IRS Announces That Face Masks and Related Purchases Are Tax Deductible — Lexington, KY

IRS Announces That Face Masks and Related Purchases Are Tax Deductible — Lexington, KY

The IRS has announced that the tax deduction for medical expenses includes amounts spent on face masks, sanitizer and other products purchased to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  If you have significant medical expenses, you may be able to deduct them from your taxes. Many types of medical expenses are deductible, from long-term care to hospital stays to hearing aids. This year, the IRS has made clear that “medical expenses” also includes amounts paid for personal protective equipment, such as masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes, as long as they were used for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of COVID-19.  However, this deduction will be irrelevant to most taxpayers. To claim the deduction, your medical expenses have to be more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income and your other deductions have to be sufficient to justify itemizing rather than taking the standard deduction. This may be the case if you have large home care, nursing home or assisted living expenses (the latter only deductible if you’re there for medical reasons), in which case the cost of your face masks, etc., is going to be a drop in the bucket. In addition, you can only deduct medical expenses you paid during the year, regardless of when the services were provided, and medical expenses are not deductible if they are reimbursable by insurance. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the deadline for filling 2020 taxes has been extended to May 17, 2021. For the IRS’s press release on deducting personal protective equipment, click here.   For more information on what you can and cannot deduct, see Publication 502 on the IRS Web site. If you have any additional questions or concerns about tax deductions, medical expenses, or other estate planning, call Melissa at Gayheart Law at (859) 276-6193...

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Finding the Right Hospital Bed Rental – Lexington, KY

Finding the Right Hospital Bed Rental – Lexington, KY

If you are caring for a loved one at home, you may need to rent a hospital bed. Here are the ins and outs of hospital bed rentals.  The benefit of a hospital bed is that it adjusts to allow people with limited mobility to more easily get in and out of the bed. The adjustable features include the raising and lowering the head and foot of the bed as well as changing the bed’s height. The beds usually have the option to add side rails to keep patients from falling out of bed. The following are the main types of hospital beds: Manual. A manual hospital bed is the cheapest type of bed. It adjusts with a hand crank, and requires a certain amount of physical strength to adjust. Semi-electric. A semi-electric hospital bed uses electric controls to adjust some components (for example, raising the bed’s head and foot) and a manual crank to adjust other components (for example, the height of the bed). Electric. A full electric hospital bed has all electric controls. The patient has the ability to control all the adjustable features with a remote control. Special beds. There are also beds that serve special purposes. A bariatric bed is a hospital bed that is specially designed to be sturdier and more comfortable for heavier patients. A low bed is set closer to the floor to prevent falling out of bed. A Trendelenburg bed provides even more adjustable features than a regular hospital bed, including the ability to stand straight up or turn into a chair.  Hospital beds can be rented from medical supply companies and usually cost $200 to $500 a month to rent. There are a variety of ways to pay for rentals, including:  Insurance. Most private insurance policies cover hospital bed rentals. You will need to check your insurance policy to see how much is covered and under what circumstances. You will likely need a doctor’s prescription in order to get coverage. Medicare. Medicare covers durable medical equipment, including hospital beds. Medicare will pay 80 percent of the cost of the bed rental. In order to get coverage, you must be enrolled in Medicare Part B, have a prescription from a Medicare-enrolled physician saying that the bed is medically necessary, and rent the bed from Medicare-enrolled medical equipment supplier. Medicare will cover hospital beds with variable height functions or electric functions only if deemed medically necessary.Veterans benefits. Health benefits from the Veterans Administration also cover medical equipment like hospital beds. Again, a doctor must prescribe the bed as medically necessary. Medicaid. If you are eligible for Medicaid home care services, Medicaid may pay for a hospital bed rental. Because Medicaid is a joint federal and state-run program, the rules vary depending on the state.  For any of your estate planning or related questions, call Gayheart Law at (859) 276-6193 or submit an appointment request...

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Medicaid Recipients Have a Little More Time to Spend Down Their Stimulus Money — Lexington, KY

Medicaid Recipients Have a Little More Time to Spend Down Their Stimulus Money — Lexington, KY

The one-year deadline for nursing home residents on Medicaid to spend down their first round of stimulus checks is here, but they may have a little extra time.  In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorized $1,200 stimulus checks to most Americans, including Medicaid recipients. Another round of $600 checks was authorized in December 2020, and $1,400 checks were ordered in February 2021. The stimulus checks are not considered income for Medicaid recipients, and the payments have been excluded from Medicaid’s strict resource limits for 12 months.  While the one-year deadline for spending down the first round of checks is here, another COVID-19 bill gives beneficiaries more time. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed in March 2020 provides that if you were enrolled in Medicaid as of March 18, 2020, the state cannot terminate a recipient’s benefits even if there is a change in circumstances that would normally cause the benefits to be stopped. The law states that the recipient’s Medicaid coverage must continue through the end of the month in which the Secretary of Health and Human Services declares that the public health emergency has ended. The public health emergency is set to end April 20, 2021, but it will likely be extended.  While Medicaid recipients may have a little extra time, they shouldn’t delay too long in spending down the money if it has pushed them over the resource limit, which is $2,000 in most states. The following are examples of what a Medicaid recipient may be able to spend the money on without affecting their eligibility: Make a payment toward paying off debt.Make small repairs around the house. Update personal effects. Buy household goods or personal comfort items. Buy a new wardrobe, electronics, or furniture.Buy needed medical equipment, see a dentist or get eyes checked if those items aren’t covered by insurance. While Medicaid recipients usually cannot gift money or assets and remain eligible for benefits, recipients in at least some states should be able to make gifts from the stimulus money during the first 12 months following receipt. If you have questions about how you or a family member in a nursing home can spend the money, contact Melissa Gayheart at (859)...

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