For Republicans, tax reform math hinges on cutting Medicare

Retirement savers dodged a speeding train last week when Republican lawmakers racing toward tax reform dropped their plan to sharply reduce allowable tax-deferred contributions to 401(k) plans. That idea is off the table – at least for now. But listen carefully and you can hear the whistle blowing on another train barreling down the tracks. […]

Why Medicare should warn enrollees about steep late sign-up penalties

For many Americans entering retirement, it comes as an unwelcome surprise: Medicare premiums become much more expensive if you do not sign up on time. The program tacks on a 10 percent penalty on monthly Part B premiums for each full 12-month period of late enrollment – and you keep on paying the penalties for […]

Fall is right time to evaluate your Medicare drug plan options

Don’t love everything about your Medicare coverage? Each fall, you have a chance to fix it. Medicare’s fall open enrollment period runs from Oct. 15 and runs until Dec. 7. This is the time when enrollees can re-shop their prescription drug coverage (Part D) or Advantage plans–the managed care all-in-one alternative to traditional Medicare.Forewarned is […]

Assessing the risk of needing long-term care

How substantial is the risk that you will will need long-term care in a nursing home setting? You’ll see numbers all over the map; federal government data, for example, shows that a 65-year-old person runs a 35 percent risk of entering a nursing facility sometime in their lifetime. Other reports have suggested the risk is […]

Latest Republican assault on healthcare would punish older Americans

The Republicans’ battle to repeal Obamacare is starting to look less like warfare and more like a game of whack-a-mole. Each time a draconian plan pops up, advocates for healthcare and seniors – and grassroots opponents – grab their mallets and pound them back into their holes. And so it should be with the latest […]

The future of caregiving: High demand, scarce workers

If you are hovering around retirement age today, you will be closing in on your eighties in the year 2030. With any luck, you will be healthy and mobile – but imagine for a moment that you are not. Let’s say a debilitating illness requires that you receive care in a nursing home. It is […]

GOP’s next act in health reform? Higher Medicare eligibility age and vouchers

President Donald Trump has vowed repeatedly that he “wouldn’t touch” Medicare or Social Security, but someone forgot to tell House Republicans. While U.S. senators debate the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week, their colleagues in the House are preparing for the Republicans’ next big move on health reform. A 2018 budget resolution […]

Investing in health savings accounts: Not ready for prime time

Will health savings accounts be the new 401(k)? Boosters of health savings accounts (HSAs) in the financial services industry and in the U.S. Congress think so. They argue that the tax advantages of health savings accounts (HSAs) make them a superior option for saving – especially to cover the rising cost of healthcare in retirement. […]

How Republican health reform could damage Medicare’s long-term solvency

The Republican proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be a disaster for older Americans not yet on Medicare – but they also endanger Medicare itself. The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) under consideration in the U.S. Senate would mean higher premiums and reduced cost-sharing subsidies for lower-income older people. The […]

How Senate health reform bill would decimate long-term care coverage

When Americans think about retirement planning, long-term care usually is a major blind spot – few of us want to contemplate the possibility of infirmity and dependency in old age. But we would do well to think about it now, as the Senate Republicans take a holiday weekend pause in their push to dismantle the […]