Managing Your Medical Bills & Insurance Paperwork

MANAGING YOUR MEDICAL BILLS & INSURANCE PAPERWORK: TIPS FOR MAXIMIZING REIMBURSEMENT BY HARVEY J. MATOREN, MPH, CCAP Do you become frustrated and overwhelmed when managing your medical bills and filing your health insurance claims? You’re not alone. It can be extremely difficult for the average patient or caregiver to get through the “maze of insurance land.” For people with a chronic or terminal illness, or acute episodes of illness as well, managing and filing insurance […]

What Insurance Doesn’t Cover For Children With Genetic Conditions

BY BETH H. VOGEL, MS, CGC A Survey of Parents in the New York-Mid-Atlantic Region NYMAC conducted a consumer survey to identify gaps in coverage and to assess care coordination. The results of the survey will be used to create tools for advocacy. The New York-Mid-Atlantic Consortium for Genetic and Newborn Screening Services (NYMAC) is a Regional Genetics Collaborative funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration. NYMAC serves individuals with genetic conditions living in […]

Teaching Fiscal Responsibility To Children

BY JENNIFER WOODWORTH, PSY.D Creating boundaries when they are young and allowing more freedom as they get older, produces children who are savvy about how and why they are spending their money. Starting in kindergarten, and even before, children are learning about money; what coins and dollar bills look like, how much they are worth, and the symbols that differentiate them from each other. However, it is more likely that children are watching their parents […]

A GPS for Families of People with Special Needs – Part III

BY LAUREN AGORATUS INTRODUCTION I wrote this manual to help other families of individuals with special needs and the professionals who work with them. My daughter now has five life-threatening conditions, and autism just to keep things interesting. We have been through everything from early intervention to currently going through transition to adult care. I hope this helps you on your journey. Part III follows; to review Parts I and II, see the September and […]

Strive for the Right Financial Strategy for You: A Professional with the Chartered Special Needs Consultant Designation Can Help

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain wrote that in a letter, and while it referenced the writing life, the same analogy could be applied to financial strategies for persons with special needs. What’s the difference? More than ten years ago, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) recognized that, in regards to the […]


BY SARAH ROTH, MFA provides an introduction to GINA and its protections in health insurance and employment. Knowledge can be both frightening and empowering, and knowledge of your child’s predisposition for a genetic condition is no exception. Moreover, the decision to pursue genetic testing can provide as many questions as answers. From a small sample of skin, saliva or blood, your family is given a set of signs—pluses, minuses, numbers and letters—that foretell the […]

Social Security “Clarifies” Rules on Proof of Disability

LIVING WITH A DISABILITY BY JERRY LEVINSON In February of 2014 the SSA proposed regulations that required disability claimants to inform it about their disability claims. In March, it provided further clarifications. The Social Security Administration (SSA or “Administration”) believes some (perhaps many) of the individuals who apply to it for disability benefits aren’t being completely candid or forthcoming in the evidence they submit to support their claims. Notably, the SSA finds such submissions are […]

New Study Explores the Role of Caregiver

Once again MassMutual and Easter Seals have collaborated on a study, this one focused on caregiving. The purpose of the Many Faces of Caregiving Study was to increase understanding of caregivers, become better aware of caregivers’ needs, and improve upon the ways MassMutual and Easter Seals serve caregivers and their families. About caregivers The study asked questions of 341 caregivers and 701 non-caregivers (a fairly equal balance of men and women between the ages of […]

ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts: A Side-by-Side Review

The availability of ABLE accounts is imminent. Many people have anticipated this new way to save money for a person with special needs. But does it take the place of a special needs trust? “A special needs trust and an ABLE account have some similarities, but one doesn’t negate the need for the other,” says Chris Collier1, CLU, ChSNC, who is a Special Care Planner and has earned the Chartered Special Needs Consultant designation.2 He’s […]

ABLE Accounts Are Coming! Is It Really What You’ve Been Waiting For?

Many individuals and families who live with special needs are eagerly anticipating the availability of ABLE accounts. What is an ABLE account? Is it something you’ll want? Or need? Are you even eligible to have one? “It’s been a long wait,” says Chris Collier1, CLU, ChSNC, who is a Special Care Planner and has earned the Chartered Special Needs Consultant designation.2 He’s with the Innova Financial Group3 in Cincinnati, Ohio, a general agency of Massachusetts […]