Category Archives: Insurance

WMA Newsletter – November/December 2016

WEALTH MANAGEMENT ADVISOR

 November/December 2016

Here’s a brief glance at what you’ll find in the November/December issue…

 

When should you pull the trigger on Social Security benefits?

When is it appropriate to start collecting Social Security benefits? As this article discusses, the answer to that question depends on such factors as the amount of benefits, additional assets, life expectancy and marital status. Individuals are also encouraged to consider the effect of earnings if they plan to work while receiving benefits. A table shows how full retirement age is determined.

 

Falling markets, though inevitable, provide opportunities

Investors don’t necessarily have to suffer when markets are volatile. As this article explains, investors with long-term objectives and broadly diversified portfolios can probably ignore short-term market fluctuations. In fact, volatility can provide opportunities to invest in stocks that previously were too expensive. Taking advantage of such buying opportunities may position investors for better performance.

 

Weighing the pros and cons of LTC insurance

Few people want to think about the possibility that they might need long-term care (LTC). But it’s important to do so, and LTC insurance can help. This article weighs the benefits of LTC insurance with the cost of the premiums and explains some of the terminology used in LTC policies.

 

Self-directed IRAs: Watch out for these 3 tax traps

Although self-directed IRAs enable account holders to invest in nontraditional assets such as real estate, they also contain several potential tax traps. This short article warns about unrelated business taxable income, unrelated debt-financed income and prohibited transactions.

 

To view a PDF of the newsletter with full articles visit our Web site

 

Medicare open enrollment period starts 10/15/2013

What is the Medicare open enrollment period?

The Medicare open enrollment period is the time during which people with Medicare can make new choices and pick plans that work best for them. Each year Medicare plans typically change what they cost and cover. In addition, your health-care needs may have changed over the past year. The open enrollment period is your opportunity to switch Medicare health and prescription drug plans to better suit your needs.

When does the open enrollment period start?

The Medicare open enrollment period begins on October 15 and runs through December 7. Any changes made during open enrollment are effective as of January 1, 2014.

During the open enrollment period you can:

  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage altogether
  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare
  • Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to a different Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer prescription drug coverage
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that does offer prescription drug coverage

What should you do?

Now is a good time to review your current Medicare plan. There are some factors you may want to consider as part of that evaluation. For instance, are you satisfied with the coverage and level of care you’re getting with your current plan? Are your premium costs or out-of-pocket expenses too high?

Has your health changed, or do you anticipate needing medical care or treatment? Now is the time to determine if your current plan will cover your treatment and what your potential out-of-pocket costs may be. If your current plan doesn’t meet your health-care needs or fit within your budget, you can switch to a plan that may work better for you.

What’s new in 2014?

Most Medicare Prescription Drug Plans have a temporary limit on what a particular plan will cover for prescription drugs. In 2014, this gap in coverage (also called the “donut hole”) begins after you and your drug plan have spent $2,850. It ends after you have spent $4,550 out-of-pocket, after which catastrophic coverage begins. However, part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) gradually closes this gap by reducing your out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions purchased within the coverage gap. In 2014, you’ll pay 47.5% of the cost for brand-name drugs in the coverage gap and 72% of the cost for generic drugs in the coverage gap. Each succeeding year, out-of-pocket prescription drug costs within the coverage gap continue to decrease until 2020, when you’ll pay 25% for covered brand-name and generic drugs within the gap.

Health Exchanges (Marketplaces)

Health Exchanges, or Marketplaces, which are part of the ACA, are available for people to shop for health insurance coverage. The Exchanges are scheduled to open October 1, 2013. The ACA also includes an insurance mandate, which requires most individuals to have health insurance or face a penalty. However, if you have Medicare, neither provision applies to you. As a Medicare recipient, you won’t face penalties for being uninsured. Also, Exchanges do not provide information on Medicare plans, and you can’t purchase Medicare coverage through an Exchange.

Where can you get more information?

Determining what coverage you have now and comparing it to other Medicare plans can be confusing and complicated. Pay attention to notices you receive from Medicare and from your plan, and take advantage of help available by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or by visiting the Medicare website, www.medicare.gov. Your financial professional can also help you find the information you need to make decisions about Medicare.

 

 

 

 

 

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