Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Last week I blogged about tax questions facing some nonprofit senior living operations, especially nonprofit Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). This week, we pass on news of a federal court suit filed by residents of a for-profit CCRC, challenging the company's accounting and allocation of fees, especially entrance fees, paid by the residents.
Residents of Vi of Palo Alto (formerly operating in Palo Alto as "Classic Residences by Hyatt") in California are challenging what could be described as "upstream" diversion of corporate assets to the parent company, CC-Palo Alto Inc. They contend the diversion includes money which should have been protected to fund local operations or to secure promised "refunds" of entrance fees. Further, the residents allege the diversion of money has triggered a higher tax burden on the local operation, a burden they allege has improperly increased the monthly maintenance fees also charged to residents. According to the February 10, 2014 complaint, Vi of Palo Alto is running a multi-million dollar deficit and the residents point to the existence of actuarial opinions that support their allegations. The complaint alleges breach of contract, common law theories of concealment, misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty, and statutory theories of misconduct, including alleged violation of California's Elder Abuse laws.
Representatives of the company deny the allegations, as reported in detail in Senior Housing News on February 23. A previous resident class action filed in state court against a Classic Residence of Hyatt CCRC, now called Vi of La Jolla, also in California, settled in 2008.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Did you ever think about why elders are targeted for scams? An article by Dr. Bruce H Price and Dr. Ekaterina Pivovarova, with Dr. Judith Edersheim, brings science to the understanding of scam victims. The article, Protecting Our Parents: Can Science Help? examines How Science and Law Can Unite to Reduce Crimes Against This Vulnerable Population. Calling for collaboration, after recapping some of the high profile scams and financial exploitation cases, the authors suggest that "[a]s crime rates -- and vulnerable populations -- increase, the scientific and legal communities must pool our ever-increasing knowledge and resources to protect elderly family members."
The article lists the most common range of scams as well as the more likely victims and perpetrators and provides that the perpetrators aren't focusing on "elderly because they are more vulnerable to sympathetic stories ... [but instead] prey upon them because many have difficulty sorting through information, making complex decisions, and resisting pressure -- difficulties that increase exponentially as the elderly begin to exhibit symptoms of dementia."
The authors offer that science can help with prevention, reporting that researchers are creating "assessment tools to identify deficits in financial decision-making and vulnerability to undue influence long before they become apparent to family members, caregivers, and financial or legal advisors." As well health care providers can identify neurological deficits years before any diagnosis of a cognitive impairment. The authors recommend the widespread access and use of these tools.
The authors call for more reporting and prosecution. In addition, the authors recommend that state mandatory reporting statutes include certain professions such as health care providers and first responders. The authors close with this statement: "[i]f criminals can use new technology to target and scam our elders, surely we can use the new and emerging science research to protect them."
The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain & Behavior has more information about this with a link to a Boston Globe story on this. The Center also has video from the Center's program with the Boston Society of Neurology and Psychiatry on Capacity, Finances, & the Elderly: Brain Science Meets the Law.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has issued two new reports that would be helfpul in our classes. The first, Introduction to Public Housing by Maggie McCarty was released on January 3, 2014. According to the introduction to the report:
This report is meant to serve as an introduction to the federal public housing program. It provides information on the history of the program, how it is administered and funded, and the characteristics of public housing properties and the households they serve. While it introduces current policy issues, a full analysis of those issues and discussion of current legislation is not included in this report.
The second, Medicaid: An Overview, was released January 10, 2014 and written by Alison Mitchell, Evelyne P. Baumrucker and Elicia J. Herz. This report:
describes the basic elements of Medicaid, focusing on who is eligible, what services are covered, how enrollees share in the cost of care, how the program is financed, and how providers are paid. The report also explains waivers, program integrity activities, and the dual-eligible population. In addition, the report describes the following selected issues: the ACA Medicaid expansion, the impact of the ACA health insurance annual fee on Medicaid, and the ACA maintenance of effort (MOE) with respect to Medicaid eligibility.
One of my frequent travel routes is to drive between Carlisle and Baltimore, in order to take direct flights from BWI to Phoenix, where my parents live. Usually these drives are in the middle of the night, as I try to avoid traffic by scheduling very early or late flights. One positive aspect of this travel is the time to discover interesting radio programs; there is something about listening to radio in the dark that allows one to hear more clearly. Last week, I lingered in the car after reaching the long-term airport parking, to listen to the end of an especially effective interview.
On Point with Tom Ashbrook, was hosting Kimberly Williams-Paisley who spoke movingly about her family as they coped with her mother's early onset of a form of dementia, diagnosed at age 61. For those of you who enjoy either movies or music, you might recognize Kimberly as an actress from Father of the Bride (she was the daughter driving Steve Martin to wit's end) and Nashville, or as the wife of country music star Brad Paisley. Also featured on the program was a clinical social worker, Darby Morhardt, who is an associate professor at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
The program was very thoughtful and emotional, but for me the most compelling words came from Kimberly's father, Gurney Williams.
This is a man deeply in love with his wife and also deeply affected by her condition. At first he tried to hide her diagnosis, but over time, this became more and more difficult. Mr. Williams describes how he finally came to terms with the need for help -- and the need for more than family help -- when his children staged a bit of an intervention. They asked him to recognize that his wife's condition, which in her case included confusion, mood swings, anger and -- at times -- violence, was more than they could cope with in the home. They were worried about their mother, but even more devastated by "losing" their father as he struggled to care for her. With the family's help, he finally made the difficult decision to place his wife in a formal care setting.
And it was during his description of the journey, that I heard the words I've also heard many times from friends, family, students and clients. "I promised my loved one I would never put her in one of those places." I have come to recognize this promise as completely well-intentioned, but also potentially dangerous for all involved.
Listening to Mr. Williams and Kimberly, you could tell formal care was the right decision and they were able to find the right kind of care facility for their loved one. And it was a decision that allowed all of them to find a new way to express their love and devotion to her, while also providing her with a supportive, safe environment. Kimberly talks about how she stopped talking about her mother in the past tense, rediscovered her and how they created a new, valuable relationship. Their story has a happy evolution, which, of course, is different than a happy ending.
One of the reasons I was so affected by listening to Mr. William's words, was that I was on my way to the airport to visit my father -- to see him for the first time -- after his transfer to a dementia-care community. All of my fears and hopes were bound up in my listening. On arriving in the airport I went directly to a shop and bought a copy of the March issue of Redbook Magazine, which carried the story by Kimberly Williams-Paisley that led to the invitation for her and her father to be guests on the On Point program. I read and re-read "How I Faced My Mother's Dementia" on the plane -- and shared her words with my mother when I arrived.
I suspect I might write more about my own evolution with my father. Right now it is easier for me to recommend the article, and to say the podcast of the On Point show is even better than the article.
Monday, February 24, 2014
We have posted previously on the use of technology for monitoring care, so I was interested in reading the NYC Elder Abuse Center recent blog post referencing an article by NYCEAC Medical Director Dr. Mark Lachs. Dr. Lachs, the Director of Geriatrics for NY Presbyterian Health System, wrote for the HUFFPOST Healthy Living Blog on The Utility and Ethics of 'Granny Cams'. Dr. Lachs referenced his earlier interview in the NY Times. In the HUFFPOST blog post, Dr. Lachs discusses the pros and cons of the use of cameras in long term care facilities. including the protection of residents and the loss of resident privacy. As Dr. Lachs notes in his post, "[i]n the digital age, ensuring privacy has practically become a Sisyphean task; we don't know where these videos will wind up." He also discusses the rights of employees and how the general public may view the video evidence without any context. He references Dr. Mosqueda's view regarding the importance of informed consent:
If this is going to happen, it should be done with everyone's consent and knowledge -- employee, family member, and patient -- whenever possible. I think this notion is spot on. Video cameras have become a part of our daily lives, and this is going to happen whether we approve or not. As more states look to implement laws related to cameras in nursing homes, it seems prudent to develop standards around how and when these devices should be employed.
The NYCEAC post offers some links to other stories about the use of "granny cams" use in long term care facilities.
This week, Al Jazeera America’s AMERICA TONIGHT presents an in-depth series of segments that explore the many facets of aging in America. Details on the series as follows:
- The Silent Army airs Monday, February 24 – There are an estimated 29 million unpaid and culturally invisible family caregivers – 9 percent of the US population – who help take care of someone over 74. We profile three women who have given over their lives in different ways to care for their parents. One woman took her father in and has to pay for daycare and a caregiver so she can continue to work; another suffered through forcibly putting her angry father into a home; a third went on what she thought would be a two week visit to help her parents and ended up staying to care for them, giving up life with her husband and son. They are members of the silent army. Michael Okwu reports.
- Street Angels airs Tuesday, February 25 – Many families with aging parents rely on caretakers, aides that one daughter called “street angels” because they provide compassionate care and allow families to keep their loved ones out of an institution. But who takes care of the caretakers? Despite poor pay and often harsh lives of their own, they draw on wells of compassion and emotional skill to care for parents their own children may not have time for. They are not entitled to minimum wage, overtime or other protections because their services are often interpreted as mere companionship. We profile one such street angel, who barely makes it on her salary as she cares for an elderly man in Brooklyn.
- Seniors Helping Seniors airs Wednesday, February 26 – With a burgeoning senior population in the United States - more seniors need care - and there's not enough help. There is one demographic with extra time on their hands though - retired seniors. We profile New Hampshire resident Larry Davis who supplies the elderly in his town with firewood, helps them winterize their homes and shovels snow. He’s part of a growing community of seniors helping seniors. His help means an elderly woman can stay in her home a little longer. Davis is paying it forward; he can still haul firewood and shovel snow, but it won’t last forever and he hopes that when he needs it, someone will be around to do the same thing for him. Christof Putzel reports.
- Techno-Care airs Thursday, February 27 – Will high tech homes help grandma avoid the nursing home? Meet the early adopters in elder care technology who are testing the limits of how robots and "aware homes" can prolong the time that older adults stay in their own homes. We profile a man who bought his mother a telepresence robot. Using the robot, he and his 3 siblings can roam around her apartment and check in on Edith's well-being. We also look at sensor technology -- mounted on beds, bathrooms, hallways, medicine cabinets, stoves, doorways -- that allows adult children to wire up their parent's home for 24-hr a day monitoring. For some families, it provides a valuable safety net, but at the expense of privacy. Adam May reports.
Join the conversation at @AmericaTonight.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released a 2014 study on elder driver accident rates. The February 20, 2014 status report, Fit for the road: Older drivers' crash rates continue to drop notes good news for elder drivers:
Today's older drivers are not only less likely to be involved in crashes than prior generations, they are less likely to be killed or seriously injured if they do crash... That's likely because vehicles are safer and seniors are generally healthier. It's a marked shift that began to take hold in the mid-1990s and indicates that the growing ranks of aging drivers aren't making U.S. roads deadlier.
The article notes the "crash outlook" has improved for younger drivers as well.
The article looks at the demographics of drivers, changes in travel patterns, improved vehicle safety and recent trends.
Photo by Colin Dayton Stacy.
"New construction is picking up in some markets after the near standstill caused by the recession, although developers seem more favorable to building needs-driven models of seniors housing—assisted living and memory care facilities—rather than independent living communities. Yet, there's also an interest in niche development—university partnerships, for example."
On a seemingly related note, Erickison Living announced earlier this month the start of construction of "Lantern Hill," a new CCRC community in Union County, New Jersey. The plan is to open in the second half of 2015, which would appear to be one of Erickson's first new starts since it emerged from bankruptcy court in 2010 with new owners.
The Levin Associates webinar is set for March 13 at 1 p.m. ET, with developers and architects, brokers and financers scheduled to speak, including individuals from Greystone, Perkins Eastman, and CBRE, Inc.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Penn State Dickinson School of Law has frequently hosted visiting academics from Ukraine. I've had the privilege of working with very talented, engaged scholars on choice of law issues, conflicts of law, family law, and filial support questions. I've been thinking a lot about my friends as I follow the news about violence and change in Kiev during the struggles over the future for the country. We did not always agree on the law, but our debates were always spirited. I hope they are safe. Knowing how committed the lawyers I've met have been to modernization and the rule of law, I can only imagine how painful this period must be.
In 2012, I was invited to publish an article, "Filial Support Laws in the United State and Ukraine," for a Ukrainian journal on family law. I later expanded my analysis for the University of Illinois' Elder Law Journal, as an opportunity to compare domestic and international trends in use of such laws to compel adult children to pay for costs to care for aging parents. In this effort, I was guided by several people, including my Penn State colleague and noted Russian law scholar, Professor William Butler, in going beyond literal translations of Ukraine statutes and to examine case reports that shed light on the potential strengths or weaknesses of different systems of enforcement. As I wrote in my second article, the Ukraine cases "demonstrate the impact of poverty -- and the importance of even a few 'dollars' extra per month - for the elder parent" for any country struggling to create a viable economic system, including former Soviet block countries.
My thoughts go out to the families, including their elders, who face uncertainty during these challenging times and who deserve a brighter future.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Request for Proposals – Symposium Sponsored by ACTEC Foundation The Legal Education Committee of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel requests proposals for a $20,000 grant to host a symposium on trust and estate law during academic year 2015-2016.
The ACTEC Foundation Symposium is intended to be the premier academic symposium on trust and estate law in the United States. The goals of the symposium are to stimulate development of scholarly work in trust and estate law, to bridge the gap between the academic community and practitioners, to provide opportunities for junior academics to present papers and interact with more senior academics, to provide an opportunity for trust and estate professors to interact with each other, to involve academics from other disciplines in discussions of trust and estate topics, and to strengthen ACTEC’s image as the leading organization for trust and estate lawyers, both practitioners and academics.
The grant associated with this RFP is contingent on approval by the ACTEC Foundation. Please submit your proposal by April 15, 2014 to Susan Gary email@example.com or Nancy McLaughlin firstname.lastname@example.org. Electronic submission is fine.
A successful proposal will provide the following information:
Theme: The theme should be related to trust and estate law (defined to include any topic related to the gratuituous transfer of property (trust law, probate law, etc.), elder law, and transfer tax law). A broad theme permits a wide range of papers, and is more likely to be successful. Past themes have included: trust law, the law of succession, the law of philanthropy, and probate law. The most recent symposium was titled, The Emergent Federal Role in Private Wealth Transfer. The estate tax will be 100 years old in 2016, so a possible theme for the next symposium would be a broad look at transfer taxes, but proposals with any theme are welcome.
In connection with identifying a theme for the symposium, the RFP should indicate the types of topics that might be presented in connection with the theme. Actual topics will depend on the paper proposals, but it will be helpful for the proposal to include ideas of the scope of the theme.
Host: The proposal should identify a law school and one or two faculty members who agree to manage the logistics of the symposium. Ideally a faculty member at the law school will be involved, but we have successfully held symposia at schools without the direct involvement of a faculty member at the school. The law professor(s) or professors who are proposing the symposium will need to make all the arrangements with the school and the law review or journal.
Publication: The symposium papers are published so that the exchange of ideas can be shared beyond those who are able to attend the symposium. An important part of the proposal is a commitment, to the extent possible (the commitment may have to be contingent) from a law review at the host school to publish the papers as a symposium issue. The law review can be either the primary journal or a secondary journal at the school. The Legal Education Committee is aware of the difficulty of getting a journal board to commit to publishing papers in an issue that will be managed by another board and is open to whatever strategies may work.
Guidelines for the Symposium
The Legal Education Committee has developed guidelines for the symposia, and
the host faculty should plan to follow these guidelines, with discretion with respect to details. Guidelines with pointers on various aspects of the symposia are available, but the key things the host should know before submitting a proposal are the following:
Papers. After the host is selected, the faculty member will prepare a Call for Papers. The organizer may want to secure commitments for papers from a few people first, and the call
for papers need not be for all papers, but the call for papers should be used to fill the majority of spots for presenters. The Legal Education Committee can assist in circulating the call for papers, to help make the process as wide a call as possible.
The Symposium Subcommittee, consisting of two or three members of the Legal Education Committee and the symposium organizer, will choose the presenters based, in general, on the following criteria:
Connection to the theme
Interesting, innovative research
Importance of research
Junior scholars/senior scholars/a mix
In addition to the papers, the Symposium Subcommittee should select a luncheon speaker and commentators. These people may, but need not, come from the group that submitted paper proposals. Depending on the theme and the topics of the papers, it may be appropriate to ask one or two practitioners to be commentators or the luncheon speaker.
Budget. The budget for past symposia has provided the speakers and commentators with travel (ground transportation to and from airports, air travel or mileage for driving, and hotel for one or two nights, as needed by the speaker). Speakers have been invited to a dinner Thursday evening and on Friday breakfast and lunch are provided to all attendees. Speakers have not been reimbursed for other expenses, such as meals en route to the symposium. There are some additional costs for publicity and materials (ACTEC helps with production and distribution of publicity).
The Foundation will transfer $20,000 to the host school, and the host school will be responsible for managing the grant and paying expenses for the symposium. The host will file a report with the Foundation after the symposium. In the past, the grant has been sufficient to cover all expenses. It may be helpful to seek sponsorship for the luncheon.
Friday, February 21, 2014
The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has announced a March 5, 2014 free webinar on Tips and Tools for Preventing and Responding to Financial Exploitation in Long-Term Care Facilities. Here is the description of the webinar:
Join us to discuss financial exploitation in long-term care facilities and learn how to prevent and respond to allegations of financial abuse. Naomi Karp, Policy Advisor, Consumer Fraud Protection Bureau (CFPB) Office of Older Americans, will explain CFPB’s role in financial protection and education of older adults and share new resources attendees can use with consumers to increase financial literacy and prevent financial exploitation. Ann-Maria Beard, Deputy Director, Office of Supplemental Security Income and Representative Payment Policy of the Social Security Administration will discuss the Representative Payee Program, specifically the responsibilities and oversight of representative payees and how attendees can support the rights of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries and report suspicion of misuse of benefits by a representative payee. Additionally, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss case scenarios and learn about new consumer facts sheets regarding the prevention, detection and reporting of financial exploitation in nursing home and assisted living facilities produced by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) for the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).
There are a limited number of seats available, and once registration is filled, a wait-list will be started. To register, or learn more, click here.
As introduced in an earlier post, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs, also sometimes operating as Life Care Communities or LCCs) are frequently organized and operated as 501(c)(3) entities, exempt from federal income taxes. However, in several states, authorities have opposed exemption from state or local taxes, especially real estate taxes. The campuses of high-end CCRCs can be tempting targets for revenue-hungry local governing units.
Pennsylvania has been a hotbed of such challenges, with the latest ruling issued in Albright Care Services v. Union County Board of Assessment, decided by the Commonwealth Court, an intermediate court of appeals, on January 29, 2014. In Pennsylvania, the question of exemptions from real estate taxes depends on at least two sets of criteria, including (A) proof of operation as an "Institution of Purely Public Charity" or IPPC, and (B) "parcel reviews," to determine whether individual components of property are "actually and regularly used for the identified charitable purposes."
The irony is an operation can be sufficiently "charitable" in nature to qualify for exemption from federal income taxes (and thus usually state income taxes) but not so "charitable" as to qualify for state exemptions that demand more rigorous proof of allegiance to mission.
In Albright, the Commonwealth Court affirmed findings that the company, operating two CCRCs, qualified as an IPPC, thus distinguishing recent rulings that denied real estate exemptions for two other nonprofit continuing care operations, Dunwood Village (2012) and Menno Haven (2007). The Court credited testimony by Albright's accountant on the question of whether the company donated a substantial portion of its services to residents, rejecting the county's argument the CCRCs were reaping a Medicaid "windfall."
The Court also affirmed the finding that several of Albright's real estate parcels was used to support the charitable mission. It called the independent living facilities a "closer question," but ultimately concluded such units were operated as part of a "comprehensive care scheme" that advanced a unified charitable purpose, citing a 2007 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in Alliance Home of Carlisle v. Board of Assessment Appeals. It remanded for further findings on whether parcels containing a museum and flood plain properties were used to advance the CCRC's charitable purpose.
The Albright decision was released as an "unreported panel decision" that may be "cited for its persuasive value, but not as binding precedent." The Albright decision on CCRCs follows a series of Pennsylvania cases arguing state constitutional implications of exemptions for real property, affecting everything from summer camps to hospitals and universities, including the 4-3 ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Mesivtah Eitz Chaim of Bobov v. Pike County Board of Assessments (2012). In some counties, nonprofits may feel under pressure to enter into "PILOTS," or negotiated agreements for "Payments in Lieu of Taxes," to avoid litigation over exemptions.
The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has issued a save the date for their 2014 conference. The conference will be held November 15-19, 2014 at the Hilton Crystal City at Reagan National Airport. The agenda, speakers, and registration information are forthcoming.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Retiring on the House: Reverse Mortgages for Baby Boomers gives a good explanation of how reverse mortgages work and the implications for survivors once the last borrower has died. Lisa Prevost's February 13, 2014 article provides a succinct list of issues faced by the heirs. It is a good choice for assigned reading for students to start their understanding of the topic.
The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) has a new report by Dr. Jack VanDerhei, What Causes EBRI Retirement Readiness RatingsTM to Vary: Results from the 2014 Retirement Security Projection Model (Feb. 2014). EBRI began to look at the issue of Retirement Readiness Ratings (3Rs) nationally in 2003 using its "projection model"® with updates to the various assumptions every year. For 2014, after explaining the model, the report discusses the 3Rs, explains and charts the assumptions used, and concludes:
Due to the increase in financial market and housing values during 2013, the probability that Baby Boomers and Generation Xers would not run short of money in retirement increases between 0.5 and 1.6 percentage points, based on the ... EBRI. [3Rs]. That analysis reveals that one of the most important factors in determining whether Gen Xers would have sufficient retirement income is eligibility for participation in an employer-sponsored defined contribution plan.
The conclusion also acknowledges the impact of Social Security on 3Rs: "[i]f Social Security benefits are, in fact, decreased in 2033 according to the values ... the RRR value for [Gen Xers in the bottom 25%] will drop by more than 50 percent: from 20.9 percent to 10.3 percent." Five take-aways from the report are provided at the beginning in the "at a glance" section:
Retirement income adequacy improved slightly in 2013.
Eligibility for participation in an employer-sponsored defined contribution plan remains one of the most important factors for retirement income adequacy.
Future Social Security benefits make a huge difference for the retirement income adequacy of some households, especially Gen Xers in the lowest-income quartile.
Longevity risk and stochastic health care risk are associated with huge variations in retirement income adequacy.
A great deal of the variability in retirement income adequacy could be mitigated by appropriate risk-management techniques at or near retirement age.
In a previous post, I reported on a senior care whistleblower case, where a court ruled that a former corporate officer, who was also the in-house counsel, cannot participate in a False Claims Act suit, if the information supporting the claim comes from privileged communications received in his role as an attorney. The two other former executives of the company, non-lawyers, could have participated as qui tam plaintiffs; however the entire case was dismissed by the court as a sanction for improper disclosure of attorney-client privileged information.
Most whistleblowers are insiders, either current or former employees; however, that is not always true. The "relator" (that's False-Claim-Act-speak for whistleblower) in a suit brought against RehabCare, Rehab Systems, and Health Systems, Inc. was the CEO of a competitor, Health Dimensions Rehabilitation, Inc., who first heard about a successful use of "referral fees" during a public conference call hosted by RehabCare.
"Pride goeth before a fall," as our mothers might say. In this case, the CEO's research into the referral fees resulted in allegations the fees were intended to generate referrals of clients covered by Medicare and Medicaid, thus giving rise to alleged violations of the federal Anti-Kickback Act. The defendants denied all allegations.
In the RehabCare case, which settled earlier this year for a reported $30 million, the whistleblower, Health Dimensions Rehabilitation, Inc. is in line to receive about $5.7 million from the settlement, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Penn State Dickinson School of Law is hosting a half-day program examining "Whistleblower Laws in the 21st Century," on March 20, 2014. Speakers include both academic scholars and experienced attorneys who have advised or represented parties in False Claims Act cases in health care, including "senior care."
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
One of my students (thanks Debbie) sent me a link to an AP story run by ABC: Older Americans Are Early Winners Under Health Law. As we have previously blogged, it's not easy for an out of work older person to find a job. Before the ACA, it was hard for the the unemployed person to also get health insurance, according to the story, hoping to be covered by Medicare prior to experiencing any health predicament. With the ACA, they are, as the article describes them, "early winners" because they now are able to get health insurance. The article tells the story of several individuals between 55-64 who have been benefited by the ACA. Consider this:
Aging boomers are more likely to be in debt as they enter retirement than were previous generations... [o]ne in five has unpaid medical bills and 17 percent are underwater with their home values. Fourteen percent are uninsured.
As of December, 46 percent of older jobseekers were among the long-term unemployed compared with less than 25 percent before the recession.
And those financial setbacks happened just as their health care needs became more acute. Americans in their mid-50s to mid-60s are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than other age groups, younger or older, accounting for 3 in 10 of the adult diabetes diagnoses in the United States each year. And every year after age 50, the rate of cancer diagnosis climbs.
The article succinctly illustrates how some individuals are benefiting by the implementation of the ACA.
The ABA Commission on Law and Aging has opened the door for speakers to submit presentation proposals for the "new" Aging and Law Conference to be held in Washington D.C. at the Brickfield Center in the AARP Headquarters. The conference is set for October 16 and 17, 2014.
The submission deadline is March 15, 2014, with details available on the Conference "Facebook" account.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
We all know that over the near future, as the Boomers' parents die, the Boomers will inherit a substantial amount of wealth. I mean substantial as in, according to an article in the New York Times which references "[t]he Center for Retirement Research at Boston College [which] estimates that boomers will ultimately receive a total of $8.4 trillion, most of it by 2030." Yes TRILLIONS; that, dear reader is substantial.
Receiving money can be a good thing, but may come with some bumps in the road, as evidenced in Fran Hawthorne's February 10, 2014 article, When Boomers Inherit, Complications May Follow. Comparing the boomers with other "sudden money recipients" (example-a lottery winner), boomers are different in that they "are typically middle-aged or older. Depending on the amount, the newfound assets can open fresh possibilities just as “they’re looking at that shift stage of life when they’re going from career to the next career” or to retirement [according] to Susan K. Bradley, founder of the Sudden Money Institute ... a resource center for recipients and financial planners." But, as the article discusses, inherited money comes with an entire spectrum of emotions which can range along "a mix of guilt, loss, anger, regret, relief and hurt, perhaps stewed with long-simmering family rivalries and resentments." Some children may keep their parents' investment strategies intact, perhaps as a way of honoring the parents, but such is not necessarily the wisest move.
The National Council on Aging identifies five ways that Congress -- if it could get its act together -- can help seniors in 2014:
- Restore funding and modernize aging services, beginning with revitalization of the Older Americans Act, once the central legislation for a national approach to basic safeguards;
- Protect low-income Medicare beneficiaries, by securing the viability of the Medicare Qualified Individual (QI) program, aimed at helping low income individuals (those with incomes between $13,700 and $15,300) take part in Medicare Part B, key to insurance coverage for doctor's visits.
- Renew the Farm Bill, including the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) to help needy seniors obtain healthy food, a program that in the past has been important to as many as 4 million older adults, as well as younger persons facing food insecurity.
- Introduce long-term care legislation -- that focuses on the very real needs for daily assistance (long term "services and supports") , beyond "mere" health care.
- Pass immigration reform -- necessary to provide the work force to cope with the predicted needs for care and assistance to aging boomers.