Ready, Set, Retire. Or Not.

How can we be brave enough to retire when our nest eggs aren’t moving in the right direction fast enough? Many of us older workers are still smarting from financial crisis and the toll it took on our net worth. We watched our retirement savings fall and start to inch their way back. But we’ve also been told, time and again by financial experts, that we need to stay on the job longer to save as much as we can so …

Medicare Board Not Popular With Job Seekers

After every presidential inauguration, ambitious policy wonks scan a “plum book” of available appointments. But some jobs are more like prunes. The Washington Post‘s Sarah Kliff says the new Independent Payment Advisory Board isn’t attracting the type of top talent in health and economics that was envisioned for the influential panel. The mission of the 15-member panel is nothing less than saving the economy by slowing down the growth of Medicare spending, with the hope that slowdown will put a brake …

How Much for an MRI? $500? $5,000? Good Luck Finding Out . . .

By Martha Bebinger, WBUR This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes WBUR, NPR, and Kaiser Health News. Massachusetts is launching a sweeping plan to hold down health care costs. A new law is partly designed to get patients to help drive down prices by shopping for medical care. So when I had a series of migraines over the summer, I decided this was an opportunity to be an engaged, savvy patient. First decision: whether to even get …

7 Things That Drive Up Your Health Care Costs

By Julie Appleby, Staff Writer, Kaiser Health News This story was produced in collaboration with PBS NewsHour There is no one villain in the battle against rising health care costs. Currently, the United States spends more on health care services than any other country, exceeding $2.6 trillion, or about 18 percent of gross domestic product. Most years, medical spending rises faster than inflation and the economy as a whole. Many factors - and nearly everyone - contributes to those increases. Here are …

Ready for a Permanent Vacation Abroad?

I’m just back from vacation in the U.S. Good for me, but not so good for friends who confided they are suddenly on “permanent” vacation. As in “laid off” and with no prospects in sight. They’re being forced to explore their options. Suddenly, I’d become very popular at cocktail parties and other gatherings. “Can you really live inexpensively outside the U.S.?” my friends asked. “What’s it like to live in a foreign country? Is it safe? Is there Internet? English-language …

Disturbing Trends in Kaiser Health Insurance Survey

Low-wage workers tend to pay more for less robust health insurance coverage, according to a new survey. For family health care plans, employees at lower-wage companies paid an average of $700 more per year, despite the typical policy for these workers being worth $1000 less than average.