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Health Care: Everyone’s Issue

Published October 22, 2009

A Message from Bernard A. Krooks

Whatever your personal stance on health care reform, the very public conversation now dominating headlines is momentous. For all citizens, but especially for seniors and individuals with special needs, access to quality medical services is essential. It’s important that our national dialogue is giving this central issue the attention it deserves.

As individuals prepare for retirement, they must plan for the possibility that a long life will be accompanied by serious health challenges, including the need for either in-home care or long-term residence in a nursing home.

Individuals with special needs often have significant medical issues that may become more complicated as they age.

What are some key points being discussed?

  • The ability of insurance companies to deny coverage based upon pre-existing conditions.
  • Continuation of annual or lifetime limits to insurance coverage.
  • Reimbursement for durable medical equipment and prosthetics.
  • Increased Medicaid coverage for home care and community-based services.

Notably, these are some of the key issues that shape family estate plans. Elders overwhelmingly prefer to age in place. While New York State has one of the country’s most progressive Medicaid policies in relation to home care, a bias still exists in favor of institutional solutions. The desire to keep beloved parents at home currently demands much financial sacrifice.

Individuals who are under 65 and have serious health care problems—diabetes or heart disease, for instance—now face the possibility that they will be uninsurable if they lose a job that provided employer-subsidized health insurance. Alternatively, they may face staggering bills if they have reached their policy’s lifetime cap.

Families planning for care of a loved one with special needs often set aside sizable sums to address medical contingencies. The focus of their special needs planning might shift to other important quality of life considerations—vacations, social events, an occasional concert—if these families could feel more secure concerning health coverage.

Our focus on elder law, estate planning, special needs, and special education advocacy involves us in these deeply personal discussions every day. Whatever your politics, we encourage you to participate in this national debate. It touches us all.

As always, on behalf of the Littman Krooks team, I wish you and yours health, prosperity, and peace of mind.



Bernard A. Krooks
Managing Partner, Littman Krooks LLP

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