Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Is Underway; Shop Smart

AARP encourages Americans to review their health insurance options during the Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period that started Sunday. Open enrollment (from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31) is an important opportunity for consumers to find a plan that could save them more money, offer better services, or include more of their doctors. Since the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period in 2013, the uninsured rate for pre-Medicare Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 has dropped …

It Pays to Compare Your Medicare Plan Options

It’s that time of year again: Medicare Open Enrollment. Open enrollment is the one time of year when you can re-evaluate your Medicare health and prescription drug plans and switch to ones that offer better coverage or save you money. By now you should have received your Annual Notice of Change packet of information in the mail. It’s very important to take the time to sit down and review this information to see if you want to make any changes …

Should You Buy That Extended Warranty?

Whenever I buy something electronic, whether a new smartphone, TV, laptop or whatever, I typically receive a hard pitch to buy an extended warranty on the product. I generally opt not to, but is that the right choice? To answer that question, there is both an economic and a psychological way to look at it. Economics of an extended warranty An extended warranty is essentially an insurance policy. If the item fails beyond the basic warranty — typically one month …

Bitten by a Crocodile? There’s a Code for That

A seismic change in Medicare and the rest of the U.S. health care industry began Oct. 1, when a new system of diagnostic codes — which all health providers must use to get paid — finally went into effect after a decade of controversy. The change is making the industry hold its breath, nervous of how it will play out. Will honest mistakes in coding cause claims to be delayed or, worse, go unpaid? Will some physicians, overwhelmed by the …

What Workers Can Expect During Open Enrollment

Heads-up, workers. Open enrollment season is just around the corner. That’s when you’ll make your selections for the benefits you’ll receive next year. Here are a few changes you may see in your employer’s health plan for 2016, according to Tracy Watts, a senior partner with benefits consultant Mercer:   Telemedicine. More employers will be covering doctor visits done over the phone, Skype or FaceTime. These virtual visits cost a fraction of an in-person consultation. Health cost estimators. To help …

Reframing the Social Security Decision

When should you begin taking Social Security benefits? That was a question asked of AARP.org visitors and registered website users . Less than 19 percent selected age 70, though that’s exactly what I tell the vast majority of my clients to do. Most object to my recommendation until I frame the decision in a different way, which is that they can spend money now and still let it grow. Take this recent case, for example. Kate is 66 and is …