National Care Planning Council
National Care Planning Council

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Books for Care Planning

    Long Term Care BooksFind books provided by the National Care Planning Council written to help the public plan for Long Term Care. Learn More...

Eldercare Articles

    Eldercare ArticlesThe NCPC publishes periodic articles under the title "Planning for Eldercare". Each article is written to help families recognize the need for long term care planning and to help implement that planning. All elderly people, regardless of current health, should have a long term care plan. Learn More...

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Guide to LTC Planning

    Guide to Long Term Care PlanningFrom its inception, the goal of the National Care Planning Council has been to educate the public on the importance of planning for long term care. With that goal in mind, we have created the largest and most comprehensive source of long term care planning material available anywhere. This material -- "Guide to Long Term Care Planning" -- is free to the public for downloading and printing on all of our web sites. Learn More...

Review and Restructure Other Insurance Coverage

Restructure Medicare

Restructure Medicare Insurance and Eliminate Costs

One way for healthy seniors to save costs is to switch from traditional Medicare with a supplement to a Medicare Advantage Plan. In some cases seniors can save a substantial amount out-of-pocket each year. And in many cases, the Advantage Plan costs nothing out-of-pocket as long as the senior has Medicare Part B. These savings should be retained in a bank account since Medicare advantage plans require more upfront deductibles or co-pays for hospital care or long term care than traditional Medicare with a supplement.

Generally, older individuals spend a great deal of money on Medicare supplement policies that in some cases provide 100% care for any medical condition. They don't want to cover out-of-pocket any co-pays or deductibles and will put out extra cash per month as sort of a guaranteed savings plan to ensure they are fully covered. The exception is prescription drug costs which under current health care law should be covered as a separate policy. It is alarming how some older people will spend a large percentage of their monthly income for the supplement policies so that they don't have to pay anything out of pocket. Generally, if someone is quite healthy, it is much more cost effective to buy an inexpensive Medicare supplement or an inexpensive or no-cost owl Medicare Advantage Plan and set money aside to cover the potential costs of co-pays and deductibles.

Dovetailing Medicare with VA Health Care

VA healthcare is for most veterans cost free except perhaps for prescription drug co-pays. A good strategy to reduce the cost of a Medicare supplement is to sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan with low or no cost and high deductible. This will cover in the event of an emergency room visit or local outpatient care.

The veteran who is eligible for VA health care then enrolls in the VA system and uses it for all of his inpatient needs as well as prescription medications. This saves a great deal of money. VA has no ongoing cost for healthcare veterans who are priority 6 and above. Prescription medications have a co-pay of $5, $8 or $11 per month per prescription. This is typically cheaper than any Medicare drug plan. Here are some of the ways a person would qualify for VA healthcare.

  • receiving Pension
  • Purple Heart recipient
  • receiving compensation of at least 10%
  • meeting the income test

Supplemental Health Care Insurance Policies

The purveyors of these policies frighten people into buying this coverage with the idea that cancer and critical illness in a hospital are not adequately covered by health insurance and could result in substantial out-of-pocket costs. This may be so in some cases, but the risk of having to pay co-pays or other out-of-pocket costs for medication exists for all medical conditions not just cancer or intensive care. It is the potential of critical illness happening that salespeople use to create fear for buying these policies. No one wants to come down with cancer. Another argument for these policies is that they are an investment in the future and can be cashed out for a certain sum at an older age. The argument also is made that these policies will make up for loss of income which may be true for those who are working. For someone who is retired this argument is not relevant.

Medicare along with Medicare supplement policies or Medicare Advantage plans generally cover cancer and intensive care and as a rule, there is no need to buy policies to cover cancer and intensive care separately. For the elderly, money is better spent on other types of insurance.

Property and Casualty Insurance

Property and casualty and liability insurance are all necessary arrangements to protect an estate from an unexpected loss of property. There is no argument that this type of insurance is important. There is an argument that some people overinsure for this risk. For instance, the auto policy may be covering a vehicle that has long since lost its value while the policy may continue to cover low deductibles for comprehensive and collusion. In the event of an accident, the insurance company may only pay for the replacement value of the vehicle. The low deductibles may offer no benefit for repair or new replacement. Money could be saved by restructuring the policy.

Other insurance policies should be reevaluated as to their usefulness and a decision made whether to keep them or save the premiums. As with buying Cadillac coverage for Medicare, it might make more sense to save money on insurance premiums and increase deductibles on property and casualty insurance.