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Medicare and Medicaid Will Cover Coronavirus Testing

Lavelle & Finn


With coronavirus dominating news coverage and creating alarm, it is important to know that Medicare and Medicaid will cover tests for the virus. The department of Health and Human Services has designated the test for the new strain of coronavirus (officially called COVID-19) an essential health benefit. This designation means that Medicare and Medicaid will […]

Federal Government Allows States to Choose Medicaid Block Grants

Lavelle & Finn


The federal government has unveiled a plan to allow states the option to cap Medicaid spending using block grants. While this change does not directly affect nursing home residents on Medicaid and is billed as a way to improve state flexibility in running Medicaid programs, it could result in significant service cuts.  Medicaid is a […]

How Secure Is Social Security?

Lavelle & Finn


For years people have been worried about Social Security’s future, but what is the actual outlook? According to the federal government, unless Congress acts to intervene, Social Security shortfalls are expected beginning in 2035. Social Security retirement benefits are financed primarily through dedicated payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers, with employees and employers […]

Make Sure You Are Counted in the 2020 Census

Lavelle & Finn


The 2020 census is starting soon, and seniors need to be counted. This may be more of a challenge this year because for the first time, the census will be completed largely online. The U.S Constitution mandates that the federal government conduct a census every 10 years. Information from the census is used to determine […]

The Future of Social Security and Medicare: Here’s What Trustees Are Projecting

Lavelle & Finn


Most Americans will eventually receive Social Security and Medicare benefits. Each year, the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds release lengthy reports to Congress that assess the health of these important programs. The newest reports, released on April 22, 2019, discuss the current financial condition and ongoing financial challenges that both programs […]

IRA and Retirement Plan Limits for 2020

Lavelle & Finn


IRA contribution limits The maximum amount you can contribute to a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA in 2020 is $6,000 (or 100% of your earned income, if less), unchanged from 2019. The maximum catch-up contribution for those age 50 or older remains at $1,000. You can contribute to both a traditional IRA and a […]

IRS Issues Long-Term Care Premium Deductibility Limits for 2020

Lavelle & Finn


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the amount taxpayers can deduct from their 2020 income as a result of buying long-term care insurance. Premiums for “qualified” long-term care insurance policies (see explanation below) are tax deductible to the extent that they, along with other unreimbursed medical expenses (including Medicare premiums), exceed 10 percent of the […]

Home Care Costs Rise Sharply in Annual Long-Term Care Cost Survey

Lavelle & Finn


When it comes to long-term care costs, the charges for home care are now rising faster than those for nursing home care, according to Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care survey. In the past year, the median annual cost for home health aides rose 4.55 percent to $52,624, while the median cost of a private nursing home room […]

Medicare Premiums to Increase by Almost $10 a Month in 2020

Lavelle & Finn


After small or no increases the past couple of years, Medicare’s Part B premium will rise sharply in 2020. The basic monthly premium will increase $9.10, from $135.50 a month to $144.60.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the premium increase on November 8, 2019. Not everyone will pay the whole increase, […]

Medicaid’s Power to Recoup Benefits Paid: Estate Recovery and Liens

Lavelle & Finn


Federal law requires the state to attempt to recover the long-term care benefits from a Medicaid recipient’s estate after the recipient’s death. If steps aren’t taken to protect the Medicaid recipient’s house, it may need to be sold to settle the claim.  For Medicaid recipients age 55 or older, states must seek recovery of payments from the […]