Monterey, CA Elder Abuse Alert : Social Security Scam

You read about the latest scams in the paper on almost a daily basis, but I just got a call myself on my cell phone with a robot saying, “Your Social Security number was used fraudulently in a transaction in Laredo, Texas.  Please press 1 to speak to an officer.”  I typically screen my calls, but since this was coming from an 831 area code I was curious and picked up the phone.  I hung up without pressing 1 and when I googled the telephone number it was a cell phone, so surely it was not the Social Security Administration.  Be careful, these scams seem to increase around holiday time.

 

Monterey, CA Many Seniors Overwhelmed By Medicare Renewal Choices

It’s open enrollment time until December 7, a time of year when seniors can swap out Medicare Advantage plans.  However, according to the New York Times, many seniors are overwhelmed by the number of choices and do nothing.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, seniors will be able to choose from 57 different prescription or Advantage plans that include drug coverage.  A new survey found that 57% of seniors didn’t review or compare their coverage, with 46% saying they never or rarely visited their plans.  Two thirds of beneficiaries 85 or older don’t review their coverage annually.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/13/business/medicare-advantage-retirement.html

Social Security Payments To Rise Slightly In 2021

Social Security participants are likely to get an ever-so-slightly increase next year (+1.3%) according to the numbers looking at the index that cost of living adjustments (COLA) are based on.  Of the 68 million people on Social Security and Disability, the average payment will go up by $19.70 to $1,537.  “It makes people have to take more out of savings,” Mary Johnson, a policy analyst for the Senior Citizen League, said.  That’s due to the fact that many people believe the index doesn’t adequately account for inflation.  “Other people who don’t have savings will go into debt.  Many people may go into poverty,” she said.

Medicare Open Enrollment Closes On December 7

It’s more important than ever this year that you examine your options for a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan (Medigap), in particular to see what is covered if you should get the dreaded coronavirus.  October 15 to December 7 is the period when all people with Medicare can change their health care plan and prescription drug coverage for the following year.  In general, Medicare beneficiaries without some sort of Medicare Supplement Insurance will face Medicare cost-sharing if they contract COVID-19 or have any other health problems.  If you do have health conditions and leave a Medigap plan for a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time, you do get a one time 12-month “trial right” to try the Medicare Advantage plan and still have the option to go back to their same Medigap plan without medical underwriting.  You can find Medicare plan information or compare plans by calling 1-800-MEDICARE  or visit Medicare.gov.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/2020/09/23/medicare-open-enrollment-starts-oct-15-heres-what-to-do/5853137002/

Monterey, CA Think Twice Before Taking Early Social Security

Many people take Social Security at the earliest possible time rather than waiting until their official retirement age, which can cost them over $100K over the remainder of their lifetime.  Recessions and a jump in early Social Security claims go hand-in-hand, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.  According to Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute, there’s been a 7% increase in the number of Americans who retired after the pandemic.  Edgar Freeberg, 66, said he had planned on waiting until he was 70 to claim Social Security.  “I was going for the 70 thing,” he told USA Today.  But after his job was outsourced, he felt he had no other choice.  Statistics show that filing at age 62 the average household loses out on about $111,000 in lifetime benefits.  Here in Monterey, Social Security payments top the national average by a high margin in the wealthier pockets like Carmel and Pebble Beach.  But if you are not on the high end of the wage earning spectrum, it may pay to wait to file.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/09/29/social-security-took-checks-early-because-covid-you-get-do-over/3567304001/