HICAP is here to help. For a quick and easy way to find a Medicare physician, go to the direct link we have provided: Click here and scroll down to the link
Use the form below to request information by mail.
Click on the link below for locations and phone numbers to make your appointment today. For more information give us a call at (805) 928-2552
From Paul Greenwood, Deputy District Attorney and Head of Elder Abuse Prosecutions for San Diego County’s District Attorney’s Office:
A few weeks ago I shared the story about the mother of a former prosecutor colleague who had been scammed out of over $60,000 – after believing that her grandson was in a South American jail.
My office is aggressively investigating this case – and we have already executed at least ten search warrants.
In the meantime the victim has been courageous enough to go on camera and relate her experience…
Here it is…
The Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens is releasing a new Emergency Survival Guide for Older Adults. The guide provides information about things seniors can do to stay safe before, during and after major emergencies like fires, earthquakes and tsunami’s. As with all of the services provided by the Central Coast Commission for senior citizens, the information is free.
The Guide has updated information including registering for Reverse 911 Alerts. “Many emergency agencies are turning to the Internet and smart phone apps to get information out in the event of a major emergency. While more seniors are able to get information through Twitter and Facebook, close to 100% can benefit from Reverse 911.” said Jim Talbott, President, Board of Directors.
The Guide includes information on emergency radio stations, creating a survival kit and setting up evacuation plans. “Seniors are vulnerable in times of disaster.” declared Talbott. “We want to give them practical information to help them stay safe in an emergency.”
If you would like to have multiple copies to distribute to your group, or community contact Senior Connection by phone at 800-510-2020
The Board of Directors of the
Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens
cordially invite you to attend its
Friday, March 13th, 2015-10AM to 2PM
Santa Maria Inn
Keynote Presentation by:
Ms. Sandy Markwood, Executive Director
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
Aging Public Policy: Past, Present and Future
Hosted Buffet Luncheon
Luncheon Presentation by:
Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian
Senior Citizen Issues – A State Perspective
Door Prizes & Wine Bar
Hosted by the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens
This scam has been around for a while.
Recently, we have received reports of it happening to senior citizens on the central coast.
Here is how the scam works:
People reported receiving a voicemail urging them to return a call to an 809 area code phone number. The unsuspecting victims return the call only to hear a pre-recorded message. In the phone bill the next month, they were charge an excessive amount (some times more that $1,000 per minute) for the call to the Dominican Republic.
What can you do:
Some callers may be able to get the charge resolved, but it often takes several months. The following tips are from an article from the AT&T website
AT&T recommends the following tips to help avoid the 809 area code scam:
- Return calls to familiar numbers only. As a general rule, return calls from numbers that contain familiar or recognizable area codes. You may call your directory assistance or long distance operator to check the area code location.
- Carefully read your telephone bill. Make sure that you only receive charges from your provider of choice. Ensure you thoroughly understand charges listed on your phone bill, have chosen to do business with all of the listed providers billing for those charges and have authorized additional fees invoiced. If your local service provider has changed, you will receive a final bill from the former provider and a notice of service disconnection.
If you believe that you have been scammed:
- Contact the carrier with whom the charge originated, whose name and toll-free telephone number should be printed on the same bill page as the charge in question. Often, the problem can be resolved with a single phone call.
- If the carrier with whom the charge originated does not agree to resolve the problem, contact AT&T. AT&T will work with you and the carrier to help remove fraudulent charges from the phone bill.
Senior Connection can help with information and referrals to help prevent and resolve scams. Contact us today.
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for the first time introduced star ratings on Hospital Compare, the agency’s public information website, to make it easier for consumers to choose a hospital and understand the quality of care they deliver.
Yet another case of Medicare fraud. Take the time to review your MSN – Medicare Summary Notice and report any potential fraud. HICAP can help as the liaison for SMP-Senior Medicare Patrol.
“An owner of a Miami home health care company was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for his leading role in a $13 million Medicare fraud scheme that involved paying kickbacks and bribes to patient recruiters, Medicare beneficiaries and others…”
Nominations for Older Americans Month Awards is due by April 27th, 2015
Senior Citizen of the Year
Senior Citizen Program of the Year
Public Official of the Year
Media Advocate of the Year
Caregiver of the Year
Older Worker of the Year
Intergenerational Effort of the Year
Download the Nomination forms here:
If you are eligible for Medicare, Medicare is your healthcare.
Right now there are advertised deadlines such as what you see below, that DO NOT apply if you have Medicare:
“Sunday is the last day to enroll in a health insurance plan for 2015. If you miss this deadline, you may not be able to get coverage until 2016. And while you may not get sick in 2015, if you don’t have health insurance, you’ll miss out on preventive care services and pay a hefty fine when you file your federal income tax return next year. The penalty you’ll pay if you do not have coverage is either a percentage of your household income or a flat fee — whichever is higher.This fee increases each year.”
The Obamacare Health Exchange applies to those under age 65 who DON’T have Medicare and their deadlines are different from Medicare.
Don’t be confused.
If you have questions, HICAP is here to help! Call us at 800-434-0222
This question is frequently asked by people who contact the Senior Connection Program. It may come from a frail senior overwhelmed by the constant challenge of determining whether an envelope is a bill, an important notice or a cleverly disguised advertisement. It also comes from family members concerned about an elderly relative who has stopped paying bills or whose money seems to be disappearing. The callers can see the problem, but are left asking “Where can we find help?”
Unfortunately, there are not “one size fits all” answers. The right solution will depend on the person’s condition, personal preferences, their support network and access to financial resources.
The following list of terms can be helpful for people in the process of looking for help.
Daily money management-
Daily money management is the service of ensuring timely payment of bills, maintaining a budget and protecting a senior from fraud and financial abuse.
Who can help with this?
Non professional assistance- Trusted family members and friends often take on this role. Though it is not required by law, formalizing the role with a written agreement that outlines tasks and responsibilities is helpful for everyone involved. Power of attorneys and living trusts are example of these types of agreements (see more below).
Looking for information to help a non professional financial caregiver:
Professional bookkeeper- A bookkeeper keeps records of financial transactions, prepares necessary payments, and can provide budget reports. This service can be an ideal solution for a person who is capable of understanding and monitoring their financial situation, but may have trouble with the details. This service may be offered by a large accounting firm or a small private practice. In California, a bookkeeper does not require a special license to have a private practice.
Professional Fiduciary Services- These services are provided by a licensed professional for people in a conservatorship or under a durable power of attorney for health care or finances. They manage matters for individuals including daily care, housing and medical needs, and also offer financial management services ranging from basic bill paying to estate and investment management. In California, professional fiduciary services can only be provided by a licensed professional. (Family members and people providing services for less than 2 persons are exempt). The following are common credentials considered appropriate for operating a professional fiduciary service:
- Licensed Professional Fiduciary
- Bar License (Lawyer)
- Certified Public Accountant
- See More
Representative Payee– A representative payee is a person designated by the Social Security Department to receive and manage Social Security benefits for a person incapable of managing the benefit on their own. More information on representative payees. Social Security does not honor power of attorney documents.
It is appropriate to ask anyone (even family or friends) who has the responsibility of managing finances to complete a background check. There are a number of tools to help consumers, preform background checks:
This service provides advice to people about managing their investments and plans for retirement. Often they advise on the purchase of investments including securities and other properties.
Who can help with this?
Professional financial planners/ advisers–
The professional helps you to:
1. Clarify your present situation through collecting and assessing all relevant financial data such as all assets, liabilities, insurance coverage, wills, etc.
2. Identify both personal and financial goals and objectives.
3. Identify financial problems which create obstacles to you reaching your goals and objectives.
4. Provide a written plan and course of action.
5. Implement or coordinate the implementation of the strategy you decide is best to reach your goals.
The professional may coordinate the implementation of your plan with other professional advisers.
6. Periodically review your plan to assure you that it is making progress toward the attainment of your goals.
Unfortunately there are too many designations to list, and no objective criteria to evaluate different types of financial advisers. The following resources can help you to make sense of the different credentials for financial professional.
From the Financial Industry Regulatory Association (FINRA)- Certification comparison tool to help figure out what the letter on the end of an advisers title mean
From the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)- A report on Senior Designations
The following links are resources to help consumers make choices about financial planning.
From the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Investment Adviser Public Disclosure
Important Legal Terms for Financial Management
The following terms relate to legal roles that are part of a discussion about managing someone else’s money.
Power of Attorney– This is a document that grants authority of one person to another person (called the attorney in fact or agent under power of attorney) to make decisions and execute financial transactions. The attorney in fact has a legal duty to act under the direction of or in best interest of the granting person. Durable Power of Attorneys are documents that state that the agent retains the authority granted in the document in the event that the granting individual becomes incapacitated. See information about durable power of attorney for health care and advanced health care directives.
Trustee- A trustee is a person or entity granted authority by a trust to manage assets. Successor Trustee– A successor trustee is a person designated to assume the role of trustee if and when the primacy trustee is unable or unwilling to perform the role.
Conservatorship– A conservatorship is established when a probate court determines that a person does not have the capacity for decision making. In a conservatorship the court appoints a conservator to act as the guardian for the incapacitated persons estate (property) and/or person (the incapacitated persons health and physical welfare).
Who can help me find the resources that are right for me?
Senior Connection can help with information and referrals for people facing decisions related to managing finances as well as other matters faced by senior citizens, their loved ones and caregivers.
If you suspect Medicare fraud HICAP is the Liaison for SMP, Senior Medicare Patrol, an organization dedicated to fighting Medicare fraud. HICAP can help you fight fraud!
Advance Health Care Directive
An Advance Health Care Directive is a legally recognized document that allows a person to provide information to your family, friends and physician(s) about your health care preferences, including the types of special treatment you want or do not want at the end of your life. The advanced health care directive document is meant to be completed by anyone 18 years of age or older and it can be changed at any time, should one’s wishes change.
You can give specific instructions about any aspect of your health care. Along with documenting the type of care you wish to receive, you are also able to to appoint another person as your ‘health care power of attorney’ to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make your own decisions. You can name an alternate agent in case your first choice is unwilling, unable or unavailable to make decisions for you.
POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)
POLST is a form that states what kind of medical treatment patients want toward the end of their lives. Printed on bright pink paper, and signed by both a doctor and patient, POLST helps give seriously ill patients more control over their end-of-life care.
Changes to the California POLST Form were approved by the statewide POLST Task Force and the Emergency Medical Services Authority Commission. The new form went into effect on October 1, 2014. Previous versions of signed POLST forms remain valid. View Form on line.
Want to get copies of either form?
Share your input with Congresswoman Lois Capps and help shape the agenda for the upcoming 2015 White House Conference on Aging! [Read more…]
Many seniors are uncomfortable with using legal services. Some fear the high cost. Others have a hard time understanding legal processes. There are resources for seniors needing legal help. The following are different types of legal resources available for free or low cost.
Justice without an attorney
Not every case requires Perry Mason. There are many tools available for the average citizen to resolve a dispute or take legal actions without representation form an attorney. Self representation, alternative dispute resolution and legal advocacy resources are sufficient for many issues that people face.
Self Help Legal Resources
People who want to represent themselves in a legal matter have a couple of resources at their disposal. For disputes resulting in damages of less than $7,500, small claims court is a venue to get before a judge without an attorney. Small claims court advisors (SLO and Santa Barbara County) can help with filing the appropriate forms and understanding small claims proceedings for any novice.
Each county (SLO and Santa Barbara) has a law library where a person can research legal issues and get assistance from the clerk in finding information on any legal topic. These libraries are open to the public. In Santa Barbara County the law libraries have an additional resource to help with self-representation called the Legal Resource Center. During certain hours an attorney employed by the center provides first come first serve legal advice at the law library at no cost.
Some disputes can be resolved without an attorney. One method is mediation. It is particularly helpful when all sides agree to participate. Mediation can be used to successfully resolve consumer, family, and landlord tenant disputes. Each county’s District Attorney’s office has a consumer mediation program (SLO and Santa Barbara) to help resolve disputes between businesses and customers. This is a great tool for someone who may have been taken advantage of by a misleading sales offer or an unscrupulous contractor. Many of the Boards and Bureaus of the California Department of Consumer Affairs offer consumers assistance in resolving disputes with businesses under their license. Click here to find out more about the Department of Consumer Affairs. In addition to these resources, both counties have non profit organizations (SLO and Santa Barbara) that offer mediation services for a variety of disputes. Mediation services typically cost a fraction of what one might pay in attorney fees.
Estate Planning services are rarely offered for free or at a reduced rate. The best way to save money is to do as much as you can yourself. For example, there are many free forms and seminars on how to complete an Advanced Health Care Directive for yourself. For people with simple estate plans the California Bar website has a standardized will form that you can use to draft a will. The bar also has several publications that can help you understand the different estate planning options like trusts and wills. Knowing what you want can help you save money when you finally sit down with an attorney.
If you have any questions about local resources for legal issues call us– we can help you find the right resources for you.