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

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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

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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

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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 […]

What the Medicare doc fix means for your pocketbook

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The Medicare “doc fix” is in. The question now: What will it mean for seniors’ pocketbooks? President Obama recently signed the most significant Medicare legislation in years–a plan to fix a Medicare formula that threatened to slash payments to doctors every year. The law achieves several positive Medicare reforms, but it will increase some costs […]

Medicare doc fix: something for everyone to dislike, but a needed reform

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Congress is headed toward a bipartisan solution to the long-standing threat of sharp reductions in Medicare’s payments to doctors. But the so-called “doc fix” will be expensive, and Medicare beneficiaries will pay part of the bill. The big questions: How much? And, could a doc fix be achieved without hitting up seniors to pay part […]

The 10 most important things to know about Medicare

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Medicare plays a crucial role in providing retirement security – it makes health care expense predictable, and it covers a great deal of seniors’ needs. Unfortunately, the program is complicated, and it doesn’t cover everything. Here’s my list of the ten most important things seniors should know about Medicare. 1. You have two basic choices. First […]

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Medicare, ACA care and how to navigate during enrollment

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This is enrollment season for two huge public health insurance programs: Medicare and the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges. For older Americans, the overlapping sign-up periods can lead to confusion and enrollment errors. Insurers offering Medicare and ACA policies have big money at stake, and consumers are subject to a blizzard of marketing messages. […]

Five takeaways on retirement policy from the midterm elections

Mitch McConnell

Retirement policy wasn’t on the ballot in last week’s midterm elections. But the new political landscape could threaten the retirement security of middle-class households. With Republicans in full control of Congress, expect efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. And more Republican-controlled statehouses mean more efforts to curtail state and local workers’ pensions. One positive […]

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 […]