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10.11.2015 04.22 UTC

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Medicare Premiums: The YoYo Effect

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There has been a lot in the media about the recent budget deal and changes to the Medicare Part B premium.  What just happened? Here is the bottom line (and its confusing): ·      If you are a current Medicare beneficiary and pay your Part B premium though a deduction to your Social Security check, your Part B premium will stay at $104.90/month for the time being. ·      If you are a Medicare beneficiary, but do not pay your Part B premium through a Social Security deduction—or are new to Medicare--your Part B premium will rise to about $123. But as is often the case, the reality is more complicated…. Medicare premiums are supposed to cover 25% of the cost of Medicare...
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...
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....

20.12.2014 04.35 UTC

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Telemedicine is rapidly growing

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Telemedicine—the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide health care at a distance—is rapidly growing. And, projections are for more growth—estimated at 18.5% per year for the next few years. Telemedicine is becoming more widely accepted, in part, because it holds out the promise of significant cost savings. But telemedicine is promising for other reasons—monitoring individuals to reduce the rate of readmission following a hospitalization, providing better care to individuals with limited mobility, monitoring key clinical measures...

18.11.2013 03.17 UTC

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Cost Chaos In Consumer Healthcare

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As the consumer healthcare market shifts, more scrutiny is being placed on cost of consumption of services. In a recent New York Times article Nov. 8, 2013, Good Deals on Pills? It's Anyone's Guess, Elisabeth Rosenthal reviews cost chaos with drugs. For example, two popular medications for asthma and allergies, Advair and Rhinocort AQ, used by tens of thousands of Americans are no longer going to be covered by many benefit plans served by Medco/Express Scripts....