Insurance Decisions for Your Parents and You?

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Advice for the Sandwich Generation

Wow – newspapers, radio and TV is full of insurance ads; whether it’s Medicare Plans or Health Care Reform (ACA) plans. What’s going on? Life today is active, especially for women aged 45 – 55 who care for both their parents and children. These are the people caught in the “sandwich generation”.

These next several months could be very important for both your parents and you. If your parents do not have health insurance from their past employment, and buy their own Medicare Plans, they have a limited opportunity to change plans. Watch for the “annual notice of change” certain insurance plans must send out by October 1st. Review that information, make sure the plan is not discontinuing, benefits and co-pays meet your parents needs, the premium is still reasonable and all of their drugs are still covered. People on Medicare can make Medicare Plan and Medicare Prescription Plan changes from 10/15 – 12/7 each year.

While caring for parents, people often neglect their own care. Now, it’s time that you need to think about yourself and your family. If you are covered under an individual plan purchased after 10/23/2010, or substantially changed your plan after that date, you will, most likely, need to change to a Heath Care Reform Plan (ACA) by 1/1/2014. It is estimated that 46% of all Americans will need to make a change to an ACA plan.

Many find this whole issue very confusing. You will be able to enroll for an ACA Plan online, through facilitators, or by licensed, certified health insurance agents. Agents have usually worked in the industry for years and understand insurance contract, benefits, and provider networks. It is suggested that you call your insurance agent to see if they are enrolling people in ACA plans. If not, contact another insurance agency.

Many people will qualify for governmental subsidies to assist them in paying these premiums. There is some past research to be done concerning past and future income projections to calculate your premium. Be sure to address these issues in any conversation concerning health insurance. Penalties will be imposed on people who do not have ACA equivalent health insurance.

So, in the next 2 – 3 months many people will be making substantial decisions for both their parents and themselves. Do not take this insurance issue lightly. It can be a matter of seeing a provider you wish to see or even receiving needed care.

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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