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Jul 9, 2013

Long-term care clock ticking for U.S. Congress

CHICAGO, July 9 (Reuters) – Eighty-four days and counting.
That’s the time remaining that a new Congressional commission
has to come up with solutions for one of the country’s most
vexing problems: how to properly fund long-term care.

The Commission on Long-Term Care is an offspring of the
January deal that averted the so-called fiscal cliff mix of tax
hikes and spending cuts. Back then, Congress and the White House
agreed to kill the Community Living Assistance Services and
Supports Act (CLASS), which would have provided a public option
for long-term care insurance under Obamacare. The consensus is
that the math on CLASS did not work – but there is also
widespread agreement that our current approach to financing
long-term care is broken.

Jul 2, 2013

Healthcare reform to end ‘job lock’ for the over-50 crowd

CHICAGO (Reuters) – When Carmen Oberai was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago, she knew the treatment would make it tough for her to stay at her job. But she needed the health insurance provided by her employer, so she worked through the illness.

Oberai, 62, works with at-risk pregnant women for a nonprofit agency in Port Charlotte, Florida. “My treatment wasn’t as brutal as they make it sound, but you do get tired as a side-effect, and my work is very demanding,” she says. “I didn’t really know how much time I might need away from work, and I was worried that if I quit I’d lose my insurance and couldn’t get covered anywhere else with my pre-existing condition.”

Jun 26, 2013

Gay marriage ruling boosts key retirement benefits

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) means that the spousal benefits of the two most important U.S. retirement programs – Social Security and Medicare – will be extended to married, same-sex couples.

But for some same-sex couples, much will depend on how the Obama Administration, federal agencies and courts interpret and implement the decision.

Jun 26, 2013

Do no harm: Protecting retirees in shaky pension plans

CHICAGO, June 26 (Reuters) – We’ve all heard the physician’s
Hippocratic oath: “First, do no harm.” But there’s a similar,
less-well-known principle in the world of pensions: First, do no
harm to retirees.

When pension programs are changed, it’s almost unheard of to
cut benefits for retirees in their seventies, eighties or
beyond, who would have trouble adjusting to abrupt reductions in
income. The principle is a cornerstone of the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which governs
private-sector pension plans.

Jun 20, 2013

How to keep older patients from returning to the hospital

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Ann Marie Schmidt had knee replacement surgery last month. The operation was for an old injury that made walking painful, but the 71-year-old resident of Temple, Texas, has other, more serious conditions. She suffers from neuropathy (nerve pain), scoliosis and meningioma – a type of benign brain tumor.

Schmidt is the kind of high-risk patient Medicare worries about as a candidate to land back in the hospital after surgery. Nearly one in five Medicare patients discharged from the hospital is readmitted within 30 days, at a cost of $17 billion every year to Medicare, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Jun 17, 2013

The best place to work after age 50? NIH, says AARP

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Phil Lenowitz works in Bethesda, Maryland, but a year ago he moved to Asheville, North Carolina. At age 63, Lenowitz spends three weeks each month in Bethesda, where he is deputy director of human resources at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and one week in Asheville with his wife Peggy, 62.

Lenowitz is on track to retire in Asheville – somewhere down the road. The current split schedule hasn’t caused any friction at work.

Jun 13, 2013

Column: How to fight age discrimination

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Older Americans are being urged to repair their retirements by working longer. But it’s difficult to do in a tough economy, and one cause is illegal age discrimination by employers.

The number of age discrimination complaints filed annually with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, surged during the recession of 2008, and in 2012 it was still running 43 percent higher than it was as recently as 2000.

Jun 13, 2013

How to fight age discrimination

CHICAGO, June 13 (Reuters) – Older Americans are being urged
to repair their retirements by working longer. But it’s
difficult to do in a tough economy, and one cause is illegal age
discrimination by employers.

The number of age discrimination complaints filed annually
with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC,
surged during the recession of 2008, and in 2012 it was still
running 43 percent higher than it was as recently as 2000.

Jun 7, 2013

These women will try retirement ‘Golden Girls’ style

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The big four-story house in suburban Pittsburgh might remind you of the set of “The Golden Girls.” But unlike the hit TV sitcom of the late 1980s and early ’90s, the three women who live there are not in it for the laugh track.

Karen Bush, Louise Machinist and Jean McQuillin bought the Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania, home together in 2004, when they were in their fifties. They wanted to share living expenses, live a greener lifestyle and – most importantly – enjoy one another’s companionship. All are single professional women in their mid-sixties who are still working, but they expect to retire in their house, too.

May 30, 2013

Column: Boomers aren’t working forever, after all

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Baby boomers have been talking a good game for years about working longer and reinventing the last third of life. Now that it’s game time, their retirement decisions look somewhat conventional.

More than half the oldest boomers – those born in 1946 – had fully retired by the end of the year in which they turned 66, the age the Social Security Administration pegs as “full retirement age,” according to a new survey by the Metlife Mature Marketing Institute.

    • 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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