Does Medicare cover second medical opinions? The doctor I currently see thinks I need back surgery, but I would like to find out more about other treatment options before I proceed. What can you tell me?
Medicare does pay for second opinions if your current doctor has recommended surgery or some other major diagnostic or therapeutic procedure. Getting a second medical opinion from another doctor is a smart idea. A second opinion may offer you a fresh perspective and additional options for treating your back condition so you can make a more informed decision. Or, if the second doctor agrees with your current doctor’s opinion, it can give you some reassurance moving forward.
If you are enrolled in original Medicare, 80% of the costs for second medical opinions are covered under Part B (you or your Medicare supplemental policy are responsible for the other 20%), and you do not need to obtain an order or referral from your doctor to see another doctor for a second opinion. Medicare will even pay 80% of the costs for a third medical opinion, if the first two differ. Most Medicare Advantage plans cover second opinions too, but you may need to follow certain steps to obtain coverage. For example, some plans will only help pay for a second opinion if you receive a referral from your primary care doctor. Plans also may require you to see doctors in their networks only. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll need to call to find your plan’s rules. Continue reading
According to the 2017 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, a private, one-bedroom, single occupant unit in an assisted living community costs a national average $45,000 per year. This cost includes 24-hour help as well as other amenities, such as meals, housekeeping, and medication assistance. Continue reading
How can you ensure that your child will remain well cared for and secure once others assume the role of guardian or caregiver? While creating a financial plan and establishing a specialized trust are central to preparing for your child’s future, special needs planners also advise families to write down their intentions and expectations in a document referred to as a Memorandum of Intent, also known as a “Letter of Intent.” This document can be used to describe your child’s health care and therapeutic needs, identify lifestyle preferences and provide contact information for doctors, therapists and teachers. It also can be used to convey insights into your child’s personality and history that future caregivers might not easily gain on their own. Continue reading
While day-to-day obligations can certainly get in the way, at some point as a parent of a child with special needs you will need to create a special needs trust to shelter and manage whatever you may leave the child. This is the only safe way to make sure that the funds you leave are protected and well managed and that the child, who by then is probably an adult, can continue to qualify for vital public benefits.
Here are some of the questions you will need to consider in guiding your attorney to create the trust: Continue reading