Medicare reform redux: How Ryan’s new plan would squeeze seniors


Imagine a Medicare reform plan that boosts your premiums 50 percent. If you like your doctor, you won’t be able to keep her. The wealthy will subsidize healthcare for poor seniors. An Obamacare takeover of Medicare? Nope. It’s the latest iteration of “premium support,” the plan for Medicare unveiled this week by U.S. Representative Paul […]

AT&T move underscores employer shift of retiree health care to insurance exchanges


A growing number of companies are dropping single-employer group insurance plans in favor of privately run insurance exchanges, where a third party sets up a marketplace offering Medicare coverage offered by dozens of carriers, with costs subsidized by their former employers. The trend was underscored by news this month that AT&T Inc will move its […]

Your Medicare card: Go ahead, leave home without it


What’s in seniors’ wallets? Most likely, a Medicare card that puts them at risk of scams and fraud. In an era of rising worry about financial scams and frauds targeting the elderly, we still have this peculiar anachronism: Social Security numbers are printed on every Medicare card – and the back of the card instructs […]

Medicare cost shifting: The next big worry for seniors


Seniors can breathe a little easier now that Social Security benefit cuts are no longer part of this year’s federal budget debate, But the other shoe hasn’t dropped in Washington. That would be Medicare cost shifting. Last week, President Barack Obama’s administration ditched one of its worst retirement policy ideas, the “chained CPI” for Social […]

Obamacare opens new pathways into retirement


Is President Obama’s health reform law a job killer? Republicans seized on a new high-profile analysis of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week to ram home that oft-repeated talking point. But the report, issued this week by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), actually says something quite different: Jobs won’t be destroyed, but more Americans […]

Hospitalized but under “observation status”? Seniors beware


A growing number of seniors who think they’ve been hospitalized are finding that they weren’t. The problem isn’t memory loss, confusion or dementia. Instead, seniors on Medicare who did in fact spend multiple nights in the hospital are learning later on that they weren’t formally admitted. Instead, they had “observation status” – a Medicare classification […]

Why your health insurance may soon resemble your 401(k)


Are you ready for the 401(k)-ization of health insurance? If not, get ready, because there’s a good chance it’s coming to your workplace soon. That was the consensus of some of the nation’s top employee benefits experts, who gathered last week for a conference in the nation’s capital. What we’re talking about here is a […]

Last minute Medicare enrollment resources


The deadline for Medicare open enrollment is December 7th. If you still haven’t enrolled, here are some quick resources that may help you get going. How to shop for a prescription drug plan. The guide to Medicare Part D. How to shop for a Medicare Advantage plan. The guide to Medicare Part C. […]

Debunking myths about America’s longevity gains


Americans are living longer. We hear that claim often from politicians worried about entitlement spending, policymakers urging us to postpone retirement – even insurance companies pitching annuities. And it’s true: Average life expectancy in the United States rose by almost eight years from 1978 to 2011, to 78.7 years, according to a new report by […]

A plea for ‘slow medicine and ‘good deaths’ for the elderly

Katy Butler

Katy Butler wanted her elderly father’s pacemaker turned off, but she couldn’t get a doctor to do it. In 2001, Butler’s father, Jeffrey, suffered a debilitating stroke at age 79. Two years later, his doctor recommended installation of a pacemaker that would help him survive hernia surgery – a decision that seemed harmless at the […]