Thursday, August 17, 2006

Stetson to Host Special Needs Trust Seminar

When:  October 19-20, 2006
Where:    Clearwater Beach, FL

Program Chair: Professor Rebecca C. Morgan - Director, Center for Excellence in Elder Law
Boston Asset Management Faculty Chair in Elder Law

Topics Include

Plenary Sessions: Analyzing an Incoming SNT Matter, SSI & SNTs, Corporate Trustees - What They Need You to Know, Future of the SNT Practice, New Developments, and Current Issues in SSI.

Attorneys’ Track: Ethics, Administration, Modifying Trusts, Fixing Problems, Tax Planning for SNTs, Tax Issues in SNTs, Creating the Long-term SNT Distribution Plan, SNTs & Qualified Plans, Interstate/Multi-state Issues, and Developing a System for Self-Settled Special Needs Trusts.

Trustees’ Track: Marketing, Investment & Management Issues, Budgeting & Counseling Issues, Representation Issues, Hiring Others, How to Find Services and Advocate for the Beneficiary, Houses & Cars, I Want to Buy A......, and Closing & Planning to End SNTs.

Get more info here.

August 17, 2006 in Property Management | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Part D Premium for 2007: Just the Facts, Please

I've been reading in newspapers around the country that the average monthly premium for aDragnet Medicare Part D plan for next year will be only $24.  This information was contained in a CMS press release.  But in this document, which appears to be the official explanation of what Part D will cost enrollees and the government next year, that figure nowwhere appears.  Instead, the document says:

  • The national average monthly bid amount for 2007 is $80.43.

Under the “Medicare Demonstration to Limit Annual Changes in Part D Premiums Due to Beneficiary Choice of Low-Cost Plans,” as approved on August 14, 2006, the national average monthly bid amount is a composite of (i) a weighted average calculated using the 2006 weighting methodology and (ii) a weighted average calculated based on actual plan enrollments. In 2007, 80% of the national average monthly bid amount will be based on the 2006 averaging methodology and 20% will be based on the enrollment-weighted average. For determining the enrollment-weighted average bid, Part D enrollees (in stand-alone prescription drug plans and in Medicare Advantage drug plans) from the reference month of June 2006 are used.

  • The Part D base beneficiary premium for 2007 is $27.35.

The base beneficiary premium is equal to the product of the beneficiary premium percentage and the national average monthly bid amount. The beneficiary premium percentage (“applicable percentage”) is a fraction, with the numerator of 25.5 percent; and a denominator which is 100 percent minus a percentage equal to (i) the total reinsurance payments that CMS estimates will be paid for the coverage year, divided by (ii) that amount plus the total payments that CMS estimates will be paid to Part D plans that are attributable to the standardized bid amount during the year, taking into account amounts paid by both CMS and enrollees.

Will someone please be so kind as to explain to me what all that means, and whence comes that $24 figure?

August 16, 2006 in Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

AARP Announces Semmel Fellowship for Law Students

AARP Foundation Litigation announces the AARP Foundation Litigation Herbert Semmel Elder Law Fellowship for law students interested in issues affecting older Americans.  Details:

Fellowship Description

The Fellowship will provide a rising third-year law student with a
year-long experience at AFL. The Semmel Fellow will work
closely with AFL’s staff of 17 attorneys and other public interest
attorneys on major cases in state and federal court affecting the
rights of older Americans. Following a three-month summer
clerkship at AFL, the Fellow will prepare a manuscript for a law
review article on an elder law issue to be submitted for
publication by the end of the 2007-2008 academic year.


Applicants should be in their second year of law school at the
time of application. They must possess strong analytical,
research, and verbal skills; an ability to write clearly and
effectively; and a commitment to public service. A familiarity
with the issues affecting older Americans is highly desirable, as is
a demonstrable commitment to the field of elder law.

Fellowship Specifications

The Semmel Fellow must be able to commit to working in
Washington, DC for the summer of 2007. The Fellow will be paid
at a rate of $22 per hour (approximately $9,200). In addition, a
$10,000 scholarship stipend will be provided in support of the
manuscript preparation. The Fellow is responsible for any taxes
owed on the scholarship stipend.

Application Submission

All application documents should be combined into one Word or .pdf file and e-mailed by November 15, 2006 to the AARP Office of Academic Affairs at If you have
questions, please call Dr. Betsy Sprouse in Academic Affairs at 202-434-6362.

Interested students can also contact me, the Blog Mistress, and I will email you copy of the brochure. 

August 16, 2006 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Donut hole looms for many seniors

From the   

Violet Lawton fell into the hole  --  the "doughnut hole" in Medicare's prescription drug plan. 

DoughnutThe donut hole is a gap in coverage that Congress built into Medicare's first-ever prescription plan. The gap requires most people with drug expenses over $2,250 to pay 100 percent out of pocket before coverage resumes at the $5,100 level.

"I had expected it, but it was like waiting for someone to stick a needle in your arm," said Lawton, 80, of Alameda. "You're waiting but  --  ow!  --  it hurts when it happens."

Read more here.

Ed:  Experts think that anywhere between 3.4 and 7 million beneficiairies will reach the donut hole this year.  It's hard to know because whether a person gets there depends on what drugs she uses and what those drugs' total costs are, as charged by the plan.  For more information on how "The Hole" works, visit the KFF's Part D Cost Sharing area.

August 15, 2006 in Medicare | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Blog meister on vacation

Greetings.  I am leaving this morning for a week in the north woods--no phone, Internet, or TV.  So no blog, either.  Have a good week and I will be back on line Aug. 14!


August 5, 2006 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Not elder law: Spy photos help locate ancient Syrian ruins

From  ABC On  Line Australia:



Australian archaeologists have uncovered the remains of ancient human settlements in Syria.

A team of researchers from the Australian National University have used declassified US spy satellite images from the 1960s to help them find the location of the ruins.

Archaeologist Mandy Mottram says the remains of pottery factories, tombs and even an ancient basilica were found.

"You can pinpoint the sites using the satellite images quite simply because you see anomalies in the landscape," she said.

"You can't go, 'Oh yes looking at the photograph, I know what this is going to be', you don't know that until you go there, but you can get a pretty fair idea that there's a site of some kind there."

Ms Mottram says the remains of an ancient basilica were among the finds.

"It quite possibly tumbled at some stage during an earthquake because there were a couple of large earthquakes that hit that region back in medieval times, but it's still got walls preserved and it quite possibly was part of a monastic community which existed on the top of this mountain," she said.

August 3, 2006 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Iceland: Elderly reach an agreement with government

Reported in the Iceland Times:

This afternoon it was announced that a committee who has been studying how to improve the lifestyle of the elderly has reached its conclusion. The government will use many of the committee's proposals to improve government pension and build more housing for the elderly. The committee further suggests that home nursing will be improved significantly, according to The main points of the agreement which was presented at a joint meeting with Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde and the Chairman of the Society of Aged people, former National Physician, Ólafur Ólafsson, were the following:    

*     Government pension will increase    
*     The government pension system will be simplified    
*     Pension age will be flexible so that government pension will increase the later people go on pension     *     Home nursing will be improved    
*     Waiting lists for hospitals will be shortened    
*     Supply of apartments for the aged will be increased Both parties were happy with the agreement.

The Government said it was an important settlement and the representatives of the elderly said it was a step in the right direction.

August 2, 2006 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0) Syllabi on Health and Insurance Issues

Syllabus175 Did you know?

The Syllabus Library provides an opportunity for faculty to share syllabi for health policy courses. Each entry identifies the school, the professor and the course name and provides a link to the course syllabus.

To view or print the syllabi, you will need Adobe Acrobat reader, which is available for free. If you do not have the software on your computer, you can download it from the Adobe Website.

Do you have a syllabus you'd like to share? Email us at

Current Topics in Health Policy
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August 2, 2006 in Health Care/Long Term Care | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Is this fair?

From the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities:

SINCE LAST MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE, CONGRESS HAS REDUCED ESTATE TAX BURDENS NINE TIMES: If No Further Action Is Taken, Estate Tax Exemption Will Still Increase by 2009 While Value of Minimum Wage Will Continue to Fall

by Aviva Aron-Dine  

On Friday, the Senate is expected to consider legislation passed by the House that links a dramatic reduction in the estate tax with an increase in the minimum wage. In seeking to tie the fate of these two proposals together, Congressional leaders have implied that they address concerns of similar import and urgency. In reality, of course, the minimum wage increase would benefit 6.6 million workers, while the estate tax reduction would benefit 8,200 very large estates. Moreover, over the past decade, Congress has zealously protected the small number of wealthy estates subject to the estate tax, enacting legislation (in 1997 and 2001) that has reduced estate tax burdens in eight of the past nine years.  2pp.


by Joel Friedman  

This analysis uses state-by-state data to highlight the dramatically different populations that would be impacted by the estate tax/minimum wage legislation. The estate tax reduction only affects the nation’s most well-off households, while the minimum wage increase would boost the earnings of 6.6 million American workers.  The tables in the report provide data that illuminate this contrast.  2pp.

August 2, 2006 in Other | Permalink | TrackBack (0)