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Medicare & Insurance October Issue

October 20, 2016

Medicare expert suggests questions for seniors to consider BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER

riences, not just what you pay in monthly premiums.” • What can you afford to pay each Sara Wagner, a Medicare expert at moth? Health Partners in Bloomington, said the • What do you pay out of pocket if you thing she hears most from senior citizens travel to see a doctor outside the plan netwho are just signing up for Medicare is work? that it’s “really confusing.” • Is there a fitness benefit? “We find a lot “It’s not something anyone can prepare of people who are interested in the fitness for,” said Wagner, who has a master’s de- benefit,” Wagner said. gree in gerontology and has been at Health • Is there a dental plan included? Partners for 15 years. “Sometimes we forget about teeth,” Wag“People are looking for help, resources ner said. “Some plans include dental plans, and ‘what does this mean?’” Wagner said. and some don’t. You have to know what “They’re starting from square one.” you’re buying.” There are certain things people might All plans have an emergency plan that want to consider as they shop for health will cover you when you travel, according care coverage, Wagner said. to Wagner. However, some have a cap on • Can I keep my extended benefits, she doctor? “Not all plans said. “Most plans have have the same network,” some sort of travel benWagner said. efit,” she said. • Do I need a referral • Is there a correto see a specialist? sponding prescription • CMS (Centers for drug plan? “We often Medicare and Medicaid find that people like ev- Asking the right questions helps wade through the complexities of Medicare enrollment. Services) has a five-star, erything with one carmation from any independent insurance To use the program, patients fill out an in-depth rating system rier,” Wagner said. in place for plans, a She notes that most agent, a broker that represents all plans, online form and answer some questions quality assurance score health insurance carri- from Senior Linkage Line or at the medi- that a doctor would be likely to ask. Certified nurse practitioners make a diagnosis, care available at mediers in Minnesota offer website. Telemedicine now is offered by some create a personalized treatment plan and “In Minneclasses or information sota, we’re fortunate to sessions, or opportuni- plans as an alternate to a face-to-face visit send a prescription if needed. Wagner suggests that people who are have good quality plans, ties for people to educate with the doctor. “A lot of physicians parapproaching Medicare start looking at opbut you should look at themselves before they ticipate in that,” Wagner said. As for Health Partners, she said, “We’re tions a year in advance, “to get an idea of the plan’s star rating,” enroll in Medicare. “They Wagner said. “It’s pretty want to help people make really proud of our Virtuwell online clinic. what’s out there.” “Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” Wagrigorous. It speaks to Sara Wagner is a Medicare expert the transition,” Wagner It’s available 24/7, and it treats 50 common conditions, including bladder infections, ner said. “You really don’t have to do this the quality and satisfac- at Health Partners in Bloomington. said. alone.” tion of members’ expe- (Submitted photo) Seniors can get infor- flu and sinus infections.”

Page 2 Our Life โ€ข Thursday, October 20, 2016


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Our Life • Thursday, October 20, 2016 Page 3

So, just what is Medicare? Medicare is health insurance for people 65 or older, people under 65 with certain disabilities, and people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant). You are eligible for Medicare on the first day of the month in which you turn 65. If your birthday is on the 1st, then you are eligible on the 1st of the prior month. You can enroll for Medicare 90 days prior to turning 65. You are enrolling in Medicare Part B (Medical Services). Your Part A, which covers in-patient hospital services, begins automatically on the 1st of the month in which you turn 65. When you are first eligible for Medicare, you have a seven-month period to sign up. This seven-month period begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months after you turn 65. You can sign up for Medicare as soon as you become eligible, regardless of what month it is. But each year, you have the option of making changes to your Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plan (or Medicare Part D) during open enrollment. The open enrollment period this year runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2016. You can select coverage for the first time then, or make changes in your current coverage. If you make changes during open enrollment, new coverage begins Jan. 1, 2017. New costs and benefits changes also begin if you keep your existing Medicare health or prescription drug coverage and your plan makes changes. During the open enrollment period, you can switch from original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa. You can also switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or from one Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan to another, or drop your Medicare Part D coverage altogether. Questions to consider might include: • Convenience: Where is the doctor’s office located and what are the hours? Do they use electronic health records? Is the pharmacy you use in the plan’s network? • Cost: How much are the premiums? How do you pay for hospital stays or doctor visits? • Coverage: How well does the plan cover the services you need?

You are eligible for Medicare on the first day of the month in which you turn 65. If your birthday is on the 1st, then you are eligible on the 1st of the prior month. • Doctor and hospital choice: Do your doctors and other health care providers accept the type of coverage you have? Do you have to choose your hospital and health care providers from a network? Is your doctor in the network? Can you go outside of the network? • Prescription drugs: Are your drugs covered under the plan’s formulary? • Quality of care: Are you satisfied with your medical care? • Travel: Will you have coverage in another state or outside the U.S.? • Your other coverage: Do you have, or are you eligible for, other types of health or prescription drug coverage (from a former or current employer or union)? Source: Medicare & You 2016, the official U.S. government Medicare handbook published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

There are four parts to Medicare: Part A (hospital insurance) helps cover: • Inpatient care in hospitals • Skilled nursing facility care • Hospice care • Home health care Part B (medical insurance) helps cover: • Services from doctors and other health care providers • Outpatient care • Home health care • Durable medical equipment • Some preventive services Part C (Medicare Advantage): • Includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B • Usually includes Medicare prescrip-

tion drug coverage (Part D) as part of the plan • Run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies • May include extra benefits and services for an extra cost Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage): • Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs • Run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies • May help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future. The easiest way to enroll in Medicare is to go to

Page 4 Our Life • Thursday, October 20, 2016

North Memorial offers TotalCare program for seniors BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER Senior citizen patients at North Memorial Health Care qualify for the TotalCare for Seniors program. The program’s geriatric specialists work with seniors and their families to provide post-hospital services, through long-term care, Transitional Care Units, assisted living, independent living or hospice settings. “When a patient is discharged, if they need transitional care, they are referred by a primary care provider to a nurse practitioner, who follows them into long-term care,” said Teresa Bloom, manager of the TotalCare program. Patient care is managed onsite, at the facility where the client lives. Physicians and nurse practitioners work as a team to provide the care at the patients’ choice of 13 facilities when they leave the hospital.

“A lot of facilities ask us to help take care of their residents. We have to focus our resources on the places we work closely with to continue to deliver high-quality service.” - Dr. Joseph Sicora

TotalCare for Seniors is available at the following facilities: Annandale Health & Community, Annandale Centennial Villa Assisted Living, Annandale Colonial Acres Health Center, Golden Valley Good Samaritan Ambassador, New Hope Good Samaritan Robbinsdale, Robbinsdale Maranatha, Brooklyn Center North Ridge Health & Rehab, New Hope Pioneer Estates Assisted Living, Eden Prairie St. Therese, New Hope St. Therese – Oxbow, Brooklyn Park The Birches at Trillium Woods, Plymouth The Villa at St. Louis Park, St. Louis Park The Villa at Osseo, Osseo Transitional Care by St. Therese, Robbinsdale Wellstead of Rogers, Rogers Clients at TCUs are visited once or twice weekly, while patients in long-term care are visited monthly. Those in assisted

Heading North Memorial Health Care’s TotalCare for Seniors program in Robbinsdale are, from left: Teresa Bloom, manager of the TotalCare program; Dr. Joseph Sicora, medical director; and Sarah Johnson, nurse practitioner. (Submitted photo) living and independent living are visited every three to six months. Visits are scheduled in between if the client is ill. “We have 500 patients in the program, and it’s growing rapidly,” said Sarah Johnson, one of nine nurse practitioners in the program. Johnson said the program includes three physicians. Dr. Joseph Sicora is medical director of North Memorial Home & Community Services, which includes TotalCare for Seniors, as well as Home Health, and Hospice and Palliative Care. He also is medical director at St. Therese in New Hope and

St. Therese Oxbow Lake in Brooklyn Park. “North Memorial always has taken care of patients in nursing homes,” Sicora said. “The last three years we have structured it better so doctors and nurse practitioners work as a team. A lot of facilities ask us to help take care of their residents. We have to focus our resources on the places we work closely with to continue to deliver high-quality service.” TotalCare for Senior serves post-acute people in rehab, those who have been in the hospital and need short-term rehab before they’re ready to return home. They also serve as a primary care pro-

vider for those who are too frail or elderly to come to the clinic, or who have no transportation. “There are a lot of health care facilities trying to figure out how to take care of these people,” Sicora said. North Memorial also is one of a few hospitals statewide to offer an inpatient Collaborative Acute Care for the Elderly (CACE) unit to address the acute care needs of frail, aging adults. It also offers home health care, as well as hospice support to patients and loved ones who are facing a terminal illness, death and dying.

Our Life • Thursday, October 20, 2016 Page 5

Counseling available on many Medicare insurance topics BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER

for insurance this year runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. You can select coverage for the first time then, or make changes in your Dawn Lund calls herself “a Medicare current coverage. nerd.” “Everybody’s situation is different, “I’ve always worked in the aging field,” Lund said. “It’s like a puzzle.” said Lund, who is director of Medicare During the enrollment period, you can programs at Senior Community Services make changes to various aspects of your in Minnetonka. coverage. Fall has been a busy time for the agency • You can switch from Original Medifor the last 20 years, when they began of- care to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa. fering Medicare health insurance counsel•  You  can also  switch from one  Mediing. care Advantage  plan to another, or from “Our agency and Linkage Line are the one Medicare Part D (prescription drug) only two in Minnesota who offer unbiased plan to another. And if you didn’t enroll in counseling,” Lund said. “We assist people a Medicare Part D plan when you were first with non-biased guidance on Medicare eligible, you can do so during the general options year-round.” open enrollment, although a late enrollIn 2015, an estimated 1,717 clients re- ment penalty may apply. ceived help through Medicare health inAmong the most important decisions surance counseling classes offered at Se- newly retired people must make is what to nior Community Services. It is just one do about health care once they are no lonof the programs offered at the agency, ger covered by their employer’s plan. whose vision is to “mobilize the commuEven if they’ve been retired for some nity to reimagine aging.” The agency offers time and chose a health plan in the past, educational workeach year’s openshops at several enrollment pelocations, plus riod gives retired confidential, indipersons a chance vidual assistance to reconsider by appointment at other, sometimes nine locations for better, options. people who need It is wise, during more help. the open enrollA total of 45 ment period, to active volunteers check a plan to conduct the classsee if there will es, after receiving be changes; check 20 hours of trainprescription lists ing. and coverage “The caliber for those preof people [volunscriptions; and teers] we get is then check on kind of incrednew plans and Dawn Lund is director of Medicare programs changes to other ible,” Lund said. The open-en- at S enior C ommunity S ervices i n M innetonka. plans to be sure rollment period (Submitted photo) coverage is be-

In 2015, an estimated 1,717 clients received help through Medicare health insurance counseling classes offered at Senior Community Services. ing provided at the most affordable cost. According to Lund, it is important to have a secondary plan in place to assist with the costs that Medicare does not cover. For example, when you go to a doctor, Medicare covers 80 percent of that cost. With nothing else in place, you are responsible for the remaining 20 percent. For people who cannot afford another plan, Lund said, Senior Partners Care is “one of the best kept secrets in Minnesota.” “It is not insurance,” she said. “It is a community-based program that enables Minnesota Medicare recipients to access the medical care they need.” The program bridges the financial gap between an individual’s medical bills and his or her Medicare coverage. SPC has partnered with most of the major metropolitan area hospitals and hundreds of clinics and providers statewide. These healthcare providers (SPC Partners) have agreed to accept Medicare as full payment for Medicare covered expenses. They waive the Medicare deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. To be eligible, you must have Medicare parts A and B, receive care from participating medical providers, meet income and asset thresholds, and submit an application along with a $42 annual application fee. Participants cannot exceed $1,980 monthly income and assets cannot exceed $48,600 (not including a home and one car). Partners in the program who have agreed to accept Medicare as full payment include Fairview, Health East, Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), North

Memorial and Park Nicollet. Along with Medicare and a supplementary coverage, people age 65 and over need to have a prescription drug plan, Lund said. “So many people who turn 65 and don’t take any medications assume they don’t need a plan,” she said. “If you don’t sign up and need it, you pay a penalty. You’re punished for being healthy.” She suggests that people with drug plans review their plans every year, making a list of their medications and then researching to find the most economical drug plan that fits their needs. Couples who sign up for the same plan may find that they should have different drug plans, depending on the medications they need. “So many people have high-cost medications,” Lund said. “A lot of people with diabetes find that even with a drug plan the medications can still be costly. Prescriptions can go up $20 to $30 from one year to the next.”

CareNextion helps with senior caregiving Another of Senior Community Services that may be helpful to older adults and their families is, a free website. “This secure and confidential internet resource mobilizes family, friends, and neighbors to help communicate and coordinate care for an older adult,” said Deb Taylor, CEO of Senior Community Services. She noted that only 16 percent of older adults live CARENEXTION - TO PAGE 7

Page 6 Our Life • Thursday, October 20, 2016

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Our Life â&#x20AC;˘ Thursday, October 20, 2016 Page 7

Choose your medications wisely BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER Prescription drug coverage is a big part of any health insurance plan. And itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wise to do some research before choosing prescription drug coverage. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Go to the pharmacist with a complete listing of your medications,â&#x20AC;? said Steve Langemo, who was a retail pharmacist for 20 years and now has been general manager of Merwin LTC Pharmacy in New Brighton for the last 18 years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A pharmacist can check to be sure there are no interactions between the medications,â&#x20AC;? Langemo said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Some people double up on medications without realizing it. Also, from a cost standpoint, there might be alternatives that are less expensive.â&#x20AC;? Merwinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s LTC Pharmacy in New Brighton is a closed-door pharmacy, which means it is not open to the public. The pharmacy deals exclusively


with residents in skilled nursing facilities, according to Langemo. Long-term care (LTC) pharmacies generally serve the residents of nursing homes, assisted-care facilities, extended-care facilities, and/or retirement homes. Drug plans may vary in what drugs they cover, and some may have special rules that you must follow before a drug is covered, according to the Medicare website.


A formulary is a list of the drugs that a Medicare drug plan covers, according to the Medicare website. It includes how much you pay for each drug. If the plan uses tiers, the formulary lists which drugs are in each tier. Formularies include both generic and brand-name drugs. Each drug plan has its own formulary, so you should check to make sure your drugs are covered.

Coverage rules

Medicare drug plans may require

â&#x20AC;&#x153;prior authorization,â&#x20AC;? the website said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This means that before the Medicare drug plan will cover certain prescriptions, your doctor must contact the plan for approval,â&#x20AC;? the website said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Your doctor may need to provide additional information about why said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Your doctor may need to provide additional information about why the drug is medically necessary for you before you can fill the prescription. Plans may also require â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;step therapyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; on certain drugs. This means you must try one or more similar, lower cost drugs before the plan will cover the prescribed drug.â&#x20AC;? It is a good idea to check with each Medicare drug plan youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re considering to make sure your current pharmacy is in the planâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s network, or there are pharmacies convenient to you. Some Medicare drug plans may offer a mail-order program that will allow you to have drugs sent directly to your home. Even if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not changing plans,

make sure your pharmacy is still in your planâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s network next year. Plans may change their network pharmacies each year.

Coverage gap

Most Medicare drug plans have a coverage gap (also called the â&#x20AC;&#x153;donut holeâ&#x20AC;?). This means that thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a temporary limit on what the drug plan will cover for drugs. The coverage gap begins after you and your drug plan have spent a certain amount for covered drugs. In 2016, once you enter the coverage gap, you pay 45 percent of the planâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cost for covered brandname drugs and 58 percent of the planâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cost for covered generic drugs until you reach the end of the coverage gap.

Automatic reďŹ lls by mail

Some people with Medicare get their prescription drugs by using an automatic refill service that delivers prescription drugs when they are about to run out.

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;A lot of people with diabetes ďŹ nd that even with a drug plan the medications can still be costly. Prescriptions can go up $20 to $30 from one year to the next.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Dawn Lund, director of Medicare programs at Senior Community Services in Minnetonka

CareNextion FROM PAGE 5 with loved ones who can provide supportive care. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We see many older adults living independently at home well into their 80s, 90s and beyond, who need help with cooking, shopping, household chores and health needs,â&#x20AC;? Taylor said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Consequently, we constantly hear from families, especially those with members dispersed across the country, who need help coordinating and managing care for an older loved one. And many of these devoted caregivers grow weary and overwhelmed by providing constant care.â&#x20AC;? CareNextion is designed to strengthen informal support networks through centralized coordination of care, task as-

signment, journaling and communication with care team members. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A typical care scenario involves adult children living far from a parent and trying to coordinate care for Mom or Dad from another city,â&#x20AC;? Taylor said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With CareNextion, they can create and manage a care team of relatives, trusted neighbors, and friends who can help share caregiving responsibilities.â&#x20AC;? Everyone who has the confidential password can log into CareNextion to find local resources, see upcoming appointments, and coordinate transportation and other needed tasks and household chores. Caregiving is better organized, thus reducing the need for constant phone calling and emailing multiple people.

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Page 8 Our Life â&#x20AC;˘ Thursday, October 20, 2016

Health issue? Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;-ologyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; for that We all know that people are living longer and enjoying late life more today. Naturally, there are many reasons for our increased longevity, including better diet and a more active lifestyle. Medical advancement is also a prime contributor. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re blessed with good health care. But it comes at a cost (and I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just mean stratospheric health insurance premiums.) Besides being expensive, getting care from our health care system can be frustrating, complicated, confusing and exhausting. For starters, selecting a supplementary health insurance plan is like navigating a maddening maze of convoluted corridors. Then, there are the myriad rules to follow, hurdles to clear, hoops to jump through and forms to fill out. As it turns out, our health care system is held together with red tape. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s enough to make you seek medical treatment. But most confusing to me is the

Guest column ... by Bob Ramsey mushrooming fragmentation and specialization of medical care. Primary care doctors have become mostly brokers, sorting out patient ailments and referring them to the appropriate specialists. I was amazed recently to find an entire department of â&#x20AC;&#x153;hand doctorsâ&#x20AC;? in our local hospital. I wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be surprised if there are now doctors for the right hand and others specializing in left hand care. We no longer have a single family doctor; we have a whole posse of healers in our corner. Coping with all these specialists raises serious questions. Who do you call first? Who prescribed what for what? And who gets the final

word? We can only hope they know what each other is doing and donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get in a turf war over our bodies. There truly is an â&#x20AC;&#x153;ologistâ&#x20AC;? for every ailment, injury or disease today â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and my wife and I have seen them all â&#x20AC;&#x201D; so many in fact, that it prompted her to pen this little tongue-in-cheek verse - adjacent. With all these doctors on our case, we should live a long time. After all, our clinic can barely afford to let us die; weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re supporting too many of their physicians. Although we kid and complain about todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;care by committee,â&#x20AC;? we are the beneficiaries of this modern approach to medical treatment. Keeping us healthy has definitely become a team sport. So thanks, team! Bob Ra msey i s a l ifelong ed ucator, freelance w riter a nd a dvocate f or â&#x20AC;&#x153;vital a ging.â&#x20AC;? H e c an be r eached a t 952-922-9558 o r b y e-m ail a t jo

Ode to â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ologiesâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Your body is complicated,â&#x20AC;? Said my doctor to me. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Your blood count is low, So go to HEMATOLOGY!â&#x20AC;?

And being a woman, I occasionally see â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Of course, that would be â&#x20AC;&#x201D; GYNOCOLOGY! My aches and pains persist Then my heart rate dropped Through my anatomy, down. So of course, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sent Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a pacemaker for me. To RHEUMATOLOGY! So the good doctor sent me To CARDIOLOGY! Now that didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t help, So what next should it be? What are these spots on my The doctor said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now go skin? To NEUROLOGY!â&#x20AC;? They donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t look normal to me! Since Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m getting old, So the next place I go is â&#x20AC;&#x201D; My kidneys agree, To DERMATOLOGY! That I should be sent â&#x20AC;&#x201D; To UROLOGY!! Printed words on the page, Are harder to see. Enough of these â&#x20AC;&#x153;ologies,â&#x20AC;? And thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a specialty for I think all would agree, that. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll probably be sent â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s OPTHALMOLOGY! To PSYCHIATRY!! J. R.

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Our Life • Thursday, October 20, 2016 Page 9

Long-term care insurance helps protect your assets BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER In eras past, families assumed they would care for their aging loved ones at home, often nursing them through a long illness prior to death. Now, though, lifestyles have changed, most family members are working and many people consider long term care insurance, so they don’t become a burden to their families. Sue Turner, a long-term care insurance specialist for 20 years at Turner Insurance Agency Inc., in Eagan, said most of her clients tend to buy LTC policies when they’re in their 50s or early 60s. “They tend to be people with assets,” she said. “If you wait until you’re 60 or 70, the premium will be higher. If you wait to buy until you’re 65 and you have a slight health condition, you’ll pay $5,000 a month for

Sue Turner i s a lon g-term ca re i nsurance specialist in E agan. Turner has a finance deg ree f rom the University of Minnesota and first worked i n mutual f unds. Her specialty for the last 20 years has been long-term ca re i nsurance. She has mor e than 1,000 clients and is part of a network of specialists across the country. (Submitted photo)

four years of coverage.” Whether you’re single or married, you can purchase a policy of any size to cover nursing home, assisted living facility or home health care when and if needed. The client stipulates in the policy how long the coverage is to last. “Most clients stay at home as long as possible,” she said. Premiums run between $100 and $400 a month, Turner said. “You pick the dollar amount of coverage you want, and you pick your own facility; you can go anywhere in the U.S.,” she said. “The premiums are a function of your age, your health and the benefits you pick within the plan.” Noting that the bill for nursing home care now stands at about $85,000 a year, Turner said, “Ninety-nine percent of clients don’t purchase a policy that covers $85,000 a year. They can usually cover $1,000 to $3,000 a month out of pocket and the policy covers the balance. You don’t need to be insurance poor.” However, an inflation rider is the most important part of the policy, she said. It provides an automatic annual inflation increase. For example, a policy paying $5,000 a month for care automatically goes up 3 percent. “It automatically compounds for you,” Turner said. “If you buy a policy when you’re 60, for example, and don’t need care until you’re 85, the $5,000 a month you stipulated in the policy probably won’t be enough, Turner said. Long-term care insurance is not meant to handle short-term stays, she said. “It’s for someone with Alzheimer’s or a stroke, or someone too old to care for themselves on a daily basis,” she said. Prospective clients have to be in good health when they purchase the policy Turner said. “Most companies will send someone to your home to look at the last five years of your medical records and perform a short cognitive test,” she said. Why do people buy it? Asset protection is one reason, according to Turner. Other reasons are that people want to ensure that they have good quality care when they need it, and they don’t want to burden their children or grandchildren. Who should not buy long-term care insurance? Someone who has no assets and couldn’t afford the monthly premium isn’t a candidate for the insurance, Turner said. “Some people buy it to protect their assets,”

‘Long-term care insurance is not meant to handle short-term stays. It’s for someone with Alzheimer’s or a stroke, or someone too old to care for themselves on a daily basis.’ - Sue Turner she said. She strongly suggests that people interested in long-term care insurance get quotes from two or three different companies. “I’m not tied to any one company, so I can compare companies,” she said. “You want to make sure you buy from an A-rated company. You want to work with someone who knows and understands long-term care insurance.” She emphasizes that unlike health insurance, long-term care is one buy. “You don’t switch a year or two from now,” she said. “You want to get it right the first time.” But companies issuing the long-term insurance care reserve the right to raise rates, and they will go up, according to Turner. Without long-term care insurance, peo-

ple pay for their care out of pocket until their assets are down to $3,000. Then they go on welfare. “Some people don’t want to run out of money to take care of themselves,” Turner said. “A three-year policy gives you another three years.” Tuner has taught a number of classes on long-term care insurance. The next class is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, through Eagan Community Education Department. Call 651-423-7920 for information or to register. In addition to learning the terminology and information about assets, quality care, and how plans differ from one company to another, and alternatives to LTC insurance, at the class Turner will cover MN Partnership Plan, shared plans and even plans that return your premiums if care is not needed.

Page 10 Our Life • Thursday, October 20, 2016

‘Navigating Medicare’ classes offered throughout west metro Ave. S., Richfield. Contact: Cheryl, 612861-9363. • Monday, Nov. 7, 1 to 3:30 p.m.: Lenox Community Center, 6715 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park. Contact: Toni, 952-928-6443. Senior Com m • Monday, Nov. 7, 6:30 to a nonprofit unity Services is 9 p.m.: Minnetonka Commumission to d organization with a e nity Education, 4584 Vine Hill provide serv velop, coordinate and ices that he Road, Excelsior. Contacts: Jenlp meet the needs of old er adults a nifer DeJong, 952-401-6843, or their caregiv nd support ers. Amanda Cambronne, 952-4015055. Its vision is • Thursday, Nov. 17, 6:30 to 9 community to mobilize the to Reimagin p.m.: Minnetonka Senior Center, e Aging. 14600 Minnetonka Blvd., MinThe organiz netonka. Contacts: Steve Pieh, 10201 Way ation is located at zata 952-939-8369, or Kate Egert, 952Minnetonka Blvd., Suite 335, . Phone: 95 939-8354. 2-5411019. • Monday, Nov. 28, 6:30 to 9 Online: senio rcommunity. p.m.: Wayzata Community Educaorg tion, 305 Vicksburg Lane, Plymouth. Contact: Diane Robinson, 763-745-5205. Registration: 763745-5213. Anyone who is getting ready to retire and wants to know more about Medicare, or is a family member or caregiver to someone with Medicare coverage may benefit from attending a presentation to learn about Medicare. The presentation is an educational opportunity, not a sales pitch. It is offered in cooperation with Senior Community Services, a non-profit agency in Minnetonka. A nominal fee is collected to defer costs. Anyone who is interested may register with the contact listed below:

Upcoming classes • Tuesday, Oct. 25, 6 to 8:30 p.m.: Richfield Community Center, 7000 Nicollet

Health insurance options Senior Community Services provides one-on-one appointments for health insurance help at the following locations: • Bloomington: 9, 10 and 11 a.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at Creekside Community Center, 9801 Penn Ave. S., Bloomington. Info: 952-563-4944. • Brooklyn Center: 9, 10 and 11 a.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at Brooklyn Center Recreation Department, 6301 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center. Info: 763-569-3405. • Eden Prairie: Noon, 1 and 2 p.m. on

the third Thursday of the month at Eden Prairie Senior Center, 8950 Eden Prairie Road, Eden Prairie. Info: 952-279-8050.

the month at Minnetonka Senior Center, 14600 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka. Info: 952-939-8393.

• Edina: 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month at Edina Senior Center, 5280 Grandview Square, Edina. Info: 952-833-9570.

• Plymouth: 9, 10 and 11 a.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at Plymouth Creek Center, 14800 34th Ave. N., Plymouth. Info: 763-509-5280.

• Golden Valley: 9, 10 and 11 a.m. on the second Thursday of the month at Golden Valley Park and Recreation Department, 200 Brookview Parkway, Golden Valley. Info: 763-512-2340.

• Richfield: 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on the second Monday of the month at Richfield Community Center, 7000 Nicollet Ave. S., Richfield. Info: 612-861-9363.

• Minnetonka: 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of the month and 6, 7 and 8 p.m. on the third Monday of

• St. Louis Park: 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month at Lenox Community Center, 6715 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park. Info: 952-928-6444.

Our Life • Thursday, October 20, 2016 Page 11

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