Putting those retirement plans on hold? What that means for your Medicare

Article by Darla Mercado for CNBC

“Some people are allowed to defer into the future, and some aren’t deferred and need to take Medicare,” said Katy Votava, president and founder of Goodcare.com, a health-care consulting firm.

  • By 2024 there will be about 13 million individuals age 65 and older in the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Whether you’re required to sign up for Medicare at 65 even if you’re working and have access to insurance will largely depend on the size of your employer.
  • It may make sense to enroll in Medicare and continue to maintain your coverage at work.

If you’re at least 65 and still punching the clock at work, the odds are that you have two benefit enrollment periods to worry about this year.

That’s because, in addition to signing up for next year’s workplace health benefits, older workers must also make sure to coordinate their coverage with their eligibility for Medicare.

The ordeal is a confusing one for the growing population of older workers. By 2024 there will be about 13 million individuals age 65 and older in the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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What you need to know about your spouse’s Medicare coverage

Article by Lorie Konish, published by CNBC

“A lot of people don’t know that a spouse can be covered for Medicare under their spouse’s work record,” said Medicare expert Katy Votava, president of Goodcare.com, an independent consulting firm that specializes in health care.

If you’re like many Americans, you may be baffled as to whether or not your spouse is eligible for Medicare coverage based on your work record.

In fact, when some pre-retirees were recently quizzed on Medicare, most didn’t know for sure.

The test — posed by MassMutual to 500 Americans ages 60 to 64 — found that most were wrong about their spouse’s eligibility for coverage.

The true or false question said, “If I am not eligible for Medicare, but my spouse is eligible, I can receive Medicare benefits.”

Just 21 percent of respondents accurately answered correctly with “True,” while 79 percent answered incorrectly with “False.” Read more

Does Self-directed Long-Term Care Make Sense to You?

By John F. Wasik, Next Avenue Contributor

“Think of how much energy it takes to take care of yourself,” says Katy Votava, a nurse practitioner and president of Goodcare, a consulting firm specializing in the economics of health care. “And people don’t know how to shop and be an advocate for themselves.”

When Kathleen Ujvari sought long-term care for her disabled 83-year-old father, she knew that “he would not think of how to do it on his own.” Many retired Americans who have disabilities simply can’t fathom what they need to do to take care of themselves.

Like many caring for parents, though, Ujvari knew there were multiple options available. In her role as a long-term care researcher for the AARP Public Policy Institute, she’s been examining how older Americans can “self-direct” their own care, choosing from an array of options that can be provided at home.

Innovative Approaches, Person-Centered Choices

Along with Merle Edwards-Orr, a senior consultant with Applied Self Direction (a long-term care consulting firm), Ujvari found that several states are using innovative strategies to provide long-term care at home. They involve offering “person-centered” choices to those being supported by Medicaid. Every state has these programs, although they vary in quality and scope.  -read more-