2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817

Thursday, December 15, 2011

NJ Laws Email Newsletter E382

NJ Laws Email Newsletter E382

Kenneth Vercammen, Attorney at Law

December 7, 2011


Office Phone Number:

(732) 572-0500


In This Issue:

1. The Fast Approaching Medicare Deadline Keeps Seniors on Their Toes. By Dana E. Bookbinder, Esq.

2. Santa Claus Welcomes You to Claus.com

3. Website: Christmas Carols instrumental, Listen to on your Computer.

4. Pearl Harbor Day

5. Community Events


1. The Fast Approaching Medicare Deadline Keeps Seniors on Their Toes. By Dana E. Bookbinder, Esq.

Seniors had to stay on their toes this fall being vigilant of their mail because the annual open enrollment period to make changes to their Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medicare prescription (Part D) plans, which began on October 15, 2011 ends on December 7. In past years, seniors had until the end of December to switch or add Medicare policies, but as stated in the Medicare & You handbook mailed throughout the country earlier this year, the enrollment period was moved up. During the enrollment period, seniors may do the following:

Switch from a traditional Medicare plan to a Medicare Advantage plan

Switch back from a Medicare Advantage Plan to a Medicare plan

Switch between Medicare Advantage plans (note that some offer drug coverage while others do not)

Add or remove a Medicare prescription drug coverage plan

Switch among Medicare prescription drug coverage plans

For those who miss this deadline, there is a Medicare Advantage Disenrollment period from January 1, 2012 through February 14, 2012. During this period, it is possible to switch back from a Medicare Advantage plan to traditional Medicare or to add a Part D prescription plan, but options are more limited during this period. There are also special enrollment periods for individuals who have faced life changes such as losing insurance coverage or moving. Seniors who do not opt to make changes in their Medicare plans are automatically reenrolled in their current plans for 2012.

Because options, coverage and premiums will be changing for 2012, Begley Law Group advises seniors to carefully read the Medicare & You handbook and make use of the many resources available to them. Those seeking information may call 1-800-MEDICARE (and www.cms.gov has additional information) or, if individuals are considering Medicare Advantage plans, which are offered by private insurance companies, they should contact the companies to get updated information. Each state has a SHIP program, which is a state health insurance assistance program that gives free information to Medicare beneficiaries. In New Jersey, the SHIP program number is 800-792-8820. Seniors may also contact Social Security at 800-772-1213, visit a local social security office or go to: www.socialsecurity.gov You will find that many websites aim to clarify the Medicare options. Note that different plans are offered in different locals, so for specific plan information, seniors need to contact their local resources.

Seniors should be aware that under the new health care legislation, Medicare plans now cover an annual wellness visit (free) preventative care and offer free cancer screenings and bone mass measurements. Also, Medicare plans now offer coverage for 50% of the brand name prescription costs in the "donut hole" gap in prescription costs. In fact, the "donut hole" is scheduled to close entirely in eight years. In considering which plan best fits their needs, seniors also may wish to consider whether the doctors participating in their plan takes "assignment," which means that the doctor will accept Medicare's approved charges (the patient will still likely have a co-pay). If the doctor does not accept assignment, he must not charge more than 115% of Medicare's approved charge.

Of course choosing the best Medicare plan requires an understanding of Medicare basics. Medicare Part A (for which you probably paid out of your earnings throughout your career) covers inpatient hospitalization, some home care, hospice, and limited skilled nursing facility care.

Part B (for which beneficiaries generally pay a monthly premium out of their social security benefits offers medical insurance. It covers doctor services, outpatient care, laboratory tests, and physical or occupational therapy.

Part C covers the Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurers and may or may not cover prescriptions. They require you to have Medicare Parts A and B in place. Since some insurers are discontinuing their plans or modifying the benefits they offer, seniors must be vigilant and review any mail that their insurers may have sent so that they are aware of any dramatic changes in coverage. For instance, this year, Medicare beneficiaries will see increased coverage and lower premiums for these plans when they review their Medicare and You booklet. There is also a limit as to how much a covered individual will have to pay out of pocket under these plans (as opposed to traditional Medicare plans).

Medicare Drug Plans are known as Medicare Part D plans and are only designed to cover prescriptions. They vary, and seniors are urged to compare plans. Medicare's website offers help in this comparative shopping and many pharmacies can offer help as well. Seniors are encouraged to call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit the website at: www.medicare.gov.

Medigap policies are federally regulated policies offered by private insurers, which are meant to enhance traditional Medicare policies. Individuals interested in initially signing up for a Medigap policy have a 6-month window from the time they turn 65 and have Medicare Part B in place. The Medicare supplemental plans work alongside traditional Medicare plans is designed to cover the co-pays and deductibles. The supplemental plans themselves do not replace a prescription plan.

Those who do not yet receive Medicare need to know that the Medicare program is designed to cover those who are 65, individuals who are under 65 but have a disability and have been receiving disability benefits for two years, those with end-stage renal disease, and those with Lou Gehrig's disease/ALS who receive Social Security benefits. Those who are just turning 65 and are enrolling in Medicare for the first time need not worry; the initial enrollment period for new beneficiaries begins three months before one turns 65 and extends 7 months, until three months after an individual's 65th birthday. Once an individual reaches age 65 and begins to collect Social Security Retirement benefits, he is automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, although he can opt out of Part B (but he will pay a lifelong surcharge if he later wishes to add back Part B). Those that miss their initial enrollment period can later sign up for Medicare during an annual open enrollment period between January and the end of March each year and most likely pay a higher premium (unless the reason you didn't sign up is because you were currently employed. In that case, you qualify to sign up during a special enrollment period.)

Individuals with limited income should consult the Social Security website regarding a limited income subsidy to cover deductibles. They may also call Social Security.

Of course, Medicare is an entirely different program from Medicaid, which is health insurance based on financial need subject to stringent asset and income rules. Unlike Medicaid, Medicare only covers extremely limited long term care and in most individuals' cases, does not cover any long-term care. Therefore, once individuals have settled on their Medicare insurance, for long term care that includes extended home care, assisted living, and nursing home coverage, it is necessary to investigate long term care insurance options, face private pay costs, or pursue Asset Protection Planning. Begley Law Group understands that seniors are often overwhelmed with options and unfortunately miss opportunities to plan adequately for their care and save assets. We are pleased to help educate our clients and guide them through a maze of choices that sound like legal alphabet soup.

Source: Begley E-Lert Medicare Deadline Begley Law Group, 509 SoutLenola Road, Building 7, Moorestown, NJ 08057. tel 800-533-7227.

Tom Begley has been a speaker at the Annual Nuts & Bolts of Elder Law program in April with Ken Vercammen, Esq.


2. Santa Claus Welcomes You to Claus.com

CLAUS.COM is one of the top-rated Santa Claus websites and is known around the world.

Santa Claus has the North Pole Village full of fun things to do for both kids and parents, including lots of new things this year. Check your Naughty or Nice rating.

Choose your very own Elf Buddy. Play games in Elf School. Print your Honorary Elf Diploma. Sing along with new original Christmas songs. Try funny holiday recipes. Visit the amazing Toy Workshop. Send E-mail to Santa Claus. Follow Santa Claus in his sleigh on Christmas Eve. See how many cookies Santa Claus eats on his trip.

Wonderful illustrations and a creative family experience.


3. Website: Christmas Carols instrumental, Listen to on your Computer.


The following songs are online:

Angels from the Realms of Glory

Angels we have Heard on High

Away in a Manger

Children, Go Where I send Thee

Christmas is now Drawing near at Hand

Christmas in the Trenches

Deck the Halls

Go Tell it on the Mountain

Good Christian Men, Rejoice

Good King Wenceslas

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Here we come a Wassailing

I heard the Bells on Christmas Day

It came upon a Midnight Clear

Jingle Bells

Joy to the World

Oh Come all Ye Faithful

Oh Holy Night

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem

Silent Night

The First Noel

Twelve Days of Christmas

We Three Kings

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

What Child is This?

This is a great site with Holiday cheer:



4. Pearl Harbor Day

My Dad was a kid in Jersey City when Americans heard President Roosevelt's speech on the radio.....

"December 7, 1941-a date which will live in infamy-the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our secretary of state a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese government also launched as attack against Malaya.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Wake Island.

And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. . ."

Source: Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.

5. Community Events

December 10

Big Chill 5k Rutgers 9:10am New Brunswick NJ

December 11

Toys for Tots 5K, 10am Freehold NJ FARC

December 14

RVRR Raritan Valley Road Runner club elections

December 17 Rumson hash trail run, not race

December 17

RVRR Christmas Party

December 21 Raritan Valley RVRR Pub Crawl New Brunswick, NJ

December 31 Polar Bear Races 5k Asbury Park 5mi Run, 1pm, 732-222- 9080. Free Polar Plunge swim in Atlantic Ocean after race, then discount beer at Wonder Bar

December 31, 5:30PM

Distance of run/walk is about three miles.

Course will be on the Asbury Park Boardwalk, and back to

Porta Pizza ( www.pizzaporta.com), where the real fun begins.

Pre-Registration (thru 12/20) $30.00

Late Registration (12/21 thru 12/30) $35.00

"Night of" Registration (if spots available) $38.00

JSRC Members early discounted fee $25.00 (due by 12/20)

Check-in begins at 4:00pm at Porta, 911 Kingsley Ave, Asbury Park.

More info at website: www.jsrc.org or, call Hotline at:


NOTE: You need NOT be a runner or Jersey Shore Running Club member to participate.

Runners, walkers and friends are all welcome.

Pre-register online at: jerseyrunner.com No mail-in entry.

Entry Fee includes a special clothing item (limit 300),

designed by well known entrepreneur Dr. T-Shirt,

one-hour open bar (draft beer, house wines, soda)

buffet provided by Porta, and random prizes.

Ring in the Irish New Year with the JSRC

New Year's Eve with Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes

Saturday, December 31, 2011, 9:00 PM

Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank

For the 13th time, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes are back at the Basie for the best New Year's Eve party in town. The New Year's show traditionally features the full catalogue, from their latest CD, Pills and Ammo (2010), which The Star Ledger calls, "...arguably the hardest-rocking set the band has released in its 35 years of recording," to the hits and fan favorites, like "Trapped Again," "Havin' A Party," "I Don't Want To Go Home," "The Fever," "Love On The Wrong Side Of Town," "Hearts Of Stone" and "Talk To Me."


Tickets: $99, $75, $49.50, $39.50, $29.50

January 1, 2012 New Years Day Hangover Run 5k 12-noon CJRR Westfield 1/1/2011 732-236-7651

Jan. 7, 2012 Freezing Cold Hash run & Party, Edison, NJ -Start Thomas Edison Park, 732-572-0500 Adventure trail run, not a formal race. Featured on TV News12 NJ and Cablevision. Skull shirt pick up Ken Vercammen Law Office, 2053 Woodbridge Ave, Edison