funds to purchase additional units. Thank you, Henderson County! ::

It’s that time again! For many years we have participated in a heat relief program through grants. This year’s grant was awarded from Duke Energy Progress & Duke Energy Carolinas. These grants allow our agency to purchase and distribute fans to eligible residents of Henderson County in need of relief from the heat.

The need for fans this summer has been greater than years before and after distributing 77 units, we have run out of fans, as well as funds to purchase additional fans. With the hottest part of the summer approaching, we expect the need to increase and we already have a waiting list.

Please consider your neighbors and help us help our community! We are now asking for donations of new, unused fans. Fans must be new due to liability and safety concerns. Cash & check donations are also welcome, or you can donate online here: coahc.org/donate. The cost of the box fans we distribute is approximately $20. All donations can be mailed to or dropped off at our main office at 105 King Creek Blvd, Hendersonville, NC 28792. If you have questions, feel free to call us at (828) 692-4203.

The Differences Between Medicare and Medicaid for Seniors

medicarevsmedicaid
by Erica Erickson

Most Americans have heard of Medicare and Medicaid, but many do not have a clear understanding of the differences between these two programs or the types of coverage they provide. The following is a brief overview of Medicare and Medicaid to help clarify the major differences between the programs.

Medicare is the federal health insurance program that offers coverage to everyone over 65 years of age and people under 65 with certain disabilities. Medicare Part A is the standard coverage, which covers hospitalizations, short term nursing home stays, and hospice care. Medicare Part B covers outpatient doctor visits and related appointments. Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage. Medicare Part C is often referred to as a Medicare Advantage Plan, and is purchased through a separate insurance company. Part C policies typically cover Parts A, B, and D and may help cover copays and services not covered by standard Medicare coverage. Private insurance companies also offer a variety of other plans to help cover gaps in Medicare coverage.

Medicaid is a separate insurance program focused on providing coverage to people with limited resources. Medicaid is funded by both the federal and state governments and is administered by the state. There are many different Medicaid programs, most of which have specific income and asset limits. Most seniors who apply for Medicaid apply for programs to help them pay for their Medicare premiums and copays or to help them pay for assisted living, memory care, or long term skilled nursing care in a nursing home.

Because Medicare will only pay for up to 100 days of nursing home care, if a senior needs to stay in a nursing home for a longer period of time and cannot afford the cost (often exceeding $7,000 per month), the senior should apply for Medicaid for Long Term Care. There is no income limit to qualify for this Medicaid program, but the senior’s monthly income will go to pay the nursing home and then Medicaid will cover the balance. There are asset limits, but the senior can keep their home, one car, their household and personal belongings, and certain other assets, including cash and investments. If the senior is married and there is a spouse who will remain at home, that spouse can keep all of the assets listed above, their own income, plus up to about $119,000 cash or other assets, depending on their specific situation.

Medicaid has a 5 year look back period for gifts and if a senior gives away assets within 5 years of applying for Medicaid, they may be disqualified or penalized. The Medicaid application process is complicated and many seniors who may not think they qualify or who have been turned down in the past, may actually qualify for coverage. Additionally, there are many landmines and many ways seniors may inadvertently disqualify themselves from coverage, so before applying or after being turned down for coverage, it is strongly recommended that the senior consult an elder law attorney for guidance.

This article was written by Erica M. Erickson, an Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney at Strauss & Associates, P.A., with offices in Hendersonville and Brevard, North Carolina. Erica can be reached at (828) 696-1811 or erica@strausslaw.com and she is happy to answer any questions you may have or to provide you with a free consultation regarding your estate planning needs, including Medicaid planning, wills, trusts, and more.