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
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
September 26, 2017 — The Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Part D and Advantage Plans starts soon; it runs from October 15 to December 7. Since this is your window to make changes in your plan or sign up for new coverage, it is an excellent time reconsider if Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare is your best option, as well if you have the right Prescription Drug coverage plan (Part D). We gained a new appreciation for how complex this topic is as we wrote this article. It will provide you with some basic background information to start thinking about this issue, but do not make any important decisions like this without careful thought and research. This is part of a 5 Part series on Medicare.
Signing up for Medicare and Medicare Basics
You have 7 months to sign up for Medicare in all its forms when you turn age 65 with no penalties. That 7 month period starts 3 months before your 65th birthday and ends 3 months afterwards. Thereafter there are open enrollment periods when you have the option to change plans and coverage.
As a refresher, original Medicare (more…)
Posted by Admin on September 25th, 2017
August 26, 2017 — As men hit middle age and then go into retirement there is one persistent health risk that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Isolation, new studies show, can cause all kinds of serious health and psychological problems. The harm caused by isolation is happening to men in ever greater numbers, and usually gets worse after they retire. Women suffer from isolation too, but not in nearly with the same frequency, and then usually just in the later stages of life. A story at the Boston Globe (see link at bottom) sparked this article and a whole lot of comments. We are happy to see that ur version on the topic is getting a lot useful discussion too.
If you are a man reading this article, here’s an exercise that might be painful as well as instructive. Write down the names of how many close friends you have. Once you’ve done that, write down how many times you have had a close interaction with any (more…)
Posted by Admin on August 26th, 2017
Bulletin – June 28. In light of a lack of support from their own party, House Republican leaders have decided to put off a vote on this bill until after July 4. According to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, only 17 percent of those surveyed say they approve of the Senate’s health care plan, the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Fifty-five percent say they disapprove.
June 26, 2017 — AARP, The giant association of retired people, has finally seen the Senate’s new health care bill. And they don’t like anything about it. They and a host of other organizations have sent a fiery letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell – there appear to be about 100 organizations who signed this letter.
Whatever your politics, we feel that it is important that you understand the issues in this bill, which has so many ramifications for people of retirement age. Pro or con, it is very important that you let your senators know how you feel.
Here are some of the concerns expressed by the AARP on their website: (“Senate Unveils Health Care Bill – and It’s Bad!“)
– “This new Senate bill was crafted in secrecy behind closed doors without a (more…)
Posted by Admin on June 26th, 2017
May 31, 2017 — We all know that walking is good for us. But that doesn’t mean we all do enough of it, instead relying on our cars, or even golf carts, to get us to all of our daily business. We just came across two great articles that give us even better reasons to start walking more, so we can enjoy our retirements in better health and happiness. Plus another piece of news came in too, which found that eating chocolate regularly is good for your heart. Good news there!
The first came from NextAvenue.org, and it extolled the virtues of “mindful walking” as a way to improve brain health and reduce stress. The article quotes two experts, Dr.Lynn Koerbel from the Oasis Institute for Mindfulness-Based Professional Education and Training, and Deepak Chopra, founder of (more…)
Posted by Admin on May 30th, 2017
April 4, 2017 — Most people including your editor would be very pleased to live to 100. That assumes of course we have most of our wits about us and are able to escape afflictions that cause a lot of pain or difficulty managing daily life. So it seems worth asking – what are the keys to living to age 100?
The number of Americans who are 100 or over is increasing rapidly. The number went from 32,000 in 1980 to 77,000 this year. We baby boomers will swell those ranks even further, starting in 2046. The absolute best advice for living to centenarian status is simple – choose your grandparents wisely!
Your editor’s mother lived to 102 and was doing (more…)
Posted by Admin on April 4th, 2017
Update May 5: The latest version of this bill was narrowly passed in the House on May 4. The bill has most of the same features as the original, with some additional money thrown in to help people with pre-existing conditions, whose insurance can now go to market rates. The bill allows rates on people aged 50 -64 to increase dramatically. Now it is on to the Senate, which will probably produce its own version.
March 22, 2017 – The Republican controlled Congress and our new President have come out with their proposed replacement to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Unfortunately for its proponents, the new bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), has run into considerable headwinds. The American Medical Association (AMA), hospital groups, the Heritage Foundation,the AARP, as many as 18 Republicans in the House and Senate, several Republican governors, and virtually every Congressional Democrat do not like the bill. In this article we will review how the proposed bill would affect baby boomers 50-64 who are not eligible for Medicare. Unfortunately, many of the folks in this group are retired (often involuntarily) and have very low incomes.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 14 million Americans of all ages would lose health insurance coverage in 2018 under the bill, rising to 24 million by 2026. On the plus side, about a third of a trillion dollars would be saved during that period, mainly because subsidies to lower income folks would be replaced with less generous tax credits. Although younger people would probably see net health premiums (after tax credits) go down with the Republican plan, people age 50-64 would see increases in premiums that are so high (more…)
Posted by Admin on March 18th, 2017
Update March 18 – We just provided an update on how the new TrumpCare replacement will affect people age 50 – 64 – “Obamacare Replacement Will Hammer Pre-Retirees“
March 1, 2017 — Judging by the number of Comments and questions we are seeing on this Blog, baby boomers are uneasy about what might happen to their healthcare insurance under Medicare, Medicaid, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA – Obamacare). Given all the headlines and conflicting plans and positions, those concerns seem to be well founded. In this article we will air some of the most frequent questions and concerns aired on the Topretirements.com Blog. In some cases we provide answers provided by other Members. We also have some good resources to recommend where you can research this topic in greater detail.
First, a little update on where we stand
The President, the Republican controlled Congress, and the new Secretary of the Health, Education and Welfare have all said they are going to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA – Obamacare). Democrats, on the other hand, favor improvement/repair rather than repeal. The subject is confusing: according to one poll, one-third of Americans don’t realize that the ACA and Obamacare are the same thing. Republicans have floated at least one replacement plan in rough form, but they appear to have no consensus among themselves, in fact conservative Republicans say they won’t go along with many of the provisions in that plan. What will happen, (more…)
Posted by Admin on February 28th, 2017
January 22, 2017 — The AARP is a solid defender of Medicare and Social Security, as you might imagine. In their most recent Special Report the organization highlights some of the issues and dangers that Medicare faces as the Trump administration and Republican controlled Congress take over. We recommend reading the entire AARP Special Medicare Report – it raises important issues that every retiree, and every American, needs to be informed on. We certainly know the issue resonates with Topretirements members, who from our surveys say they like Medicare.
Conflict between the new President and conservative Republicans – and surprising potential allies
Trump promised on the campaign trail in New Hampshire that he would protect Medicare: “Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security. They want to do it on Medicare. They want to do it on Medicaid. And we can’t do that. It’s not fair to the people who have been paying in for years.”
With the inauguration behind us the battle lines are a bit murkier. Speaker of the House Ryan has proposed that Medicare as we know it would be replaced by fixed payments with which beneficiaries would be able to buy (more…)
Posted by Admin on January 21st, 2017