Quality issues keep dogging Medicare Advantage plans

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Seniors have flocked to Medicare Advantage in recent years, attracted by savings on premiums and the convenience of one-stop shopping. But as the annual Medicare enrollment season began this week, a memorandum from federal officials to plan providers surfaced that serves as a big red warning flag. The upshot: Assess the quality of any Advantage […]

Why it pays to shop your Medicare coverage this fall

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Your Medicare prescription drug plan sent you a letter recently. Chances are, you didn’t read it – and that could be costing you money. Health insurance companies must send an annual notice of changes for the coming year to Part D prescription drug and Part C Medicare Advantage plans. The notice, which must be delivered […]

Medicare costs: How long can the good news go on?

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Medicare turned 49 years old last week, and the program celebrated with some good financial news for seniors: Premiums will not rise in 2015 for the third consecutive year. The question now: How long can the good news persist? Worries about Medicare’s long-range financial health continue, but for now low healthcare cost inflation will translate into […]

Why most seniors can’t afford to pay more for Medicare

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Should seniors pay more for Medicare? Republicans think so; they have repeatedly called for replacing the current program with vouchers that would shift cost and risk to seniors. There’s no doubt this is where Republicans will take us if they capture control of Congress this year, and the White House in 2016. Representative Paul Ryan, […]

The state of senior health: It depends on your state

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What are the best and worst places to stay healthy as you age? For answers, take out a map and follow the Mississippi River from north to south. The healthiest people over 65 are in Minnesota, the sickest in Mississippi. That’s among the findings of the America’s Health Rankings Senior Report released in May by […]

Retirement healthcare costs: Not as scary, but still daunting

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The remarkable recent lull in retirement healthcare inflation isn’t fading – not yet, at least. A 65-year-old couple retiring this year will need to have saved $220,000 to meet healthcare expenses during their retirement, according to a report issued today by Fidelity Investments. It’s a daunting sum, but it’s unchanged from last year and comes […]

An army of robots may soon be deployed to care for the elderly

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Imagine you’re 85, and living alone. Your children are halfway across the country, and you’re widowed. You have a live-in aide – but it’s not human. Your personal robot reminds you to take your medicine, monitors your diet and exercise, plays games with you, and even helps you connect with family members on the Internet. […]

New Medicare coverage of long-term care off to a rocky start

Judith Stein, director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

A physical therapist visits Robert Klaiber, 78, weekly to provide a special type of physical therapy that helps alleviate his symptoms from Parkinson’s disease. Klaiber’s wife, Diane, was under the impression Medicare wouldn’t cover the therapy, which costs $500 or more a month. But earlier this month a neighbor noticed an announcement in a retirement […]

Long-term care: Why your location really matters

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Location, location location: Not only is it key to the value of real estate, it’s also a big driver of the cost of long-term care. A study of long-term care costs in the United States released this week shows that the cost of long-term services and support varies dramatically by location. For example, the national […]

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

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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 […]