Four things to consider when you plan your retirement healthcare coverage

Insurance coverage can be one of the most important pillars of your retirement plan. It is also one of the most personal. Policies vary as widely as the people who purchase them, and coverage requirements can change dramatically as we age. In the United States, anyone aged 65 or older qualifies for Medicare, a federal health insurance program. In addition, certain disabilities and illnesses qualify an individual for Medicare. Transitioning from a private, marketplace or company-sponsored insurance plan can be confusing. We always recommend checking with a licensed insurance professional before making such an important decision. Beyond that, here are four things to consider as you plan your coverage: Can you keep your current insurance coverage when you retire? Read the fine print of any policy you choose. Check the cost of your premiums, deductibles and any hidden costs. What will you pay out-of-pocket for hospital stays or doctor visits? Is there a yearly limit on what you could pay out-of-pocket for medical services? Make sure you understand any coverage rules that may affect your costs. Does your plan include your preferred provider? Will you need additional coverage for costs associated with vision, dental and/or hearing? Are the doctors in your plan or network accepting new patients? Prescription drugs. Do you have prescription drug coverage? You may face a penalty if there is a gap between your eligibility date and application for coverage. How much coverage will your prescription drug plan offer for the medicine you require? Are you eligible for a free Medication Therapy Management program? People with Medicare can get their health coverage through either Original Medicare plus supplements or a Medicare Advantage Plan (also known as a Medicare private health plan or Part C). The following chart from the Medicare Rights Center illustrates the differences between the two plans:   If you have any questions regarding your Medicare options, please contact us. Our in-house insurance department would… | Read More »

Take advantage of Open Enrollment Season

Fall means beautiful colors! and honey crisp apples! and football! and the start of Open Enrollment Period for both your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage. It runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. If you have any questions about your coverage, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our in-house insurance department stands ready to walk you through the often complicated Medicare landscape and can help you choose the level of health and prescription drug coverage you need. Our agents also can help you analyze your existing coverage so you can head into 2020 with confidence. Call us today to set up an appointment. Don’t wait! Winter is just around the corner and so is the end of the open enrollment period.

Got Medicare questions? We have answers

Health insurance, one of the most important decisions you’ll make regarding your retirement, also can be the most confusing. We’re here to help. Our education-focused approach to financial planning means we’ll always take the time to explain our recommendations and to answer any questions you might have. As Medicare season approaches, our insurance department and our fiduciary advisors stand ready to help you sift through all the information bombarding your newsfeeds, phonelines and postal mailboxes. Medicare, the federal insurance plan for people 65 and older, younger people with certain disabilities and people suffering from end stage renal disease, requires participants to choose specific coverage plans and make their decisions within one annual window of time. The program involves three parts: Part A covers hospital insurance, including inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility, hospice, lab tests, surgery and home health care. Part B covers medical insurance, including doctor and other health care providers’ services and outpatient care, durable medical equipment, home health care, and some preventive services. Part D covers prescription drugs And Part C, or Medicare Advantage, bundles all three to varying degrees. The annual Medicare Election period for 2020 coverage runs from October 15, 2019, to December 7, 2019, during which time you can make changes to various aspects of your coverage. If you didn’t enroll in a Medicare Part D plan when you were first eligible, you can do so during the general open enrollment, although a late enrollment penalty may apply. Another enrollment period to keep an eye on is the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, which is different than the annual fall open enrollment period. This is a once in a lifetime six-month window that begins once your Part B is in effect an allows you to obtain insurance that supplements your federal insurance plan. The beauty of the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is that you don’t have to answer any health questions during this… | Read More »

Long Term Care Insurance and the monster under your bed

Many people list outliving their money as their greatest fear, but few are willing to lift the covers and coax that monster out from under their beds. “I’m not going to think about it,” they say to themselves on the toss-and-turning nights they spend doing just that. “If I don’t think about it, it won’t happen to me.” It does happen, though, and more often than they think. People who haven’t planned well do run out of money and, as a result, lose control over some choices they’ve taken for granted such as where to live, what to eat and how to spend their free time. The average cost of assisted living in Wisconsin is $4,004 per month, and, even if you’ve settled yourself comfortably into an assisted living facility, established great relationships with the staff, made friends and looked forward to the excursions and weekly Tai Chi, you will not be able to stay if you can’t make those payments. Medicaid does not pay for assisted living. It does pay some costs of nursing home care, but only for those who qualify financially. The average cost of nursing home care in Wisconsin is $8,430 a month, with costs rising an average of 3% annually. Would your budget withstand an $8,430+ hit each month and, if so, for how long? In the past, the only choice for people who wanted to protect themselves from skyrocketing nursing home costs was Long Term Care insurance. While these stand-alone policies remain valid options for some, they do not appeal to everyone. Many express concerns about pouring so much money into a policy on which they may never make a claim. Self- funding is an option, but only for those who can set aside nearly $2 million for that purpose.  To generate $101,160 per year at 5% rate of return you would need $2,023,200 in order to maintain principal year after year. As strong… | Read More »

We Are Problem Solvers: Matt Weyers and the search for liquidty

In addition to educating our clients and helping them realize their retirement goals, we work hard to solve their problems. In the next few weeks, we’re going to highlight that aspect of our job. Our first featured problem solver is insurance specialist Matt Weyers. Matt, who is also a registered investment advisor representative, spends most of his time helping clients solve the growing problem of potentially outliving their money. He develops client-specific strategies based on risk tolerance, income level, age and retirement goals. He also takes advantage of the company’s independence to analyze products and policies. Because Winch Financial is not affiliated with a specific broker/dealer or insurance company, Matt is able to access a wide variety of options for clients and he also can provide an unbiased analysis. Recently, a client came to Matt with an annuity he had just purchased from an outside insurance agent. The client asked Matt to analyze the annuity to make sure it was the right product for him, Matt asked about goals and the man said he wanted easy access to his money. Knowing that annuities are notoriously illiquid, Matt noted that the client would only be able to withdraw 10 percent of his money a year without penalty, and would have to wait until the second year to even do that. Fortunately, the annuity’s grace period had not expired and Matt was able to extract a full refund for the client. Working together, they then reinvested the money in more liquid assets to allow him the access he wanted in the first place. In another instance, a client who had filled out his group health benefits packet incorrectly came to Matt to see what he could do. The client inadvertently checked the wrong box, which left his wife without coverage. The company’s HR department would not allow him to add her because the open enrollment period had passed. Matt was able to… | Read More »