2018 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles Announced

Category: Health Issues

November 21, 2017 — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the 2018 premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts for the Medicare Part A and Part B programs. Note that the Medicare Open Enrollment period ends Dec. 7 – make sure your choices are up to date.

Medicare Part B Premiums/Deductibles
The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $134 for 2018, the same amount as in 2017. Some beneficiaries who were held harmless against Part B premium increases in prior years will have a Part B premium increase in 2018, but the premium increase will be offset by the increase (COLA) in their Social Security benefits next year. Individuals with income over $85,000 or couples earning more than $170,000 pay more for Part B, and those premiums will increase about 5% in 2018. Medicare Part B covers physician services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and other items.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma commented: “Next year, no beneficiary protected by the hold-harmless provision will see a Part B premium increase that is greater than the increase in their Social Security benefits. We encourage Medicare beneficiaries to explore (more…)

Posted by Admin on November 21st, 2017

Social Security Cost-of-Living (COLA) for 2018 – Up 2%

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

November 20, 2017 — Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 66 million Americans will increase 2.0 percent in 2018.

The 2.0 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 61 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2018. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 29, 2017. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits)

The maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $128,700.

The earnings limit for workers who are younger than “full” retirement age (age 66 for people born in 1943 through 1954) will increase to $17,040. (We deduct $1 from benefits for each $2 earned over $17,040.)

The earnings limit for people turning 66 in 2018 will increase to $45,360. (We deduct $1 from benefits for each $3 earned over $45,360 until the month the worker turns age 66.)

There is no limit on earnings for workers who are “full” retirement age or older for the entire year. Here is a SS Fact Sheet with more.

For further reading
It’s 2017: What You Thought You Knew About Social Security

Posted by Admin on November 20th, 2017

10 Retirement Tools You Really Need!

Category: Retirement Planning

November 18, 2017 — Anybody who has spent any time preparing for their retirement quickly realizes that it isn’t that easy. Sure, you can retire one day and just float along, but it probably won’t work out too well. For one thing, you might not realize until too late that you can’t afford to retire. Or you retire somewhere, not knowing that there is actually a much better place for you to retire. And even if you are wealthy, you might retire unhappily, woefully unprepared for how to stay busy and fulfilled.

In this article we have assembled our top 10 retirement tools for your consideration. They are tools we have used and know to be helpful. We have grouped them into categories for your convenience. As always, please share (more…)

Posted by Admin on November 18th, 2017

Medicare Continued: What You Need to Know About Medigap Insurance

Category: Health Issues

November , 2017 — This installment on Medigap (supplemental) insurance is the latest in our 5 Part Medicare series, which has important implications for everyone as they reach age 65. Don’t miss Part 1: So You’re Turning 65: Here Is Your Guide to Medicare 101, and Part 2: Which Is Better, Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage (Links to Parts 3 and 4 at end of article).

In this article we will first explain what Medigap insurance is, and then how to find, compare, and buy a plan. Then we will reprint many of the Medigap comments that Members have posted to our other Medicare articles. We think you will find their collective wisdom useful.

Medicare BasicsAs a refresher, original Medicare includes Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (doctor services). Almost everyone eligible for Medicare (more…)

Posted by Admin on November 13th, 2017

Thank You Our Veterans: And the Tale of My Father’s Dogtag

Category: Family and Retirement

November 10, 2017 — Today is the official celebration of Veterans Day because the actual date, Nov. 11, falls on a Saturday this year. Veterans Day remembers the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, when the Armistice to end WWI, “the war to end all wars”, was signed and hostilities ended. We know that many of our Topretirements members are veterans, and that virtually everyone has a relative who served to defend our wonderful country. We are in debt to you, and especially those killed in action and their families; your sacrifices have made our freedom possible.

The timing this year is propitious, as I just came into possession of my father’s WWII dog tags (pictured). My dad, like so many of our baby boomer fathers, served in this world changing war. A newly minted dentist, he volunteered in the US Public Health Service and Coast Guard as the war broke out. According to the legend my father, who didn’t clear 5’5”, had to hang from a bar so he was tall enough to get his naval commission. His first assignment was to British Columbia in Canada, where he provided dental services for the workers building the Alaskan (Alcan) Highway, that amazing project to shore up the defenses of vulnerable (more…)

Posted by Admin on November 10th, 2017

10 Places to Retire That Offer Great Downtown Living

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

November 5, 2017 — There is a certain kind of person for whom a great place to retire means being right in the thick of it. Not stuck out of town in an active community, where every trip to anything beyond the clubhouse or golf course means climbing in your car. Nor the suburbs or a distant lake, which have the same transportation problems. For the kind of person we are thinking of, the perfect place to retire is one where your home is a comfortable walk, bike, or transit away from a vital downtown teeming with restaurants, shops, and cultural opportunities. We’ve reported on the best walkable places to retire before (see Further Reading below); here are ten more excellent places to consider.

Just about any big city has some wonderful neighborhoods where you can enjoy the urban experience. The same goes for very small towns. In this selection of 10 towns with great downtowns we concentrate on finding smaller cities for retirement, usually somewhere between 25,000 and 100,000 people. We’ve chosen places with interesting downtowns where there is a lot to do, and that feature nice neighborhoods with easy access to all these (more…)

Posted by Admin on November 5th, 2017

Not Yet 65, But Don’t Have Healthcare Insurance? Hurry- Open Enrollment Is Shorter This Year

Category: Health Issues

Coming Soon… How to Buy a Medigap Policy

November 1, 2017 — Today is the opening day of the abbreviated Open Enrollment period for Obamacare/aka the Affordable Care Act. We know many of our younger Members are retired before they wanted to be, or work for companies that don’t offer health insurance. If you don’t have health care insurance, and you are not yet 65 or otherwise ineligible for Medicare, you have until Dec. 15 to do something about it.

In this article we will try to outline the basic facts about how to sign up for Obamacare. Many people assume, incorrectly, that Obamacare is dead. To the contrary, although wounded by Congress’s umpteen unsuccessful attempts to repeal it and the President’s recent executive actions, the reports of the ACA’s death are greatly exaggerated, to paraphrase Mark Twain. It is still the law of the land and the vehicle for over 10 million Americans to get affordable health insurance. You can still sign up for (or change) health care insurance for you and your family without worrying about having to pay extra or be declined for pre-existing conditions. And if your income is under $50,000, (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 31st, 2017

Post Irma, The FL Keys Were Hit Hard But Coming Back Strong

Category: Travel

October 30, 2017 — Reposted with permission from JungleRedWriters.com Blog

LUCY BURDETTE: Lots of people have asked me how the Florida Keys and Key West are faring after Hurricane Irma roared through. Friday was the first day we were able to see for ourselves. Honestly, it was a bit of a grim ride south, especially the area stretching from Marathon through Big Pine, where the eye blew across the islands. The road is still lined with piles of trash, boats washed ashore, and mind-boggling deposits of (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 29th, 2017

Greenville, SC: The Perfect Small City Urban Retirement

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

October 25, 2017 — For the person looking for a urban retirement on a small scale, it is hard to come up with a better choice than Greenville, South Carolina. It has parks and a downtown that attracts people every day of the week, including Sunday morning. There are plenty of housing opportunities downtown that let you walk to just about anything you might need. There is an ever expanding bike path that runs through the heart of the downtown and 8 miles up the road – through the Furman University campus and on to Travelers Rest, SC. The cultural scene is hectic with frequent festivals, multiple events, and an array of cultural resources.

This fast growing town in northwest South Carolina has 68,000 citizens in the city proper, while the larger MSA area including Spartanburg approaches 1 million. The downtown has been the subject of intense and successful redevelopment efforts. Those have paid off, as the city won Great American Main Street awards from the (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 24th, 2017

Arizona’s 15 Most Popular Active Adult and 55+ Communities

Category: Active adult communities

October 18, 2017 — The allure of Arizona’s warm winters, mountains, and deserts has made it a retirement magnet for a long time. Although most people who retire here come from the midwest or west of the Mississippi, it also attracts a fair number of retirees from the East. Some retirees come here as snowbirds for the winter months only, while others move to the Grand Canyon State full time. However they come, Arizona is one of the most popular places in the U.S. for retirement. This article highlights the 15 most popular active adult and 55+ communities in Arizona, as measured by visitor interest at Topretirements.com.

We encourage you to use our Arizona Directory of Active Communities to explore the more than 150 active adult and 55+ communities we have reviewed there under 36 towns. You can also use our Advanced Search to find communities by state, size, expense, type of community, (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 17th, 2017