Medicare Cost Increase


New 1995 figures have been determined for Medicare premiums, deductibles and co-payments. The new figures are expected to raise a total of nearly $3 billion from Medicare participants.

Part B premiums are scheduled to increase to $46.10 per month. In most cases, this increase is simply deducted from the participant’s Social Security check, so the effect will be to reduce the cost-of-living increase slated to go into effect at the same time. The average net increase in Social Security is projected at about $14 (after deduction of the new higher Part B premium).

Medicare’s hospital deductible will increase to $716 (from $696 for 1994). This amount is the total hospital cost to a Medicare participant for the first 60 days of hospitalization. After that point, patients will pay $179 per day in co-insurance (up $5 from 1994).

Nursing home co-insurance will increase to $89.50 per day. This is the amount that a Medicare patient will pay for a covered nursing home stay after 20 days and until 100 days in the nursing home. Medicare pays the entire cost of the first 20 days and none of the cost for those days over 100. Of course, these figures apply only to covered nursing home stays; most nursing home care is not covered by Medicare at all.

Undue Influence

A recent Missouri court case demonstrated an interesting variation on undue influence. An elderly man who had a terrible fear of divorce was manipulated by his second wife into changing his Will in her favor.

The decedent had been divorced years earlier and the experience had been traumatic. He had attempted suicide twice during the year in which he was divorced, and was terrified by the proceedings.

Several years later he married a family friend who was familiar with his history. She allegedly began manipulating him by threatening to file for divorce herself, and he ultimately signed a Will leaving his entire estate to the second wife. He later told his lawyer and others that he wanted to change his Will again to leave most of his estate to his children, but never got around to doing so.

After his death, his children contested the Will leaving all to the second wife. A jury found in favor of the children and his second wife’s son (she died shortly before the decedent) appealed.

The Missouri Court of Appeals ruled that the man’s particular terror of divorce made him susceptible to undue influence, and that the second wife had exerted such influence on him. The fact that he had taken no steps to correct the undue influence, even after his wife’s death, did not change the result; the evidence included testimony that he suffered brain cancer and was hospitalized shortly after his second wife’s death. Needels v. Roberts, Missouri Court of Appeals, 1994.

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