Nursing home study raises questions on Medicare managed care networks

Managed care is the hot trend in Medicare, with the number of seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans projected to soar over the coming decade. These plans offer simplicity by combining all the different parts of Medicare into a single buying decision – and they can save you money. But before you sign up, ask […]

The year ahead: What retirees should watch out for in 2018

The economy is strong and the stock market is surging. Interest rates are rising a bit, but inflation looks steady. That should mean smooth sailing in 2018 for retirees and people planning for retirement, right? Even the new tax law didn’t do much to impact retirement: The final legislation dropped earlier proposals to sharply curtail […]

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Deregulation makes shopping for nursing homes more difficult in Trump era

Finding a safe, high-quality nursing home for a loved one is never an easy task. Complicated decisions often are made at a moment of emotional crisis and reliable guidance can be difficult to come by. And it is going to get more difficult. The Trump administration is moving quickly to deregulate nursing homes, complying with […]

2018 Won’t Be a Fizzy Year for COLAs

Riddle me this: The federal government announced that the standard Medicare Part B premium will stay flat in 2018, at $134 per month. Still, most retirees will pay more for Part B than they paid in 2017. And riddle me this, too: The annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2018 was set at 2%–yet benefits […]

With life expectancy gains down, tax bill will make things worse

The Republican tax bill approved by Congress this week will create financial headaches for millions of taxpayers trying to navigate all the new rates and rules. But the legislation now headed for President Donald Trump’s signature also will have this grim impact: thousands of additional, preventable deaths every year.Where do I get this outlandish-sounding prediction? […]

Hiding in plain sight: Republicans sharpen knives for retirement program cuts

Traditionally, U.S. politicians avoid talking about cutting Social Security and Medicare close to election time. Midterm elections are around the corner, but Republicans are making no secret of their plans to go after these critical retirement programs. It is the flip side of their plan to expand the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion through tax […]

Killing medical tax break will hammer middle-class seniors

Republican lawmakers want to cut taxes for corporations and wealthy people by $1.3 trillion – and they seem to want seniors to foot a good chunk of the bill. Their 2018 budget plan would chop $473 billion out of Medicare and $1.3 trillion from Medicaid. But the House tax plan also calls for elimination of […]

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. […]

A guide to buying Medigap policies

Rail systems around the world warn you to “mind the gap” when boarding a train. It’s good advice for your Medicare coverage, too. Medicare is comprehensive, but it doesn’t cover everything. There are copays, deductibles, and limits on hospitalization benefits. If you enroll in Medicare Advantage–the all-in-one managed care alternative to traditional Medicare–your out-of-pocket costs […]

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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 […]