Medicare has elderly care limits

Question: My mom’s memory is starting to fail, and I need to have someone stay with her since I work all day. Will Medicare pay for it?

Answer: Medicare will pay for part-time, intermittent skilled nursing care if it’s ordered by a doctor and your mom is totally homebound. It’s pretty restrictive. Medicare does not pay for the type of assistance you are looking for, and it unfortunately does not cover assisted living either. And it only covers full skilled care for a mere 100 days.

Traditional or asset-based long term care insurance provides those benefits that Medicare does not. If your mom doesn’t have that protection, there are still insurance strategies that can keep her from running out of money while you pay for her care.

Question: I want to keep working past age 70 1/2, so I’ll continue to contribute to my employer’s retirement plan. Will I still have to take a Required Minimum Distribution?

Answer: The IRS has a “still working” exception that fits your situation – you do not have to take an RMD from the retirement plan of your current employer if you are still working at age 70 ½. Note that your company needs to have adopted this as a plan change when the regulations came out in the late 1990s, and this does not apply if you are a 5 percent or more owner of the company sponsoring the plan. And importantly, this does not apply to IRAs either.

Question: I’ve always managed my own investments and have done pretty well over the years. Now that I’m getting ready to retire, is there anything different I should be doing?

Answer: Think in terms of a retirement de-risking strategy to protect your nest egg from the unknown future.

Your portfolio should be restructured to manage the biggest risks in retirement: (1) not knowing how long you will live (longevity risk), (2) not knowing if the markets will correct in your early years of retirement (sequence of returns investment risk), (3) managing the impact of rising interest rates on your bond portfolio (interest rate risk) and (4) the impact of inflation and rising health care costs on your income needs. Lots to think about!

Have Questions? Send your financial questions to Yvonne Marsh, CFP®, CPA at, or submit them at and she will review your question for possible inclusion in a future column.