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 […]

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 […]

How to plan ahead for retirement healthcare costs

Big, bigger, biggest. Those words capture the retirement healthcare challenge. Healthcare will be one of the largest categories of cost for most retirees–and medical inflation is expected to run 2 to 3 times faster than general inflation. Retirees can cope by tuning up their Medicare coverage, as we discussed in my last column. That can […]

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New Medicare cards a lone bright spot in identity-theft battle

Older Americans are especially vulnerable to scams and identity theft, and Medicare is doing something about it. Seniors will start receiving new identification cards next year as part of an effort to protect them from the rising risk of fraud. But that is the only good news surrounding a sweeping federal initiative to bolster fraud […]

Five ways to get the most from Medicare

Looking for ways to save money in retirement? Start with healthcare. A healthy 65-year-old couple retiring this year can expect to spend $322,000 (today’s dollars) on Medicare premiums and dental insurance, according to Healthview Services, a maker of healthcare cost projection software. Add in deductibles, copays, hearing, vision, and dental cost sharing, and that figure […]

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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 […]

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 […]