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 […]

Five ways to confront changing healthcare costs in retirement

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The cost of health care is one of the biggest out-of-pocket costs facing retirees–and for some, the challenge is getting tougher. Fifteen million retirees on Medicare get supplemental health insurance coverage from their former employers–and another 2 million retirees not yet eligible for Medicare receive primary coverage from their former workplaces, according to research by […]

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 […]

The truth about Social Security and Medicare, straight from the trustees

Trustee Jacob Lew, Secretary of the Treasury.

If you worry about the future of Social Security and Medicare, this is the week to get answers to your questions. The most authoritative annual reports on the long-term health of both programs were issued on Monday, and while the news was mixed, there are reasons to be encouraged about our two most important retirement […]

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, […]

Retirement and same-sex couples, a year after DOMA ruling

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Something big happened in the world of retirement benefits a year ago today: The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. The court’s recognition of marriage equality has transformed life for many same-sex couples. In the realm of retirement benefits, the DOMA ruling opened the door for couples to receive spousal benefits […]

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 […]

Senator Rubio’s surprisingly bipartisan retirement saving idea

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida)

When Republican politicians talk about how important Social Security and Medicare have been for their parents, it’s time to grab your wallet. These stories usually precede a proposal to cut benefits under the guise of “saving” the programs – and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida tore a page from that playbook this week. Rubio, a […]

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 […]