Seniors Warned to Beware of New Scams
Cona Elder Law, elder law and estate planning firm in Melville, recently presented a program at The Bristal in Massapequa to eliminate the confusion as to how Obamacare will affect seniors. Attended by over 50 seniors and some professionals, Melissa Negrin-Wiener, Esq., partner, Cona Elder Law, answered numerous questions but reassured the seniors that there will be little change for them with the Affordable Care Act especially if they’re on traditional Medicare.
Bill Freda, a retiree of GE and Wantagh resident, noted that this is the most complicated piece of legislation. “Without the right information, many people may think they should drop their Medicare or their Medigap policies and look to buy a policy on the Exchange,” says Melissa. If you’re getting social security, you’re automatically covered under Medicare Part A. However, if you’re not collecting social security, or pay a premium for Medicare, you can get insurance through the Exchange.
Another attendee Heinz Nestler, a health insurance agent in Patchogue, came to help his senior clients. “One of my concerns is what to tell clients who are not covered under a group insurance plan especially for those who don’t qualify for Medicare if they are under 65,” explains Mr. Nestler.
Melissa explained that if you’re on traditional Medicare, you’re in good shape, and Obamacare will not affect you adversely. However, anyone over 65 can choose a Medicare Advantage plan as an alternative from a private carrier. With the Affordable Care Act, she warned that many of the Advantage plans are cutting benefits, as they’re subsidized by the Federal government, and some doctors who currently participate will be dropped. “Therefore, it’s wise to investigate and evaluate your existing plan,” says Melissa.
Cona Elder Law told seniors that they will get new benefits, such as preventive care. For example, free screenings will be offered including colorectal screenings and mammograms along with free wellness doctor visits, smoking cessation and high cholesterol counseling.
There will also be discounts on prescription drugs. Once you spend $ 2,970 on medication and are in the “donut hole”, you will pay approximately 50% less for brand name drugs, but the full amount is calculated as an out of pocket expense. The period in the gap will be shorter combined with cost savings.
Seniors were also warned to be careful about con artists now that much of the Affordable Care Act has gone into effect. They are trying to get your personal information, such as social security numbers and bank account information to steal your identity. Before you’re a victim, it’s important to know that there is no new insurance card. Also, imposters are now posing as “navigators” and calling or emailing unsuspecting individuals. No one from the government will contact you. And last, the scammers are also creating false websites to get you to sign up for insurance on them. The only legitimate site is www.healthcare.gov.
Cona Elder Law is recognized as a leading elder law and estate planning firm on Long Island. The firm was ranked the #1 Elder Law firm by Long Island Business News in 2012 and 2013. The firm provides creative advocacy and cutting edge planning strategies and has been featured in many publications including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, L.I. Business News, Kiplinger’s, Reader's Digest and many others. Cona Elder Law attorneys are frequent contributors to Newsday’s Act II “Ask the Expert” column and have appeared as guests on WNBC-TV, CNN-fn, News 12, News 55, Channel 21 "Act II With Newsday" and many radio stations including WOR, WCBS AM and WFAN.