Losing a Job and Insurance? The New Marketplace Might Help

By Michelle Andrews, for Kaiser Health News Workers who lose their jobs and their employer-based health insurance will have new coverage options when the Affordable Care Act’s state marketplaces open in October. But consumer advocates are concerned many may not realize this and lock themselves into pricier coverage than they need. Today, the only option for many laid-off workers is to continue their employer-provided coverage for up to 18 months under the federal law known as COBRA. Because they have to pay the …

Social Security’s 78th Anniversary: Then and Now

To help celebrate Social Security’s 78th anniversary, here is a comparison of how the country – and Social Security – have changed since 1940, when Ida May Fuller received Social Security’s first monthly benefit. Since 1940, the number of Americans age 65 and over has quadrupled, more than doubling as a percentage of the population. Sources: http://www.census.gov/prod/www/decennial.html and http://www.census.gov/population/age/data/2011.html   The number of individuals receiving a Social Security benefit, since benefit checks were first issued in 1940, has increased over …

Will You Get an Insurance Subsidy? How Much?

By Julie Appleby, Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News If you buy your own health insurance, you’ve no doubt heard that subsidies will be available next year to help pay the premiums. But will you get a subsidy and how much? A report from researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation provides some insight. Based on their analysis, about 48 percent of adults currently purchasing coverage for themselves will be eligible for subsidies next year – and those subsidies will average $5,548 …

Social Security: Still Lifting Many Older Americans Out of Poverty

In the early 1930s, before Social Security was created, many older Americans were destitute or depended on help from family and friends for basic needs like food and shelter. Today, Social Security is the nation’s single most important anti-poverty tool – lifting about 21.4 million people of all ages out of poverty. Social Security lifts about 35 percent of older Americans (almost 14.5 million) out of poverty by providing a regular, guaranteed retirement income. Thanks to Social Security, only about …

Is Poverty Among Older Americans Undercounted?

Poverty levels are much higher for older Americans when you factor in how much they need to spend on health care, the Census Bureau has found. While 9 percent or so of all Americans 65 and older were below the official poverty threshold in 2011 ($10,788 for an individual), 15 percent were below an alternative threshold that takes into account spending on health care. The alternative measure also takes into account variations in the cost of living, taxes, whether a …

Retirement Crisis: Are We There Yet?

It seems like you can’t open up a newspaper (or twitter feed) without reading about the impending “retirement crisis.”  The word crisis, used to describe so many things, may get the public’s attention, but is it accurate?   Many retirees today struggle to make ends meet and others face dire situations triggered by job loss or unexpected health expenses.  But the prospect of a broader retirement crisis depends on your frame of reference. Because of the protections Social Security provides, …