Monthly Archives: September 2014

Medicare Open Enrollment: What You Need to Know

Diagram of medicare

Medicare Open Enrollment, which comes only once a year, begins October 15th and lasts through December 7th. During this period, Medicare beneficiaries should be evaluating whether their plans are working for them. If not, this is the opportunity to make some changes.

During Open Enrollment  you can:

Individuals should be re-evaluating coverage and costs and under their current plan, including whether their doctors are still accepting the plan, whether their medications are still covered under the plan, and whether similar coverage is available at a lesser cost.

To make changes, you can go to WWW.MEDICARE.GOV or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). The “plan finder” section on also includes information on Medicare Advantage Plan premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. Finally, the Medicare & You 2015 Pamphlet provides a great deal of information in an easy-to-read format.

Image © Dmitry –


The Burdens of Care-giving

As an elder law attorney, my greatest sense of accomplishment comes from helping families face the problems and issues associated with aging. Many of these problems, though, go beyond the scope of legal work. The various burdens faced by family caregivers fall into this category.

Charity website banner

Caring for an elderly family member is time-consuming, expensive, and can be thankless and frustrating. Individuals suffering from dementia often engage in difficult and irrational behaviors that challenge the will of even the most patient caregiver. In fact, studies have shown that care-giving can directly and negatively impact the caregiver’s physical, mental and emotional health. Fortunately, some companies and non-profit organizations are implementing programs to help with this growing problem.

For example, the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) consists of a national “aging network,” 56 state government agencies and 655 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), with more than 25,000 local community programs, such as senior centers and Councils on Aging (COAs).

Other resources include:

It is difficult to care for others if you do not also care for yourself. If you know any caregivers who could benefit from these resources, I encourage you to pass this along.

Image © Nikki Zalewski –

We’re Back!

William 26


After a brief hiatus (during which your Elder Law Update author was busy having her first child), more great content from the Elder Law Update is on its way!

In the meantime, check out this New York Times article shared by a law school classmate, which reminds us that estate planning goes beyond simply the signing of documents:

There’s More to Estate Planning Than Just the Will.