With No COLA Increase, Congress Should Pass Medicare Fix

AARP sent the following letter to Congress on Oct. 14. AARP has deep concern that for only the third time in over 40 years, there will be no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2016. To make matters worse, as a result, 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will see their monthly Medicare Part B premium dramatically increase, and all Medicare beneficiaries will experience an increase in their Part B deductible. Congress should protect the 16.5 million Medicare beneficiaries — which includes new …

No 2016 Social Security Benefits Increase; Medicare Premium Spikes for Some

It’s official: Not only will almost 65 million Social Security recipients not get a cost-of-living increase next year,  millions of Medicare beneficiaries will see their premiums for doctor visits and outpatient care go up by more than 50 percent unless the government intervenes. The Oct. 15 announcement by the Social Security Administration confirmed projections in the Social Security and Medicare trustees reports released in July: For the third time since 2010, there will be no bump in checks because falling energy …

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 …

Feel Like You’re Paying More for Health Insurance? Blame Deductibles

Though workers have seen moderate increases in health insurance premiums in recent years, deductibles and the number of workers paying them have increased sharply, according to a new study by Kaiser Family Foundation. Five years ago, 70 percent of workers in an employer-sponsored plan paid a deductible, compared with 81 percent today, Kaiser found. Over that time, the average deductible has grown from $917 to $1,318 for single coverage. Together, this amounts to a 67 percent increase in deductibles in …

Should I Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?

One of the most frequent questions I get from clients is whether to buy long-term care insurance. With the average cost of a private room in care facilities topping $94,000 a year, according to a 2013 study by insurer John Hancock, it’s a reasonable concern. Many of us will need some form of long-term care (LTC), so the question of whether to buy insurance to help with the associated costs is a real one. I think the decision is a very close call. At …

Keep Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries From Falling Through the Cracks

The Affordable Care Act allows states to offer Medicaid to low-income adults who would not have qualified under previous law. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia offer this expanded coverage. Those who qualify will face higher cost-sharing requirements when they transition from Medicaid expansion coverage to Medicare, but some may be eligible for traditional Medicaid benefits or Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) that will help reduce their costs. >> Get your questions about the health law answered here. Medicare beneficiaries …