2016 Social Security COLA? Don’t Bet on It

En español |  Nearly 60 million Social Security recipients will probably not get a cost-of-living increase next year, according to projections in the 2015 Social Security and Medicare trustees reports. This would be the third time Social Security beneficiaries have gone without a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) since 1975, when automatic raises were put into place. The COLA this year was 1.7 percent, making the average monthly check for retired workers $1,334 as of May. Increases in benefits are tied to …

El invaluable valor de los cuidadores familiares

La labor de asistencia que cumplen los cuidadores familiares en EE.UU. representa un asombroso valor anual, no remunerado, de $470 mil millones, según un nuevo estudio de AARP Public Policy Institute. Gráfico: Cómo valuar lo invaluable, el precio del cuidado familiar. El informe, titulado ‘Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update’ (Valorar lo invaluable, Actualización del 2015 – en inglés), revela además que los cuidadores familiares en EE.UU. ofrecieron 37.000 millones de horas de atención a sus padres, cónyuges, parejas y otros …

What Every Caregiver Needs to Know About Medicare

As Medicare celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, I’m grateful it has been there to help my grandparents, parents and sister. We couldn’t have coped without it. Even so, Medicare can be complicated for a caregiver to understand and manage. Other caregivers often tell me their biggest challenge in managing a loved one’s finances is dealing with health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. For example, when my parents’ primary care doctor of more than 20 years decided not to accept their …

Take Advantage of Medicare’s Free Preventive Services

Being able to treat a medical problem is good, but dodging the problem altogether is even better. That seems obvious, yet Medicare has only recently expanded coverage for services that help prevent or stave off some of the diseases that make people very ill and — not coincidentally — cost Medicare mountains of money. Many of these preventive tests, screenings and counseling sessions are now available for free, with no copays or deductibles, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. More …

White House Conference Turns Spotlight on Aging Issues

President Barack Obama and a host of experts and advocates for older Americans gathered at the White House July 13 to discuss a variety of issues about aging in America. Government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are great triumphs, Obama told nearly 200 attendees at the White House Conference on Aging, which since 1961 has been held about once a decade to help chart the course of policies on aging. More than 600 “watch parties” were held …

Advance Care Planning Gets a Boost

In response to an earlier request from AARP and other groups, we are pleased that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recommended in its recent proposed update to the Medicare physician fee schedule that Medicare be able to pay for advance care planning (ACP) services from physicians and other providers. The proposal will help facilitate voluntary conversations among individuals, their families and health care providers to help ensure individuals’ choices and wishes about their care are known, …