Two Weeks until Open Enrollment

Two Weeks until Open Enrollment

The Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare (AEP) begins on October 15th! This period is crucial and exceedingly important for seniors who are either applying for Medicare or who would like to change their current healthcare coverage for 2020. If you have not been able to research or study your current benefits to competing plans, now is the time to do so. OEP is until December 7th! You only have a few weeks to decide what coverage is best suited for your needs. Remember the decisions you make in the upcoming weeks will dictate your health and financial future for 2020! This is a call to action! Dedicate the time you have left to learn about the different aspects of Medicare if you have not done so already. For those who do not have the time to analyze and compare different coverage, count on Murray Insurance Agency to aid you during this process. They have been serving Florida for over 30...
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Inverted Yield Curves and Recessions

Inverted Yield Curves and Recessions

Talk of an incoming recession has been published in every media outlet ever since the “inverted yield curve” phenomenon. The media has covered this crazed story dozens of times and will continue to feed Americans fear, as long as it sells. Recessions are normal in every developed economy. There are ups and downs, it is the cycle of life. However, becoming crazed and expecting a total catastrophe is unreasonable. According to Forbes, “The average length of a growing economy is 38.7 months or 3.2 years.” The last American recession ended in June 2009, which means we have been long overdue for a downturn. Our first indicator was in March 2019, when interest rates on long-term bonds were suddenly lower than the interest rates on short-term bonds, the inverted yield curve occurred. This meant that Americans were concerned about the near future and were betting on long-term investments. Usually, long-term bonds yield a higher rate of return than short term-bonds but when...
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Senior Smartphone Adoption

Senior Smartphone Adoption

In 2019, it is estimated that more than 2.5 billion people are using smartphones worldwide! In the U.S., 94% of adults use mobile phones and 81% of those individuals are smartphone users according to the Pew Research Center. The adoption of smartphones is currently being led by the young, yet many seniors and adults over the age of 65 are beginning to steadily adapt to this new norm. Seniors find the use of smartphones as a positive experience that helps them connect to family and friends. This positive experience is not shared by many millennials who find the use of smartphones as helpful but stressful. Younger adults use smartphones for social media, school or work, however, partially view the device as a “necessary evil” due to its distractive nature. Individuals 65+ also use their devices for social media or work and have found a happy medium that helps them monitor their usage while still reaping its benefits. Apps that benefit seniors...
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Preliminary Elections

Preliminary Elections

Did you know that the fastest-growing sector of the electorates is seniors? According to the US Census, in 2016 there were 49.2 million people over the age of 65 living in America, by 2035 that number will nearly double to 78 million. The Pew Research Center predicts that in 2020 individuals 65 and older will make up almost a quarter of votes! What does this mean for seniors? It means that the collective voice of seniors has the power to create real change in this country. There is power in numbers and with important issues like healthcare and the national debt crisis on the line, it is everyone's responsibility to practice their right to vote. We still have over a year ahead of us before the presidential election, but we must stay aware and watch as many debates as possible. The preliminary debates will begin in Iowa on February 3rd, 2020 and will reach Florida by March 17th, 2020. Currently, there...
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Social Security Errors!

Social Security Errors!

If you or a loved one have received bills for as many as five months of premiums, do not toss that bill away! According to the Social Security Administration, “Due to a processing error in January, some Medicare Advantage and Part D beneficiaries' requests to have premiums withheld from their Social Security benefit checks did not go through.” This means that the premiums you thought you had paid for these past few months are actually still due. These errors may cost you a cancellation in your Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D drug prescription plans. Once these plans are cancelled, it will be difficult to have them reinstated and you will still owe the past-due premiums (if the plans are reactivated). It might take months to realize if you have been affected if you are not aware already (if you have been affected you will receive a bill in the mail). Instead of waiting for a past-due bill, be...
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One More Medicare Minute – Medicare Part D, the “Donut Hole” and Getting Help

One More Medicare Minute – Medicare Part D, the “Donut Hole” and Getting Help

During the month of August, we have tried to cover the subject of Medicare in little bite-sized bits. One at a time, we went over the Parts of Medicare, Original Medicare and Advantage Plans (also called “Part C”). Today’s Medicare Minute covers Part D, the prescription drug coverage plans available. At first glance, seniors might think this is a straight-forward subject, but it is not! For many seniors, Part D is the cause of confusion, worry and expense, sometimes considerable expense. There are hundreds of Medicare Part D plans, each with its own formulary (a list of covered drugs), copays, deductibles and “tiers” of coverage. In addition, Part D still includes the famous coverage gap or “donut hole” you have probably heard about. Here is the good news, any one of several OurSeniors.net Family Partners or Approved Vendors can be a great help in choosing the best Part D plan for your situation. As you will see, this can vary widely from...
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Finding Help for Caregiving Tasks

Finding Help for Caregiving Tasks

Six years ago, the AARP published a study that found many family caregivers performed medical/nursing tasks for care recipients. These tasks included managing medications, helping with assistive mobility, preparing food for special diets, providing wound care, even using monitors. Now, a new study shows more family caregivers are assuming responsibility for particularly demanding procedures. One nurse educator put it this way, “Many of the things I studied in nursing school are now expected of (family) caregivers without the same support system.” Loving but untrained family members are stressed as this advanced level of caregiving is becoming more common. It takes it’s toll on caregivers, especially those lacking a family or social support network. There are several sources of help. The Family Caregiver Alliance organization has a variety of webinars and videos. Topics range from dementia-proofing your home to caregiving through the holidays. YouTube offers a number of caregiver tutorials that can be seen at caregiver training videos. You can also visit the...
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A Medicare Minute – Original Medicare (Parts A and B)

A Medicare Minute – Original Medicare (Parts A and B)

Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C of Medicare) have grown substantially over the past decade. In 2018, 34% of Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. However, “Original Medicare” remains the choice of more than two thirds of all Medicare recipients.  In fact, Original Medicare is the default plan, if you don’t choose another option. There could be several reasons for the continued popularity of Original Medicare; many people just do not want to invest the time and effort needed to choose an Advantage Plan, while others do not wish to be locked into a network of providers as required by many of those plans.  Whatever the reason, it is likely that most of the seniors who read this article will be covered by Medicare Part A for hospitalization and Part B for outpatient services like doctors’ fees, lab costs, etc. If you are covered by Original Medicare, by default or intentional choice, there are several important points that you should keep...
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A Medicare Minute, “The Parts of Medicare”

A Medicare Minute, “The Parts of Medicare”

Sometimes it pays to review basic information. This is certainly true when it comes to Medicare; a survey conducted by the Medicare administration revealed that a majority of seniors could not name or describe the four parts of the Medicare system. This is information that every senior should have at hand, especially when signing up as a new Medicare beneficiary or during the annual open enrollment period. You must understand your Medicare choices and pick your coverage carefully; how you do so will determine your benefits, who you get them from, and it can affect your out-of-pocket costs. Medicare has four major elements, Parts A, B, C and D. The first two (A and B) are often called “Original Medicare.” This is the most basic coverage you can obtain. Part C and Part D are available through private health insurance plans. They enhance your coverage if you want more than Original Medicare offers. This situation is sometimes confusing because Part C...
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