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Aug 6, 2013

U.S. cities to retirees: Don’t count on health insurance, either

CHICAGO, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Chalk it up as an unintended
consequence of Obamacare: a growing number of U.S. employers are
aiming to cut their healthcare costs by shifting retirees into
the law’s new public insurance exchanges, which launch this
October.

Detroit, which filed for bankruptcy, hopes to push retirees
who are too young for Medicare onto the new public insurance
exchanges as a way of shedding healthcare liabilities. Chicago
has proposed a plan to migrate most of its 30,000 under-65
retirees to the state exchanges by 2017. And, in the private
sector, more than 60 percent of employers are reassessing their
retiree health coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act
(ACA), according to a study to be released this week by Aon
Hewitt, the benefits consulting firm.

Aug 1, 2013

How to get employees of small businesses to save for retirement

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AARP usually can be found on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum when it comes to retirement policy. The two Washington advocacy powerhouses have often been at loggerheads on key policy fights, such as Social Security and Medicare reform.

But these strange bedfellows teamed up last week to sponsor a half-day seminar on a major challenge: improving access to workplace retirement plans and boosting participation and saving rates.

Jul 30, 2013

Column: Should you worry about Detroit’s pension woes?

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The news from Detroit is enough to rattle anyone relying on a traditional pension: an unprecedented bankruptcy filing by a major U.S. city that opens the door to possible sharp cuts in benefits.

It’s still far from clear that the courts will let Detroit slash pension benefits as part of its bankruptcy filing. But is the city’s situation a harbinger of things to come for Americans relying on traditional defined benefit pensions?

Jul 30, 2013

Should you worry about Detroit’s pension woes?

CHICAGO, July 30 (Reuters) – The news from Detroit is enough
to rattle anyone relying on a traditional pension: an
unprecedented bankruptcy filing by a major U.S. city that opens
the door to possible sharp cuts in benefits.

It’s still far from clear that the courts will let Detroit
slash pension benefits as part of its bankruptcy filing. But is
the city’s situation a harbinger of things to come for Americans
relying on traditional defined benefit pensions?

Jul 25, 2013

Three tips for older Americans enrolling in Obamacare

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The marketing blitz for the launch of Obamacare is underway, with ad campaigns in many states featuring actors, musicians and athletes urging people to sign up for the health insurance program. A big federal ad campaign will follow in September.

Marketing and communication might serve as an antidote to the confusion and antipathy that persists about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), especially among older Americans. Forty-nine percent of people over age 65 disapprove of the law, compared with just 37 percent of 18-29-year olds, according to the Pew Research Center.

Jul 24, 2013

Government may crack down harder on reverse mortgages

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The federal government is getting ready for round two of the Great Reverse Mortgage Crackdown.

Earlier this year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development eliminated one of the most risky reverse mortgage programs – upfront lump-sum loans issued at fixed interest rates. Now, it is proposing to further discourage big lump-sum reverse mortgages by limiting the amount borrowers could get from variable rate loans, too.

Jul 24, 2013

U.S. government may crack down harder on reverse mortgages

CHICAGO, July 24 (Reuters) – The federal government is
getting ready for round two of the Great Reverse Mortgage
Crackdown.

Earlier this year, the Department of Housing and Urban
Development eliminated one of the most risky reverse mortgage
programs – upfront lump-sum loans issued at fixed interest
rates. Now, it is proposing to further discourage big lump-sum
reverse mortgages by limiting the amount borrowers could get
from variable rate loans, too.

Jul 19, 2013

Column: Medicare Advantage defies expectations by growing

NEW YORK (Reuters) – If we used tennis scoring to track the progress of healthcare reform, this would be the moment to declare: advantage Advantage.

Obamacare opponents have been warning for several years now that Medicare Advantage, the private plan option that seniors can pick instead of traditional fee-for-service Medicare, would fail because of the healthcare law’s impact on the program. The prediction was that the gradual elimination of extra federal reimbursements to Medicare Advantage would kill it.

Jul 18, 2013

Medicare Advantage defies expectations by growing

NEW YORK, July 18 (Reuters) – If we used tennis scoring to
track the progress of healthcare reform, this would be the
moment to declare: advantage Advantage.

Obamacare opponents have been warning for several years now
that Medicare Advantage, the private plan option that seniors
can pick instead of traditional fee-for-service Medicare, would
fail because of the healthcare law’s impact on the program. The
prediction was that the gradual elimination of extra federal
reimbursements to Medicare Advantage would kill it.

Jul 16, 2013

Employee stock purchase plans see uptick in post-Enron era

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Invesco is a big believer in employee ownership. But in 2005, the investment management giant dropped a feature in its 401(k) plan that allowed employees to accumulate its shares in their retirement accounts.

The decision stemmed from worries about the risks of company stock in a retirement plan, where plan sponsors have a fiduciary responsibility to put the best interest of employees first.

    • About Mark

      "Mark Miller is a journalist and author who writes about trends in retirement and aging. He has a special focus on how the baby boomer generation is revising its approach to careers, money and lifestyle after age 50. Mark is the author of The Hard Times Guide to Retirement Security: Practical Strategies for Money, Work and Living (John Wiley & Sons/Bloomberg Press, 2010) and edits RetirementRevised.com. Mark is the former editor of Crain’s Chicago Business, and former Sunday editor of the Chicago Sun-Times. The opinions expressed here are his own."
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