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Let’s face it, many people stuck in the middle taking care of both elderly parents and their own children, are overwhelmed when the Long Term Care Insurance company denies coverage for their loved ones.  Who has the time to deal with this with our otherwise busy lives?  Who has the knowledge to go toe to toe with the insurance company and force them to grant coverage?  And does it really make a difference with Medicare picking up the pieces if coverage is denied?

American Society on Aging addresses some common misnomers about what Medicare covers when long term care is needed.  The ASA pointed out that contrary to recent surveys which show that the public believes that Medicare pays for long-term care, this is not what happens in reality.  Medicare tries to limit its availability for the provision of personal and assistive care services.  If skilled nursing or rehabilitative services are needed, that’s where Medicare kicks in. defines long-term care as a range of services and support for personal care needs.  Most long-term care isn’t medical care, but rather help with basic personal tasks called activities of daily living (bathing, eating, dressing etc.)  The site states very clearly:  “Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care (also called custodial care), if that’s the only care you need.  Most nursing home care is custodial care.”

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Can a doctor at an insurance company make a decision to deny care if he or she doesn’t even look at the patient’s medical records?

This is a question that the California insurance commissioner Dave Jones will be looking at during a new investigation of Aetna following this stunning admission.  Jones told CNN his expectation would be “that physicians would be reviewing treatment authorization requests.”  I think we all would agree.

This is concerning to us as consumer attorneys in Florida who note that Aetna is a long term care insurance company who reviews people’s applications for nursing home and Assisted Living care.

Published on: you run into trouble paying your student loan, chances are you’ve been told to “just go on forbearance.”  Here are five reasons that is a terrible idea in many cases:

  1. The client I just finished speaking with has had a few hardships in her life (health, divorces, low pay, disabled daughter etc.).  When she called her servicer for help, she was told she could go on a forbearance.  She’s been on many forbearances over the years.  Her servicer never adequately explained her options.  She could have taken advantage of an income based plan with ten year debt forgiveness because she was a teacher.  She’s been a teacher for practically forever.  She would owe zero right now if she’d known what to do.  But instead her loan has ballooned from 23k to, wait for it, $126,000.  It’s gone up 10x!  And she has only three years until she retires, divorced with a disabled daughter.
  2. You might ask, how does a loan go up 10 times from 23k to 126k?  Easy, although this is one of the worst I’ve seen.  The interest capitalizes every time the forbearance is renewed.  This means the unpaid interest is added to the principal balance and now you owe interest on interest.
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Are you expecting a large tax refund this year?

If so, and you have had some financial difficulties this year, do NOT file your tax return if you are in default on your federal student loans OR about to file bankruptcy.

Instead, some pre-planning is in order.  For federal students loans, cure the default before you file your taxes.  File an extension if you must to gain some additional time.

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Parent Plus Loans are federal loans that a parent or grandparent takes out for their child or grandchild to go to college.  Learn more about these loans, their high default rates and avenues to reduce this type of student loan debt by listening to our interview on the Crushing Debt Podcast with Shawn Yesner.



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I’d like to thank the PAF’s Hillsborough Chapter for the invitation to speak at their luncheon today with the assistance of our long term legal assistant, Angie Glaser, now paralegal!! — about Taking Control of Your Student Loans.

There were lots of good questions by people starved for information and surprised about what they learned today.  Hopefully, they will go back to their offices and share this with their attorneys and clients – and help us to share the word that there are many ways to reduce student loan debt that are not discussed by student loan servicers.

If you know of any group who would be interested in learning more about dealing with their student loans, please contact us to arrange a speaking engagement!

Published on:’ve noticed over the past few months that some of our clients and many other borrowers have been reporting that they are having no luck getting their federal loans in forbearance after they’ve filed a Borrower Defense to Repayment (“BDTR”) application.  These forbearances are simple to request and are supposed to be automatic.  Basically, you check a box requesting the forbearance in the application.  The DOE is supposed to automatically grant the forbearance while the review is under way – a process that may take a year or even longer.

However, under Secretary DeVos’ watch, the BDTR department has basically been gutted, with only a handful of people working to process what appears to be approximately 1200 claims received per week.  So the work isn’t getting done.

So who’s responsibility is this to make sure the borrower is being placed on forbearance as they should – DOE, the servicer (such as Navient, AES, Great Lakes, FedLoan, Nelnet), or both?  That is the question we are now looking into.

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One of our PSLF class actions against the largest student loan servicer in the United States, Navient, was profiled by ABC Action News here in Tampa last week.  Our clients are finding they have to basically start all over with their ten years of Public Service Loan Forgiveness because the servicers are telling borrowers incorrectly that their payments for the last ten years qualified when in fact, they did not.  In the client interviewed for this story, Gill Cottrill, it’s all because he had the wrong loan type.  He had an older FFEL consolidation loan as opposed to a newer Direct loan.  That simple fact has cost him everything!  He has now had to move across the country to a lower cost of living area in order to try to pay down his student loan debt — debt that should have now been paid after his ten years of payments.


If you believe you may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness but are worried that you somehow may also be denied, or worse yet, have actually been denied, you should seek out a qualified student loan attorney.  Our Navient case is seeking nationwide status.  We have another case pending against Great Lakes.  More may follow against other servicers who also misled their customers.

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cnn-moneyCNN Money recently featured two of our clients, Amanda Lawson-Ross and Bill Cottrill, in a story Student Loan Nightmare:  ‘I have to start all over’.  These two clients filed Complaints seeking class action status.

One observation in the story:  “They make it incredibly difficult to take advantage of [PSLF]; you have to jump through so many hoops just to qualify.”  My advice:  don’t rely on your servicer (Great Lakes, Navient, FedLoan, Nelnet, AES etc.) with $11/hour employees who are likely paid incentives to reduce call duration and work for the creditor for correct information.  Seek Help Now!

A report was issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over the summer that spotlights the lack of accurate information borrowers are receiving about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program even after identifying themselves as a public worker.

Published on: of our student loan attorney colleagues, Austin Smith, is the guiding force behind a class action filed in Texas that is pending:  In re: Evan Brian Haas and Michael Shahbazi v. Navient Solutions, LLC and Navient Credit Finance Corporation.  It may affect our Florida clients with private student loans as it is seeking a nationwide class.

I understand that postcards are now being sent out to potential claimants.  While this class action is still in its infancy and has not yet been certified there are important things you should know right now about this:

  1. First and foremost, the info below will tell you what the case is about and how to be a part of it.
Contact Information