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Oct 17, 2013

Why it may require an MBA to pick the right health plan

CHICAGO, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Do you need an MBA degree to
figure out the new health insurance exchanges?

Just getting online to shop has been tough enough during
these early days of the insurance marketplaces launched under
the Affordable Care Act, with reports of website malfunctions
piling up. But a new study suggests even after they get into the
ACA exchanges, consumers will have difficulty picking the
policies that will be most cost effective.

Oct 15, 2013

A guide to the next debate on entitlement cuts

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Talk about counter-programming: A coalition of Social Security advocates plans a one-day summit meeting later this month to talk about ways to expand Social Security benefits to address America’s retirement security crisis. Unfortunately, it looks like Washington will be changing the channel.

If we do manage to sidestep the shutdown-Obamacare-debt ceiling-default crisis this week with our economic system intact, it looks like Congress and the White House will enter a new round of negotiations to cut Social Security – and Medicare.

Oct 11, 2013

How to cope with dreaded retirement distributions

CHICAGO (Reuters) – There’s a reason why 401(k) and individual retirement accounts are called “tax deferred.” You pay no taxes while you’re accumulating savings, but Uncle Sam ultimately gets his bite when funds are withdrawn. And to make sure the meal gets started on time, you’ll face though the dreaded required minimum distribution (RMD).

RMDs must be taken from IRAs starting in the year you turn 70.5 – and from 401(k)s at the same age, unless you’re still working for the employer that sponsors the plan. They exist to make sure the tax benefits of these accounts don’t extend indefinitely – and that you start using these assets, and start paying taxes, in retirement.

Oct 8, 2013

Will you get your Social Security check if the U.S. defaults?

CHICAGO, Oct 8 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama warned
last week that Social Security benefits might not go out “on
time” if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling.

Should seniors and disabled American really be worried about
their benefits if the U.S. government runs out of borrowing
capacity later this month?

Oct 1, 2013

Seniors face more scams as Obamacare launches

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Seniors have been sold plenty of lies about health reform since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010. They’ve been told that it will slash their benefits and create “death panels” to weed out those too old and sick to be worthy of medical care; that it will crush the popular Medicare Advantage program; and that government will get between them and their doctors.

Falsehoods, all. But with key provisions of Obamacare kicking off Tuesday, seniors finally have something real to be concerned about: fraud. Consumer advocates and legal experts say they are seeing a rise in ACA-related identity theft and other scams targeting seniors on Medicare.

Sep 26, 2013

What Obamacare will mean for retirees

CHICAGO (Reuters) – When the autumn leaves start to fall, it is time for Medicare enrollment. Starting on October 15th, seniors can shop for prescription drug or Medicare Advantage managed-care plans in online exchanges that let them compare features and prices.

Wait a minute, you’re thinking – online health insurance exchanges? Isn’t that the Obamacare insurance market launch on October 1st?

Sep 25, 2013

In divisive Washington, commission punts on long-term care

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Why can’t we all just get along when it comes to long-term care?

Long-term care services support the medical and non-medical needs of people with chronic illnesses. Coverage is hardly restricted to older people, but demand for long-term care services will explode as the baby boom generation ages.

Sep 19, 2013

Will U.S. middle class lose in fight over financial advice?

CHICAGO (Reuters) – If average Americans haven’t been kicked around enough this past decade, now we have this: the middle class is serving as a pawn in Wall Street’s high-stakes lobbying battle against stricter rules for brokers.

The fight centers on the so-called fiduciary standard under consideration at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Labor. It would require financial advisers to put the interests of their clients above their own. Some advisers – mostly those who charge their clients fees and don’t collect commissions – already are fiduciaries.

Sep 17, 2013

New technology helps older drivers keep the keys longer

CHICAGO, Sept 17 (Reuters) – When automakers add safety
technology to their cars, they don’t go out of their way to
advertise the new features to older drivers – that would be

“The car remains a symbol of youthfulness, independence and
freedom,” says Joseph F. Coughlin, director of the AgeLab at
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which studies and
develops a wide range of age-related technology. “If I sell a
car pitched as an old man’s car, I can guarantee a younger man
or woman won’t buy it – and neither will the older man.”

Sep 10, 2013

Reverse mortgages get smaller and costlier

CHICAGO, Sept 10 (Reuters) – If you’ve been thinking about
getting a reverse mortgage, September offers a model-year
closeout sale opportunity.

A new set of rules governing Home Equity Conversion
Mortgages (HECMs), the most popular type of reverse loan, has
just been issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development, following up on Congressional action last month
authorizing reforms.

    • 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 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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