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Cheat Sheet note. The Cheat Sheet is taking a break (along with me) after today. It will return on Monday the 12th.
Cheat Sheet Q & A:
Topic Understanding Medicare:
My question deals with some confusion I have regarding Medicare. Seniors can obtain Medicare at 65, if I have my information correct. First, if I already have a good health insurance plan can I opt out of Medicare?
Lastly, my husband is already "on Medicare", or so we thought. Social Security has been deducting from his SS check monthly for what we thought was Freedom Health, which we also thought was a supplement. Apparently we are confused. You see, my husband (required medical care) and the DR receptionist told him, "you don’t have Medicare, you have Freedom Health." Thus confusion. If this makes any sense to you and you can help clarify, we would appreciate your input.
Bottom Line: I’ll take this in a few pieces. First with regard to eligibility and opt out opportunities:
The Medicare eligibility age is indeed 65
I’ll break down a few of the finer points here. If you choose to not opt in to Medicare at 65 be aware that the potential for a penalty of 10% of what your Medicare cost would be could be charged to you each year after 65 that you’re not on Medicare. This is rarely assessed and collected. With regard to Social Security and its role with Medicare…
If you collect Social Security prior to your 65th birthday, you’re automatically opted in and there is no recourse. Several court challenges have been made over the years (the most recent in 2011) challenging the mandate of Medicare if you’re on Social Security and alas no change. Now with regard to your husband’s situation…
Your husband is indeed on a Medicare plan. Freedom Health is Coordinated Care plan under Medicare Advantage in conjunction with the Florida Medicaid program. In other words it is a Medicare based plan. The receptionist is most likely the confused party. If your husband’s doctor accepts Medicare then the Freedom Health plan should be accepted by that office.
Hopefully that’s helpful.
If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
How much more is your home worth today?:
Bottom Line: We’ve talked about the percentage increases during the housing recovery but what about actual dollar amounts. With data assistance from the Treu Group and Kelly Fischer I calculated how much the average property in our area has appreciated year over year. So here we go:
Not bad, right? You may be in a much better equity position than you realized. Also keep in mind these are averages. If your home is of higher value than the average or in a more desirable area than average, your outcome could be significantly better still.
Freedom of speech? Not on Twitter:
Bottom Line: We’re all quite familiar with the amount of data that potentially is being collected about us by the Government (metadata). Did you know that it’s really easy to make yourself a specific target of a Government (usually the
Federal officials have been monitoring social media for possible threats for as long as social media has been available. Their interest is rapidly ramping up this year though. Twitter reports that requests by Governments for personal info of their users is up 40% so far in 2013. And before you decided to rant of Twitter or some other form of social media – you might want to consider this… It could make you a target.
Making racist and extreme religious statements are among the quickest ways to capture the attention of the Federal Government or even foreign Governments. If you issue a threat of some sort, even in jest, you may now have your info being collected and all of your phone and online activity being tracked. While most reasonable people wouldn’t engage in questionable conduct on mediums like Twitter anyway, you may educate your children of these realities.
The economy is picking up steam - first 3rd quarter estimate:
Bottom Line: With the second quarter
I also believe that the European economy (Euro Zone) has bottomed and will be out of recession in the first half of next year. With that in mind and improving hiring underway, I believe economic growth will rise through the 4th quarter and has the potential to reach 3+% in 2014. More to come…