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28.01.2016 03.26 UTC

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Is My Doctor Covered?

Is My Doctor Covered?

Health insurance is an empty promise if your doctor or hospital is not covered. Headlines keep on reminding us that insurance companies are restricting the doctors and hospitals covered by their plans. People covered by Medicare have their own separate rules and these Medicare-specific rules have both good news and bad news—but mostly good news. The good news—people covered by “original” Medicare have broad access to the doctor of their choice. Over 90% of doctors take Medicare[1]. The bad news: the Medicare rules are complicated and are filled with traps for the unwary....
Both the popular press and the benefits/HR trade publications have been sounding the alarm—older workers are not adequately saving for their health care costs in retirement.  There are many reasons for this “retiree medical adequacy” gap—including limited resources and competing needs (e.g., housing, children’s’ education, and retirement income needs) and confusion over the best asset-accumulation vehicles (e.g., 401(k)/403(b), Roth, IRA, and HSA). Many of the challenges to retiree medical adequacy are based on financial constraints and filling these financial gaps will be difficult in an era of limited wage growth and increasing longevity....

26.04.2015 09.45 UTC

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Congress Tries New Remedy

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On April 16 President Obama signed The Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act (“MACRA”). The focus of the law is to change how physicians are reimbursed under Medicare, but MACRA contains a number of provisions that may have far-reaching consequences for all of the “stakeholders” in Medicare—especially for consumers and their physicians. Most importantly, MACRA changes more than how much physicians are paid—it shifts how they are paid. Under MACRA, annual increases (and possible cuts) in physician reimbursements will be based on the physicians’ performance...
There is an ongoing controversy between hospitals and government regulators (The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or “CMS”)—with Medicare beneficiaries caught in the middle. Although the issue seems technical and bureaucratic, it raises some significant issues for those covered by Medicare. What is Going On? Hospitals can label a stay as an “admission” to the hospital—or as a stay for “observation.” In recent years the use of observation status has skyrocketed; as noted by the Kaiser News Network, the use of observation status rose 88% between 2006 and 2012 and the number of observation stays lasting...
The 401(k) plan was born in 1978 and has since “grown up” to become the dominant employer-sponsored retirement vehicle in the U.S. During that time, employers have learned many lessons about how to play the role of plan sponsor—encouraging employees to contribute (through the use of tools such as matching contributions and automatic enrollment), offering the right investment options (such as through balanced funds and “qualified” default investments), and helping employees through complex investment decisions (such as through target date funds and automatic rebalancing). Throughout this period, employers have labored mightily to teach employees key principles of saving and investing....

30.04.2014 07.33 UTC

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Medicare Advantage: The Basics of Consumer Choice

Medicare Advantage:  The Basics of Consumer Choice

What is Medicare Advantage (Medicare Plan C)? What do consumers need to know to make informed choices about Medicare Advantage plans? When turning 65, new Medicare beneficiaries are faced with a dizzying array of choices. First, their eligibility for Plan A (hospital) is established. Second, they make the decision to accept Plan B (doctors). At this point in the decision process, there are a host of complex Medicare insurance choices that will have a financial impact on the consumer...

24.09.2013 05.44 UTC

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Should Boomers Get A Flu Shot?

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Already the flu season is in full swing in several regions of the country, and it’s taking healthy and fit people down for about two weeks. Boomers should consider getting a flu vaccine! It’s a good time to consider getting a flu vaccine for people of all ages and primarily seniors. Visit Vaccine.Gov! In fact, adults should consider vaccinations that prevent diseases later in life. When you visit Vaccine.gov, each disease is listed with the appropriate vaccination. According to http://Vaccines.gov, the 2012-2013 flu vaccine consists of three viruses to protect against: • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus • A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus...

14.05.2013 06.34 UTC

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Health Care Cost Contributes To Retirement Location

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In many national magazines of late, there are special retirement features showcasing everything from places to live, the best this and the best that. In Money magazine's 2013 Retirement Guide, it details the top 20 places to live when retired. The locations were selected via survey response from people 55+ interested in finding a great location to live it up after working for four decades. Imagine all the factors that contribute to making a choice of where to live when considering retirement! (more…)...

10.04.2013 01.30 UTC

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Sandwich Generation Resources More Plentiful 32 Years Later

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In 1981, Dorothy A. Miller coined the term,“sandwich generation,"to signify people caring for aging parents while supporting their own children. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the number of Americans 65+ will double by the year 2030 to more than 70 million. This puts nearly 10 million American adults squarely in the category of sandwich generation – those caring for elderly parents who also have their own worries coupled with that of their children...
Effective March 5, 2013, Retiree Health Choices officially launched (after two years in the making) to deliver new tools to alleviate Medicare insurance complexity. As a brainchild of a team of health insurance professionals in Chicago, Retiree Health Choices has a mission to create innovative online technologies designed to make Medicare more consumer friendly. The company intends to introduce authoritative tools to help consumers make smarter and more balanced Medicare insurance decisions.  Its soon-to-launch consumer-facing website and health calculator (patent pending) are some of the tools Retiree Health Choices has planned...