July 20, 2018

Medicare Program – General Information

Medicare is a health insurance program for:

  • people age 65 or older,
  • people under age 65 with certain disabilities, and
  • people of all ages with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant).

Medicare has:

Part A Hospital Insurance – Most people don’t pay a premium for Part A because they or a spouse already paid for it through their payroll taxes while working. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, including critical access hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care). It also helps cover hospice care and some home health care. Beneficiaries must meet certain conditions to get these benefits.

Part B Medical Insurance
– Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover doctors’ services and outpatient care. It also covers some other medical services that Part A doesn’t cover, such as some of the services of physical and occupational therapists, and some home health care. Part B helps pay for these covered services and supplies when they are medically necessary.

Prescription Drug Coverage – Most people will pay a monthly premium for this coverage. Starting January 1, 2006, new Medicare prescription drug coverage will be available to everyone with Medicare. Everyone with Medicare can get this coverage that may help lower prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future. Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage is insurance. Private companies provide the coverage. Beneficiaries choose the drug plan and pay a monthly premium. Like other insurance, if a beneficiary decides not to enroll in a drug plan when they are first eligible, they may pay a penalty if they choose to join later.

SOURCE: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-General-Information/MedicareGenInfo/index.html

Basic Principles of the CT Child Support Guidelines

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“The Connecticut Child Support Guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model. The Income Shares Model presumes that the child should receive the same proportion of parental income as he or she would have received if the parents lived together. Underlying the income shares model, therefore, is the policy that the parents should bear any additional expenses resulting from the maintenance of two separate households instead of one, since it is not the child’s decision that the parents divorce, separate, or otherwise live separately.

The Income Shares Model has proven to be the most widely accepted, particularly due to its consideration of the income of both parents. Thirty eight states follow the Income Shares Model. Four states and the District of Columbia have shifted over to the Income Shares Model since Connecticut last revised its guidelines in 2005. The other models used by states are “Percentage of Obligor Income” (ten states) and “Melson Formula” (three states). The Income Shares Model reflects presently available data on the average costs of raising children in households across a wide range of incomes and family sizes. Because household spending on behalf of children is intertwined with spending on behalf of adults for most expenditure categories, it is difficult to determine the exact proportion allocated to children in individual cases, even with exhaustive financial affidavits. However, a number of authoritative economic studies based on national data provide reliable estimates of the average amount of household expenditures on children in intact households. These studies have found that the proportion of household spending devoted to children is systematically and consistently related to the level of household income and to the number of children.

In general, the economic studies have found that spending on children declines as a proportion of family income as that income increases. This spending pattern exists because families at higher income levels do not have to devote most or all of their incomes to perceived necessities. Rather, they can allocate some proportion of income to savings and other non-consumption expenditures, as well as discretionary adult goods. This principle was reflected in past guidelines, since 1994, and is continued in these guidelines. Again, following the pattern of prior guidelines declining percentages at all levels of combined net weekly income begin outside the darker shaded area of the schedule. However, the commission had no economic data that supports a conclusion that this pattern continues when parents’ net weekly income exceeds $4,000. This commission therefore decided to not extend either the range of the schedule or the application of the concept of declining percentages beyond its current $4,000 upper limit.

Economic studies also demonstrate that a diminishing portion of family income is spent on each additional child. This apparently results from two factors. The first is economy of scale. That is, as more children are added to a family, sharing of household items is increased, and fewer of those items must be purchased. The second is a reallocation of expenditures. That is, as additional children are added, each family member’s share of expenditures decreases to provide for the needs of the additional members.

Based on this economic evidence, adjusted for Connecticut’s relatively high income distribution (as explained later in this preamble), the guidelines allow for the calculation of current support based on each parent’s share of the amount estimated to be spent on a child if the parents and child live in an intact household. The amount calculated for the custodial parent is retained by the custodial parent and presumed spent on the child. The amount calculated for the noncustodial parent establishes the level of current support to be ordered by the court. These two amounts together constitute the current support obligation of both parents for the support of the child. Intact households are used for the estimates because the guidelines aim to provide children the same support they would receive if the parents lived together. More than this, however, support amounts would be set unduly low if based on spending patterns of single-parent families, as they generally experience a high incidence of poverty and lower incomes than intact families.”

Source: The Connecticut Child Support Guidelines

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5 Inexpensive New England Getaways!

Trying to plan a weekend getaway but don’t quite have the money for it? No worries – I have compiled a list of cheap weekend trips that are perfect for New England in the summertime.

  1. Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Located just 40 miles north of Boston, this town can be reached by train or car. There you may find the famous docks of Gloucester, visit the beach, or grab true (yet cheap) New England cuisine. With aspects of both Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, skip the expensive places, and just head to Cape Ann for the weekend!
  2. Lake Placid, New York. Do you believe in miracles? This famous New York town is most known for holding the 1980 Winter Olympics. Tour the site where the Olympics were held for as little as $32 which grants you entry into various other sites and attractions for a discount and stay at the Olympic Motor Inn for a mere $76 a night!
  3. Why not try a local campground? Campsites are a cheap place to stay at night and provide a plethora of free activities during the day. Go hiking, plan a picnic somewhere near the campsite, bring your bikes and go mountain biking – the outdoor activity possibilities are endless! Camping is definitely more for the outdoorsy and active family, but it is one of the most inexpensive weekend getaways for families.
  4. Branford, Connecticut. This beach town offers great seafood restaurants, places for hiking, and public beaches. You may rent a small cottage or choose to stay in a cheaper hotel. This is the perfect weekend getaway for just two or the entire family!
  5. Springfield, Massachusetts. Springfield is a town with a lot to offer, but it avoids the claustrophobic and overpriced aspects of a trip to a large city. Six Flags New England is just a few minutes from Springfield, which will provide fun for the whole family! In addition, sports fans can check out the Basketball Hall of Fame located in Springfield. While some might not think of Springfield when they think of vacation, this town has a lot to offer.

Bonus tips for saving money on a weekend getaway:

  • Use a service such as Groupon or TravelZoo to get a hotel or fun activity at a discounted price.
  • Consider staying one night instead of two or three to cut down on the hotel cost.
  • Call up a few friends that you haven’t seen in a while and invite them along. You can carpool to save money on gas or even split the cost of a hotel room.
  • Use points from a reward service to get a discount on a hotel room, flight, or meal.

Looking for a cheap weekend getaway in the New England area? Check out one or more of these incredible finds. Summer trips no longer need to be crazy expensive – you and your family may now have an incredible time without breaking the bank!

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