Wondering what your 2016 Medicare Part B premium will be? Here’s the skinny


The chaos surrounding Medicare premiums for 2016 finally has settled down, and we now have final figures on  monthly premiums will look like in Part B (outpatient services). If you’re already on Social Security, your premium stays at $104.90. You’re held harmless due to the lack of a Social Security COLA for next year. If […]

Push is on to protect Medicare enrollees from huge 2016 premium increase


Should 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries shoulder a 52 percent premium hike next year while the other 70 percent pay no more at all? Advocates for seniors don’t think so, and they’re making a push to convince Congress to stop it from happening. The Medicare population vulnerable to shouldering the larger premium includes some federal […]

On Medicare’s 50th birthday, some politicians want to kill it


Medicare turns 50 today, riding high in the polls but under attack from presidential candidates proposing benefit cuts or even phasing out the U.S. healthcare program for older people. When President Lyndon Johnson signed the law, half of Americans age 65 or older had no health insurance. Today, just 2 percent go uncovered. And the […]

A Medicare surprise: Most dental care isn’t covered


If you plan to retire soon, add this item to your to-do list: a visit to the dentist before your dental insurance disappears. Retirees transitioning to Medicare are often surprised to learn that the program does not cover routine dental care or more complex procedures. Overall, 40 percent of the 65-plus population has some form […]

Betting on prevention as Medicare turns 50

Dr. Linda Fried

Healthcare is an expense. But what if we looked at it as an investment – especially an investment in prevention of disease? The payback on that investment would be more years of healthy living and less cost treating chronic disease in old age . . . not to mention the human misery avoided. Investment in healthy […]

Six questions to ask when switching to Medicare


The hand-off from employer health insurance to Medicare can be one of the trickiest challenges you will face in managing your retirement. The rules are full of pitfalls that can cost you thousands of dollars in unnecessary premiums or lead to a risky gap in coverage. In this week’s Reuters column, I address some of the […]

Are we headed for a one percent phenomenon in longevity?


Could the one percent soon get to live twice as long as the rest of us – maybe even forever? Immortality may not be in the cards just yet, but exponential breakthroughs in technology and medicine will make possible lifespans of 150 years or more, according to Ken Dychtwald. Dychtwald, a pioneering expert on gerontology, […]

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How healthcare changes seniors’ inflation math


There’s been no sign that inflation is heating up along with the economy, and that may tempt people planning for retirement to be complacent about inflation risk. But it’s important to remember that the inflation rate experienced by seniors is higher than that of the overall economy. From 1985 to 2014, the Consumer Price Index […]

Medicare doc fix: something for everyone to dislike, but a needed reform


Congress is headed toward a bipartisan solution to the long-standing threat of sharp reductions in Medicare’s payments to doctors. But the so-called “doc fix” will be expensive, and Medicare beneficiaries will pay part of the bill. The big questions: How much? And, could a doc fix be achieved without hitting up seniors to pay part […]

Planning for Alzheimer’s: How financial advisers can help

Carolyn McClanahan

Long-term care is a major wild card in any financial plan, but managing the risks associated with Alzheimer’s is especially difficult. Research by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Boston University shows that 65-year-old-women have a 20 percent chance of developing dementia, and a 17 percent change of Alzheimer’s; for men, the corresponding […]