Elder Law Attorney Stephen J. Silverberg Named To 2022 Super Lawyers and Scott B. Silverberg Named Rising Star 2022

For the sixteenth consecutive year, Stephen J. Silverberg has been named to the New York Metro Super Lawyers list as one of the top New York metro area lawyers for 2022. Each year, the research team at Super Lawyers selects only five percent of the lawyers in the state to receive this honor. Super Lawyers has named Silverberg to its select list of attorneys for sixteen consecutive years, from 2007 to 2022.

Stephen J. Silverberg is recognized nationally as a leader in estate planning, estate administration, asset preservation planning, and Elder Law. He is a past President of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), an organization of almost five thousand Elder Law attorneys throughout the country. He was named a NAELA Fellow, the highest honor bestowed by NAELA to “attorneys… whose careers concentrate on Elder Law, and who have distinguished themselves both by making exceptional contributions to meeting the needs of older Americans and by demonstrating a commitment to the Academy.” Mr. Silverberg was a founding member of the New York State chapter of NAELA and served as President of the chapter.

He is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA), designated by the National Elder Law Foundation under the auspices of the American Bar Association. To obtain this designation, an applicant must pass a full-day written examination and is subject to rigorous blind peer review. Since 1993, fewer than 525 Elder Law attorneys in the United States have earned the designation. Martindale-Hubbell has rated Mr. Silverberg AV Preeminent (5.0 out of 5.0), the highest possible designation.

Scott B. Silverberg, for the third consecutive year, was named to the 2022 New York Metro Rising Stars list. To qualify, New York Metro Rising Stars must be younger than 40 or have been practicing for less than ten years. Each year, the research team at Super Lawyers designates no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state to receive this honor.

He is a member of the National Board of Directors of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the New York State Chapter of NAELA. Scott is Vice-Chair of the Practice Management Committee of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association. In 2022, he became a member of the Estate Planning Council of Nassau County, a member chapter of the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils (NAEPC). He is also a member of the Nassau County Bar Association.

Scott has attained the LL.M. (Master of Laws) in Elder Law from Stetson University School of Law. This rigorous program is offered only to Elder Law practitioners who have provided legal services in Elder Law matters in complex areas of the law. Stetson’s L.L.M. Elder Law program faculty comprises many leading attorneys in Elder Law.

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from over 70 practice areas who have attained substantial peer recognition and professional achievement. A patented multiphase process includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area to create the list. The result is a credible, comprehensive, and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com.

The Law Office of Stephen J. Silverberg, PC, represents clients in estate and tax planning, estate administration, asset preservation planning, and Elder Law and related issues. The Law Office of Stephen J. Silverberg, PC is at 185 Roslyn Road, Roslyn Heights, NY 11577, 516-307-1236, and online at www.sjslawpc.com.

Medicare Awareness: An Annual Wellness Exam is Covered; An Annual Physical Examination is Not

People who went for annual physicals throughout their adult lives are surprised to learn that Medicare does not cover an annual physical. It seems counterintuitive–wouldn’t you want to have more care, not less, so you can age well? But Medicare rules are different.

Many people learn about this the first time they go for an annual physical after signing up for Medicare and getting a bill. Figuring out which services Medicare covers and those not covered is confusing. Choosing the wrong coverage can cause substantial costs.

Here is what you need to know about Medicare and annual care. Medicare believes you need an “Annual Wellness Visit”- an overview of your general health.

Medicare Part B covers an individual for an Annual Wellness Visit if:

  • they have had Part B for over 12 months, and
  • have not received an Annual Wellness Visit in the past 12 months.

When making an appointment, it is essential to stick with the right phrase: You want an “Annual Wellness Visit,” not a checkup or an annual physical. Often, the Annual Wellness Visit may uncover a condition requiring further diagnosis. If this happens, the examination and tests for the condition will qualify for payment under Part B.

The doctor will review both you and your family’s medical history and any potential risk factors like diabetes and hypertension during the visit. They will check your height, weight, BMI (Body Mass Index), and BP (blood pressure). They will also ask you to fill out a risk-assessment questionnaire and create a schedule for the next ten years for tests, including colonoscopies, mammograms, and other screenings. During the visit, the healthcare provider will also observe your cognitive functions and look for signs of depression.

A wellness visit is not a physical examination, where your physician performs a literal hands-on examination. Doctors learn a lot by palpating various parts of your body. They check the head and neck, listen to lungs and heart, make sure the eyes track moving objects correctly. Blood work measures vital health indicators like lipid and sugar levels. Urine tests check kidney functions. Usually, you come away with a sense of relief and a vow to take better care of yourself.

So why won’t Medicare pay for an annual physical? When first enacted, Medicare’s primary goal was to cover the medical diagnosis and treatment of the elderly. Preventive services and routine physical checkups are still excluded. That is why Medicare does not cover items like glasses and hearing aids.

Medicare Advantage plans recently received permission to add services not covered by traditional Medicare, physical exams, and other services such as dental care, glasses, and hearing aids. However, not all Medicare Advantage plans offer limited or no expanded care, and the copays and deductibles are often high. It only adds to consumer confusion. Those with traditional Medicare can buy separate vision and dental plans and are usually more comprehensive than those offered by Medicare Advantage.

And add to that a “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit that patients can have when Medicare coverage begins. But you cannot have both a Welcome visit and an Annual Wellness Visit in the same 12-month period.

Patients are not the only ones confused. Providers do not always know the current rules. Most healthcare providers ask patients to sign agreements to pay for any services not covered by Medicare. That is when the patients get a surprise bill.

This confusion is why we offer a free Medicare consultation for seniors during the open enrollment season. We invite you to call our office at 516-307-1236 for a free consultation about your Medicare coverage. We want people to have the information they need to make an informed decision about their Medicare coverage. Since we are not an insurance agency, we have no bias for or against any insurance plan. Our goal is to make sure our clients have the best coverage.


Medicare requires a specific form or it won't provide information

Power of Attorney is Not Enough for Medicare

A power of attorney is usually enough to take charge of a loved one’s financial and medical matters when they become incapacitated. But with Medicare, you need more than a POA.  Many people learn this the hard way. It is a problem that can be easily solved and will save you and your loved ones a great deal of trouble.

A refresher:

  • A Financial Power of Attorney (POA) allows you to name a person handle your financial and legal affairs if you are incapacitated.
  • The Medical POA allows the named person to make critical medical decisions on your behalf.
  • You must sign both of these documents while you are of sound mind and able to decide on your own.

Medicare does not care about your POAs. Medicare requires you to use its form to give a family member permission to discuss your condition, treatments, coverage issues, manage claims, and file appeals. Without it, Medicare will not speak to a family member – even a spouse. You need to do this at once if you or your loved one has enrolled in Medicare. The form is available online (https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/CMS-Forms/CMS-Forms/Downloads/CMS10106.pdf.

And there’s more.  You will need separate authorizations for any other Medicare benefits, including Medicare Advantage, Part D prescription drugs, and Medicare supplement plans. It is further complicated since they all have separate authorization forms. Although they do the same thing, they often have different names. The forms are needed to authorize a personal representative to speak with plan administrators about claims and coverage.

These are challenging times when we don’t know what’s coming next. We can’t stop everything, but we can prepare.