Financial Advice for Retirement, Social Security, IRAs and Estate Planning

Medicare/Medigap Insurance

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how-improved-websites-boost-your-benefits

How Improved Websites Boost Your Benefits

October 1, 2008

Government benefits are complicated. It often is difficult to understand the rules well enough to maximize benefits from Social Security and Medicare. The government agencies know this and in response recently added features to their web sites to make it less painful to learn your benefit options. I have reviewed these features and believe they […]

the-upcoming-medicare-changes

The Upcoming Medicare Changes

July 1, 2008

One of the biggest mistakes people make in their retirement plans is underestimating their medical expense burdens. Traditionally, early retirees overlook this major expense, but it is likely that in the next few years this expense will spike higher than many retirees anticipate. It is important that people recognize the trends behind changes in medical […]

social-security-and-medicare-what-lies-ahead

Social Security and Medicare: What Lies Ahead?

June 1, 2007

The trustees of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds issued their annual report recently, and as usual it was dismal. Yet, buried within the report is some reasonably good news for those who want to see it. That news also is important to those who are planning their retirement income over the next few […]

what-is-better-than-medicare

What is Better Than Medicare

November 1, 2006

Alternatives to traditional Medicare are more popular – and with good reason. For the same and sometimes lower cost, more care is received by Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare Advantage is an umbrella name for alternatives to traditional Medicare. The alternatives include HMOs, PPOs, and special needs plans. But the fastest-growing alternative is PFFS – private fee […]

part-d-medicare-prescription-drug-plan-changes-and-updates

Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan: Changes and Updates

November 1, 2006

We are rolling into the second year of the Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Beneficiaries can switch plans during the enrollment period from Nov. 15 through Dec. 31. If new coverage is selected, it begins Jan. 1. With one year of experience behind them, insurers are changing their plans, and most of the changes […]

medicare-premium-hikes-coming

Medicare Premium Hikes Coming

October 1, 2006

Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes face higher premiums in 2007 and thereafter. We have better estimates of those premiums now, and beneficiaries can factor these higher costs into their financial plans. The higher premiums, called surtaxes, are imposed on a sliding scale. They begin rising for single beneficiaries whose incomes exceed $80,000 and for married […]

get-set-for-the-new-medicare-surtax

Get Set for the New Medicare Surtax

June 1, 2006

Medicare beneficiaries are used to annual premium increases to go along with the rising cost of medical care. But in 2007 many will be surprised by the new means-tested premiums. Higher income beneficiaries will pay higher premiums. The amount of the increase in premiums will depend on the beneficiary’s income. The higher premium is called […]

medicare-drug-deadline-draws-near

Medicare Drug Deadline Draws Near

May 1, 2006

The deadline for Medicare beneficiaries to sign up for the new prescription drug plan is drawing near. To avoid penalties, seniors who are in Medicare must sign up for a plan under Part D of Medicare by May 15, 2006. The penalty, if you sign up for a plan later, is an increase in the […]

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