Medicare is complex. Do you understand all the choices specific and most beneficial TO YOU?
In my practice, I have found most people seem to choose their Medicare plans as a recommendation from a friend without fully understanding what their options are.
I have also found this is a sure way to spend money unnecessarily, either by paying too much for premiums or too much for out-of-pocket medical expenses.
As Your Personal Money Coach, I will help you navigate through Medicare including:
- The best timing to sign up for Medicare,
- The financial aspects affecting Medicare Part B premiums,
- How to navigate the options to best fit your budget and medical situation.
Services include enrolling participants after we determine the program that is right for your unique situation.
Case Study: Which Medicare Plan is Right for Me?
Carol has just become eligible for Medicare. She takes good care of her health; she swims at the community pool three times a week and walks her dog every day. Mary takes simvastatin for her high cholesterol, which she gets from her local pharmacy, but she doesn't take any other prescription drugs. Mary has five children she frequently travels to see. What Medicare plan works best for Mary?
Since Carol travels so much, she needs a plan that allows her to see any doctor, hospital or provider that accepts Medicare, so the option that fits her best is Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan. Original Medicare includes Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) and having a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan will help fill the gaps that Original Medicare doesn't cover. Mary will also want to purchase a Medicare Part D plan which would cover the cost of prescription medications.
As Carol's Personal Money Coach because she was in relatively good health, I was able to save her $3,024 by explaining to her the differences between Medicare Plan F and Medicare Plan F+ (not all companies offer it). The F+ plan was a high-deductible plan that offers all the benefits of Plan F with an annual deductible of $2,180 for 2016. The monthly premiums for Plan F were $314 and the monthly premium for Plan F+ was $62. The savings were $252 a month. Over a 12 month period that was $3,024 savings. An Affordable Medicare Supplement solution!
James has just turned eighty and has been diagnosed with vascular dementia. He lives at home with his daughter, who provides for much of his care. He has a daily regimen of several vitamins and prescription drugs. He is also recovering from a broken hip so he spends much of his time in bed watching the Game Show Network. What Medicare plan might be best for James?
James should look at Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, since he doesn't need to worry about seeing out-of-network doctors and is happy with his primary care physician. A Medicare Advantage plan includes Medicare Part A, Part B and, depending on the plan he chooses, most plans include a prescription drug coverage. He will continue to pay his Part B premium in addition to his Medicare Advantage premium, if there is one. (In Queens, NY in 2016 the premium was zero). As his Personal Money Coach this proved to be a good choice to help him manage his expenses.
Social Security Benefit Planning
Do you know the best way to claim social security benefits for you and your family?
The formula is complex when it comes calculating Social Security Benefits.
Making the right choice in claiming and managing your social security can affect you and your family over the long term. Social Security is also taxable and depending upon the type of income you receive you could be paying federal taxes on up to 85% of your benefits.
As Your Personal Money Coach, my goal is to take your unique situation into consideration and guide you to make the right decisions. With income taxes always in mind some of the complex issues involve:
- When should you and or spouse start to take you benefit?,
- What if I want to continue to work and receive benefits?,
- Will I have to pay taxes on Social Security or can I manage to stay under the limit?
- Is there a way to defer and increase my benefit by up to 32% by using other income?
Case Study: A $1,850 a Year Savings
Frank is retired and receives a modest pension and Social Security. He has various mutual funds in various asset classes. At the end of the year Frank always seems to owe taxes to the IRS, mainly because most of his Social Security is being subject to tax based upon the complex formula. As Frank's Personal Money Coach I was able to formulate a plan to include his investments under a tax deferred investment vehicle, thus removing his dividends, interest and capital gains from the formula that determines how much of his Social Security benefits ultimately get taxed. The result was a $1,850 reduction to income tax liability !!