health care http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1472/all en-US A Simple Guide to Planning For a Loved One's Long-Term Care http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-planning-for-a-loved-ones-long-term-care <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-simple-guide-to-planning-for-a-loved-ones-long-term-care" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-179165125.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As we get older, so do our parents and other loved ones. In some cases, that may mean they'll require long-term care, especially if they fall ill. When this happens, families are faced with a tough decision: hand over the reins to a nursing facility, or manage their care from the comfort of their homes. There's no shame in either decision. But there are several important things to consider when planning for long-term care.</p> <h2>Weigh Your Options Well Ahead of Time</h2> <p>Perhaps the most vital part of planning for long-term care is that you're well prepared. Making hasty decisions on how to provide your loved one with the care they'll need when they're no longer able to care for themselves will not only be stressful for you, but also for them. You'll want to make sure your loved one is provided with the quality of life they deserve. Certainly, ailments can befall your loved one unexpectedly that will require quick decision making, but if you can help it at all, it's best to investigate your options before you're faced with a crisis. That way, you can enter the situation with a clear head, prepared to make the right choices.</p> <h2>Discuss Insurance Options With Your Loved One<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Talking about long-term care with your loved one, especially a parent, is not an easy conversation. But as difficult as it may be, it's necessary. There are financial implications to consider, which will be somewhat lessened (hopefully) with insurance.</p> <p>Jeff Salter is the CEO and founder of Caring Senior Service, a national in-home care service, and he suggests planning a discussion about insurance options, including what your loved one may already have, and what you both may need moving forward.</p> <p>Long-term care insurance can still be expensive in and of itself, and costs only increase with age. Many advise that people purchase a plan in their 50s before any major medical issues arise &mdash; and even then, it's not cheap. For example, the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance estimates an insurance policy offering $164,000 in immediate coverage would cost a healthy, 55-year-old male approximately $1,060 a year. A healthy female of the same age could expect to pay approximately $1,390 a year for the same coverage. The sooner you can lock into one of these policies, the better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>Find Alternative Ways to Pay Without Insurance<strong> </strong></h2> <p>In the worst-case scenario, you don't have the option of long-term care insurance. This can be a daunting prospect, but it's not the end of the world. Salter suggests two solutions that will provide monthly income that can go toward the cost of care.</p> <p>The first is cash value for life insurance, which is essentially the cash amount offered to the policy owner by the issuing life carrier upon cancellation of the contract.</p> <p>The second is taking out a reverse mortgage on the elderly family member's house.</p> <p>&quot;With [the second] option, seniors can remain at home while receiving monthly income that goes toward all of the healthcare-related expenses,&quot; he says. &quot;There are no ongoing costs, and seniors cannot be forced to leave their homes should they outlive the payments from the loan.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-getting-scammed-with-a-reverse-mortgage?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Avoid Getting Scammed With a Reverse Mortgage</a>)</p> <h2>4. Consider the Cost of Home Modification<strong> </strong></h2> <p>When your loved one falls ill, it may limit their ability to function as they once did. This could mean that they're confined to a single floor in the home. Third-party care facilities take these safety measures into account for limited-mobility patients, but if you're providing long-term care in your own residence, you may need to outfit the home so it's more elderly-friendly.</p> <p>&quot;If the decision is to have the long-term care in the current residence, the family might need to plan for modifications to the home for either specialized medical equipment or for access issues around bathrooms, kitchens, and getting in and out of the house,&quot; explains John Bodrozic, co-founder of HomeZada, which specializes in digital home management. &quot;These could be things like ramps for wheelchairs, bathtubs with access doors, nonslip flooring, and other modifications, depending on the occupant's specific needs.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Factor in Home Maintenance<strong> </strong></h2> <p>If the care of your loved one takes place in their own residence &mdash; whether by you, another loved one, or hired help &mdash; it's keen to remember that someone will be tasked with maintaining the property for hygiene, safety, and resale value reasons.</p> <p>&quot;Things like cleaning leaves from gutters, replacing smoke detector batteries, and changing air filters are simple tasks, but usually require ladders. It's not suitable for people with long-term medical issues to handle these tasks,&quot; Bodrozic says.</p> <p>You may be able to handle these tasks on your own, but if these are projects that you plan to farm out to hired help, you'll need to include the costs in your monthly care budget.</p> <h2>6. Let a Professional Help You<strong> </strong></h2> <p>If you don't know what you're doing with regards to long-term care, don't freak out &mdash; you're not alone. Most people who are faced with this situation are first-timers are who overwhelmed with not only accepting the fate of a loved one, but trying to accommodate them as best as possible so they can live out their days in comfort.</p> <p>Daniel Sagal is a senior living adviser at Los Angeles-based Total Senior, which focuses on health care planning and services for seniors. If you don't think you're equipped to make the best decision, or you're having trouble coming to grips with it all, he suggests consulting someone who can help you through it, like a senior care adviser or care manager. Some services are free while others require fees, he says, but both will typically help families navigate the options for senior care.</p> <h2>7. Beware of Scams<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Like a lot of industries, there are people out there gunning to take advantage of you, and it's not terribly hard to become a victim of a scam when your emotions are already on the fritz.</p> <p>Sagal explains.</p> <p>&quot;...Before providing your information or allowing someone to guide you to senior care options, be sure to do your research. Look at their online reviews, make sure they have a credible website with real information/content, ask for references, and check around with health care professionals.&quot;</p> <p>Doing your due diligence now can ensure a more comfortable situation for everyone later.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-planning-for-a-loved-ones-long-term-care">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-ease-your-parents-into-assisted-living">6 Ways to Ease Your Parents Into Assisted Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-your-kids-know-about-your-finances">How Much Should Your Kids Know About Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-support-your-broke-parents">How to Support Your Broke Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation">How to Manage Your Money During a Spousal Separation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family advisers caregivers elderly health care home care life insurance long-term care nursing homes parents relatives seniors Tue, 14 Feb 2017 10:30:32 +0000 Mikey Rox 1889845 at http://www.wisebread.com How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_chairs_beach_154894068.jpg" alt="Couple learning how to retire in Mexico for less" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're thinking about retirement, you're not alone. However, out of 100 Americans who start working at age 25, only 4% are <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/retirement-statistics/" target="_blank">expected to have saved enough</a> for retirement at age 65.</p> <p>While this number may seem surprisingly low, retiring doesn't have to be as expensive as you may think. If you can lower your monthly income requirement, you can also greatly reduce the total capital that you need to save to retire.</p> <p>One easy way to do this: retire abroad. For many Americans, Mexico is a top choice. It's not only geographically close, it's also very affordable. Adventure seekers love its bustling cities full of colonial architecture and rich culture, as well as the natural beauty found along its coastlines and highlands. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a>)</p> <p>If you're worried you might be among the 96% of people who haven't saved enough for retirement, moving to Mexico may be an effective way to make your nest egg go further.</p> <h2>Cost of Living in Mexico</h2> <p>The cost of living is drastically lower than in the U.S. or in Canada. According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Mexico is <a href="https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Mexico" target="_blank">nearly 60% lower</a> than the United States, with rent costing 79% less.</p> <p>However, keep in mind that those are costs averaged over the entire country. Expenses are higher in bigger cities such as the capital, and in places that attract a lot of foreigners, such as Playa del Carmen.</p> <h2>Rental Costs</h2> <p>Based on my experience living in Mexico City and traveling extensively through the country during 2015 and 2016, I have found rents to be far lower than the U.S. You can find a place for as low as $100 a month in off-the-beaten-track destinations, such as the small beach town of Mazunte. However, a great deal like this often means sacrificing on some of the comforts of home such as air conditioning and hot water.</p> <p>On the upper end of the budget, if you're willing to spend $600&ndash;$1,000, you can rent a luxury apartment, even in the more expensive and cosmopolitan destinations.</p> <h2>Health Insurance Costs</h2> <p>Private health insurance is significantly cheaper in Mexico than in the states. It can cost you <a href="http://rollybrook.com/health.htm" target="_blank">as little as 20%</a> of what it would cost in the U.S.</p> <p>Because the cost of routine visits and minor incidents is so small, you may also choose to self-insure, which means simply paying for these costs out-of-pocket as opposed to purchasing an insurance plan.</p> <h2>Doctor Costs</h2> <p>As with rental prices, the cost of going to the doctor also varies to some extent, so these numbers should only serve as a rough guideline.</p> <p>From my experience, a routine teeth cleaning from a dentist costs $15&ndash;$20. A regular doctor's visit costs as little as $25 to $50, while a specialist normally costs $35&ndash;$50 and up per visit.</p> <h2>Food Costs: Restaurants and Grocery Shopping</h2> <p>Groceries in Mexico are about a third of the price of food in the U.S., depending on the season and availability. You can even sometimes find American chains like Wal-Mart, where you can buy cheap groceries.</p> <p>Restaurant prices vary, too, based on type. On the lower end, you can visit food stands to get snacks, which Mexicans call antojitos for as little as 50 cents to a dollar. These include tacos, quesadillas, and burritos. Freshly pressed juice and prepared fruit is also in this price range.</p> <p>One step up from the food stands are restaurants called fondas. These are small, family-owned establishments that serve two- or three-course meals, including soup or salad, a full entree, and a drink. Sometimes they also come with dessert. Expect to pay $3&ndash;$10 dollars.</p> <p>A truly gourmet, upscale dining experience should set you back $10&ndash;$30.</p> <h3>Alcohol Costs</h3> <p>Alcohol in Mexico is widely available, and enjoying tequila or mezcal is a common cultural practice. There are no taboos on drinking, and alcohol is accessible at the local corner store for very affordable prices.</p> <p>For a bottle of tequila or mezcal you can expect to pay $10 for a low-quality bottle and up to $40 for an artisanally produced bottle of very good quality alcohol.</p> <p>A six-pack of beer starts at $4&ndash;$6. There are not as many microbrew options available as in the U.S., but some bars do offer local, small-batch beer, usually priced around $4 a bottle.</p> <p>Mexico is an attractive place to retire, not only because it is an affordable option, but because of all that it has to offer, from interesting cultural experiences to the hospitable locals who often go out of their way to make you feel at home.</p> <h2>Transport Costs</h2> <p>If you're traveling by plane, prices start around $250 for round-trip tickets to or from the U.S., and $40&ndash;$100 for trips within country. Long-distance coaches are an even cheaper alternative to internal flights. An eight-hour basic bus trip costs about $25, varying a bit depending on your destination. You also have the option of paying more for a first-class bus that includes drinks, snacks, entertainment (TV and music), and seats that are designed to be comfortable to sleep in.</p> <p>Local transportation options include the bus (on average 50 cents) and, in Mexico City, the Metro (25 cents).</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico.jpg&amp;description=How%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico.jpg" alt="How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-i-learned-about-money-after-living-in-mexico">7 Lessons I Learned About Money After Living in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement">5 Things Your Financial Planner Isn&#039;t Telling You About Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel cost of living expats expenses food costs foreign countries health care mexico Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:30:38 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1871128 at http://www.wisebread.com Women Pay More for Health Care — Here's How to Pay Less http://www.wisebread.com/women-pay-more-for-health-care-heres-how-to-pay-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/women-pay-more-for-health-care-heres-how-to-pay-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_glases_hat_495205748.jpg" alt="Woman learning she plays more for health care than men" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's no secret that a variety of factors can affect your health care costs. For example, people who smoke usually pay more for health insurance, and an unhealthy lifestyle can increase the risk of chronic illnesses and lead to more trips to see the doctor. But among the many factors triggering higher health care costs, it's being a woman that's perhaps the most obnoxious.</p> <p>Before the Affordable Care Act, women buying health insurance on the individual market paid premiums as much as <a href="http://www.healthline.com/health-news/should-women-pay-more-healthcare-services" target="_blank">50% higher than men</a> due to gender rating, a practice where health insurance providers charged women more because they were considered a higher risk. Gender rating is now illegal, but this doesn't mean women are saving big bucks on health care costs.</p> <p>According to data provided by the health care company Vitals, women spend on average <a href="http://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/women-pay-more-healthcare" target="_blank">69% more out-of-pocket</a> than their male counterparts for health care. That's a huge difference &mdash; even from the now-abolished gender rating system. Considering how women statistically earn less than men in just about every occupation, many women feel the pinch. But the question remains, why do women pay more, and what can they do about it?</p> <h2>Women Use More health Care Services</h2> <p>Compared to men, women typically <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10718692" target="_blank">use more health care services</a>, which could explain higher health care costs. Go figure. They're more likely to ask questions about their health, get routine screenings, and schedule appointments when sick. Being proactive helps women maintain their health, but it comes at a cost.</p> <p>Additionally, some women experience higher health care costs because of certain procedures, including gynecologic surgeries. Women are also six times more likely to have knee replacement surgery &mdash; a cost that can soar up to $65,000 &mdash; and women are two times more likely to develop cataracts, which can cost up to $5,000 per eye to correct.</p> <p>And let's not forget the cost of labor and delivery for women. That's big business with the average national cost for a routine delivery at $8,775, and the average for a C-section at $11,525. (Worse, this number doesn't include prenatal care or post-delivery care.) And even if women have health insurance, high deductibles typically mean paying a large percentage of services out-of-pocket.</p> <h2>Women Live Longer Than Men</h2> <p>Women also pay more for health care because they live on average two years longer than men. That's an extra two years of paying health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs for health care services. Even if a woman is healthy during her younger years, she may develop at least one ailment later in life that requires regular doctor visits, especially as she moves closer to retirement age. Studies suggest that a 55-year-old healthy woman retiring today would spend about $79,000 more than a similar man on health care costs during her final years.</p> <h2>How Can Women Protect Themselves From Higher Costs?</h2> <p>When it comes to the cost of health care, it is what it is &mdash; but there are plenty of ways for women to prepare and possibly reduce their expense.</p> <h3>Don't Ignore Health Screenings</h3> <p>Preventive care reduces risk factors that trigger many chronic illnesses and can thus lower overall health care costs. Under the Affordable Care Act, you don't have to pay for many preventive care services delivered by a doctor or medical facility within your insurance company's network. These include immunizations, annual physical examinations, colonoscopies, mammograms, and other screenings.</p> <h3>Make Healthy Choices</h3> <p>A healthy lifestyle can also reduce your number of trips to the doctor. Eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, low-fat foods, and lean meats. Exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week. Apply sunscreen when outdoors to reduce your risk of skin cancer and stay physically fit during your retirement years.</p> <h3>Compare the Cost of Services</h3> <p>To lower your health care costs, compare the cost of services at different facilities. You'll find that some facilities within your insurer's network charge significantly different prices for the same services. For example, an in-network hospital may charge $1,500 for an overnight sleep study whereas an in-network sleep clinic may only charge $600 for the same study.</p> <h3>Don't Underestimate Health Care Costs</h3> <p>Prepare for health care costs now and in the future. This includes having adequate health care coverage to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses &mdash; as much coverage as you can afford based on your present health care needs. And while you're saving for retirement, don't forget to plan for future health care costs. Women who live longer than their spouses are left to manage health care costs on their own. Therefore, look into purchasing long-term care insurance. Don't wait until you are ready to retire to buy a policy; it's more expensive once you're at that stage of your life. If you lock in a price while you're young and relatively healthy, however, you'll pay lower premiums over the long-term.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/women-pay-more-for-health-care-heres-how-to-pay-less">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials">Health Insurance: How to Fight Back Against 4 Common Claim Denials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-must-know-about-health-care-open-enrollment">5 Things You Must Know About Health Care Open Enrollment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-health-insurance-benefits-youre-probably-not-using">6 Health Insurance Benefits You&#039;re Probably Not Using</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance doctors gender cap gender rating health care life span medical preventive care women Thu, 12 Jan 2017 10:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1871076 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Your Financial Planner Isn't Telling You About Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_financial_planner_485026010.jpg" alt="Couple learning what their financial planner isn&#039;t telling them about retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Personal finances can get complicated fast, which is why many people seek the assistance of a financial adviser. Especially when considering your retirement, it can give you extra confidence to know that a professional is helping ensure you make the best decisions for your future.</p> <p>It may therefore come as a surprise to know that historically, financial advisers haven't been required to put your best interests first. But in April 2016, the Labor Department finalized a new rule that requires financial advisers who deal with retirement accounts to respect what's known as the fiduciary standard, meaning they <em>have</em> to put the client's interests first.</p> <p>Before, financial advisers just had to follow the suitability standard, which meant they were only required by law to provide clients a &quot;suitable&quot; plan, which might satisfy your basic requirements but isn't necessarily the best plan for you.</p> <p>When they're doing their job well, a financial adviser can help you invest your money wisely and plan for retirement. But it's always important to do your own research and stay informed. When it comes to retirement, here are some things your financial planner may not have brought to the table.</p> <h2>1. Fees May Grow With Your Assets</h2> <p>Financial advisers often charge based on a percentage of the assets they are managing for you. Unfortunately, the fees compound over time, just as your returns do. By the time you're ready to retire, that could mean you're paying thousands of dollars a year in fees.</p> <p>As your nest egg grows, keep an eye on your fees and renegotiate your rates, so you don't end up paying too much for their services.</p> <h2>2. Retiring Abroad Can Halve Living Costs</h2> <p>If you're feeling tight on funds for retirement and you're not sure how to make your money go further, there's an important alternative that you should be considering. Retiring abroad can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=internal">cut your retirement costs in half</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/x-exciting-world-cities-you-can-afford-to-retire-in?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Exciting World Cities You Can Afford to Retire In</a>)</p> <p>However, many U.S.-based financial advisers are entirely focused on domestic retirement and that's what they'll help you plan for. Plus, it may be in their interest to keep you close so you don't decide to move your funds elsewhere.</p> <p>If retiring abroad is something you want to truly consider, seek an expert who brings that specialty expertise to the table. You should also do your own research, including finding online forums for expatriates to answer your questions about retiring abroad. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-places-to-retire-abroad-that-anyone-can-afford?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Incredible Places to Retire</a>)</p> <h2>3. Travel and Retirement Go Hand in Hand</h2> <p>If you've written off the idea of traveling as being too expensive, and these views are being reaffirmed by a conservative financial planner, it's time to re-evaluate. Retirement affords you great flexibility and the price of travel may be within closer reach than you realize.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-woman-retired-at-60-and-traveled-the-world?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">How One Woman Retired at 60 and Traveled the World</a></p> <p>Costs in many countries are often much lower than at home, and if you plan carefully &mdash; especially if you're able to start socking away money early in your career &mdash; your monthly budget may be able to absorb the extra expense of plane tickets, accommodations abroad, food, and entertainment. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">Rewards credit cards</a> can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips" target="_blank">earn free travel</a>, too.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></p> <h2>4. An HSA Could Lower Your Health Care Costs</h2> <p>If you have a high-deductible health insurance plan, you may be eligible for a Health Savings Account. As with an IRA, HSA contributions are tax-free and they grow tax-free. You can leave money in the account for years and if you withdraw the funds to pay for qualified health care costs, you will still not pay taxes on the money. If you have a balance at age 65 and want to use it for nonmedical expenses, you can, but the withdrawals will be taxable. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Saves You Money</a>.)</p> <p>Keep in mind that only people enrolled in qualifying high-deductible health care plans are eligible. But if you're one of them, an HSA could be an important part in reducing your health expenses during retirement.</p> <h2>5. You May Be Able to Ditch Your Life Insurance</h2> <p>Having a life insurance policy is useful if someone else will be financially hurt when you die. However, depending on your particular situation, you may no longer have dependents after you retire. Or you may have investments and pensions that pay 100% to the surviving spouse. In that case, your spouse won't suffer financially from your death and you probably don't need life insurance.</p> <p>There are a lot of variables to consider when planning for retirement, and a financial planner can clarify your options. But while a financial planner can be a helpful resource, they aren't the ultimate authority on what's best for you. Stay informed and choose what's best for you and your family.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">If You&#039;re Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-keys-to-an-early-retirement">4 Keys to an Early Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement expats fees fiduciary financial advisers financial planners health care life insurance living abroad retiring overseas travel Tue, 10 Jan 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Nick Wharton 1870053 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways You Can Save Money On Prescription Medications http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-you-can-save-money-on-prescription-medications <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-you-can-save-money-on-prescription-medications" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-491364946.jpg" alt="save money on prescription medications" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When Kyle Willis walked into the emergency room in 2011, he was diagnosed with a severe tooth infection. Doctors gave him prescriptions for both antibiotics and painkillers and sent him home. But on a tight budget and with no insurance, he could only afford to get one prescription. In excruciating pain, he opted for the painkillers.</p> <p>Days later, the infection spread to his brain, and Willis <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/health/insurance-24-year-dies-toothache/story?id=14438171" target="_blank">died from the infection</a>.</p> <p>Willis' case highlighted a major problem millions of people face each day. Medications can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. If you are uninsured or underinsured, you sometimes have to make the choice between filling a prescription or skipping rent or other necessary bills.</p> <p>But there are programs in place that can help. Below are free resources that can help you save money on your medicines. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-save-on-prescriptions?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Ways to Save on Prescriptions</a>)</p> <h2>Discount Prescription Programs</h2> <p>There are several nationwide discount prescription savings programs available to the public, regardless of your income.</p> <h3>1. FamilyWize</h3> <p><a href="https://familywize.org/" target="_blank">FamilyWize</a> is a free program where you can download or print off a discount card and use it at any major pharmacy. Use the card if you do not have insurance, or if your insurance will not cover a particular medicine. Just ask the pharmacist to run the card's information. On average, you can <a href="https://familywize.org/prescription-savings-card/how-it-works" target="_blank">save 43% on your prescriptions</a>.</p> <h3>2. WebMDRX</h3> <p>Like FamilyWize, the <a href="http://www.webmd.com/rx/card/" target="_blank">WebMDRX discount savings card</a> is free for anyone to use. It can be used at 60,000 pharmacies nationwide and can be shared with friends and family. Just show the card to the pharmacist when you drop off your prescription to get the discount.</p> <h2>Pharmaceutical Programs</h2> <p>Major pharmaceutical companies offer special programs for people who cannot afford their brand name medications. Millions of people qualify each year to receive free medicines directly from the manufacturer. Below are just a few programs available from major companies. Check out the manufacturer of your medications to see if they offer similar programs.</p> <h3>3. AZ&amp;Me</h3> <p>AstraZeneca, the maker of major drugs like Nexium, Crestor, Symbicort, and more, offers the <a href="https://www.astrazeneca-us.com/medicines/Affordability.html" target="_blank">AZ&amp;Me program</a> for people who cannot afford their medications. Last year, the program helped 286,000 people get access to medicine they otherwise couldn't afford.</p> <p>The program is designed to help people who do not have insurance, those in Medicare Part D, and those who have recently undergone a financial crisis, such as a job loss. To find out more about the program or to find out if you're eligible, call 1-800-AZandME (292-6363).</p> <h3>4. Merck Helps</h3> <p>Merck, the creator of drugs like Dulera, Gardasil, and Singulair, helps people get the medications they need through the <a href="http://www.merckhelps.com/" target="_blank">Merck Helps</a> program.</p> <p>To qualify for the program, you must be a United States resident and have a valid prescription. You must not have any insurance coverage and be unable to afford your medications. According to their site, you may qualify for assistance if you make less than $47,520 as an individual, under $64,080 for couples, or $97,200 or less for a family of four.</p> <h3>5. Pfizer</h3> <p>As one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the country, Pfizer is known as the creator of major drugs like Lipitor and Zoloft. But it also runs a <a href="http://www.pfizer.com/health/financial_assistance_programs/patient_assistance_programs" target="_blank">Patient and Prescription Assistance Program</a> that helps people receive medicine for free or at a significant discount. If you need help getting a specific Pfizer medication, their website <a href="http://www.pfizerrxpathways.com/" target="_blank">Pfizer RxPathways</a> can help you find different options and navigate the process.</p> <h2>6. Drug Coupons</h2> <p>When your doctor prescribed you a new medicine, she may have handed you a manufacturer coupon along with the prescription. But what you may not have known is that those coupons are not just for doctors to hand out; customers can access them, too.</p> <p>If you are on any brand name drug, rather than a generic medication, check out the drug's website. Many times the manufacturer will offer a special discount card or savings program that will drop the cost.</p> <p>For example, Fetzima is a relatively new drug for depression. And even with insurance, it can be pricey. But if you go on the Fetzima website, you can get a savings card where eligible patients can buy the drug for as little as <a href="https://www.fetzima.com/depression-resources/savings-card?icid=fetzima_savings_header">$10 a month</a>. Just print the card and bring it to the pharmacy when you pick up the prescription to get the discount.</p> <h2>7. Comparison Shop</h2> <p>Not all pharmacies are created equal. One pharmacy may charge much more for the same drug than another pharmacy, even if they're within just a few blocks of each other. <a href="https://www.goodrx.com/" target="_blank">GoodRX</a> is a resource you can use to comparison shop for the best deal before you leave your home. It will tell you what each drug will cost at different pharmacies and if there are any coupons available.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-you-can-save-money-on-prescription-medications">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-about-prescription-drug-coupons">Don&#039;t Use Your Prescription Drug Coupons Until You Read This</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-shopping-apps-thatll-actually-save-you-money-in-2016">The 8 Shopping Apps That&#039;ll Actually Save You Money in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-the-best-deals-on-groupon">7 Ways to Get the Best Deals on Groupon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials">Health Insurance: How to Fight Back Against 4 Common Claim Denials</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Shopping coupons discount programs drug stores health care health insurance medications pharmacies prescriptions price comparisons Wed, 21 Dec 2016 10:01:03 +0000 Kat Tretina 1858983 at http://www.wisebread.com Health Insurance: How to Fight Back Against 4 Common Claim Denials http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/xbxvbc.jpg" alt="repeal these common health insurance claim denials" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Denials of medical claims are all too frequent. Roughly 14% of all claims are <a href="https://billadvocates.com/8-common-claim-denials-appeal/" target="_blank">denied every year</a>, according to Department of Labor records. Not only that, but almost 10% of claims processed by insurance companies contain errors. Your claim could have been denied because it was coded as a different procedure than what you received from the doctor!</p> <p>There is a silver lining in the clouds of denial or error, however. You can always appeal a health care claim denial. Patients who appeal win about 50% of the time. Not only that, but the more familiar with health care claims you become, the more you will learn about what's covered &mdash; and what is not.</p> <p>The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) increased rights to appeal, whether you are covered under ACA or not. Think of it this way: You or your employer, or both, are already paying a hefty price for health care. Appealing your denial and knowing how to determine errors is part of getting what you and your company have already paid for.</p> <h2>Before You Appeal: Know the Codes and How to Appeal</h2> <p>Any appeal to a health insurance company has to contain some basic knowledge of the information they provide you, as well as your rights.</p> <p>After a visit to a physician's office or a procedure, you will receive a form called an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from the insurance company. An EOB arrives for all claims, approved or denied. It details what was charged, what the insurance company paid, and sometimes a remainder of what the patient is responsible for.</p> <p>If a claim was denied, it will receive a code. Most insurance companies provide a key to the code. (Check the back of the form.) If it does not, call and ask the insurance company what the code means.</p> <h2>The Four Most Commonly Denied Claims</h2> <p>At times, knowing the code will immediately help you appeal a denial. Sometimes the denial is the result of sheer error. Here are the four most commonly denied claims.</p> <h3>1. Your Plan Does Not Cover the Procedure</h3> <p>If the code indicates that the denial occurred because the plan did not cover the procedure, check your plan to see if it is, in fact, covered. If you received a vaccination, for example, double check what kinds of services your plan covers. Many plans cover preventive care (care received to prevent disease before it begins, rather than to treat a condition that exists). Vaccinations and flu shots are both examples of preventive care. This type of denial is surprisingly common.</p> <p>A similar situation can occur with vision claims. You may receive a denial stating that vision care is not covered. However, many policies cover eye care if it is needed medically. People with diabetes, for example, are covered for annual exams because the condition can affect vision, while regular eye exams are not. Plans can cover surgery for cataracts, but not eyeglasses.</p> <p>Errors of this kind can be appealed fairly easily. If you were denied because of lack of coverage and the procedure was in fact covered, call the health insurance company. Be sure to make note of the name of the person you spoke to, their title, and the date.</p> <h3>2. Errors in Coding</h3> <p>Knowing the code can also help you discover a coding error. You may find that the code for the service doesn't actually match what you visited the doctor for. The procedure or diagnosis code could have been entered incorrectly. You should also check every piece of information, including your name, date of service, place of service, and provider number. If any of these are erroneous, it can result in a denial.</p> <p>If you find a coding error, call the billing office of the doctor or hospital involved and ask them to resubmit the bill with the correct code. Again, it's vital to get the name of the person, their title, and the date.</p> <h3>3. Payment for a Procedure Was Included in the Allowance for a Related Procedure Performed the Same Day<strong> </strong></h3> <p>Patients are not responsible for a charge like this. Call your provider's office and ask for an adjustment to the bill.</p> <h3>4. You've Reached the Maximum Amount of Times a Service Is Covered</h3> <p>Again, the best action is to double check your policy. Is it true that it is only covered a maximum amount of times? If there is a dollar limit, check it against what you received. Contact your insurance company in the case of any errors.</p> <p>For a denial of this type, check what the provider's discount is as well. Many doctor's offices and suppliers contact an insurance company to set a price for goods and services that is less than the market rate. You could be charged the market rate unless you specifically follow up about the discount. Even if you are denied legitimately for the maximum number of times a service is covered, you are still eligible for the discount the provider offers.</p> <p>Given the frequency of denials and related errors, it's wise to be on your guard every time a denial is issued. Don't assume the denial is correct! Appeal and follow up on your appeals as needed.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/women-pay-more-for-health-care-heres-how-to-pay-less">Women Pay More for Health Care — Here&#039;s How to Pay Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you">Still Without Health Insurance? Here’s How Much the Penalties Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-vital-things-to-remember-when-buying-health-insurance">5 Vital Things to Remember When Buying Health Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance affordable care act appeals denials doctors explanation of benefits health care health insurance insurance claims medical Tue, 20 Dec 2016 11:00:15 +0000 Anum Yoon 1858109 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_retired_happy_62784562.jpg" alt="Retired couple shortchanging their retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether retirement is decades away or if it is knocking on your door, there are some key mistakes that couples sometimes make when planning for their retirement. It's not too late to fix them, and addressing these problems now can potentially stave off issues in the future.</p> <p>Are you and your spouse making these retirement mistakes?</p> <h2>Relying on One's Spouse's Retirement</h2> <p>One common mistake that couples make is that they only rely on <em>one </em>spouse's income and retirement savings. While you might be able to live comfortably off one spouse's income now, when you are healthy, you have to calculate just how much you and your spouse will both need in retirement. Hopefully you will both be healthy well into your last years, but plan for the &quot;what ifs.&quot; Have both partners contribute to separate retirement accounts, if you both are working. If one spouse is self-employed or a freelancer, there are still retirement options for them.</p> <p>Even if one spouse does not work, they can still contribute to an IRA account. Carol Berger, CFP&reg;, of Berger Wealth Management, says that spousal IRA accounts are available for married couples who file taxes jointly. Berger says, &quot;This allows a contribution to be made for the nonworking spouse and helps his or her retirement nest egg grow. For example, in 2016, a nonworking spouse can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA in their name ($6,500 if age 50 or older).&quot;</p> <h2>Putting Your Kids First</h2> <p>There is no doubt that you love your children and that it is easy to put their needs above retirement needs. However, don't delay on saving for retirement for your kids' sake. Saving for retirement should always trump saving for college education. Furthermore, retirement savings should not be dipped into to pay for college.</p> <p>The simple reason is that your children will have access to scholarships, loans, and work to help support them through college. Even if they graduate with a heavy load of debt, they have a long time to pay it off. There are no scholarships for retirement, and I am guessing the last thing you want to do is return to work.</p> <p>&quot;Time does not favor waiting because you lose the benefits of compounding,&quot; says Good Life Wealth Management president, Scott Stratton, CFP&reg;, CFA. &quot;If you put $5,000 into an IRA and earn 8% for 25 years, you'd have $34,242. Invest the same $5,000 10 years before retirement, and you'd only have $10,794. Or to put it another way, if you waited until 10 years before retirement, you'd have to invest $15,860 &mdash; instead of $5,000 &mdash; to reach $34,242.&quot;</p> <h2>Avoiding the Issue</h2> <p>Money is not always the easiest thing to talk about, however, if you avoid the issue, then you will only cause the problem to grow. Sit down with your spouse and talk about your present financial situation. Talk about where you want to be financially in the next year, in five years, and in retirement.</p> <p>If you both agree that you want to spend your retirement traveling and not tied to credit card debt or a mortgage payment, then you need to put in place the right money habits now.</p> <p>You should develop realistic action steps that will help you reach your financial goals a year from now, five years from now, and most importantly, in retirement. That means you might have to tighten your budget and pay more toward debt. Having clear financial goals will also help you stand firm as a couple when it is tempting to refinance the house to redo the backyard. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>Not Planning for Medical Costs</h2> <p>As discussed briefly above, many couples forget to financially plan for medical costs. It is easy to think, &quot;We won't need that much money in retirement because we won't buy anything or have to care for kids.&quot; However, medical expenses can add up quickly, especially in the last years of life. The cost of caretakers, regular doctor's visits, special medications, and even residency at a hospice can drain retirement savings in a matter of a few years.</p> <p>The worst thing is that many adult children are stuck with the financial burden of their parents' medical costs. Nearly one in 10 people over 40 are considered in the &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead">sandwich generation</a>.&quot; This means they are caring for their own children while also caring for aging parents. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reports that Medicare doesn't cover the most common types of long-term care and that a nursing home can cost as much as <a href="http://www.apnorc.org/news-media/Pages/News+Media/Poll-Sandwich-generation-worried-about-own-long-term-care-.aspx">$90,000 per year</a>. If retirement funds don't cover the necessary care for aging parents, their children will either have to foot the bill or try to take care of their parents themselves.</p> <p>Jody Dietel, Chief Compliance Officer at WageWorks says that there is a retirement tool that is often overlooked. A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money">health savings account</a> (HSA) can help cover medical costs. Dietel says, &quot;It's important to understand that there's a place for both a 401K and an HSA. Establishing an HSA gives you the ability to amass savings to be used exclusively for health care expenses and preventing the need to dip into 401K funds for medical-related costs in retirement.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-despair-over-small-retirement-savings">Don&#039;t Despair Over Small Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change When You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can">4 Reasons People Don&#039;t Retire Early — and How You Can</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k couples expenses health care health savings accounts HSA income IRA marriages medical costs Mon, 14 Nov 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1830892 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_sunglasses_happy_91229393.jpg" alt="Woman finding surprising things her HSA covers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money">Health Savings Accounts</a> (HSAs) are medical bank accounts that are paired with low premium, high deductible health insurance policies. The high deductible/low premium insurance policy is counterbalanced by the ability for the individual to save income that is not subject to federal or state taxes. The money in the HSA can then be spent on IRS approved medical expenses.</p> <p>If you have an HSA and you have only used it to pay doctor's bills, you might be missing out on some real tax savings. Why spend taxed money on IRS approved medical expenses, when you can utilize pretax dollars? Check out 11 items you can purchase with your HSA.</p> <h2>1. Allergy Medication</h2> <p>If you have allergies (either food or environmental) that you need medication for, you can purchase prescription medication with your HSA. Over the counter medication cannot be purchased with your HSA, unless prescribed by a doctor.</p> <h2>2. Arch Supports</h2> <p>Purchasing arch supports are sometimes necessary for a pain-free life, and they can cost anywhere from $5 to $150. Custom or mass produced arch supports can be an HSA-approved medical expense if you receive a prescription from your doctor.</p> <h2>3. Bandages and Band-Aids</h2> <p>Over the counter bandages and Band-Aids can be purchased with your HSA.</p> <h2>4. Birth Control</h2> <p>Both over-the-counter and prescription birth control are HSA-approved medical expenses. Here are just a few of the items you can purchase with your health savings account: IUD, Norplant, condoms, spermicide, and pregnancy test kits.</p> <h2>5. Braille Books or Magazines</h2> <p>If you are vision-impaired, you can utilize your HSA to reimburse yourself part of the money from purchasing Braille books or magazines. In order to calculate how much you can reimburse yourself, you should utilize this formula: cost of Braille book less cost of the traditional book equals HSA approved reimbursement.</p> <h2>6. Contact Lens Solution</h2> <p>If you wear contact lenses, you can purchase the solution necessary to clean the lenses with your health savings account.</p> <h2>7. Guide Animals</h2> <p>The costs of purchasing, training, and caring for guide animals are an IRS-approved HSA expense. You will need to register your service animal in your state in order to utilize this HSA-approved expense. (If you try to say that a non-qualified animal you own is a service animal, the likelihood of being fined will be high.)</p> <h2>8. Lead Paint Removal</h2> <p>If you live in a home with lead paint, and your child has or has had lead paint poisoning, you can pay for the paint to be removed with your HSA.</p> <h2>9. Mouth Guards</h2> <p>Mouth guards that have been prescribed by a dentist due to teeth grinding can be paid for with your health savings account.</p> <h2>10. Prescription Sunglasses</h2> <p>Prescription sunglasses can be an expensive necessity for the vision-challenged. If you either cannot or will not switch to contact lenses, you're stuck with purchasing prescription sunglasses or going without. You can, if you want, pay for the prescription sunglasses with your HSA. If you want to save money on the second pair, you might consider asking for the prescription and shopping around at various chain eyeglass stores.</p> <h2>11. Prescription Goggles</h2> <p>If you spend a lot of time swimming or diving, you need to ditch your glasses for long periods of time. This can make your adventure (or job) harder and less enjoyable. Like sunglasses, goggles can be purchased with your HSA. (You might need to check online to determine if anyone in your areas sells prescription goggles).</p> <p>A Health Savings Account can be a great way for the relatively healthy individuals to save money on medical expenses. Just remember that as you make purchases with your HSA to file copies of your prescriptions and receipts with your tax returns. You'll need them if the IRS decides to audit you. If you can't prove the expenses were HSA approved expenses, you might end up paying a fine (even if you followed the rules).</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you">Going Without Health Insurance in 2015? Here&#039;s What It&#039;ll Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials">Health Insurance: How to Fight Back Against 4 Common Claim Denials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-you-can-save-money-on-prescription-medications">7 Ways You Can Save Money On Prescription Medications</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-types-of-health-insurance-plans">The Types of Health Insurance Plans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance health care health insurance health savings account HSA IRS medicine prescriptions Thu, 10 Nov 2016 09:30:13 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1828889 at http://www.wisebread.com New Job? Don't Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Benefits http://www.wisebread.com/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shaking_hands_77096849.jpg" alt="Woman making mistakes with new job benefits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In September 2016, total nonfarm payroll employment in the U.S. <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm">rose by 156,000</a>. If you were among those Americans who recently landed a new gig &mdash; or plan on landing one within the near future &mdash; congratulations! But as you get your benefits and retirement planning set up at your new workplace, don't make these seven mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Not Setting Up Your New Retirement Account Before December 31st</h2> <p>Make to sure to set up your new employer-sponsored retirement account before December 31st. Otherwise, you won't be able to reduce your 2016 taxable income by making contributions before Tax Day (April 17th, 2017) or the day you file your federal tax return, whichever is earlier. If you wait until the new year to set up your retirement account, any contributions made before Tax Day will reduce your 2017 taxable income &mdash; and you'll lose the opportunity to reduce your 2016 AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) by any contributed amount.</p> <h2>2. Not Completing a 401K or IRA Indirect Rollover</h2> <p>If you had a balance of less than $5,000 in your previous job's 401K or IRA plan, there is a good chance that you received an automatic cashout with a 20% withholding from your employer for applicable taxes. From the last day of your employment, you have 60 days to put the entire balance of the previous retirement account (including the mentioned 20% withholding!) into a new employer-sponsored retirement account that accepts rollovers. This process is known as an indirect rollover.</p> <p>You'll get that 20% withholding money back from the IRS in next year's tax return. In the event that your new employer's retirement account doesn't accept a rollover from your previous account, consider opening an IRA with a local financial institution before the 60-day deadline. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras?ref=seealso">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</a>)</p> <h2>3. Leaving W-4 Forms Alone</h2> <p>Depending on a variety of factors, your old W-4 tax withholdings may not cut it at your new gig. To figure out whether you're withholding too much (or too little), grab all of your latest pay stubs, find a copy of last year's tax return, and visit the online <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator">IRS Withholding Calculator</a>.</p> <p>After punching in your data, this tool will provide recommendations on how to adjust your W-4 with your new employer to make sure that you meet your tax liability and minimize your refund. There's no sense in over-withholding and expecting a large refund, since the IRS doesn't pay interest while it sits on excess withholdings. That's money better kept in a savings or retirement account, where it can gain interest and compound over time.</p> <h2>4. Missing the Deadline to Make an Additional Estimated Tax Payment</h2> <p>If the IRS Withholding Calculator were to tell you that you're seriously behind your tax liability, you'll probably need to make amends <em>pronto, </em>lest you end up owing Uncle Sam at tax time. It's to your benefit to make an additional estimated tax payment to reduce or eliminate such a liability. For example, in the event that you know that there is an end-of-year bonus or commission check arriving before January 17, 2017, you have the option to use part of that check to make an estimated tax payment with <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040es.pdf">Form 1040-ES</a>.</p> <p>Make sure to use the IRS Withholding Calculator to estimate the right amount to mail to the IRS with Form 1040-ES and keep a photocopy of both the form and check for your own records.</p> <h2>5. Not Enrolling in a New FSA Plan Within 30 Days</h2> <p>You have up to 30 days from your hire date to enroll in an employer's flexible spending account (FSA). If you miss that deadline, you'll have to wait until your company renews its FSA plan, your plan administrator announces an open enrollment period, or you have a qualifying life event, such as changing marital status or having a baby.</p> <h2>6. Forgetting About Balances in Previous FSA Accounts</h2> <p>You may be so busy training at your new job and completing paperwork that you forget about remaining benefits at your previous employer. Check the rules from your previous FSA account regarding the expiration date of available money once you separate from your old employer. Most FSA plans provide a grace period to use the money, but some of those deadlines may be as early as the end of the month in which you separate from your employer. Unless you use your FSA funds in full by the applicable deadline, you'll lose them all.</p> <h2>7. Going More Than Two Months Without Health Coverage</h2> <p>As you're transitioning from one job to the other, keep an eye on the start and end dates of previous and current health plans. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, you owe a fee for any period greater than two months in which you, your spouse, or your tax dependents don't have qualifying health coverage. In most cases, the penalty fee is 1/12 per month of <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/">2.5% of your household income</a> or $695 per adult, whichever is higher.</p> <p>Being uncovered for only one to two months, qualifies you for a <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/results/2015/details/short-gap">short gap exemption</a> and you're not liable for the fee. Find out whether or not you're able to claim a health coverage exemption with <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/">HealthCare.gov's Exemption Screener</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you">Still Without Health Insurance? Here’s How Much the Penalties Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-health-insurance-benefits-youre-probably-not-using">6 Health Insurance Benefits You&#039;re Probably Not Using</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/left-a-job-do-a-rollover">Left a job? Do a rollover.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-vital-things-to-remember-when-buying-health-insurance">5 Vital Things to Remember When Buying Health Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you">Going Without Health Insurance in 2015? Here&#039;s What It&#039;ll Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Insurance Retirement 401 k affordable care act benefits employers flexible spending health care IRA medical insurance new job obamacare rollovers taxes Mon, 31 Oct 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1822947 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/medical_records_theft_4391261.jpg" alt="Finding ways to protect yourself from medical records theft" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hacker attacks on medical records are exploding, with more than 113 million health files stolen in 2015. Criminals are using health records to commit medical identity theft, a crime that causes even more suffering than financial identity theft.</p> <p>Think having credit cards or a mortgage opened in your name is a nightmare? Maybe, but it's nothing compared to what victims of medical identity theft have suffered. Victims of this crime often suffer from financial fraud, just like those who have their credit cards compromised, says Ann Patterson, program director of the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance.</p> <p>Resolving medical identity fraud is much more difficult than cleaning up a case of financial ID theft. The majority of medical ID theft victims reported spending an average of <a href="http://medidfraud.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2014_Medical_ID_Theft_Study1.pdf">$13,500 on lawyer fees</a> or medical bills in their names, compared to an average of just $55 to clean up financial ID theft, according to a 2015 Ponemon Institute survey. And with no centralized source to consult like a credit report, and no real-time alerts like banks and credit monitoring services, it may take a long time to even realize you're a victim of medical identity theft, Patterson warns.</p> <p>Whether you have just received a discomfiting letter from your health care provider that a data breach has occurred, or you simply want to head off this kind of life disruption before it happens, here are seven steps you can take to protect yourself from medical ID theft.</p> <h2>1. Read Your Mail</h2> <p>Those explanation of benefits statements from doctors' offices and hospitals may not be light reading, but you should look at them, at the least to verify that you saw the provider named on the date listed. Also, if you get mail from an unfamiliar doctor's office, don't toss it out without reading it &mdash; what you might think is junk mail could actually be a bill taken out in your name by an identity thief.</p> <h2>2. Review Your Medical Records</h2> <p>One positive thing about medical records going online is that it makes it easier for patients to periodically check that all the procedures listed there were actually performed on you, and that the details listed match your identity. If your records aren't online, you can ask to check your file when you're at the doctor's office.</p> <p>Reviewing medical records could be a matter of life and death, because &quot;information, such as an allergy to penicillin, is often <a href="http://icitech.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/ICIT-Brief-Deep-Web-Exploitation-of-Health-Sector-Breach-Victims2.pdf">deleted from a patient's medical record</a> when it is stolen by a hacker or used by a buyer,&quot; warns the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology in a report that was presented to the US Senate in September.</p> <h2>3. Ask About Safeguards</h2> <p>Whether it's your doctor's office or your kids' school collecting data about your family, ask what happens to the paperwork you fill out. Is it shredded after being entered into a database, or tossed into the recycling? What kind of security protects those databases?</p> <h2>4. Don't Always Do as You're Told</h2> <p>Medical forms frequently ask for the patient's social security number. Patterson leaves that line blank, and if challenged, she explains that the omission is for privacy reasons. &quot;I have yet to be refused medical care because I refused to provide my Social Security number,&quot; she says.</p> <h2>5. Treat Health Information Like Financial Information</h2> <p>Just as you should shred your tax documents and bank statements before tossing them, you should shred your doctor's office visit receipts, prescription labels, and even destroy prescription bottles with information stickers on them, Patterson says.</p> <p>And if you wouldn't post your bank account balance on social media, don't be so quick to divulge upcoming medical treatments either. While it might be hard to imagine the harm in asking for thoughts and prayers for an upcoming surgery, Patterson urges patients to look at their profile from a criminal's point of view.</p> <p>&quot;You're putting out free information to give a detailed profile of you,&quot; she says, such as what region you live in, what doctors you frequent, and what ailments you have. If a criminal knows you have cancer, for instance, they may be able to &quot;buy painkillers in your name and not raise a red flag immediately, because it fits your profile,&quot; she says.</p> <p>If you think it's okay to share such information because your posts are only seen by friends and family, consider that, according to the Ponemon Institute, about half of medical ID fraud is committed by people who know the legitimate account holder.</p> <h2>6. Use Monitoring Services When Offered</h2> <p>It's now common for health insurers and other providers who have been hacked to offer members free fraud monitoring services. Take advantage of the offer! Patterson says that less than half of consumers offered free subscriptions actually sign up. Although they monitor for financial fraud &mdash; they won't tell you that someone checked in as you at a hospital &mdash; the services can provide valuable red flags. For instance, if a fraudulent medical bill goes into collections, it will show up on your credit report, and therefore trigger a fraud monitoring alert.</p> <h2>7. Be Careful What You Tell Your App</h2> <p>There are lots of fitness and health monitoring apps and websites nowadays, and while it's fine to sign up for one, look into the company that made the product, and think carefully about how much personal health data you share with them.</p> <p>&quot;Most of these companies are not regulated in the same way as your health care provider or health plan to protect your personal health information,&quot; MIFA warns.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-social-media-saved-someones-life">5 Ways Social Media Saved Someone&#039;s Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials">Health Insurance: How to Fight Back Against 4 Common Claim Denials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/women-pay-more-for-health-care-heres-how-to-pay-less">Women Pay More for Health Care — Here&#039;s How to Pay Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs Health and Beauty credit monitoring doctors fraud health care medical identity theft medical records privacy safeguards social media thieves Fri, 28 Oct 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1821821 at http://www.wisebread.com EpiPens and Other Ways Companies Have Profited From Your Pain http://www.wisebread.com/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/medication_pills_money_88647685.jpg" alt="Learning how epipens and other companies profit from pain" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The EpiPen literally saves lives. So naturally, the makers of the lifesaving product decided to cash in on that, <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mylans-epipen-price-increases-are-valeant-like-in-size-shkreli-like-in-approach-2016-07-20">raising the cost</a> from $100 for a package of two, to over $600! (And that's with a coupon, by the way).</p> <p>The reason behind the dramatic increase is awful. According to Tech Times, five top Mylan NV executives had to hit some <a href="http://www.techtimes.com/articles/175921/20160901/whats-the-reason-behind-the-outrageous-epipen-price-increase-executive-pay-of-course.htm">pretty incredible sales figures</a> to achieve their combined $82 million in bonuses. Knowing the EpiPen is essential to many people, they simply jacked the price up and hit their goals. But, as you'll soon discover, this isn't the first time companies like Mylan NV have stuck it to people in need of medications.</p> <h2>Daraprim, One Pill &mdash; $13.50 to $750</h2> <p>If the drug doesn't sound familiar, the awful person behind its price hike will. His name is Martin Shkreli, often described in news stories and social media outlets as a man with a face you'd love to slap. His company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, acquired Daraprim in 2015 for $55 million. The drug is used to fight AIDS, malaria, and is also an antiparasitic. On September 17th, 2015, it was reported that the price of the drug had spiked from <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/business/a-huge-overnight-increase-in-a-drugs-price-raises-protests.html?_r=0">$13.50 per pill to $750 per pill</a>, an increase of 5,456%!</p> <p>Shkreli defended the massive increase, saying &quot;If there was a company that was selling an Aston Martin at the price of a bicycle, and we buy that company and we ask to charge Toyota prices, I don't think that that should be a crime.&quot; It was poetic justice to see <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/06/accused-fraudster-martin-shkreli-pleads-not-guilty-to-indictment-filed-last-week.html">Shkreli in court this year</a>.</p> <h2>Cycloserine, 30 Capsules &mdash; $500 to $10,800</h2> <p>Used to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis, Cycloserine was already costly at $500 for 30 capsules. So when Rodelis acquired the drug and <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/tuberculosis-drug-cycloserines-massive-price-hike-rodelis-therapeutics-rolled-back-2107884">raised the price</a> in September 2015, overnight, to $10,800 for the same number of pills, there was outrage. In fact, so much was said about it that biotechnology stocks suffered losses, with investors worried about the backlash. Rodelis caved to pressure and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/22/business/big-price-increase-for-tb-drug-is-rescinded.html?hpw&amp;rref=health&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=well-region&amp;region=bottom-well&amp;WT.nav=bottom-well&amp;_r=1">gave the drug back</a> to its previous owners, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Purdue University. However, the drug did not go back to its regular price. The cost was doubled from $500 to $1,050 for 30 capsules.</p> <h2>Isuprel, One Vial &mdash; $180 to $1,472</h2> <p>A drug used to treat abnormal heart rhythms is, as you can imagine, vital to many people in the U.S. and around the world. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International didn't see that as a good enough reason to keep the drug at its already steep price, and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/12/business/valeant-promised-price-breaks-on-drugs-heart-hospitals-are-still-waiting.html">jacked the cost up by 718%</a> in February last year. Valeant were called before Congress to explain their actions, and agreed to set up discounts of as much as 40% on the drug. As of May 11th, many heart hospitals were still <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/12/business/valeant-promised-price-breaks-on-drugs-heart-hospitals-are-still-waiting.html">waiting for those discounts</a> to appear.</p> <h2>Nitropress, One Vial &mdash; $215 to $881</h2> <p>The same company responsible for the Isuprel price hike were also behind the massive cost increase of Nitropress last year, a drug used to keep blood pressure low during heart surgeries. However, it wasn't quite as steep as the Isuprel rise, costing hospitals, and therefore patients, 312% more. The then CEO of Valeant, J. Michael Pearson (who has a net worth of $175 million) issued a statement saying the price increases were mistakes, saying &quot;The company was too aggressive &mdash; and I, as its leader, was too aggressive &mdash; in pursuing price increases on certain drugs.&quot; That probably comes as little comfort to the people who receive their hospital bills.</p> <h2>Vimovo, One Tablet &mdash; $1.88 to $23.86</h2> <p>There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. If you are diagnosed with it, you will be suffering from joint pain that can be crippling and debilitating. So, a drug that helps ease this pain should not be just as painful to buy.</p> <p>Horizon Pharma acquired the rights to the drug Vimovo, which helps to fight arthritis, in 2013. It then <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/20/investing/drug-price-hikes-martin-shkreli-valeant/">hiked the price by 597%</a>, taking one tablet from $1.88 to $23.86. Considering a vast number of people suffering from this condition are in retirement and on a fixed income, this is a disgrace. But the company hiked the price again recently, with a pack of 60 tablets <a href="http://www.goodrx.com/vimovo">now costing over $2,000</a> (with a coupon). Ironically, the drug is simply a mixture of two very cheap drugs, esomeprazole and naproxen. Many doctors are encouraged (that means kickbacks) by big pharma companies to write &quot;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/business/drug-makers-sidestep-barriers-on-pricing.html">prescriptions made easy</a>&quot; for these combination drugs. Always ask your doctor if there is a cheaper alternative that works just as well.</p> <h2>Dutoprol, One Pill &mdash; $0.52 to $5.26</h2> <p>This drug is used to treat high blood pressure, and up until 2013, the price was fairly reasonable &mdash; around $15 for a bottle of 30 pills. Clearly, the company the manufactures Dutoprol, Covis Pharma, was not happy with a reasonable price. So, they <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/stunning-increases-drug-prices-that-have-shot-400-1200-percent/">hiked the price by 1,013%</a> to $5.26 per pill, or $157.80 for a bottle of 30 pills.</p> <h2>Sprix Nasal Spray, One Bottle &mdash; $32.07 to $183.97</h2> <p>If you have severe nasal pain, you will require a good pain reliever. Sprix is the only nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) on the market, and is preferred by people who do not want to use opioids or controlled substances. That preference will now cost a lot more. In February of 2015, Egalet Corp <a href="http://hedgeclippers.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/NDC-Description.png">raised the price of one bottle</a> from $32.07 to $183.97, an increase of 574%. And as the spray is often sold in packs of five, you will be paying over $900 for that much-needed pain relief.</p> <h2>Tasmar, One Tablet &mdash; $15.70 to $105.98</h2> <p>Perhaps the most famous person you'll know of that may need Tasmar is Michael J. Fox. It's a drug used to treat the effects of Parkinson's disease. And once again, Valeant Pharmaceuticals is behind the massive price hike. In April last year, the company decided to raise the price of one tablet from $15.70 to $105.98, an increase of 675%. While a movie star may not have issues paying that bill, most people will get serious sticker shock when they have to pay over $6,300 for their bottle of 60 tablets.</p> <h2>Edecrin, One Vial &mdash; $470 to $4,600</h2> <p>Used in the treatment of edema and heart failure, Edecrin is a diuretic that helps your body get rid of excess salt and water. When Valeant acquired the rights to this drug, it started raising prices. Not once. Not twice. Not three times. The price has been increased <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/05/business/valeants-drug-price-strategy-enriches-it-but-infuriates-patients-and-lawmakers.html">an astonishing nine times </a>since 2014, and is now $4,600 per vial.</p> <h2>Targretin Gel, One Tube &mdash; $1,687 to $30,320</h2> <p>Those are not typos. You did read that correctly. There is clearly something going wrong somewhere when a company can charge more than the price of a Dodge Charger for a tube of topical gel. And, of course, it's used to address the symptoms of a form of cancer, which is one of the most expensive diseases to treat. Once again, those wonderful people at Valeant are behind the rise, and at over $1,600 a tube to begin with, it was hardly in desperate need of a price hike. But, they did it, making the small tube of gel <a href="http://www.fiercepharma.com/financials/jama-valeant-s-18-fold-price-hikes-top-widespread-increases-dermatology-prices">18 times more expensive</a> after they bought the rights to the drug in 2013.</p> <p>Valeant has defended the rise, saying full retail prices &quot;rarely represent the prices that patients and insurers are paying or what the pharmaceutical company receives.&quot; If you don't have good insurance, or any insurance, you likely won't have the money needed for this drug. Incidentally, at the same time, <a href="https://healthfinder.gov/News/Article.aspx?id=705625">Valeant raised the price of Carac cream</a>, another topical treatment dealing with skin cancer, from $159 to $2,705. The message this company is sending is clear&hellip;you get sick, we get rich.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/healthcare-20-websites-to-help-you-save-on-doctors-dentists-and-more">Healthcare 2.0: Websites to Help You Save on Doctors, Dentists, and More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft">7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-gadget-that-can-save-you-thousands-of-dollars">The $5 Gadget That Can Save You Thousands of Dollars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/don-t-waste-your-money-on-homeopathic-remedies">Don’t Waste Your Money on Homeopathic “Remedies”</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-social-media-saved-someones-life">5 Ways Social Media Saved Someone&#039;s Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Financial News Health and Beauty big pharma companies drugs health care illness medication pharmaceuticals price hikes Thu, 22 Sep 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Paul Michael 1796989 at http://www.wisebread.com Live a Longer and Happier Life With These 8 Frugal Buys http://www.wisebread.com/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_74523869_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="these items help you live longer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life has its ups and downs. Despite the problems we face, most of us would give anything to maximize longevity. Fortunately, there's plenty you can do to have a long, fulfilling life. Some things are fairly obvious, such as quitting a bad habit like smoking, and avoiding life-threatening behaviors. What you might not realize, however, is that certain purchases also have a hand in extending your lifespan. Here are eight things you can buy to help you live longer.</p> <h2>1. Books</h2> <p>After finishing high school or college, maybe you vowed never to pick up another book again. Reading was no doubt a grueling chore while you were cramming for an exam, but there are benefits to making reading a regular routine. According to a new study, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/08/book-up-for-a-longer-life-readers-die-later-study-finds">reading can boost cognitive function</a>, and people who read for at least 30 minutes a day can extend their lives and live two years longer than those who don't read.</p> <h2>2. A Cat</h2> <p>If you're thinking about getting a pet, don't automatically assume a dog is the better choice. Some cats aren't as social or playful as dogs. Nonetheless, owning a cat can be good for your heart and have a positive effect on your life. The National Health and Nutrition Examination study followed 4,500 men and women over a 20-year period. More than half of the <a href="http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20080221/owning-a-cat-good-for-the-heart">participants owned a cat</a> during their lives. The study found that people who never had a cat were 30% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who had owned a cat.</p> <h2>3. Floss</h2> <p>Brushing your teeth at least two times a day contributes to oral health. But if you're looking to add years to your life, don't forget to <a href="http://amzn.to/2cf5qo2">floss</a>. The American Dental Association recommends daily flossing, and for good reason. Flossing &mdash; which helps remove particles of food from places a toothbrush can't reach &mdash; can add as much as six years to your life. The <a href="http://www.today.com/health/there-s-little-proof-flossing-protects-your-teeth-or-gums-t101389">benefits of flossing</a> have recently been hotly debated, but not flossing increases the risk of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). Gingivitis can lead to heart disease, stroke, and infection.</p> <h2>4. Sunscreen</h2> <p>Whether you're at the beach, an amusement park, driving in the car, or working in your garden, it's important to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays with <a href="http://amzn.to/2cf4K2j">sunscreen</a>. Sunshine is an excellent source of vitamin D, but too much exposure can be deadly. Having more than five sunburns can double your risk for melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Therefore,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sunburn/five-ways-to-treat-a-sunburn">always apply sunscreen</a> before exposing your skin to the sun, and reapply as directed.</p> <h2>5. Coffee</h2> <p>You don't have to feel guilty about starting your morning with a cup of Joe. Coffee can provide a much-needed energy boost to get through the day, and it can help you live longer. Researchers found that <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-your-coffee-habit-help-you-live-longer-201601068938">coffee has antioxidants that protect our bodies</a> from damage. The beverage can reduce the risk of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and type 2 diabetes. But it's important to drink in moderation. Too much caffeine also increases blood pressure and can cause sleep problems.</p> <h2>6. Bike</h2> <p>One or more days a week, ride your bike to work or while running errands. And if you have a regular exercise routine, incorporate cycling a few days a week. Researchers have found a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uu.nl/en/news/dutch-bikers-live-six-months-longer">link between riding a bike and living longer</a>. For every hour you bike, you can add one hour to your life.</p> <h2>7. Blood Pressure Monitor</h2> <p>You probably don't give your blood pressure a second thought &mdash; but you should. High blood pressure is a silent killer because it increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. Rather than wait for a health crisis to learn you have high blood pressure, invest in a <a href="http://amzn.to/2cIGCXS">blood pressure monitor</a> and regularly check your levels to ensure they remain within a healthy range (less than 120/80 mm Hg).</p> <p>Blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day, and you may have higher than normal readings after exercising or eating. If your numbers are consistently high, talk to your doctor. With lifestyle changes or medication you can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of early death.</p> <h2>8. A Wedding Ring</h2> <p>Maybe you're happy living a bachelor or bachelorette life. Even so, there are benefits to tying the knot. Not only can you enjoy companionship, a study conducted by Duke University Medical Center found that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/marriage-research_n_2450639.html">people who never marry</a> were &quot;more than twice as likely to die early in life than those people in long-term, stable relationships.&quot; The study followed 4,800 people born in the 1940s. These findings support other studies, which found that married people had a lower risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-exercise-videos">The 5 Best Exercise Videos</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pet-flea-shampoos">The 5 Best Pet Flea Shampoos</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-years-resolutions-your-pet-wants-you-to-make">4 New Year&#039;s Resolutions Your Pet Wants You to Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-you-can-save-money-on-prescription-medications">7 Ways You Can Save Money On Prescription Medications</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Shopping entertainment exercise extend your life green living health care Live Longer longevity marriage pets Mon, 19 Sep 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1794518 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money Moves to Make Before the Leaves Change http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_fall_leaves_81399473.jpg" alt="Woman making money moves before the leaves change" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As yet another fun summer season winds down, there's no better time than the start of autumn to take a look at our finances to see where we can make adjustments. Consider these 10 money moves to make before the leaves change.</p> <h2>1. Get Back to Budget Reality</h2> <p>Summer activities can put budgeting on the back burner as we spend more and save less over vacation. A little splurging or a savings vacation isn't the end of the world, as long as it isn't a permanent getaway that drains your accounts. With autumn right around the corner, however, now's the time to get back to basics and rein in spending. Summer can be expensive, but you can regain control of your money by coming up with a spending plan that helps you curb impulse buys and save more of your income for a rainy day.</p> <h2>2. Start a Holiday Fund</h2> <p>The beginning of fall means the holiday season is only three months away. As you revamp your budget, start putting money aside for the end of the year. Whether your plans include taking an end-of-the-year vacation or buying gifts for loved ones, early planning can ensure enough cash so that you don't have to rely on credit cards.</p> <h2>3. Ask About Flat-Rate Billing</h2> <p>If your gas or electric bills trigger heart palpitations, talk to your utility company about flat-rate billing. The company looks at your past electricity or gas usage and uses this information to estimate your expected usage over the next year. Based on this estimation, you're charged a flat rate for the next 12 months. Flat-rate billing protects against higher utility bills during the winter and summer months, and as a result, budgeting is easier because you know exactly what you'll owe each month and there are no surprises.</p> <h2>4. Review Your TV Habits</h2> <p>Fall signifies that start of the new prime time television schedule &mdash; one of my favorite parts of the change of seasons. This is an excellent time to evaluate your TV viewing habits to see if you can do without cable, downgrade your package, or otherwise modify your home-entertainment budget to better suit your needs. With so many options these days, you can likely stream many of your favorite shows at a price that's far less than cable.</p> <h2>5. Pay Off Summer Debt</h2> <p>Carrying credit card debt from month-to-month is expensive. If your credit cards took a beating over the summer, come up with a plan to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">eliminate this debt</a>. Give your credit cards a break and pay for everything with cash, and then cut back on unnecessary spending to free up cash in your budget. Use the savings to double or triple your minimum payments and pay off balances sooner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">5 Day Debt Reduction Plan</a>)</p> <h2>6. Prepare for Colder Days</h2> <p>Temperatures cool down around September and October, so to trim your heating bill, take steps early in the season to keep the heat in and the cold out. This includes replacing missing insulation in the attic, weatherstripping your doors and windows, sealing any cracks around windows and electrical outlets, installing a storm door, hanging heavy drapes, getting a programmable thermostat, and closing your fireplace flue.</p> <h2>7. Check Your Savings Contributions</h2> <p>If summer fun threw off your savings goals, you can play catch-up by taking advantage of your company's retirement plan, or increasing your contributions if you already have a 401K.</p> <p>&quot;An employer may offer to match a percentage or all of your contributions to a retirement account,&quot; says Jim Poolman, retirement expert and executive director of the lndexed Annuity Leadership Council. &quot;Some employers may even contribute to your retirement account each year whether you save or not.&quot; Any employer retirement contribution is considered &quot;free money&quot; and can maximize your savings at any age.</p> <h2>8. Balance Your Portfolio</h2> <p>In addition to contributing or increasing contributions to your company's retirement plan, you should get serious about balancing your portfolio to protect against market shifts. It isn't enough to have a 401K. Poolman suggests adding more conservative, low-risk products, such as fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) to balance your retirement portfolio.</p> <p>This is important as you become older, because a savings strategy that worked in your 20s might not be the right fit in your 30s or 40s.</p> <p>&quot;Assessing your investment mix at different stages in your life is key,&quot; Poolman warns. &quot;When you're young, a higher-risk investment strategy may be more effective, whereas the closer you are to retirement, the more important a low-risk portfolio may be.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Have a Money Talk With Your Partner</h2> <p>It's also important to sit down with your partner and/or a financial planner to review your overall financial picture and determine where you can improve. For example, when was the last time you reviewed your life insurance policy? If you've recently tied the knot, had a baby, or purchased a home, can you increase your coverage? Or if you're self-employed, could you increase contributions and max out your IRA, which can grow your money and help you save on taxes? A yearly review can ensure a firm financial foundation and help you hit your goals.</p> <h2>10. Make Doctor's Appointments</h2> <p>A flexible spending account (FSA) lets you set aside a percentage of your pretax pay for eligible out-of-pocket medical expenses. These accounts effectively reduce health care costs for doctor appointments, prescription medications, vision care, and dental care. You can withdraw funds to pay for covered expenses. The catch, however, is that funds in a flexible spending account must be used in the plan year. Some employers don't allow funds to carry over into the next year, or they only allow employees to carry over $500. If you don't use the money, you lose it. So with three months left in the year, schedule your doctor, dental, and vision appointments to avoid forfeiting your unused balance.</p> <p><em>What steps are you taking to prep your finances for fall?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett">The 5 Best Pieces of Financial Wisdom From Warren Buffett</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-you-will-always-be-thankful-for">7 Money Moves You Will Always Be Thankful For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance advice autumn budgeting debt fall health care money moves organizing paying bills savings seasons Mon, 22 Aug 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1775890 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: 5 Ways You're Overpaying for Health Care http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-5-ways-youre-overpaying-for-health-care <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-5-ways-youre-overpaying-for-health-care" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/doctor_piggy_bank_74424907.jpg" alt="Learning ways you&#039;re overpaying for health care" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on ways you&rsquo;re spending too much on health care, how to optimize your workspace, and why sales tax holidays are not as great as they sound.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneyspruce.com/5-ways-spending-much-health-care/">5 Ways You Are Spending too Much on Health Care</a> &mdash; A procedure may cost more because of how you pay. Discuss alternative payment methods and find what works best for your situation. [Money Spruce]</p> <p><a href="http://lifehacker.com/five-ways-to-optimize-your-workspace-for-productivity-1784310012">Five Ways to Optimize Your Workspace for Productivity</a> &mdash; You can get into a better working flow by using different places for different kinds of action. [Lifehacker]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2016/0725/Are-sales-tax-holidays-good-for-anyone">Are sales tax holidays good for anyone?</a> &mdash; Economists say that sales tax holidays don't work the way they were meant to. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Naps-Good-You-40387042">6 Reasons You Should Nap More</a> &mdash; Feeling agitated, sad, or tense? Napping can help reduce anxiety and depression. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://inexpensively.com/articles/the-hidden-cost-of-disorganization/">The Hidden Cost of Disorganization</a> &mdash; When you're disorganized, it's easy to lose money &mdash; literally! [Inexpensively]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.shebudgets.com/lifestyle/shopping/20-places-that-give-you-free-stuff-on-your-birthday/70248">20 Places That Give You Free Stuff On Your Birthday</a> &mdash; Sign up for the birthday club at Baskin Robbins and get a free ice cream on your special day! [SheBudgets]</p> <p><a href="https://due.com/blog/5-signs-time-hire-virtual-assistant/">3 Signs It&rsquo;s Time to Hire a Virtual Assistant</a> &mdash; Not all business tasks are created equal. The day-to-day stuff that don't make any money can be handed off to a virtual assistant. [Due]</p> <p><a href="https://due.com/blog/5-signs-time-hire-virtual-assistant/">Apartment Hunting: 5 Things You Should Bring With You</a> &mdash; Bring a tape measure to get a better idea of how large the rooms and doorways are&hellip;and whether your furniture will fit. [The Allstate Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://couplemoney.com/cars-and-road-trips/road-trip-ideas-tips/">Road Trip Ideas to Maximize Fun and Not Break Your Budget</a> &mdash; You don't want to worry about your car breaking down in the middle of your road trip. If you aren't renting a car, be sure to check your fluids and tires, and have an emergency kit on hand. [Couple Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2016/0725/Are-sales-tax-holidays-good-for-anyone">6 Perfect Summer Chores for Kids</a> &mdash; Have your kids help you water your plants. They'll see their hard work pay off when the plants grow and flowers bloom! [Parenting Squad]</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-5-ways-youre-overpaying-for-health-care">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-social-media-saved-someones-life">5 Ways Social Media Saved Someone&#039;s Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain">EpiPens and Other Ways Companies Have Profited From Your Pain</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys">Live a Longer and Happier Life With These 8 Frugal Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft">7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty best money tips health care Wed, 27 Jul 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Amy Lu 1759841 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Reasons Paid Parental Leave Is Essential for Moms and Dads http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parents_new_baby_46762432.jpg" alt="New parents learning why parental leave is essential" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The United States is one of only two countries in the world that does not offer guaranteed family leave for new parents &mdash; the other one being Papua New Guinea.</p> <p>The U.S. isn't completely without family leave policy, of course. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 guarantees that eligible workers can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a new baby or adoption (or to care for an ailing family member) without it affecting their employment. But only about 60% of American workers meet FMLA eligibility requirements, and even those who do might not be able to afford to take 12 weeks off without a paycheck.</p> <p>There are a couple of deeply entrenched economic beliefs behind America's lack of paid parental leave: First, that companies cannot afford (and should not have to afford) the cost of paying an employee who is not working, and second, that having children is an individual choice that does not (and should not) affect society financially.</p> <p>But the truth is that both of those economic beliefs are just that &mdash; beliefs. In reality, we are shortchanging ourselves as a country by not offering paid parental leave. Here are the five most important financial reasons why paid parental leave is essential. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-best-jobs-for-working-moms-and-dads?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Best Jobs for Working Moms and Dads</a>)</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave Costs Companies Less Than Turnover</h2> <p>It seems like a pretty simple economic truth: An employee is only valuable to a company if he or she is producing work for a paycheck. Paying an employee to stay home with a new baby or newly adopted child costs the employer money without getting any benefit in return.</p> <p>The problem with this view of employment is how narrow it is. An employee's usefulness to a company is much greater than any particular 12-week span, particularly when you consider the cost of hiring a new employee to fill the gap. In California, where 12 weeks of paid family leave has been the law of the state for over a decade, researchers have found that mothers who took such leave were 6% more likely to <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w17715">be working a year later</a> than those who did not.</p> <p>The same researchers have also discovered that California women who took leave and returned to their jobs worked 15% to 20% more hours during the second year of their child's life than those who did not take leave.</p> <p>Looking at the situation from a purely financial perspective, companies are going to be better off paying new parents for leave rather than spending money on hiring new employees, particularly considering the fact that employees who have taken advantage of paid parental leave will feel great loyalty toward their employers.</p> <p>The facts from California bear this out. The President's Council of Economic Advisers reported in 2014 that more than 90% of employers affected by California's paid leave initiative saw either a <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/leave_report_final.pdf">positive or no noticeable effect</a> on profitability, turnover, or morale due to implementation of paid family leave.</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave Saves Money on Health Care</h2> <p>Mothers who have time to stay home with newborns have healthier babies than women who must return to work quickly. According to a study of European paid parental leave policies conducted by the University of North Carolina, more generous paid parental leave is found to <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167629600000473">reduce infant mortality</a> and improve overall health in children. Considering the consistently rising costs of health care in the United States, the cost of paying for parental leave is going to be much cheaper for our government, society, and private sector than the cost of paying for a sick child's health care.</p> <p>But it's not just the children who experience health benefits from paid parental leave. Mothers who have longer paid maternity leave report fewer symptoms of <a href="http://www.nber.org/bah/winter04/w10206.html">postpartum depression</a>, which means they are better able to be fully engaged both at work and with their babies. And the mental health benefits do not stop with baby's first year. According to a study by the Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging, and Retirement in the UK, women who were able to use a more generous maternity leave policy were 14% less likely to <a href="http://arno.uvt.nl/show.cgi?fid=133880">suffer late life depression</a>.</p> <p>Fathers also experience mental health benefits by getting paid time off. Israeli researchers have found fathers who work as primary caregivers for their children will see changes in an area of the brain called the amygdala that help them to become <a href="https://consumer.healthday.com/caregiving-information-6/infant-and-child-care-health-news-410/dad-s-brain-becomes-more-maternal-when-he-s-primary-caregiver-study-688176.html">better suited to parenting</a>. In addition, a father's immersion in parenting duties has also been correlated with both <a href="http://www.fira.ca/cms/documents/29/Effects_of_Father_Involvement.pdf">enhanced child development</a> and improved marital relationships &mdash; all of which can help the entire family's mental and physical health.</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave vs. Public Assistance</h2> <p>Several states in addition to California have launched statewide paid parental leave initiatives. In New Jersey, a study from the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University, discovered that mothers who had used the state's paid family leave policy were <a href="http://news.rutgers.edu/news-releases/2012/01/rutgers-study-finds-20120118#.V4P6mUYrLIV">more likely to be working</a> nine to 12 months after their baby was born than mothers who had not used the leave.</p> <p>So what were the nonworking mothers doing? In many cases, families who do not have access to paid parental leave are forced to rely on other methods of getting by. In particular, the Rutgers study found that women who took paid parental leave in New Jersey were 39% less likely to be on public assistance and 40% less likely to receive food stamps in their child's first year compared to parents who did not take leave.</p> <p>It can be difficult to tease out the differences between the taxpayer costs of state-mandated parental leave compared to the taxpayer costs of public assistance, but it seems much more financially beneficial for the family to use paid leave and ensure job continuity.</p> <h2>Paternity Leave Increases Maternal Paychecks</h2> <p>Much of the conversations about family leave centers around the mother-child bond, which is certainly understandable. Mom is the one whose body goes through the wringer during pregnancy and childbirth, and more time for her to physically recover and bond with baby is a good thing.</p> <p>But when Dad takes time off to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, the entire family benefits financially. In Sweden, which mandates that fathers must take two months off for the birth of a new child (and that time can be taken anytime in Junior's first eight years), researchers found that the <a href="https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/45782/1/623752174.pdf">mother's annual income increased</a> by nearly 7% for each month that the father took off from work.</p> <h2>The Children Are Our (Financial) Future</h2> <p>As much as parental leave helps parents, it's important to remember how much it benefits the kids. Mothers who used maternity leave will see their children attain higher education, have higher IQs, and <a href="http://ftp.iza.org/dp5793.pdf">earn higher incomes</a> than mothers who didn't, according to research from The Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn. These effects were biggest in families where the parents had less education and were less likely to have jobs that offered paid parental leave.</p> <p>That means making a relatively small sacrifice now by instituting parental leave will lead to smarter, better educated, and more financially secure adults in 30 years or so. Those kids are the ones I want taking care of things once I'm back to drooling again &mdash; not the kids who were treated as a financial burden.</p> <h2>Widening Our Vision</h2> <p>The view that parental leave is too expensive is the societal version of spending a dollar to save a nickel. Parental leave benefits parents, children, and society far more than it costs. If everyone treated the cost of having children the same way many U.S. employers do &mdash; as a cost that is too great to bear &mdash; then the world would get dark and depressing PDQ.</p> <p>Children are a social good, and we reap much more than we sow by paying the cost of parental leave.</p> <p><em>Does your employer offer paid parental leave?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-great-retail-jobs-for-working-parents">5 Great Retail Jobs for Working Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-companies-have-the-craziest-employee-perks">These 7 Companies Have the Craziest Employee Perks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits">New Job? Don&#039;t Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-got-a-raise-now-what">You Got a Raise! Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age">3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Before Your Retirement Age</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Family benefits child care employers having children health care income maternity parental leave paternity salaries turnover Wed, 20 Jul 2016 09:00:13 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1755638 at http://www.wisebread.com