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medicare picMedicare Open Enrollment

October 15 - December 7, 2013


In most cases, this may be the one chance you have to make a change to your health and prescription drug coverage for 2014.

For more information, go to medicare.gov.





The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a new set of fraud prevention tips for individuals interested in accessing health coverage in the new Affordable Care Act's (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplace. Click here to read the tips. 


Starting on October 1, 2013, people who lack health insurance could start signing up for coverage through the new Internet-based health insurance marketplaces set up under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).  Most of those who don't already have insurance will have to buy coverage by March 31, 2014 or pay a penalty. 


But, if you already have Medicare, you have nothing to worry about.  You have coverage that will continue as before (better than before, in fact) and you don't need to do anything.  Any stranger who tries to tell you otherwise is likely trying to steal your personal information.  


It's all somewhat confusing because Medicare's enrollment period for choosing or changing prescription drug or Medicare Advantage plans begins October 15 and ends December 7, overlapping with the Affordable Care Act's enrollment period.  Scammers are taking advantage of the confusion to steal personal and financial information from Medicare recipients and others. 


Some con artists, claiming to be from Medicare, are calling Medicare beneficiaries and telling them that because of Obamacare, they need to get "a new Medicare card," which requires them to divulge personal and banking information.  If they don't provide the information, the beneficiaries are told that their Medicare benefits will stop.


In point of fact, people age 65 and over who are on Medicare don't need to do anything to continue getting their government benefits. Medicare coverage satisfies the new insurance requirement and a new "health care card" is not required.  (And, those under age 65, who already have health coverage don't need to do anything, either.)  Moreover, Medicare, like the IRS, will never contact beneficaires about any personal issues by phone or e-mail, but rather through regular mail.


"We want to protect Medicare beneficiaries and remind them their benefits aren't changing, and the marketplace doesn't require them to do anything differently" a Medicare spokesman said.


It's also against the law for someone who knows that you have Medicare to sell you a marketplace (also called an "exchange") plan.  Anyone who violates the law can be fined up to $25,000 or imprisoned for up to five years, or both.


If you receive a suspicious call, contact the Illinois SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) Program at AgeOptions. As we have mentioned in previous issues of YOUR Legal Update, this is a great resource. Through outreach and education, SMP works to empower Medicare beneficiaries to fight fraud, including publishing a weekly Fraud Alert.  


Medicare coverage will actually improve for many beneficiaries as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Those receiving prescription drug coverage and stuck in the coverage gap known as the "doughnut hole" will get a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescription drugs covered under Medicare Part D.  And, health reform added some free preventive services to Medicare


The new health care marketplaces should be a big boon to the near-elderly -- those ages 50 to 64 -- one-fifth of whom went without health insurance for at least part of 2012.  These individuals can sign up for coverage through the marketplaces without fear of being rejected for preexisting conditions, and the insurance should be more affordable than before.  Many others in this age group are clinging to their jobs simply for the health insurance.  The availability of affordable, guaranteed health coverage could allow them to start their own business, change employers, or retire.  


Remember that, if you have Medicare, you have health insurance and do not need to buy insurance from the Marketplace. If you or a loved one need information about the Marketplace, the official website and best place to find out more is www.healthcare.gov


More and more, we are conducting our business godly-enter-key.jpgon the Internet, whether that's online banking, shopping, uploading documents and files to the "cloud," posting videos, or communicating with 'long lost' friends.


So, what happens to all of our accounts and files when we become incapacitated or pass away? Will our representatives have access to them? Where will they find our usernames and passwords? Who can take down our Facebook and LinkedIn pages, or would we prefer that they continue for posterity? If we've saved photos, videos and other files on the cloud, who should have access to them and how long should they stay out there?


read more.


October is National Special Needs Law Month. 


Started by  the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, which the attorneys at Dutton & Casey are active in,  establised National Special Needs Law Month in an effort to educate people with disabilities and their families about their legal options in dealing with:




-Special Needs Trusts

-Financing Long-Term Carenaela logo  

-Surrogate Decision Making 

and other important issues.


This year is especially important as the Affordable Care Act begins to have an impact on people with special needs. 


learn more about how Dutton & Casey can assist you.. or someone who you are about.


Our Attorneys
From left to right: 

Helen Mesoloras, Janna Dutton, Kathryn Casey, Hanny Pei.  


click here to learn more about our attorneys.




Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD) and   Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) Caregiver and Professional Education and Support Conference


As part of this conference, two sessions of "Expanding Your Care Team as Needs Change - Early to Middle Stage"

will be presented by:

Janna Dutton, JD, Attorney; Mary O'Hara, AM, LCSW, Social Worker and Assistant Director of Education; Sandra Weintraub, Ph.D., Professor, Psychiatry and Behavior Sciences

Date:  Monday, November 4, 2013.

Location:  Doubletree, 300 East Ohio Street, Chicago.

Click here to learn more.


Legal Ability Planning - How to Prepare For and Prosper in Adulthood

Adequate legal planning for living with a disability, whether your own or your loved one's, involves more than writing a will. It requires legal documents designed for living. Attend this session, led by an attorney practicing disability and elder law, as she discusses important topics, including health care planning and coverage, financial and health care surrogate decision-making, long term care, and other important planning tools designed to protect your physical, mental, and financial health, or that of someone you care about, during life

Presenter: Janna Dutton, JD

Date:  Thursday, November 14, 2013

Time:  6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Location:  Jewish Community and Family Services, 5150 West Golf, Skokie, IL.

Continuing Education: This program will award two contact hours for LPC, LCPC, LSW, and LCSW licenses.

Registration: There is no charge to attend. However, advanced registration is required. click here to register

Appointments with our attorneys are available in
Arlington Heights, Chicago, Skokie and Vernon Hills, Illinois.