Author Topic: Parent's Medicare/retirement/moving/logistical upcoming mess HELP  (Read 1082 times)

Sibley

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I'm less than a year out from this logistical nightmare and I could really use some external eyes, especially on all the Medicare stuff. So, the various pieces of this puzzle:

Parents own a duplex in Michigan
Sister is in DC area
I am in northwest Indiana
Dad is 68, signed up for Medicare A(?), not actively using it.
Mom is 64, will be 65 in Jan 2021
Dad still works full time + overtime
Health insurance through dad's employer
When dad retires, they plan to move to be near me
Dad has mild/moderate dementia of some sort, is mostly functional but planning and analysis capability is shot.
Mom's health isn't great, a gap in coverage is not good
They have 2 cats
Money is a problem. They don't have much.
Zero support network local to them, so makes it easy to move and really hard to handle the logistical stuff they can't handle.

So, here's the rough list of events that I'm anticipating will happen:
Get mom signed up for Medicare
Dad will retire
Sell house
Buy SFH in new location (mom's insistence)
Move
Get rid of all the extra STUFF from their house (entire process there)
Get mom and dad actively signed up for Medicare/etc so it can be used as primary health insurance


The piece that I'm struggling with the most is the Medicare stuff. I know about the sign up for Medicare when you turn 65 window, can handle that. What I don't know is how to time everything so there isn't a gap in health coverage. What retirement date for dad makes sense? Can we wait to get Medicare setup as primary once dad retires, or do we have to overlap?

Any resources or advice you all have, please share. I've heard about orgs that will help seniors navigate Medicare, and if anyone has any tips on finding them in Indiana that would be awesome.

Sibley

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Re: Parent's Medicare/retirement/moving/logistical upcoming mess HELP
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2020, 03:23:12 PM »
Well, as I've been researching more, it appears that they would qualify for a Special Enrollment Period when dad retires. So if we timed retirement to coincide with selling the house and moving, we should be able to get Medicare up and running at that time. Still want someone to help navigate!

Which then leads into the timing of selling the house and buying a house in my area.

Sibley

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Re: Parent's Medicare/retirement/moving/logistical upcoming mess HELP
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2020, 03:37:53 PM »
And there's this thing called SHIP - free, unbiased assistance figuring out Medicare options. Each state has one. Hopefully they're good.

Cranky

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Re: Parent's Medicare/retirement/moving/logistical upcoming mess HELP
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2020, 05:02:56 PM »
You sign up for Medicare A, which doesnít cost anything, when you turn 65. You can do that online, but the Social Security website is a bit confusing. You sign up for the rest when you retire and are not covered by insurance through work anymore. Donít sign up for Medicare Advantage, if thatís the way you go, until you have moved, because those are pretty local specific.

At 64 and 65, your parents should be able to handle this themselves.

Fun fact - Medicare is not the greatest insurance.

Another Reader

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Re: Parent's Medicare/retirement/moving/logistical upcoming mess HELP
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2020, 05:20:54 PM »
The SHIP people here were not good.

Both leaving his employer and moving out of state are qualifying events that require him to make new insurance choices.  Is he signing up for Social Security at the same time as Medicare?  That can make the billing process easier.  I might try using an agent to help you navigate.  A nationwide one that is known to be very consumer oriented is Boomer Benefits.  A lot of the members of early-retirement.org use and recommend them.  Be sure you understand the differences between the types of Medicare supplements and don't get pushed into a Medicare Advantage plan without understanding the negatives. 

If your father is receiving an allowance for insurance as part of his retirement, he may have to use their company to buy the supplemental policies to get the allowance.  The largest one of these is Via Benefits.  Government agencies and megacorps use them a lot.

Medicare parts:

Part A, hospitalization.  Free

Part B, pays 80 percent of doctors" visits, runs about $140 a month.  Must sign up at the same time as Part A or pay a penalty. Your dad is exempt as long as he signs up when he loses the company insurance.

Part D, prescription drug plans.  These are all over the map in pricing.  Best to choose by looking at the drugs he is on and the pricing of those drugs by the various plans.  There are tools to do that.

Medicare Advantage Plans are also known as Part C.  The premiums are generally lower, but all care is managed by an insurance company and the buyer is no longer part of original Medicare.  There are co-pays and the out-of-pocket expenses can be high.

Medicare supplements pay the 20 percent of doctor visits not covered by Part B.  There are different levels of supplement plans.  Plan G is the most comprehensive for new enrollees.  Your father may be eligible for Plan F, because he already has Part A.  Plan F pays the Part B deductible.

Confused?  That's why a lot of people go through a reputable agent such as Boomer Benefits.  When I went through this, I had to use Via Benefits.  They were somewhat helpful but bureaucratic. 

Making the right choices (quality and affordability) is difficult.  If you do your homework, you will be doing your folks a huge service by helping them navigate this process.

Sibley

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Re: Parent's Medicare/retirement/moving/logistical upcoming mess HELP
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2020, 09:06:03 PM »
Yeah, you'd think they'd make this easier! It's not like seniors are known to have cognitive decline /s

Dad is 68, so has already been signed up for Medicare A, and is also receiving SS already. Mom will be going on Medicare next January when she turns 65. Not determined when she'll start drawing SS for herself, either on her work history or more likely as a spouse. Dad is at high risk of sitting down in a chair once he retires and dying within a year - he has zero hobbies, social network, etc. His life is work. He wants to retire, and the only argument that has been effective has been mom's medical insurance.

@Cranky  - I wish my parents could handle this on their own. You'd think they could, 64 and 68 really aren't that old. However, experience the last several years has shown that they simply can not. Dad's executive functioning ability is impaired, and the pieces that are the worst off are the pieces needed to make these decisions, plan everything out, etc. Dementia sucks. Mom has a different set of medical issues which make it unwise to rely solely on her for non-routine things. She needs support, which means essentially I and my sister have to learn, then explain options and help analyze. At this stage, we aren't in charge but we are in the room.

@Another Reader  thank you. I have noted down Boomer Benefits and will look into them. I have a slightly better than basic understanding of the different programs due to a past job, but not nearly enough. I'm not aware of any retiree benefits he'll get, it's been hard to get information from or through him. Luckily, we have time. Affordability is going to be key for them. It's possible they'll end up qualifying for SNAP or other assistance programs, so I will be learning all about that too.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Parent's Medicare/retirement/moving/logistical upcoming mess HELP
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2020, 10:24:59 PM »
Your dad is young for dementia. Try to rule out possible reversible causes of cognitive decline like hypothyroidism, B12 deficiency, or medication side effects. Also read the book The End of Alzheimers by Bredesen, a neurologist who has been reversing mild to moderate alzheimers.

20957

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Re: Parent's Medicare/retirement/moving/logistical upcoming mess HELP
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2020, 05:53:02 AM »
Can you ask your dad to bring home retiree benefit brochures from HR? Or draft an email to be sent from his account asking to have the info mailed to you?

Sibley

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Re: Parent's Medicare/retirement/moving/logistical upcoming mess HELP
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2020, 09:19:48 AM »
@frugaldrummer  Already done, nothing identified. There is a family history though, and while that history is muddy it seems to support a very long period of mild impairment (20+ years), which is then followed by a more "typical" progression. If anything in dementia is typical. And it's not Alzheimer's, symptoms more match FTD. Mild enough that we can't pin it down, bad enough to impact executive functioning.

@20957 We have gotten some general information, and when we have the next big conversation about retirement will ask him to look for more. I do know that some of the detailed information needed has to be specifically produced by HR, which won't happen until dad starts that process.


Given the special enrollment period when dad retires/moves, my guess is dad will retire sometime spring/early summer 2021. That would be decent timing to sell the house. Next step there is working with both of them to research the market so they have some idea of market value, as well as looking into potential neighborhoods near me. I might see if my sister can handle the sale research, she's better positioned in terms of knowledge than I am. I will help with the purchase research, since it's my area.

The good news is their taxes for 2019 will be closing down a sch D business, which should help some of the complexity going forward. I'll do their 2020 taxes next year, but their 2021 taxes I will have to find someone competent. Dad made a tax mistake 20 years ago and it hasn't been an issue, until they sell the house. I can't cope with selling a house that is both a primary residence AND a rental AND has a home office and has been depreciated in 2 places.

Cassie

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Re: Parent's Medicare/retirement/moving/logistical upcoming mess HELP
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2020, 10:00:10 AM »
Make sure both your parents sign up for Medicare part B once their insurance is ending because otherwise they will face a penalty for life. A good friend of mine had Alzheimerís in her 50ís. Medicare advantage plans are cheap or free for a reason. First of all you canít go back to regular Medicare unless you can pass medical underwriting.  In addition they are allowed to use step therapy to treat your illnesses. By the time you get to the step you need most likely you will be dead. They deny expensive treatments all the time. We are your parents age and I cannot imagine not being able to handle their own affairs especially on the part of your mom.  We decluttered and downstairs to make things easier for our kids one day.

Pigeon

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Re: Parent's Medicare/retirement/moving/logistical upcoming mess HELP
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2020, 12:40:52 PM »
My non-Medicaid related advise is that buying them a SFH is a very bad choice, unless you are buying in an area with a HOA that takes care of all the exterior stuff, given your dad's dementia and your mom's health issues.  Is she going to be up to mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow, etc.?  If not, she's going to be expecting you to do it all.  They are good candidates for simplifying with an apartment or a condo, all on one level, and this is the perfect opportunity.  I know you said she's insisting, but I'd be pushing reality pretty hard.

GizmoTX

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Re: Parent's Medicare/retirement/moving/logistical upcoming mess HELP
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2020, 01:52:36 PM »
Look into a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community). These have townhouse and/or apartment options. They typically have a buy in that returns 90% when the last person moves out/dies, plus a small monthly fee for housekeeping & 1 or 2 meals daily. The kicker is that at least one of a couple has to be reasonably healthy; these places typically have assisted living or memory care choices, but the first stop must be independent living.

My MIL moved into a CCRC at age 90 after her SFH became too hard to maintain & she was becoming a hermit; while she was very angry about it at first, she agreed later that it greatly improved her quality of life. At that time, family helped sell her car & manage her finances, with a small monthly allowance. In her mid-90s she became paranoid & started hiding SS checks, so we helped her switch them to direct deposit. She died at 99 in her apartment after a short illness, surrounded by family.

Cassie

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Re: Parent's Medicare/retirement/moving/logistical upcoming mess HELP
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2020, 02:07:11 PM »
Here the CCRCís are extremely expensive but it doesnít hurt to check.

Sibley

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Re: Parent's Medicare/retirement/moving/logistical upcoming mess HELP
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2020, 02:13:18 PM »
I think them buying a SFH is a terrible idea. I have argued against it. My sister has argued against it. They would be much better off with a condo, apartment, anything else with no maintenance. My mother insists. (My mother has... quirks.) However, she's also fairly practical. I'm hoping that by the time we get to the point of actually looking at houses, we can switch to something more realistic. My sister is on my side, and she's usually pretty good about convincing dad. If we can convince dad, we've got a decent chance to convince mom.

My mom can't shovel snow. She can't mow the lawn. Dad can (for now), but doesn't have the stamina for anything large. He's mowed my lawn once or twice and been tired out by doing half of it. I bought them a used snowblower when theirs died because I knew he wouldn't be able to manage without one (if they end up not needing it, I'm taking it back).

They are daily life independent currently, even mostly dad. There is at least one CCRC in my area which I plan to look into. I like the idea, assuming that their cats would be allowed. And yes, mom would initially be very upset, but I think she would ultimately adjust. The argument of "you don't HAVE to talk to people if you don't want!" may be very helpful, plus the guaranteed less cooking. She hates cooking. Dad would likely do well with the social interaction. These things might help convince mom, and dad will follow mom's lead.

Yes, I know that I just contradicted myself with dad can convince mom, and dad follows mom's lead. Both are true. Its complicated. My sister is a master at manipulating that dynamic too.

Cassie - yeah, we will be doing all the part B signups on time. Dad was able to sign up and defer or whatever. We'll figure out what is appropriate for mom, at least initially, then both will have a complete re-evaluation when the move happens.