Dear Family, Friends & Colleagues,

 

It is hard to believe that 2013 has come to an end and 2014 is off to a fresh start!  We welcome the New Year in with the thoughts of some great minds:
 
"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."

 Edith Lovejoy Pierce  (b.1904)

 

 "Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true"

 Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

 

"Maybe this year, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives not looking for flaws, but looking for potential."  
Ellen Goodman (b. 1941)
 
'A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other"
Anonymous
 
 
We welcome the opportunity to serve the people you care about.  Click on the "Forward to a Friend" button at the top of the page to send this newsletter to someone who will benefit from our insights. If you are a facebook user, please like us on our facebook page.

Finally, from all of us, we wish you all the best this year!

 

Sincerely,

Severns Associates, P.C.

  

Elder Law News from Severns Associates, PC 
 
  
January 2014  
 
      

      

 

Medicare to End 'Improve or You're Out' Standard for Coverage of Skilled Services


In a major change in Medicare policy, the Obama administration has provisionally agreed to end Medicare's longstanding practice of requiring that beneficiaries with chronic conditions and disabilities show a likelihood of improvement in order to receive coverage of skilled care and therapy services. The policy shift will affect beneficiaries with conditions like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, heart disease, and stroke. 


 

Medicare Part B Premium to Remain the Same for 2014

 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has announced the Medicare premiums, deductibles, and coinsurances for 2014. The big news is that thanks to what the administration says are the effects of its health reform efforts, the standard Medicare Part B premium will remain the same, $104.90 a month.  The Part B deductible will also hold steady at $147. 

 

As previously reported, Social Security recipients will receive a 1.5 percent increase in payments in 2014. Because most recipients have their Medicare premiums deducted from their Social Security benefits, the absence of an increase in Medicare premiums means that most will receive a small boost in Social Security benefits. 

 

Here are all the new Medicare figures:

 

  Read more 

 

Key 2014 Dollar Limits for Medicaid Long-Term Care Coverage Released

 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the 2014 federal guidelines for how much money the spouses of institutionalized Medicaid recipients may keep and the limit on how much a home can be worth for its owner to still qualify for Medicaid.

 

Read more
  

How Do Divorce and Remarriage Affect Social Security Benefits?

 

It is common knowledge that husbands and wives are entitled to collect Social Security benefits on their spouses' work records. Less well known is that this benefit applies to divorced spouses as long as the spouse has not remarried. Divorced spouses are even entitled to survivor benefits in certain circumstances.

 

As a spouse, you have the option of claiming a Social Security retirement benefit based on your own earnings record or collecting a spousal benefit equal to half of your spouse's Social Security benefit. You are automatically entitled to whichever benefit is higher and you can collect on your spouse's record even if you have never worked yourself.

 

As a divorced spouse you can collect benefits on your ex-spouse's record, even if the ex-spouse has remarried and even if the ex-spouse's new spouse is collecting on the same record.

 

But to get this benefit, you must meet the following requirements: 

 

 Read more

 

IRS Issues Long-Term Care Premium Deductibility Limits for 2014

 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is increasing the amount taxpayers can deduct from their 2014 taxes 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 insured's adjusted gross income, or 7.5 percent for taxpayers 65 and older (through 2016).

 

These premiums -- what the policyholder pays the insurance company to keep the policy in force -- are deductible for the taxpayer, his or her spouse and other dependents. (If you are self-employed, the tax-deductibility rules are a little different: You can take the amount of the premium as a deduction as long as you made a net profit; your medical expenses do not have to exceed a certain percentage of your income.) 

   

Read more 

 

9 (Potential) Problems with Your Trust

 

All trusts should be reviewed every few years to make sure that they are up-to-date with the law and meet your goals today. Following is a checklist of trust features you can review yourself. But be aware that these only refer to revocable "living" trusts, not to irrevocable trusts.

 
Read more   
 
 

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In This Issue
Medicare to End 'Improve or You're Out' Standard for Coverage of Skilled Services.
Medicare Part B Premium to Remain the Same for 2014
Key 2014 Dollar Limits for Medicaid Long-Term Care Coverage Released
How Do Divorce and Remarriage Affect Social Security Benefits?.
IRS Issues Long-Term Care Premium Deductibility Limits for 2014
9 (Potential) Problems with Your Trust

 

 

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Firm Spotlight

Best Law Firm 2013
 
This month, we shine our spotlight on the law firm of Severns Associates.

Severns Associates has been in existence since its founding by Scott Severns in 1984. Known to many as the "Father of Elder Law," Scott was one of the first attorneys to focus his practice on the needs of the elderly. Since then, Severns Associates has received a number of accolades, including the listing of its attorneys in SuperLawyers, Best Lawyers, and other publications. 

In addition to having highly regarded attorneys, the firm itself is listed in the top tier of Elder Law Firms in Indianapolis.  Since 2010, Severns Associates has maintained this select status, and was recently given this award yet again for 2014.  

 
Best Law Firm 2013 
Lawyer of the Year detail
 
If you answer yes to any of these questions, Severns Associates can help.
 

-Has a family member been diagnosed with a mentally or physically debilitating disorder such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS, stroke or a decline in functional capacity?

 

-Is a family member isolated due to the recent death of a spouse, or have family that either lives too far away or is too busy to provide adequate care?

-Is a family member soon to be discharged into a care facility or currently receiving in-home care?

-Does a family member have a variety of healthcare providers and need coordination and advocacy for quality care?

-Does a family member seem unusually concerned about costs of medication and services, indicating he or she may be having financial troubles?

-Does a family member have assets that fall between $50,000 and $400,000 - enough to finance a short stay in a care facility but not enough for an extended stay?

-Does a family member have a spouse whose financial needs must be considered in light of a family member's medical condition? 

 

 
About Our Law Firm
  
Severns Associates, P.C. is an elder law firm that has been practicing for over 30 years, and is regarded as one of the most experienced elder law firms in the Indianapolis region.  We focus on helping families work together without conflict to plan for both immediate and future needs. 
  
Our services include:
 
Severns Associates, PC
10293 N. Meridian Street Suite 150
Indianapolis, Indiana 46290
317-817-0300