March 2022

Friday, March 11th, 2022
by William Erhart

In this new year, it is more important than ever to take stock of your life and your health care planning. We continue to respond to the ever-present threat of COVID-19 in its many iterations, and we identify what is most important for our health and financial future.

For many, the mere mention of long-term care health insurance congers up images of twilight years, seemingly far removed from our daily lives. However, the reality is that you may find yourself in need of long-term care due to a sudden disease or illness or as the result of an accident. The US Department of Health and Human Services statistics currently show that about seventy percent of individuals over the age of 65 will require some long-term care during their lives. Genworth’s latest statistics show that a full thirty-seven percent of these long-term care recipients are, in fact, under sixty-five years of age.

Regardless of your age or cause, when long-term care becomes a requirement, it is important to know and plan for your options regarding funding the care you need, where and how you prefer to receive it. Your planning today can make a huge difference in your financial solvency and those caregivers (mostly family) who participate in the financial burden of your care.

Naturally, the best scenario is prepared for the future by having healthy balances saved in your retirement programs and health savings accounts. If the funding is available to cover long-term care costs for yourself or a loved one, it is prudent to do so. Perhaps you can only make part of the funding happen, in which case you may have to ask loved ones for help. They may have the financial where with all to finish covering premium costs. Paying some out-of-pocket for an aging parent early on means less of a toll emotionally, physically, and financially, should a family member has to assume becoming a full-time caregiver. 

The IRS considers long-term care insurance as a medical expense. As long as the policy is qualified, it is deductible. IRS rules state the policy must have been issued on or before January 1, 1997, and adhere to certain requirements. Policies purchased before this date may qualify to become grandfathered if the state’s insurance commissioner approves the selling of the policy. The IRS rules from 2021 to 2022 are a little changed, most notably in age categories from sixty to seventy years old the IRS reduced the deduction by ten dollars.

Note these tax deductions are, for the most part, not available in hybrid policies. These policies combine life insurance and annuity policies with a long-term care benefit. Hybrid policies are becoming particularly popular because if long-term care is not a requirement, the individual’s heirs may receive a death benefit. Your medical expenses need not exceed a certain percentage of your income to be tax-deductible. As long as you earn a profit, you may take the amount of your long-term care insurance as a deductible.

Public programs are becoming more heavily leveraged for lower-income individuals to plan for long-term care services. There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of these programs; however, most Americans do not understand the differences between Medicare and Medicaid, what and who they fund, and for how long. The answers are complex as there are physical and financial thresholds to qualify for benefits, and these may vary from state to state. Here is a general overview of qualifications and limitations in coverage and choices of care facilities.

Sometimes referred to as Medicaid crisis planning, an elder law attorney can guide you through the process of sheltering some of your assets. Medicaid is a federal/state program helping low-income seniors with limited income and assets afford healthcare and long-term care. Many seniors believe their only option to qualify for the program is to “spend down” their assets. While this is true in some cases, proactively Medicaid planning can protect a substantial portion of your assets if done correctly. 

The program’s eligibility rules are complicated, as is the application process, so it is best to navigate the process with a specialized Medicaid planning, elder law attorney well before you need to tap the benefits. Always seek professional legal advice when creating your long-term care strategy using Medicaid. Applications are rarely successful as a do-it-yourself project, and mistakes can have devastating long-term consequences on a family and their finances.
Options for long-term care exist; however, finding the best solution for your financial circumstances is complex. As 2022 is before us, it behooves us all to look to the future of our healthcare and prioritize proactive planning, ensuring there will be a plan in place when we encounter the likelihood of a long-term care requirement.

For more information and further inquiries about your personal situation, please contact our office at 302.651.0113.

Eating a variety of foods rich
in certain nutrients can help promote overall brain health.

By Sarah Jacoby for Today

It may seem like Alzheimer’s disease is something that some people are simply destined to develop. But that's not the case, Dr. Uma Naidoo, director of nutritional and lifestyle psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told TODAY. There are some brain health factors that are absolutely in your control — including your food choices, she said.

In fact, eating a variety of foods rich in certain nutrients can help promote brain health, fight brain fog and may even reduce your chances for developing neurological conditions later in life. In honor of National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, Naidoo shared some of her tips to eat for better brain health.

When putting together a meal, Dr. Naidoo recommends opting for BOGOS — berries, olive oil, greens, omega-3s and spices — to help give your brain a health boost.

Blueberries and raspberries contain antioxidants and other nutrients that promote memory functioning and healthy brain aging. Naidoo also stresses that thanks to their high fiber, vitamin and mineral content, berries support a healthy microbiome and can help to reduce inflammation. She suggests adding fresh berries to your breakfast.

Research suggests that consuming extra-virgin olive oil is associated with a lower risk for Alzheimer's because compounds in this ingredient can assist in autophagy, the brain's natural cellular clean-up process, Naidoo explained. "Adding extra virgin olive oil to homemade salad dressings or drizzling over a green salad packed with a rainbow of veggies is a great way to reap these benefits!" she told TODAY.

With their high levels of folate, leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard are another excellent addition to a meal, Naidoo said. People who don't get enough folate, a form of vitamin B9, may be more likely to develop neurological and mental health conditions such as dementia and depression.

It also pays to look for foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which some research indicates can help support the functioning of brain cells and reduce your risk for Alzheimer's. Fish as well as certain nuts and seeds can be excellent sources of omega-3s. "Fatty fish such as wild-caught sock-eye salmon and anchovies, as well as various nuts and seeds, provide these essential nutrients," Naidoo said.
Have you ever felt “sandwiched” between the pressures of caring for an older parent and raising your own family?

If so, you are part of a unique group of people known as the “Sandwich Generation.” These are adults who are juggling the roles of caring for their own families—including minor children—and aging parents at the same time. Establishing an estate plan is key to protecting your legacy for your families’ future.
In this guide, we will help you understand estate planning topics, including:
  • Choose between a will or a trust
  • Plan for the care of your children
  • Choose who your beneficiaries are
  • Set in place powers of attorney
  • Establish how you want your remains handle
  • Designate proper asset ownerships and beneficiaries

Friday, April 15th -Office will be closed in observance of Good Friday.