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.
What are the IRS income tax filing requirements for retirees this tax season? I didn’t have to file last year, but I picked up a little income from a part-time job in 2014 and I’m wondering whether I need to file this year. Whether or not you are required to file a federal income tax return this year will depend on how much you earned (gross income), the source of that income, your filing status and your age. Your gross income includes all the income you receive that is not exempt from tax, excluding your Social Security benefits, unless you are married and filing separately. Continue reading
By Robert M. Slutsky, Esq.
Robert Slutsky Associates
Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, An ElderCare Matters Partner,
The percentage of married households in the United States fell from 55 percent in 1990 to 48 percent in 2010. About 40 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Three quarters of people who divorce remarry — accounting for a pretty large proportion of the 48 percent of American households that are married. Nearly 1.5 million babies a year are born to unmarried women, more than a third of all births. This can complicate matters, especially when the father is not identified or, in the case of donated sperm, does not exist. It also can mean a greater need for planning when there is no identified back-up parent if something happens to the mother. If you are in a relationship, but not married, have been married more than once, have children by more than one partner, or have beneficiaries who cannot manage funds for one reason or another, then it’s more important that you do estate planning. And you need more than LegalZoom to accomplish your goals. Continue reading