Feb 9, 2011

Money saving tips

"We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs." ~Gloria Steinem

The way we steward our money is a good way to know what we value. I like to get good value for my money, and so would like to share a few tips that you may or may not already know about. There is so much cost associated with a person having dementia, that it is good to save money where we can.

1. Eye exams: We discovered that by going to an ophthalmologist versus an optometrist (the former is a medical doctor with a speciality in eye care, while the latter is someone trained to do eye exams) Medicare and supplemental insurance cover the cost of the exams.

2. Hearing aids: We have friends who have gone to some of the business franchise places that are familiar to all of us because of their advertising, but we discovered that by going to an audiologist associated with a medical facility, Medicare and supplemental insurance pay for the exams. And, while hearing aids are currently not covered by Medicare or our supplemental insurance (at least they were not when Dwane got his), our experience is that the hearing aids were much less expensive from this medical-facility source. About $3000 versus about $9000. The audiologist did need a referral from a medical doctor for insurance to cover the cost of the exam.

3. Long term care insurance: If you purchased it and intend to implement it, our insurance advisor suggested that we implement home health care first because many insurance policies have a 90-day exclusion clause, which means you pay out of pocket for those first 90 days. Home health care is less expensive than either assisted living or nursing home placement. So, if you intend to use your long term care insurance, it will benefit you to plan ahead so that -- if you have an exclusion clause of a certain number of days -- you are paying for the least expensive care during that exclusionary period of time.

4. Taxes: When you file your federal income taxes this year (U.S.), be sure to consider doing a longer form so that you can deduct medical expenses. Check with your CPA (certified public accountant), tax attorney or accountant for current IRS rules, but most of us with this terminal illness have significant medical expenses which can be partially deducted. If you traveled for medical services, as we did when we went to Mayo, check to see about including lodging and food as part of your medical expenses. And don't forget to include all that you have paid for medications, especially remember to consider what you paid while in the prescription drug coverage "donut hole". And, if you did buy eyeglasses, hearing aids, walkers, etc., list those for your accountant. (disclaimer: I am not a CPA. I recommend that you check with whoever does your taxes for current tax regulations. These suggestions are just meant to be reminders of what may affect the taxes you pay.)

What other ways can we save money?