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 […]

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 […]

Getting a handle on health care in retirement

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Health care is one of the largest expenses most Americans will face in retirement – and it’s among the most difficult to predict. At the recent Morningstar Individual Investor Conference, I joined a panel discussion of strategies for meeting health-care funding needs using Medicare, Medigap, long-term care insurance health savings accounts – and the Affordable Care Act. […]

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 […]

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

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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

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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 […]