4 Things to Tell Your Doctor

How communicative are you with your doctor? In order to get the best service from your regular physicians, it is recommended that you have conversations about all four of the topics listed below:

  1. What the phrase “quality of life” means to you.For some individuals, “quality of life” means maximizing time with loved ones. Others may prioritize other things like relief from pain or other symptoms. It may even mean remaining independent and making your own decisions for care and where you want to be treated. If you communicate this point with your doctor now, it can make processes go much more smoothly when the time comes to act to preserve that “quality of life”.
  2. What your religious, cultural, or personal beliefs are.It is important to share anything that might play a significant role in your care and treatment decisions. It may prevent qualms of conscience, or relieve societal pressures to have these conversations with your doctor ahead of time.
  3. Which treatments you may or may not want in ordinary and extreme circumstances.
    You have the human and American right to refuse any treatment that you do not wish to receive.
  4. Whether or not you have a living will or health care proxy.
    It is a good idea to give your doctor a copy of your will or health care proxy in case of unforeseen circumstances. If you don’t have either of these, it is an even better idea to set these up.

So next time you visit your primary care physician, or other regular health care professional, we recommend striking up some conversation if the time permits. For any questions regarding senior insurance, SeniorQuote is always here to help as well!

Original Article Published in AARP Bulletin September
Original Article By Lisa Haney
Article wording has been changed for reposting on SeniorQuote.com

Benefits for Surviving Spouses

Did you know that your spouse can coordinate their claims to boost their total benefit payout from Social Security? Did you also know that if you are widowed before claiming benefits, you may also have options to maximize Social Security by coordinating the timing of claims for your own retirement benefit and a survivor benefit?

Unfortunately, the SSA isn’t likely to fill you in on these strategies. A report this year by the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General found that 82% of surviving spouses taking benefits could have received a higher monthly benefit by restricting their application to survivor benefits only and delaying their retirement benefits up to the age of 70.

As a result, the SSA underpaid about $132 million to more than 9,000 beneficiaries age 70+, and it will probably underpay another 2,000 more beneficiaries who are under age 70 about $9.8 million annually once their reach 70 years old, according to the projections of the report.

Changes in the law a few years ago affected strategies for coordinating spousal benefits, but those changes didn’t affect survivor benefit strategies.

Surviving spouses need to consider whether they can maximize benefits by taking the survivor benefit first and later switching to their own benefit or by taking their own benefit first and then switching to a survivor benefit.

You can claim a survivor benefit as early as age 60, unless you are disabled, in which case you can claim a survivor benefit as early as age 50. It is reduced if claimed before the survivor’s full retirement age. It won’t grow past the survivor’s full retirement age — the most a surviving spouse receives is 100% of the benefit the deceased spouse received or was eligible to receive at his death.

The survivor’s own retirement benefit, which can be taken as early as the age of 62 at a reduced amount, can grow beyond his or her full retirement age. Each year the survivor delays their own retirement benefit past full retirement age, the benefit grows 8% until he or she reaches the age of 70.

Once you figure out which benefit could grow the largest, you’ll likely want to delay that benefit, but you must be aware that the benefit amounts and age you claim will make a difference overall.

For more helpful tips regarding retirement, see our other blog posts onĀ https://seniorquote.com/medicare-news/seniorquote-blog/.

Article originally published in the Union Tribune
Original Article By Rachel Sheedy
Original Article wording has been changed for reposting on seniorquote.com

Medicare Mistakes Not to Make

Many misunderstand the importance of signing up for Medicare Part B immediately after retirement. Medicare Part A is the hospital coverage that’s provided to people 65 and older. They don’t pay premiums for this coverage. People do, however, pay premiums for Medicare Part B, which overs doctors’ visits and other medical costs. Those who are still working and covered by an employer’s plan often forgo Medicare Part B. Once their employment ends, though, they’re expected to sign up for Part B within 8 months or they pay a 10% premium for every 12 months they failed to sign up. They also have to wait for the regular Medicare enrollment window to roll around, which can leave them exposed to some hefty medical bills in the meantime.

There is a process known as “equitable relief” that allows people to request immediate enrollment and the waiving of the penalty, but you have to prove that the failure to enroll was the result of “error, misrepresentation or inaction” by a federal employee or anyone authorized by the federal government to act on its behalf, according to the Social Security Administration. So it’s not enough to inadvertently make a mistake. You have to prove you were misled. You can read more at https://www.medicarerights.org/PartB-Enrollment-Toolkit/Equitable-Relief.pdf.

Another common mistake people make is regarding spousal benefit. Spousal benefit is half of the spouse’s benefit only if one waits until full retirement age of 66 to take it. Social Security benefits are reduced if one starts early.

If a spouse’s benefit is currently $2,600, one’s spousal benefit could be a small percentage of that if one retires early (before 66). The amount will be substantially larger if one carefully manages when to retire.

Originally published September 2nd in The Union Tribune
Article by Liz Weston
Article edited from its original for reposting on seniorquote.com/blog