Unfortunately, on a frequent basis in our practice as RN Geriatric Care Managers, we hear of, witness, and report fraudulent activities. Many scams active in the community are telephone scams where an individual is called by an unknown person and defrauded.
The scams are usually where the caller acts as if he knows the person, addresses them by their first name and may include names of family members.
The common thread to all calls is to gain information such as passwords, credit card numbers, banking account numbers, Medicare, Medicaid, Medical Insurance ID's, social security numbers and income tax information.
The aging person may have cognitive difficulties and memory issues where they are not aware of all the information given to a fraudulent caller. When made aware of the occurrences, we report it to a family member to change the phone number and to check the accounts mentioned to ascertain if there is fraudulent activity. Also, non-emergency lines at local police departments should be alerted to fraudulent activities.
Caregivers in the home need to be aware of this as well as to prevent calls like this and to utilize a system where all phone calls are screened.
Suzanne Hanas, BSN, RN
Medical costs are among the top financial worries of Americans, yet there are steps that people can take to avoid crippling medical debt in their retirement years. That’s according to Danielle Kunkle, co-founder at Boomer Benefits, who published an article on Forbes.com, titled How To Avoid Medical Debt In Your Retirement.
The biggest thing to know is to sign up for Medicare on time. “There are significant penalties for late enrollment into Medicare,” wrote Kunkle. “These penalties accumulate the longer you wait to enroll and can be very costly. You can avoid penalties by signing up for Medicare when you are first eligible.”
People should also consider covering the gaps in coverage by purchasing Medicare Advantage or other Medicare supplements that provide coverage for health-care services not covered by traditional Medicare.
By examining their medical bills closely, individuals are protecting themselves from being overcharged. “Don't assume that your medical bills are correct,” advised Kunkle. “In fact, billing errors are so common that we ask our policyholders to send them to us for verification before they pay them.”
People are encouraged to continue to add to their health savings account (HSA), if they are still working. Depending on the qualified employer health plan individuals should do everything they can to max out the annual contribution. Money that they contribute to this account is a tax write-off. They can then later use these funds to pay for medical expenses in retirement.
Life happens and sometimes people do incur significant medical expenses. It is strongly encouraged to not charge them to credit cards. This is where people will incur additional finance charges as they work to pay them off. Individuals should speak with their medical provider to ask for a payment plan that is paid directly to the entity that is owed. This is usually an interest-free solution.
Making wise healthcare decisions, by planning ahead, hopefully individuals can avoid medical debt that would otherwise put strain on their golden years.
According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, retirees and others can expect more harassment from debt collectors.
David Lazarus writes, "The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, under President Trump, already has moved to make life easier for payday lenders. It’s expected any day now to do the same for debt collectors.
The bureau will unveil proposed rule changes that are likely to include explicit permission for debt collectors to contact people via text and email and maybe social media.
The new rules also may provide greater latitude for bothering people by phone and limits on people’s ability to challenge financial obligations.
In other words, more rights for debt collectors and fewer rights for consumers".
Many financial advisors have voluntarily undergone training and satisfied various qualifications for particular professional certifications. Related work experience is often required.
Certification: Accredited Estate Planner
Description: Estate Planning
Certification: Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC)
Description: Financial Counseling and Money management
Certification: Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
Description: Best Known Certification
Certification: Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA)
Description: Trusts and Taxes
Certification: Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
Description: Financial planning in Insurance & estate planning
Certification: Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
Description: Life Insurance
Certification: Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMF)
Description: Mutual Funds
Certification: Investment Advisor
Description: Stockbroker managing less than $100 million
Website: www.nasaa.org / www.finra.org
Certification: NAPFA Registered Financial Advisor (NRFA)
Description: Source for fee-only financial Advisors
Certification: Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
Description: Personal financial credential for CPA's
Certification: Registered Financial Associate (RIA)
Description: Granted only to recent graduates of approved collegiate programs
Certification: Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)
Description: Stockbroker managing more than $100 million
Website: www.sec.gov / www.finra.org
What to Know about the Roth IRA
You’re allowed to open a Roth IRA if you earn some income. A Roth IRA is a non- deductible, after-tax IRA that offers significant tax and retirement planning advantages.
Contributions to Roth IRAs are not tax deductible, but funds in the account grow tax-free. Tax-free withdrawals may be made for qualifying first-time home buyer costs, medical expenses, or to pay for educational expenses.
The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act, co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), was recently approved by the Senate Commerce Committee and now awaits consideration by the full Senate.
The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act (S. 512) would help protect seniors from fraud schemes by strengthening the reporting system to ensure complaints of fraud are handled quickly by the appropriate law enforcement agencies. The bill would also require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the agency responsible for handling consumer complaints, to coordinate with other agencies to monitor the market for fraud schemes targeting seniors.
In addition, the bill would require the FTC to distribute information to seniors, their families, and their caregivers explaining how to recognize fraud schemes and how to contact law enforcement authorities if a senior is targeted.
Earlier this year, Senator Collins released the Aging Committee’s 2019 Fraud Book in a hearing titled:"Fighting Elder Fraud: Progress Made, Work to be Done."
Marc has 36 years in financial services and 6 years in teaching.
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