What is a Fixed Annuity?

By Donn J. Sinclair, MBA March 12, 2019

Insurance Professional Donn Sinclair

Fixed annuities pay guaranteed rates of interest and in many cases higher interest rates than those available from other financial institutions. Fixed annuities are the issued by insurance companies and are essentially fixed rate savings/investments from an insurance company.

You can select either a deferred or immediate fixed annuity. The deferred fixed annuity normally allows your savings to grow tax-deferred while accumulating regular rates of interest. The immediate annuity usually provides you with regular fixed payments which are partially determined by your age, the size of your annuity purchase, the payment schedule selected, and the interest rate for your annuity.

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What is a Traditional IRA?

by Kristin Sinclair – A Accu Tax – March 22, 2019

An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a tax-favored savings or investment vehicle that you establish with a financial institution, or quite often with the help of a financial professional. The Traditional IRA, often referred to as the Original IRA, is one of the most popular IRAs. Normally you make a deductible contribution for the current tax year into your Traditional IRA. When you make a deductible contribution, that amount is deducted from your taxable income federal income tax purposes. This means you normally do not pay current income taxes on your deductible contributions, and only pay taxes later when you make withdrawals from your Traditional IRA. Thus, your deductible contribution becomes tax-deferred income. By deferring taxes, any dividends, interest payments, and capital gains can compound each year without being reduced by current taxes. Thus the Traditional IRA has the opportunity to grow much faster than a taxable account. Often retirees find themselves in a lower tax bracket than during their pre-retirement working years. Then the Traditional IRA funds should be withdrawn and taxed at a lower rate.

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Let’s Talk Medicare Part B in 2019

by Kristin P. Sinclair   March 3, 2019

We know that Medicare has several different parts. Today we will be focus on Medicare Part B after a brief paragraph on Part A of Original Medicare.

Medicare Part A has a Hospital Deductible of $ 1,364.00   per benefit period deductible. You might be wondering what a benefit period is ? Well it is a continuous or unbroken number of days within a calendar year. So a person in the hospital as an inpatient on different occasions during a year could face several Part A Hospital Deductibles. It is very important to understand the potential Part A Deductible financial responsibility you might face. Therefore, it is very important to understand that Medicare does not cover all potential health care costs.

However this article is about Medicare Part B. In Medicare Part B, you have premiums, one annual deductible amount that applies to all of Medicare Part B covered medical events for annual period in any given year. Followed by co-pays. Let us look at Medicare Part B more closely.

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Let’s Talk Medicare Part B in 2019

by Kristin P. Sinclair   March 3, 2019

We know that Medicare has several different parts. Today we will be focus on Medicare Part B after a brief paragraph on Part A of Original Medicare.

Medicare Part A has a Hospital Deductible of $ 1,364.00   per benefit period deductible. You might be wondering what a benefit period is ? Well it is a continuous or unbroken number of days within a calendar year. So a person in the hospital as an inpatient on different occasions during a year could face several Part A Hospital Deductibles. It is very important to understand the potential Part A Deductible financial responsibility you might face. Therefore, it is very important to understand that Medicare does not cover all potential health care costs.

However this article is about Medicare Part B. In Medicare Part B, you have premiums, one annual deductible amount that applies to all of Medicare Part B covered medical events for annual period in any given year. Followed by co-pays. Let us look at Medicare Part B more closely.

In 2019 the Standard Part B Premium is $135.50 each month for most Medicare Part B beneficiaries. Premium is not the same thing as a deductible.

As you receive medical care which is a Medicare covered event, you have a deductible amount you are responsible for, and that amount is $185.00 for first

dollar out of pocket exposure. If the first care received is considered a covered preventative care service no out of pocket would be expected. However, if the care is not for covered preventative care you would have the applicable out of pocket amount due for care received for your situation until you have paid the $185.00 annual deductible for 2019.

After the deductible is reached you have coinsurance amounts you are responsible for. Medicare would pay 80% of the Medicare covered services and you would be responsible for 20% of the Medicare covered services.

It is important to know that the original Medicare has no CAP on your financial exposure if you have a lot of health care needs. So it is important to know that Medicare alone is no enough coverage. We have other articles that help you understand additional options you have.

 

Updated in Rock Hill SC and Charlotte NC

by Kristin P Sinclair     A Accu Tax (803)329-0615

March 3, 2019

Your Home Showcasing Strategy

by Donn J. Sinclair, MBA   March 5, 2019

Curb to Door Appeal

The first impression that your home makes on prospective buyers as they approach your home should entice them to step out of their car and enjoy the upcoming showing. Clean, or have someone clean the gutters so they are free of any visible leaves and debris. Your roof should not look like it is need of imminent replacement. You or someone should hose down the exterior, plus use a soft brush or sponge mop to clean hard to reach soffit and fascia, plus the doors, windows and frames. Your front entryway should sparkle. Thoroughly clean the doors, replace any tarnished hardware, and replace any dingy or burnt out lighting. A new front doormat might be just the final touch.

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Let’s Talk Medicare Part A Spring 2019

New Medicare Cards are Coming!

by Kristin P. Sinclair – March 2, 2019

We know that Medicare has several different parts. Today we will be focus on Medicare Part A of Original Medicare.

Medicare Part A has a Hospital Deductible of $ 1,364.00   per benefit period deductible. You might be wondering what a benefit period is ? Well it is a continuous or unbroken number of days within a calendar year. So a person in the hospital as an inpatient on different occasions during a year could face several Part A Hospital Deductibles. It is very important to understand the potential Part A Deductible financial responsibility you might face. Therefore, it is very important to understand that Medicare does not cover all potential costs.

Another factor to consider with Medicare Part A. If a person were to be continuously hospitalized for a period greater than 60 days, then the beneficiary would be responsible for $ 341.00   per day for days 61 through day 90. Medicare would pay all Medicare approved costs above and beyond the $341.00 per day for days 61 through day 90.

With Medicare Part A if a person were to be continuously hospitalized for a period greater than 90 days, then day 91 through day 150 Medicare would pay costs after the beneficiary paid their cost sharing of $682.00 per day. For example, if you were hospitalized for days 91 through 150, then Medicare would pay all Medicare approved costs except for $682.00   per day. Note that Hospitalization days 91 through 150 are called Lifetime Reserve Days. Once these days are used they do not become available again. Each of the 60 Lifetime Reserve Days in Original Medicare are only available to be used one time. So please remember that while Medicare provides fabulous coverage; Medicare does not; cover all of your potential medical expenses.

You should also plan on additional Medicare insurance products. You do have choices and We will discuss those options in a different article.

Medicare will also pay for needed blood, only after the Medicare Beneficiary has paid for the first three pints of blood. This is an additional example of how fortunate we are to have Medicare Part A when we need to start receiving those benefits. Again, Medicare alone is not enough coverage.

If the Medicare Beneficiary was a hospital admitted as an inpatient for three full nights and days, and within 30 days after the hospitalization, needed to receive Skilled Nursing Care related to that hospitalization which has just occurred, then Medicare Part A would pay the first 20 days of Medicare approved Skilled Nursing Care. Skilled Nursing Care may be received in a Skilled Nursing facility or in your home. In the event that additional days of Skilled Nursing Care were needed, then Medicare would pay all but $ 170.50   per day for day 21 through day 100. Medicare pays for no additional days after day 100 of Skilled Nursing Care. Medicare does not cover Long Term Care.

Skilled Nursing Care is a higher level of care than Custodial Nursing Care. Medicare does not pay for Custodial Nursing Care. You might not have been aware that most people who reside in a nursing home are actually receiving for the most part Custodial Care. Again, regarding Custodial Care, Medicare normally does not pay for that level of care. Those with assets will be paying for Custodial Care with their Assets until the spending down has occurred.

Please note that your health care professional and Medicare might determine that ongoing Skilled Nursing Care could help further your at-home recovery. This would help you become more self sufficient again. Skilled Level Home Health Care would only be indicated if the Medicare Beneficiary were homebound, and leaving the home is extremely difficult. Plus care is needed by trained medical professionals such as a nurse, an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, or a physical therapist. Plus the care must be provided by a Medicare Approved Home Health Agency and trained professional care providers. This care is intermittent which means you need Skilled Nursing Care just not continuously.

Sometimes, the level of care a person requires is the type of care which is provided by Hospice or Palliative Care. This care would only be indicated once the Medical Professionals offering your care have determined that the Medicare Beneficiary health status has reached a level of terminal illness therefore likely that death is anticipated within 6 months. You sign a statement saying you are seeking Hospice Care rather than Medicare services to seek treatment for the condition. Medicare will normally pay for 95% of the Medicare approved costs associated with Hospice care. So the Hospice Patient could have a 5% responsibility for the respite care received. Medicare does not cover the costs associated with Room and Board when in home care is sought, nor when Room and Board costs would be a factor when hospice care is being offered in another facility such as a nursing home. Often a patient would receive care in a Hospice Facility that has a mission in their charter to assist with care at end of life.

Medicare also helps to cover the costs of the medications which are indicated for palliative and comfort care during the period of Hospice care. The Medicare Beneficiary would be responsible for a $5 co-pay for the medications used to help alleviate pain during this end-of-life period for the medications covered by Medicare Part A. It is possible that help will be needed by the Medicare Part D provider for the medication items that are covered by that formulary rather than Medicare Part A. Hospice care is not the type of care that is to be sought when a cure for your condition is the goal. Rather Hospice and Palliative Care is desired to make the patient as comfortable and pain-free as possible during these difficult final days of life. To help the patient have a peaceful period during the end of life period that Hospice Care and Palliative Care is being sought.

Since Medicare does not cover the full costs associated with Hospice Care this is an additional example of the need for additional insurance to help lessen the financial responsibility for family members and the medicare beneficiary during Hospice Care.

Updated in Rock Hill SC and Charlotte NC

by Kristin P Sinclair     (803)329-0615

March 2, 2019                     

2019 Medicare Part D Insurance for The Coming Annual Period

This article is being updated. Please check back again later.

Charitable Deductions Things to Consider

by Kristin P. Sinclair – A Accu Tax – October 6, 2018 – Rock Hill, SC – Charleston, SC

We have heard in the news that the Standard Deduction is increasing and fewer people will be itemizing on the their tax returns over the next 7 years. The higher deduction is indeed expected to be taken by many. However for people who have a Mortgage on their home paying interest, they might want to look at itemizing and decide if it is to their advantage. Have deductible gifts to charity add this to the mix. And then also, taxes paid for home, vehicles, and state taxes on their earned income. Estimated state taxes on investments and retirement income.

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