Are You A Sandwich Generationer? Part 2

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Helping your Parents With Their Personal Finances

Like last month, you woke up at bit early today, now you are trying to figure out how you can get mom to her 3:30 pm doctor’s appointment and see your son’s school baseball game at 4:00 pm. Life today is active, especially for women aged 45 – 56 who care for both their parents and children. This is the second of a six part series for these people caught in the “sandwich generation”.

When you get home from the ballgame, it is time to go through your parent’s monthly bills. This is just one of the tasks when dealing with the medical bills, investments and how best to make their money last. The following are several key components to help make the best outcome out of your parent’s situation:

Public and Private Programs – Know what you parent’s insurance plans will do for them. Do they have long term care insurance? If so, meet with their agent and see what triggers the benefits to be paid? Is it now time to plan for Medicaid for mother or father? The answer is most likely: YES. Gather information, you know your options and how best to protect your parents. The same applies to Estate planning and how your parent’s assets may pass after their death. These areas blend into the legal issues which also should be addressed with an attorney specializing in these areas.

If one of your parents is a Veteran and served during wartime, they may qualify for a little known pension named the “Aid & Attendance Pension”. This pension pays up to $1948 monthly for unreimbursed medical expenses such as home care, assisted living, or nursing home. We have found this pension to be a Godsend for those qualify. Was your parent a veteran during WWII, Korea, or Vietnam? They did not need to be in that country, only serve during that time period. It is said that 2 million people qualify for this pension, but do not know about it.

A reverse mortgage can also be used to help with expenses. Basically, a monthly income is paid based on your parent’s equity in their home and the equity in the home is lowered with each payment. Be careful here.

Insurance Planning – know how your parent’s health insurance plans work. Do they have a PPO? Talk with a qualified insurance professional about their coverage. Ask questions such as is nursing home or home health care covered. Can my parent go to Mayo Clinic or Iowa City if they wish? How much can I expect to pay out of pocket per year?

Have they prepaid their funeral expenses or do they have life insurance? Is the beneficiary arraignments correct on the life insurance? Should they have life insurance? Maybe there is no need.

Investment Security – confirm their investments are properly allocated. Are they vulnerable to losses? Do your parents depend upon the income generated for living expenses? Find out – this area is critical. If a person is dependent upon investment income, those investments should be in a conservative vehicle,

Do you parents and/or you need help managing their finances, even paying their bills? Trust departments can provide a service with security in this area. Also available are companies to assist you in bill paying.

Coordinating care for your children and parents simultaneously is not easy. What can you do to manage this? Three words of advice: Plan, Plan and Plan. Legal, financial, residential, mental and physical healthcare elements must be addressed prior to a crisis. A sandwich generationer should guide their parent through these issues and the primary issue of safety, while being careful not to take all control away from a parent. Once again, it is important to start talking, making suggestions and guiding early, do not wait for a crisis.

Written by

Steven A. Buttice is the president of Medical Reimbursement & Management Services, Inc., a firm specializing in issues affecting seniors, including seminars and consultation on Medicare Plans, Long Term Care and other types of insurance, claims issues, and sales/service of insurance products since 1984.

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