Wondering what your 2016 Medicare Part B premium will be? Here’s the skinny


The chaos surrounding Medicare premiums for 2016 finally has settled down, and we now have final figures on  monthly premiums will look like in Part B (outpatient services). If you’re already on Social Security, your premium stays at $104.90. You’re held harmless due to the lack of a Social Security COLA for next year. If […]

No Social Security COLA for next year: Here’s what it means


Update: Congress and The White House reached a tentative budget deal the week of October 26 that includes a provision blunting the 52 percent increase in Medicare Part B premiums discussed below. If the deal is signed into law, Part B premiums for the 30 percent of beneficiaries not held harmless would rise from the current […]

Obamacare isn’t spurring earlier retirement – at least, not yet


The Affordable Care Act is doing plenty of good for older Americans, but one thing it is not doing is convincing them to retire early. One prediction of the impact of the healthcare law, commonly known as Obamacare, was that the ACA would end job lock – the phenomenon of workers hanging onto jobs just […]

Push is on to protect Medicare enrollees from huge 2016 premium increase


Should 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries shoulder a 52 percent premium hike next year while the other 70 percent pay no more at all? Advocates for seniors don’t think so, and they’re making a push to convince Congress to stop it from happening. The Medicare population vulnerable to shouldering the larger premium includes some federal […]

At age 50, let’s weigh the future of Medicare


Medicare is having a midlife identity crisis. Our most important health insurance program celebrated its 50th birthday on July 30, and two political and policy visions for Medicare’s future are competing for supremacy in Washington. And the winning direction will have important consequences for retirees in the decades ahead. The question on the table is […]

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Medicare premiums to jump in 2016, but Social Security benefits stay flat


Retirees are facing a double-whammy next year: no inflation adjustment in their Social Security benefits and a whopping 52 percent jump in certain Medicare premiums. The Medicare premium hikes will hit only 30 percent of beneficiaries – those who are not protected from a “hold-harmless” provision in federal law that prohibits any premium hike that […]

On Medicare’s 50th birthday, some politicians want to kill it


Medicare turns 50 today, riding high in the polls but under attack from presidential candidates proposing benefit cuts or even phasing out the U.S. healthcare program for older people. When President Lyndon Johnson signed the law, half of Americans age 65 or older had no health insurance. Today, just 2 percent go uncovered. And the […]

A Medicare surprise: Most dental care isn’t covered


If you plan to retire soon, add this item to your to-do list: a visit to the dentist before your dental insurance disappears. Retirees transitioning to Medicare are often surprised to learn that the program does not cover routine dental care or more complex procedures. Overall, 40 percent of the 65-plus population has some form […]

Betting on prevention as Medicare turns 50

Dr. Linda Fried

Healthcare is an expense. But what if we looked at it as an investment – especially an investment in prevention of disease? The payback on that investment would be more years of healthy living and less cost treating chronic disease in old age . . . not to mention the human misery avoided. Investment in healthy […]

Six questions to ask when switching to Medicare


The hand-off from employer health insurance to Medicare can be one of the trickiest challenges you will face in managing your retirement. The rules are full of pitfalls that can cost you thousands of dollars in unnecessary premiums or lead to a risky gap in coverage. In this week’s Reuters column, I address some of the […]