Author: Dan Hoelscher

Dan Hoelscher founded Seniormark in 2007 in an effort to help individuals make a successful transition into retirement. Dan is a Certified Financial Planner™ Practitioner and holds Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)© and Certified Kingdom Advisor™ certifications. Since founding Seniormark, Dan has helped thousands of retirees throughout Ohio.

To Delay or Not to Delay? The Social Security Break-Even Point Explained

To Delay or Not to Delay? The Social Security Break-Even Point Explained

The question of when to take Social Security has been called “the single most important retirement money decision of your life.” So it makes sense that it would be weighing on the minds of many soon-to-be retirees. Should I take it early at 62?  How about my full retirement age of 66? Or maybe 70, when my benefits are maxed out?

 

And when that question is brought to the table, what inevitably follows is a discussion of the “break-even” point, a mystical age out there in the unknown future. The problem is, sometimes the explanation is just as elusive as the number itself.

 

Most people don’t even know what the break-even point is, let alone how it affects when they should start receiving benefits! This is why I am here to clarify.

 

The Big Trade-Off

But before I go into my explanation, you need to know that the decision of when to take Social Security is always a trade-off. This is probably why it’s so hard to make! For example, if you claim at 66 (rather than 70), you receive checks for those four extra years, but your benefit is smaller. If you delay claiming benefits to 70, you forfeit those 4 years of benefits, but your monthly Social Security Check is much larger.

 

So what’s the break-even point? In short, it is the age (month and year) when delaying benefits starts to pay off. It is the point in your life when the larger checks begin to catch up (in dollar amount) with the head start you would’ve gotten had you begun at age 66.

 

But that’s a little too abstract. Let’s get concrete.

 

A Running Analogy

Imagine two track runners, all decked out in the short shorts and sports watches, hanging out at the starting line. Let’s call them Jack and Will.

 

Now Jack, he’s a really on-top-of-it type of guy, eager and prepared. He is poised at the start line, ready to go. When the gun goes off, he takes off, determined and well paced.

 

Will, on the other hand, is a little bit lazier. When the gun goes off, he waits. He takes time to stretch, yawn, maybe take a few more sips of his Gatorade. And after Jack completes 4 laps, he takes off. He’s way behind, but he’s going 32% faster than Jack.  Did I mention that Will is a world-class athlete?

 

At first, it looks like Jack is going to win hands down. But after each lap, Will gains on him.  Lap 5 and 6? Will’s chances still look bleak. 6 and 8? Still no chance. But by the time Will completes his 11th and 12th lap, victory is within his grasp. Will grits his teeth. Closer. Closer. He’s breathing down his neck!

 

And then, with a burst of adrenaline and determination, Will finally surpasses Jack in lap 13.

 

The break-even point. The brief moment Jack and Will were side by side is the break-even point.

 

Now let’s bring it back to Social Security.

 

Claiming earlier (let’s say at 66) is being like Jack. When the gun of full retirement age sounds, you take off. But your check is smaller. You’re making money at a slower pace.

 

Now claiming later, that is just like Will. You take off 4 laps too late, but your check is larger. You’re making money 32% faster (8% for every year past full retirement age).

 

Eventually the monetary benefits of claiming late will surpass the benefits of claiming early.

 

But that doesn’t mean that claiming later is always the better bet.

 

For instance, what if you pass away before you reach your break-even point? Or, keeping with the running metaphor, what if Jack and Will’s race was only 9-laps? In that case, Will wouldn’t have had enough time to catch up.

 

This is why Social Security advisors consider your life expectancy. If your life expectancy is beyond your break-even point, it may be a good idea to delay. But if not, it may not be.

 

However, the biggest point about the break-even point is this: It is not the sole determinant in the “to delay or not delay” question. Marital status, availability of resources and many other considerations greatly affect the decision. The truth is that a lot of factors come into play when running the race of Social Security planning. What you really need is a trusted advisor who can coach you through “the single most important retirement money decision of your life”.

 

Need a Certified Financial Planner to help you make the right decisions about Social Security? Call Seniormark at 937-492-8800 for a free consultation.

 

Do I Need to Sign Up For Medicare If I Have Insurance with My Employer?

Do I Need to Sign Up For Medicare If I Have Insurance with My Employer?

This is an important question. If you sign up for Medicare, and you didn’t need to, you end up forking over cash in premiums for insurance you don’t even need. However, if you don’t sign up for Medicare and you needed to, the results are equally frustrating: penalties or high out-of-pocket expenses that suck the life out of your nest egg.

 

Here is an easy-to-follow guide to help you make a decision that’s the best for you. I’ll address each part of Medicare individually to help you come to a decision for each.

 

For a more in-depth explanation of the parts of Medicare, click here.

 

Part A (A.K.A Hospital Insurance or “Inpatient Care”)

This is an easy one. You can go ahead and sign up for Part A, regardless of whether you have insurance with your employer.

 

Why?

 

Because Part A is absolutely free! If there’s no premium, why not just take the coverage? As long you or your spouse has paid into Social Security for ten years or more, there is no associated cost.

 

There is only one reason why you would want to delay Part A: Health Saving Account contributions. You can still withdraw from a health savings account, but you cannot continue making contributions if you are on Part A.

 

But other than that, this is a simple decision. More often than not, you can just go ahead and sign up.

 

Part B (A.K.A Medicare Insurance or “Outpatient Care”)

Part B, on the other hand, is much more complicated. But in the end, your decision will boil down to your answers to three questions:

 

  1. Is my coverage through active, current employment?

The keywords there are “active” and “current.” In order to delay Part B without penalty, you or your spouse must have insurance coverage through active employment. You have to be on the floor or in the office (or at home in your PJs if you are lucky enough to have one of those jobs)! This means retiree benefits or COBRA or any other insurance that begins after you are done working do not count.

 

  1. Is your employer the primary payer (as opposed to Medicare)?

You can delay Part B without penalty as long as you can answer “yes” to question #1, but unless you can answer yes to this one, you may be stuck with some hefty bills on outpatient services. If Medicare is the primary payer and you don’t have Medicare, you will have to pay 80% of your outpatient healthcare expenses.

The way to find out if your employer is the primary payer is pretty simple. If your employer’s health insurance plan covers 20 or more people, the employer pays first. If it insures less than 20 people, then Medicare pays first. Ask your employer or human resource representative for the exact number to make sure!

 

  1. Is your employer plan less expensive?

None of these questions really matter if Medicare is the better value. Perhaps you can delay Part B without penalty (question 1) and without paying extra on outpatient services (question 2), but if Part B is the better value, why would you want to? That is why you must perform a cost to benefits analysis. If Medicare is the better value, then you should sign up for Part B. If it is not and you answered “yes” to the other two questions, it may be a good idea to delay.

 

Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage)

All that matters when it comes to deciding if you need to sign up for part D is whether or not your current drug coverage is “creditable.” In order for your drug coverage to be considered “creditable,” it must be at least as good as part D. In other words, it is expected to pay (on average) at least as much as a Medicare part D plan. To find out, ask your human resources department. When you turn 65 your employer will send you a letter telling you whether or not your coverage is creditable, but it is a good idea to find out beforehand for planning purposes.

 

So Let’s Recap!

  • Sign up for Part A unless you want to continue HSA contributions.
  • It might be a good idea to delay Part B if have insurance through current employment, your employer pays first, and your employer plan is a better value than Medicare.
  • As long as your current drug plan is considered “creditable,” you can delay Medicare Part D.

 

Are You Still Unsure About Your Decision?

If you still have questions about how your employer plan coordinates with Medicare (or about Medicare in general), you are not alone. Many people approaching 65 find themselves overwhelmed with all of the options and information. The good news is that Seniormark is here to help, and we offer our services at no cost to you. We will guide you through the entire process, ensuring that you avoid all the costly mistakes and pitfalls. Call Seniormark at (937) 492-8800 for a free consultation.

 

“Fear Not!” Is Still the Best Investment Advice

“Fear Not!” Is Still the Best Investment Advice

Here’s a crude snapshot of a conversation I had with my client a few months ago. I think you’ll find it heartbreaking:

“I see you have all your investments in a money market account.” (Note: this is an extremely low-risk investment option)

 

“Yeah…I did that when the market crashed in 2001. I started losing lots of money, and my portfolio dropped from $120,000 to $80,000. I got scared, so I pulled out and switched to a lower risk investment.” He paused. “I think I made a mistake.” Then he grew curious. “I have $100,000 now. How much would I have if I would’ve stayed put?”

 

I cringed a little bit. The question is a recipe for regret. “Are you sure you want to know that number?” He nodded. So I did a little number crunching. Here’s the grand reveal: “You would have $200,000 right now,” I told him.

 

The man was mild mannered. He didn’t overreact. “Ohhhhh…..that’s a lot of money,” he said. But even if he couldn’t sense the full effect of that sting, I felt it for him.

 

What kills me is that it was just one, fear-based decision. A natural, understandable fear, of course, but that doesn’t change the fact that it led to a poor investment decision, one that cost him $100,000.

 

In fact, fear almost always leads to poor investment decisions. It consistently causes investors to sell when the market hits rock bottom and buy back in when it is already well on its way to recovery.  In other words, fear causes investors to disobey the most fundamental rule of investing: buy low and sell high. It subdues logic in its cage and releases an irrational beast, bent on destroying your portfolio.

 

Case Study: The “Great Recession” of 2008

2001 isn’t the only time this happened, and my client certainly isn’t the only case. The “Great Recession” also caused a great deal of panic and poor decisions. If you check out this graph created by BlackRock Mutual Funds, you’ll see what I mean.

Allow me to help a bit with the interpretation. The blue line represents the stock market performance. The light blue bars represent money invested in mutual funds, or…in finance jargon… the “Net Equity Mutual Fund Flow”.

 

You’ll notice something quite peculiar if you attend to the circled section of December ’08, the stock market crash. During the fright and terror of that lowest dip, a lot of people sold their mutual funds. The blue bars at their lowest point (far below the axis) evidence this.

 

And when did investors buy back in? Note that the blue bars follow the stock market line very closely. By the time most people bought back in, the market was already near its next peak. People were selling low and buying high! This is not a good investment strategy.

 

A Little Advice For a Big Problem

No one knows what the market will do tomorrow. It might go up. It might go down. It might fluctuate a little. It might fall or rise dramatically. There are a lot of uncertainties in investing.

 

But one thing is for sure: the stock market consistently grows over the long haul. According to distinguished finance professor at Wharton, Jeremy Siegel, it has grown an average of 6.5-7% per year over the last 200 years. But one of the major problems is that fear zaps long-term vision, blinding investors to the future possibility of growth as they watch their hard-earned money plummet in the present.

 

So here is the little piece of advice: Like an angel who appears in the dead of night, “Fear not!” The sensationalist media of apocalyptic proportions is lying to you.

 

As long as your portfolio is truly diversified and matched to your risk tolerance, as long as you regularly review your investment strategy with a professional, don’t lose your head!

 

You’ve got nothing to fear but fear itself.

 

Need a risk analysis at no cost to you? Call Seniormark at 937-492-8800.

 

 

Read This Before You Take Social Security Early

Read This Before You Take Social Security Early

Social Security is a bit like the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, the one where they place elementary-aged kids in solitude with a tantalizing marshmallow on a plate in front of them. “If you wait until I come back, I will give you another marshmallow,” the researcher tells them, “but if you eat any before I come back, even just a nibble, you will just have the one.” As you can imagine, the kids fidget in their chair after the researcher exits the room, their short legs dangling and their eyes flitting to the door to the marshmallow, to the door and back to the marshmallow.

 

Not surprisingly, many of these kids, despite the promise of a bonus pillow of sugar, decide to eat their marshmallow early. After the researcher comes back into the room to see an empty plate, they end up kicking themselves.

 

Psychological implications aside, the moral of the story is clear: it pays to wait, even though many don’t!

 

This is why it is not surprising that a similar (although admittedly much more convoluted and less adorable) thing is happening with what has been called “the single most important retirement money of your life”: when to start taking your Social Security benefit.

 

You see, although it pays to wait until full retirement age (66 in2019) or beyond to start taking Social Security, many retirees are still claiming early (at 62).

 

Let’s take a closer look.

 

It Pays To Wait!

How much exactly?

 

Well, that depends on which year you were born. For those born between 1943-1954, the difference between taking Social Security at 62 and waiting until your full retirement age at 66 is a 25% reduction.

 

If you take your check at 62, you only get 75% of your full check. But if you wait until 63, you gain an extra 5%. Then, during the next three years, you gain an extra 6 and two-thirds percent each year, getting you to 100% of your benefit by the current full retirement age of 66.

 

After that, things really start to ramp up.  If you possess the will power and resources to delay beyond the full retirement page, you tack an extra 8% on to your check each year until age 70!

 

Now, I’m going to put that into perspective.  Let’s say you have a full retirement benefit of $2000 per month. Taking it at 62 will reduce your benefit to $1500. Waiting until 70 will amp up your benefit to $2,640. If you do the math, that means that it pays an extra $1,140 per month just to wait and max out. And the best part is that this is a guaranteed income for the rest of your life!

 

To check the percentages for other birth years, check out this chart from ssa.gov:

 

But despite the favorable math associated with gritting one’s teeth to wait it out…

 

Many Retirees Choose to Take It Early!

In fact, according to Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research a whopping 48% of women and 42% of men choose to take it as soon as possible at 62!

 

And how many max out their benefits at 70? Less than 1 in 20 for both men and women.

 

The reasons for this are as individual as you or I.  Part of it may be that retirees simply do not have the funds to make ends meet while they defer their Social Security benefits, although this is less likely than originally thought. Yet others may have a bleak life expectancy in which the larger checks will not have much effect. These are usually valid reasons to wait.

 

However, going back to those kids with the marshmallows, perhaps people find that it is just easier and more satisfying to take it now rather than later. After all, it is not only kids who have trouble delaying gratification.

 

And the last I’ve checked, even 75% of your monthly benefit can buy a quite a few bags of marshmallows.

 

Do You Need Help Deciding When to Take Social Security?

Well, you are in luck.  We happen to know a thing or two about this subject.  Give our office a call and we can sit down with you and help you make some decisions about your social security timing.  Our office number is 937-492-8800.

 

How to avoid the #1 Mistake on Medicare’s Request for Employment Verification Form

How to avoid the #1 Mistake on

Medicare’s Request for Employment Verification Form

How many of you dread filling out Medicare forms?  Please raise your hand if you’ve ever had to correct the Medicare “Request for Employment Information” form (CMS-L564) for your employee.  When you complete the form, you’re hit with a fear that you might not remember how to properly complete this form.  Sure, you might fill them out from time to time, but this form never seems clear.  It’s daunting enough to prepare your employees for retirement – never mind assisting them with the Medicare process which seems like a full-time job itself.

 

Well, there is good news!  There is really only 1 question on this form that seems to trip people up.  AND we’re here to help you understand what Medicare is asking on this question and hopefully help you and your employees avoid any future issues.

 

Take a look at Section B of the “Request for Employment Information” form below.  Section B is the employer’s (aka HR Department’s) section.  And Question #2 is normally the main problem.  Are you ready to conquer this question?  Let’s dive in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As most of you know, this “Request for Employment Information” form is required if your employee is over the age of 65 and outside of their initial enrollment period for Medicare.  They must submit this form with their Medicare Part B enrollment form to qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for their Medicare upon retirement.

 

For your employee to qualify for a SEP, they must meet 2 criteria:

  1. They must have group health insurance from ACTIVE employment (from their job or their spouse’s job) or have had such insurance within the past 8 months. AND
  2. They must have been CONTINUOUSLY covered by a job-based insurance since becoming eligible for Medicare (including the month they turned 65.)

 

For the most part, this form is filled out properly with no concerns.  But question #2 is typically the exception.  AND if question #2 is incorrect, it could mean big headaches for your employee.

 

So, why is Question #2 such an issue?  Well, if question #2 doesn’t reflect that the employee had insurance back to the month they turned 65 they WILL NOT qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.  No SEP could = BIG PROBLEMS for your employee.  It could delay their Part B start date and your employee could be assessed a Part B late enrollment penalty that will follow them for the rest of their life.

 

Question #2 states “If yes (the applicant was covered under employer group health plan), give the date the applicant’s coverage began. (mm/yyyy)

 

It seems simple enough.  You might wonder why that is so hard to answer?  Well, time and again we see that this date doesn’t reflect how long the employee had coverage but when the last “new” insurance company started.  For example, John Doe is 70 and has worked for your company for the last 20 years.  He has had group health coverage since February 1999.  BUT your company switched to a new insurance company on January 1, 2018.  Many times, we see the January 1, 2018 date on this form.

 

If the January 1, 2018 date is used, John Doe doesn’t qualify for a SEP because it doesn’t show that he’s had group health insurance from age 65 on.  John Doe will have to wait to sign up for Medicare Part B during the general election period (Jan 1 through March 31 each year).  His Part B coverage wouldn’t start until July 1.  John Doe would also have to pay a Part B late enrollment penalty for the months that he didn’t have coverage since turning 65.  This late enrollment penalty would last for the rest of his life. 

 

But, if the correct date is used in Question #2: February 1, 1999, he should qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.  He could elect the Part B start date (1st of the month).  He should not be assessed a Part B late enrollment penalty.  All is good (at least with the Medicare insurance.)

 

Now that you know how to tackle the Medicare “Request for Employment Information” form, you’re ready to focus on the many other aspects of your employee’s retirement process.  Do you have more Medicare questions?  Give Seniormark LLC a call at 937-492-8800.  We’re here to help!

 

Investing Fact Check: No One Can Predict the Future

Investing Fact Check: No One Can Predict the Future

Not the common investor. Not your financial planner. Not even the “big wig” finance-savvy gurus.

 

I get it. It’s alluring to think you might have a competitive edge. The seductive power of huge yields in a short amount of time is almost magnetic. And it’s definitely a good marketing point for investment advisors who claim they can “beat the market”. But the truth is, market timing and stock picking just don’t work.

 

Of course, people score big sometimes. They might even get lucky a few years in a row. But, in a way, this is just dangerous. Like a gambler with a string of good hands, these people may begin to think they’re invincible, play hard for another year, and—eventually—return home with empty hands in their pockets and a droopy tail between their legs.

 

The results are in.

In fact, they’ve been in for a long time: When it comes to investing, you are your own worst enemy. Investor behavior consistently causes people to under perform over the long haul.

 

In Dalbar’s 22nd Annual Analysis of Investor Behavior, they discovered that the average investor under performed the S&P 500 by 3.66% in 2015. According to Dalbar, “while the broader market made incremental gains of 1.38%, the average equity investor suffered a more-than-incremental loss of -2.28%”. This type of data is consistent over the last 20 to 30 years. Over the last 20 years, the S&P 500 has outperformed the investor by 3.52%.

 

And with the “expert” investment managers, the results still aren’t that hot. In 2014, 86% of them failed to beat the market.

 

So why is this happening?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the average equity fund retention rate of 2015 was 4.10 years. This means that every 4.10 years the average investor changed his mutual fund to chase the hot returns of another investment option, ultimately trying to beat the market, ultimately believing they (or a financial guru) could predict the future.  If you just jumped down to this point, see the above statistics. It didn’t work.

 

So why do investors still believe it?

If it doesn’t work, then why do people still do it? There are many reasons why. Perhaps it is just lack of research and reflection. Or perhaps it is because people are looking at their stocks in a vacuum, thinking that their 6% return isn’t bad even though the S&P performed at 8%.

 

But I think the biggest reason is that they don’t look at the big picture. They see the ads that say “if you would’ve picked this stock last month, you would be up 40%” or “Here at (insert investing company name here), we’ve beat the market 3 years in a row”. They see the Warren Buffets of the world and forget that these are just isolated cases. When you zoom out and see the million other people who tried to beat the markets and failed, the truth comes into focus.

 

So—in the end—you can choose to do what many investors are doing.

 

Or you can choose the time-tested, statistically verified way: diversify your portfolio and wait…without touching it. If you’re retiring soon, I recommend this strategy. You don’t have time for risky moves. You don’t have time to make up for heavy losses.

 

Instead, you need an investment strategy that safeguards your portfolio from crippling losses, while allowing it to grow—slowly but surely—well into your retirement. It’s not flashy. It won’t get you on the cover of Money Magazine. But unlike trying to predict the future—

 

It works.

 

Want a Certified Financial Planner to analyze your portfolio at no cost to you? Call Seniormark at 937-492-8800 for a free consultation.

5 Ways to Keep Your Mind Active and Memory Sharp in Retirement

5 Ways to Keep Your Mind Active and Memory Sharp in Retirement

As inspiration for this post, I would like to thank my grandma. I called her to ask if she had any funny memory-loss moments she would like share. She paused.

 

“I would love to help you, but I can’t remember,” she said. Both laughing, I told her that was all I needed.

 

But jokes aside, this is a common problem for retirees. It’s not a problem you can prevent entirely, but by keeping your mind active, you can help keep your memory sharp. A body in motion tends to stay in motion, and a mind at work continues to work properly.

 

This is why soon-to-be retirees should think of ways they will engage their brains. Here are 5 ideas to get you started.

 

  1. Read More—and Do It Online, Too!

Reading stretches your mind. It forces you to wrestle with new ideas. It is a true mental workout. A Mayo Clinic study confirms it: people who reported reading magazines were 30% less likely to develop memory loss! Interestingly enough, in the same study, they also found that “people who used a computer once a week or more were 42% less likely to develop memory and thinking problems than those who did not”. So why not do both at once and read online? It looks like you’re already taking this advice!

 

  1. Play Another Hand of Cards.

An occasional game of crazy eights with your grandkids might not be the most beneficial (especially if you’re letting them win), but competitive card games with old friends may just do the trick. In fact, in AARP’s article “A Bridge to Brainpower,” they make a compelling case for why playing bridge is a fun way to stay mentally sharp. How?

 

Of course, a lot of it has to do with the challenge, the strategy, and the problem solving the game exercises. But it also has a lot to do with the social interaction the game requires (which brings me to my next point).

 

  1. Keep In Touch With Family, Friends, and the Community.

Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Invite the neighbors over for a cookout. Join a bible study at church.  A gym. A club. Anything. Social interaction will not only make you happier, it also keeps your mind active, preventing memory loss.

 

Research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that (what they call) “social integration” may have a positive affect on memory decline. So as you approach retirement, be thinking of ways that you can be involved in others’ lives.

 

  1. Keep Learning.

You don’t have to crack open the dull textbooks again. I’m not talking about academics. I’m talking about developing a lifestyle that craves to know more and try new things. Because—according to Brain Fitness Strategies—the process of learning grows new brain cells. Don’t just settle with maintaining; grow as much as you can in retirement. Pick up a hobby. Cook up some new, challenging recipes.  Or (Cycling back to the first tip), maybe read a bit. It will do you good.

 

  1. Work Part-Time.

Work? Retirement? For those about to retire, it might seem like these words should never be in the same sentence. Not so. A lot of retirees are working part time, and not just for the extra buck (although that’s a perk).

 

This might be why: “Data from the United States, England and 11 other European countries suggest that the earlier people retire, the more quickly their memories decline,” says New York Times journalist, Gina Kolata.

 

Now I’m not saying you should keep your stressful office job or spend one more backbreaking minute on the factory floor, but picking up a casual part-time job might be beneficial…to both your pocketbook and your mind.

 

Above All…Make Memories!

But regardless of what you do to keep your mind active, do something you enjoy. With a little bit of thought and creativity, I know that you can kill two birds with one stone…improving your memory and making memories all at the same time.

Turning 65 and not sure what you have to do? Sign up for one of our “Welcome to Medicare Workshops” at www.seniormark.com/workshops .

Medicare Supplement Insurance: Are You Insurable?

Medicare Supplement Insurance: Are You Insurable?

If you are in your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, you are 100% insurable, no questions asked. If you are in a guaranteed issue period, some plans may not be available to you but—again—you are 100% insurable. Still no questions asked.

 

But even if you are not in one of these two groups, it is likely that you will be able to get on a plan anyhow. You will have to undergo some health evaluation questioning, but that doesn’t mean your less than perfect health will prevent you from getting the coverage you need.

 

Lower Your Expectations

You’re 65 or older. Insurance companies don’t expect you to be able to land a round off back hand spring or have an empty medicine cabinet or even have decent cholesterol. In fact, I am looking at the most recent application for AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance, and they do not ask anything about blood tests or weight or most resolved issues. This is typical across most applications.

 

The only thing they look for is that you don’t have any “big-ticket” pre-existing conditions or alarming circumstances on your health resume: cancer, upcoming surgery, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. In short, they are looking to answer this question: is your health stable? They are not concerned with whether your health is particularly impressive.

 

Two Examples of Supposed “Uninsurables”

This week a client of ours called in who thought she was uninsurable because she had cancer 4 years ago. But this just wasn’t true. In fact, most insurance companies will offer you coverage if you have been cancer free without treatments for two years. After we assured her of the good news, she was promptly put on a great plan for her needs.

 

We also had another case of a man who just had a stent put in 1 year ago. Although he thought this would make it difficult to find a provider, this wasn’t the case either. We shopped some Supplement plans for him and found him a plan that still insured people with stents as long as it wasn’t put in within a year.

 

Concluding Thoughts

The goal of this post is not to deceive you into thinking that no one is uninsurable, but I do want to give those people with imperfect health some hope. Even pre-existing conditions as bad as diabetes can be insured. There are a lot of insurance companies out there, so shop around. Chances are one of them will take a chance on you!

 

Limited Time Offer

In fact, right now we have a company offering their Medicare Supplement policies with no medical underwriting!  That means even if you are affected by some of the above, they will not look at your health history before insuring you.  This is a limited time offer, so you may want to call our office for details if you are interested.  An additional bonus of this plan is that it offers the Silver Sneakers benefit!

 

Need help finding a Medicare Supplement for your unique situation? Looking for a licensed expert with a passion for assisting retirees? Contact Seniormark at 937-492-8800 for a free consultation.

Medicare Supplement Insurance: Are You Insurable?

Medicare Supplement Insurance: Are You Insurable?

If you are in your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, you are 100% insurable, no questions asked. If you are in a guaranteed issue period, some plans may not be available to you but—again—you are 100% insurable. Still no questions asked.

 

But even if you are not in one of these two groups, it is likely that you will be able to get on a plan anyhow. You will have to undergo some health evaluation questioning, but that doesn’t mean your less than perfect health will prevent you from getting the coverage you need.

 

Lower Your Expectations

You’re 65 or older. Insurance companies don’t expect you to be able to land a round off back hand spring or have an empty medicine cabinet or even have decent cholesterol. In fact, I am looking at the most recent application for AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance, and they do not ask anything about blood tests or weight or most resolved issues. This is typical across most applications.

 

The only thing they look for is that you don’t have any “big-ticket” pre-existing conditions or alarming circumstances on your health resume: cancer, upcoming surgery, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. In short, they are looking to answer this question: is your health stable? They are not concerned with whether your health is particularly impressive.

 

Two Examples of Supposed “Uninsurables”

This week a client of ours called in who thought she was uninsurable because she had cancer 4 years ago. But this just wasn’t true. In fact, most insurance companies will offer you coverage if you have been cancer free without treatments for two years. After we assured her of the good news, she was promptly put on a great plan for her needs.

 

We also had another case of a man who just had a stent put in 1 year ago. Although he thought this would make it difficult to find a provider, this wasn’t the case either. We shopped some supplement plans for him and found him a plan that still insured people with stents as long as it wasn’t put in within a year.

 

Concluding Thoughts

The goal of this post is not to deceive you into thinking that no one is uninsurable, but I do want to give those people with imperfect health some hope. Even pre-existing conditions as bad as diabetes can be insured. There are a lot of insurance companies out there, so shop around. Chances are one of them will take a chance on you!

 

Great news!

Right now, we have a company who is accepting anyone without answering ANY health questions!  They are only doing this until June, so if you are interested, give us a call.  BONUS:  They offer a gym membership along with their supplement!

 

Need help finding a Medicare Supplement for your unique situation? Looking for a licensed expert with a passion for assisting retirees? Contact Seniormark at 937-492-8800 for a free consultation.

 

Take It Personally: Why Rampant Medicare Fraud Affects You and Your Family

Take It Personally: Why Rampant Medicare Fraud Affects You and Your Family

In 2012, the FBI boasted the arrest of 107 individuals for 452 million dollars in false billing. In 2015, The United States Department of Justice reported a fraud takedown of 243 individuals for 712 million dollars.

 

And if you look at the June 2016 edition of the AARP Bulletin, you will see the somber mug shot of physician Jacques Roy, facing life in prison for leading a fraud scheme of 375 million in phony charges—the single most expensive home health care fraud in the history of Medicare and Medicaid!

 

Sweet Victory?

Those sound like some huge numbers, right? So big it seems like the entire Medicare Fraud Strike Force could just sunbathe in the warmth of their victories. We’ve won, after all…

 

Well…not so much. How about these numbers? 60 billion. 90 billion. 30% of Medicare’s annual spending (180 billion).

 

These are the numbers that ABC News, the National Center for Policy Analysis, and AARP (respectively) estimated as the yearly dollar amount lost due to Medicare fraud.

 

The Scope of the Issue

But the hard truth about the scope of Medicare Fraud is this: no one knows. Everyone accepts that it is a staggering amount, but it is hard to pinpoint, mostly because it goes undetected so often. In fact, even Malcolm Sparrow, Harvard professor and health care fraud expert feels uncomfortable putting an exact number on it: “the point is, we don’t know, and we shouldn’t have to guess,” he says in AARP’s Bulletin.

 

So maybe the strike force should put away the sunscreen and beach towels. They’ve got some work to do.

 

Why It Matters to You

The sheer, unpunished treachery of this madness is enough to make anyone frustrated, for sure. But beyond the foundational longing for justice that lies within us all, let’s get practical. And—more than that—let’s get personal. Medicare fraud costs you and your family money. If you pay taxes, you are paying for it. If your children pay taxes, they are paying for it as well. Medicare premiums go up? This is part of the reason.

 

The One Thing You Have in Common With a Fraudster

Now I want to cycle back to Dr. Jacques Roy.  According to AARP, when the authorities searched his lakefront house in the Dallas suburbs, they found deposit slips to a bank in the Cayman Islands and a guide to registering yachts there.

 

Go figure. You do have something in common with a hardened criminal. All those years of saving, planning, and roosting on your nest egg prove it: you both want to retire well.

 

Some people are just willing to steal from you to do it.

 

Want to know how you can recognize Medicare Fraud and make up to $1000 doing it? Click here to find out.

 

Have more questions about Medicare?  Call our office at 937-492-8800 and we will help you out!