Why living longer shouldn’t mean a higher Medicare age

When you hear a politician start a sentence with the phrase “We’re all living longer,” grab your wallet. You are about to be told that Social Security or Medicare benefits should be cut because of America’s rising longevity. The argument is not only specious, but hazardous to your health. That much is clear from a […]

The facts about Social Security, Medicare may surprise you

While the era of “alternative facts” dawned in Washington last week, experts from across the ideological spectrum gathered in the capital for a review of real facts about our two most important retirement programs: Social Security and Medicare. The annual policy research conference of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) focused on the group’s […]

Grading Obama’s performance on retirement and aging issues

In his farewell address last week, President Barack Obama quoted something his mother used to tell him: “Reality has a way of catching up with you.” Here is one reality that really is catching up with us: as a nation, we are getting older quickly. The U.S. population over age 65 will nearly double by […]

How would GOP’s Medicare “modernization” proposals affect enrollees?

Not much was said during the presidential election about Medicare reform, but “modernization” of one of our most critical retirement programs is on the agenda in Washington. The term applies to a basketful of reform ideas long favored by Republicans. But if Medicare modernization moves forward this year, it will set in motion a long-term […]

Older Americans at risk as Congress takes ax to Obamacare

Anyone nearing retirement – or already retired – should pay very close attention to the doings of the 115th Congress that was sworn in this week. Repeal of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) tops the agenda for Republicans, who will control the White House as well as both houses of Congress when Donald […]

Medicare Part B premiums won’t jump as much as expected in 2017

Medicare Part B premiums won’t jump as sharply as feared next year. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the average premium will rise about $4 next year – to $109 per month  from $104.90 (that’s been the premium since 2013). That’s the number for the 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who […]

After the election, retirement security heads for a crash

Retirement security already looked like a looming train wreck for most U.S. households before Election Day. Now, the consolidation of Republican control of government threatens to accelerate the crash. It is too early to predict the agenda Donald Trump will bring to the White House on retirement policy, or where it might fit on his […]

Medicare open enrollment 2016: Shopping tips

Medicare enrollees can save hundreds of dollars on premiums and out-of-pocket costs by doing a checkup on their coverage in the weeks to come. But few bother to review what they’ve got or make changes. Medicare’s annual open enrollment period runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 – the period when enrollees can shop for […]

In-patient or not? New Medicare law requires hospitals to tell you

You are in the hospital for tests after experiencing dizziness. You are nervous about what the tests will show, but at least you do not have to worry about hospital bills – you have Medicare, so you can relax about healthcare coverage. Or can you? Not if you are in the hospital under “observation status” […]

Automatic enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans drawing scrutiny

Update on 10/24/16: CMS suspended acceptance of new seamless conversion applications on October 21st, and said it will be reviewing its application procedures. CMS also released data on Medicare Advantage plans currently approved for seamless conversion. Most are managed care Medicaid plans that are doing seamless enrollment into Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs). These are […]