medicare http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4154/all en-US How to Overcome These 4 Common Retirement Fears http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-overcome-these-4-common-retirement-fears <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-overcome-these-4-common-retirement-fears" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mature_businesswoman_portrait_in_her_office.jpg" alt="Mature Businesswoman Portrait In Her Office" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Modern retirement is a somewhat daunting prospect. Unlike previous generations, today's workers generally cannot count on a pension to fund their retirements &mdash; which means the buck stops with you when it comes to saving up the necessary money to live comfortably after you hang up your hat. Add to that the constant rhetoric about Social Security's imminent demise and the spiraling costs of health care for an aging population, and it's no wonder that thinking about retirement is heartburn-inducing.</p> <p>But even though many common retirement fears are perfectly rational, you do not have to feel overwhelmed by your concerns. Here's how you can overcome four of the most common retirement fears and plan for a fulfilling retirement.</p> <h2>I can't count on Social Security</h2> <p>The Social Security Trust Fund has been losing value since 2013, and it is projected to be entirely depleted by the year 2034. This fact is often touted as a reason for current workers to give up on the idea of receiving Social Security benefits at all once they reach full retirement age.</p> <p>After all, the Trust Fund will be empty by the time many current workers retire, and projected tax revenues will cover only 79 percent of promised benefits. This could mean anyone who is entitled to a $1,500 monthly benefit will only receive $1,185.</p> <h3>How to overcome this fear</h3> <p>While it is absolutely true that the Trust Fund will be depleted in less than 20 years, that does not mean that Social Security will simply dry up for current workers. American workers can count on Social Security to be there when they retire, no matter how old or young they are.</p> <p>Here's why you don't need to panic: To begin with, the dwindling of the Trust Fund is neither new nor imminent. It's also important to note that the United States is the only country in the world that attempts to predict the 75-year longevity of its social insurance funds, which means we are in a position to do something about the anticipated shortfall.</p> <p>Over the next couple of decades, it is likely that our government will make relatively small changes to the Social Security program in order to make up the 21 percent anticipated shortfall that will occur once the Trust Fund has run dry.</p> <p>In addition, 79 percent of promised benefits is much more than nothing. Even if we face the worst case scenario of no solution being proposed between now and 2034 (which seems unlikely, considering how popular Social Security is), there will still be something available for current workers, even if it is less than what was originally promised. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Sobering Facts About Social Security You Shouldn't Panic Over</a>)</p> <h2>I'm going to outlive my money</h2> <p>Not having enough money in retirement is a truly frightening thought. And since it is impossible to know for certain how much money you will need in retirement, it's not possible to entirely dispel this fear, even if you have a robust retirement account.</p> <p>However, most Americans have very little money set aside for retirement. According to an Employee Benefit Research Institute survey from April 2017, 47 percent of American workers have less than $25,000 set aside for retirement. Considering the fact that it is prudent to withdraw no more than 4 percent of your nest egg per year during retirement to avoid outliving your savings, $25,000 would only net $1,000 of retirement income per year, which is nowhere near enough to live on.</p> <h3>How to overcome this fear</h3> <p>If you are among the 47 percent of American workers with less than $25,000 saved for retirement, the best way to deal with your fear of outliving your savings is to increase those savings.</p> <p>As of 2017, you can contribute up to $18,000 per year to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, plus an additional $6,000 if you are over age 50. You may also contribute $5,500 to an IRA, plus an additional $1,000 if you are over 50. Maximizing those contributions can do a great deal to help you prepare for retirement. Even if contributing the maximum is out of your financial reach right now, upping your contribution by 1 or 2 percent can make a big difference in your nest egg's health.</p> <p>If you are already saving as much as you can for retirement and still worry about outliving your money, doing some research into the costs of what you want to do in retirement can help you overcome those fears. Knowing the real costs of retirement when you have already been a diligent saver can help you put your fears in perspective. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>Illness in retirement will bankrupt me</h2> <p>According to Fidelity Benefits Consulting, the average cost of medical expenses for a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2016 will be an estimated $260,000. What's even more frightening about this enormous dollar figure is the fact that Fidelity based its calculations on 65-year-old retirees &mdash; meaning that the hypothetical retiring couple is already eligible for Medicare.</p> <p>Health care costs are undeniably high, and retirees are vulnerable to the high cost of medical care since it is difficult to shop around for better prices or stretch a fixed income. This means it's perfectly reasonable to worry that you might get sick after you retire and spend down all of your nest egg.</p> <h3>How to overcome this fear</h3> <p>It's true that health care is likely to be one of your biggest expenses in retirement, but that does not necessarily mean that an illness will bankrupt you.</p> <p>The first thing to do is learn about what you can expect from Medicare. Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital care, home health care, and hospice care. Part B functions much like the typical health insurance you are familiar with from your workplace. Between these two, Medicare will cover about 80 percent of most of your medical needs. If you have a tough medical diagnosis, Medicare will cover your treatment, and careful money management can help you stay financially fit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked</a>)</p> <p>However, Medicare does not cover long-term care. This type of care &mdash; which describes the nonmedical help the elderly might need for daily living &mdash; is the aspect of your health care that can quickly overwhelm a nest egg.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it" target="_blank">Long-term care insurance</a> is a good option for some middle-income retirees, as it will make sure assets are protected in case you need long-term care. This kind of insurance can be pricey, however, which can put the cost out of reach for some retirees.</p> <p>If long-term care insurance is not in the cards for you, recognize that Medicaid will pay for your long-term care once you have exhausted your own resources. This is hardly an ideal option, but it can help ease your stress if you recognize that you will be able to get the care you need, no matter your financial situation.</p> <h2>I won't know who I am in retirement</h2> <p>The 2002 Jack Nicholson movie <em>About Schmidt</em> does an excellent job of showing how isolating retirement can be for some career-oriented workers. Nicholson's Warren Schmidt feels lost after retiring from several decades of working at an insurance company, and he returns to his office to try to recapture some of his sense of himself as an expert in his field, only to be brushed off by the young man who has taken his job.</p> <p>It's natural to be afraid of such a major life transition, particularly if you have always defined yourself by your career. Entering retirement without the structure of a daily routine can induce anxiety and fear, which can hardly help you to start writing your new chapter.</p> <h3>How to overcome this fear</h3> <p>One of the most important things our culture needs to do is stop looking at work and retirement as two distinct things, and start looking at them as two different parts of your whole life. Both your career and your retirement are your life, and you need to see it all as something that you can use to define yourself.</p> <p>That means structuring your life while you are working to include the things you will want to do when you are retired. For instance, if you dream of traveling in retirement, don't wait until you are retired to start your journeys. If you commit to making trips while you are still working, you will be well-prepared to be a traveler in retirement, and you will already define yourself by more than just your work.</p> <p>The best part about working to overcome this fear is that it gives you the opportunity to do the fun things you love while you are still in the midst of your career. With a little advance planning, retirement can provide a fulfilling evolution of the identity you've cultivated throughout your career.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-overcome-these-4-common-retirement-fears&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Overcome%2520These%25204%2520Common%2520Retirement%2520Fears.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Overcome%20These%204%20Common%20Retirement%20Fears"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Overcome%20These%204%20Common%20Retirement%20Fears.jpg" alt="How to Overcome These 4 Common Retirement Fears" 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/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-overcome-these-4-common-retirement-fears">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/how-to-face-these-7-scary-facts-about-retirement-saving">How to Face These 7 Scary Facts About Retirement Saving</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/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know">13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know</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-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About 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-to-help-your-parents-retire">How to Help Your Parents Retire</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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change When You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement health care long term care medicare outliving money retirement fears social security Wed, 18 Oct 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2037739 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/medicare_application_form_with_stethoscope.jpg" alt="Medicare application form with stethoscope" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There is no larger health insurance program in the United States than Medicare. According to the Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services, more than 57 million people were receiving health benefits through the program as of March 2017.</p> <p>But just because millions are on Medicare doesn't mean that most people, especially those who have yet to hit 65, understand how this government program works. Most people instead believe several easily debunked myths about what Medicare does, how financially healthy it is, and what it doesn't do.</p> <h2>1. Medicare won&rsquo;t be around for me</h2> <p>You might worry that Medicare won't be around to cover your health care needs by the time you retire. Here's some good news: Medicare is not broke ... yet.</p> <p>The Medicare program had about $200 billion in reserves at the end of 2015. So the program does have money.</p> <p>There is some concern, though. Medicare is projected to run a surplus every year through 2020, when a growing number of Baby Boomers will start retiring. This means that Medicare will then run at an annual deficit beginning in 2021. If nothing is done to prevent this, the program will exhaust its reserves by the year 2028.</p> <p>That will be a big problem if it is allowed to happen. There are possible solutions, though, even though they will require some financial pain. The most obvious one would be to raise Medicare taxes. That won't make anyone happy, but it is the simplest way to ensure that Medicare does have enough dollars to cover all of its beneficiaries.</p> <h2>2. There's only one type of Medicare</h2> <p>Medicare is a complicated system. In fact, there are actually <em>four </em>types of Medicare coverage.</p> <p>Medicare Part A and Part B are part of what is known as original Medicare. Medicare Part A, known as hospital insurance, covers inpatient care received at hospitals and nursing facilities. Part B covers services and supplies that you need to treat health conditions. This part of Medicare covers outpatient care, preventive services, ambulance rides, and medical equipment.</p> <p>Medicare Part C is a bit more complicated: It's the part of the program that makes it possible for private health insurance companies to provide Medicare private health plans &mdash; in the form of HMOs and PPOs &mdash; known as Medicare Advantage Plans. You can elect to receive your medical benefits through a combination of Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B or from one of these private Advantage Plans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-getting-the-most-out-of-your-medicare-plan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Medicare Plan</a>)</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-compare-medicare-part-d-plans-a-beginner-s-guide" target="_blank">Medicare Part D</a> subsidizes the cost of your prescription drugs. This part of the program is often referred to as the Medicare prescription drug benefit.</p> <h2>3. You'll never have to pay for health insurance once you're on Medicare</h2> <p>Medicare will cover much of your health insurance needs. But there are some costs that you'll still need to cover on your own.</p> <p>For instance, Medicare does come with deductibles that you must pay before the insurance kicks in. These deductibles can change each year. For 2017, Medicare Part A comes with a $1,316 deductible per benefit period for your hospital stays. This means that if you do end up in the hospital, you'll have to pay this amount out of your own savings before Medicare will cover the rest of your expenses.</p> <p>Medicare Part B has a deductible of $183 for 2017. Again, you'll have to pay this amount before your Medicare coverage kicks in. And even after Part B coverage begins, you'll still have a copay. Medicare Part B generally covers 80 percent of your medical services. You'll have to cover the remaining 20 percent of these costs on your own.</p> <p>There are also coinsurance payments. If you must stay in a hospital for more than 60 days, you'll have to make a coinsurance payment for your Medicare Part A benefits.</p> <h2>4. Medicare covers all my medical needs</h2> <p>There are some medical services that Medicare does not provide any coverage for. Unfortunately, these services aren't exactly frivolous ones.</p> <p>Medicare does not provide dental coverage. It also doesn't pay for vision examinations for glasses. You can't rely on Medicare to cover the costs of dentures or hearing aids. And if you need long-term care, Medicare again won't provide coverage.</p> <p>You can purchase specialized insurance programs to cover these medical expenses. But you'll have to pay for the plans on your own. (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>5. I won't have to pay any premiums for Medicare</h2> <p>Most people won't pay any monthly premiums for their Medicare Part A coverage. That's the good news. The bad news? You will pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B.</p> <p>As of 2017, the Part B premium stood at $134 a month. Medicare, though, says that most people who get Social Security benefits pay less than that, for an average monthly premium of $109. This premium is usually deducted directly from your Social Security benefits. You won't be writing a check each month, but you'll still be paying for that Part B coverage.</p> <p>You'll also have to pay a premium each month if you elect to sign up for a Medicare Part C plan. These premiums will vary depending on your plan. Medicare Part D comes with a monthly premium, too, though this will vary according to your specific plan.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-common-medicare-myths-debunked&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Common%2520Medicare%2520Myths%252C%2520Debunked.jpg&amp;description=5%20Common%20Medicare%20Myths%2C%20Debunked"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Common%20Medicare%20Myths%2C%20Debunked.jpg" alt="5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked" 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/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked">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-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan">The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Health Care Plan</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs">How the Self Employed Can Cut Health Care Costs</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/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance coverage deductibles health care medical medicare myths premiums retirement social security Thu, 05 Oct 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2030973 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Help Your Parents Retire http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-parents-retire <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-help-your-parents-retire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/all_grown_up_but_still_her_mother's_daughter.jpg" alt="All grown up, but still her mother&#039;s daughter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the toughest transitions into adulthood is when you realize that you need to help your parents instead of the other way around.</p> <p>Add money into the mix, and that can make an already awkward transition feel even more uncomfortable. Money is often a taboo topic in families, and parents sometimes have trouble letting go of the idea that you are a child rather than someone who can help them with financial planning. It may feel easier to just assume Mom and Dad have everything covered for their financial future, and let the chips fall where they may.</p> <p>But helping your parents prepare for retirement is one of the best gifts you can give the people who raised you. That's because even the most financially savvy planners may run into issues, questions, or problems that they are not sure how to handle. You can help your parents get ready for retirement, and grow closer in the process.</p> <p>Here's what you need to know about helping your parents retire.</p> <h2>Prioritize your own retirement savings</h2> <p>Most parents know that it's smarter to save for retirement before putting money into the kids' college funds. After all, students can take out loans for school, but there are no loans for retirement. Adult children should prioritize retirement savings over paying for their parents' retirement needs.</p> <p>It may seem strange to prioritize your own retirement as a part of helping your parents retire, but it's an important first step in financially protecting your entire family. Taking care of your parents' retirement instead of saving for your own means that you will simply be passing money problems from one generation to the next. By putting your own retirement savings first, you are teaching your kids how to responsibly plan for their own financial futures.</p> <p>Being prepared to have your parents use their assets for as long as they last will also allow you to make the best use of programs like Medicaid, which requires long-term care recipients to have exhausted their own assets before it kicks in. Rather than exhaust your own finances, plan to protect your future retirement so your kids are not left with another tough decision in 30 years.</p> <h2>Introduce the initial conversation</h2> <p>To be able to help your parents retire, you need to know where they stand financially so you can best help them fill in the gaps and prepare for that major transition. If you're lucky, your parents have already looped you in on what they have saved, where it is, what plans they have for the future, and who they trust as their financial adviser to make the decisions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-youll-encounter-when-taking-over-a-loved-ones-finances?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Things You'll Encounter When Taking Over a Loved One's Finances</a>)</p> <p>Where it gets tricky is if your parents shut down any money conversations and change the subject to &quot;something more pleasant.&quot; If you know your parents will not feel comfortable talking openly about their money planning with you, frame the conversation as an opportunity for you to learn together.</p> <p>For instance, you might mention that you want to look over your 401(k) information and would love to chat with them about how they handle their retirement accounts. In addition, you could invite them to read a book with you about financial planning so you can use the information as a jumping off point for personal discussion.</p> <h2>Talk about the day-to-day details</h2> <p>Knowing where your parents hope to live and how they intend to spend their time in retirement will give you (and them) a baseline understanding of how much they will need in retirement. Encourage Mom and Dad to talk about how they want their lives to look in retirement. Do they want to stay in place, move closer to grandchildren, or sell everything and live in an RV?</p> <p>In addition to helping you get a better sense of their financial needs in retirement, these conversations will also help your parents enjoy the anticipation of planning for retirement.</p> <h2>Learn more about Social Security and Medicare</h2> <p>While spending an afternoon navigating Social Security and Medicare's websites is no one's idea of fun, taking the time to determine your parents' eligibility for these programs can help you better understand what to expect from their government entitlements. You and your parents can check out the eligibility questionnaires at <a href="http://www.medicare.gov/" target="_blank">Medicare.gov</a> and <a href="http://www.benefits.gov/" target="_blank">Benefits.gov</a> to find out what benefits are available and whether your parents qualify.</p> <h2>Meet with a financial adviser</h2> <p>No one expects you (or your parents!) to know everything about the complexities of planning for retirement. Together with your parents, take the time to interview and hire a financial adviser to help with the details of building your parents' retirement.</p> <p>A financial adviser is also in a good position to help your parents make sure their estate planning is up-to-snuff and that all of their accounts have properly named beneficiaries. Even if Mom and Dad are uncomfortable talking about these issues with you &mdash; who wants to think about their own deaths, after all? &mdash; having a trusted financial adviser can help make sure they have all the necessary estate planning paperwork in place.</p> <h2>Keep talking</h2> <p>If money conversations are uncomfortable, you might feel like having that single afternoon of financial planning with your parents is sufficient. But checking in with your parents regularly is an essential part of helping them prepare for retirement. This lets them know you are there to help them with any difficult issues or decisions.</p> <p>Continuing the conversation can also help <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams?ref=internal" target="_blank">protect your parents against scams</a>. According to a 2015 True Link Financial report on financial elder abuse, annual losses from elder fraud totaled over $36 billion. By staying connected with your parents and offering to help them with financial decisions, they will be less likely to fall victim to a predatory scammer because you will be there to help sniff out anything untoward.</p> <h2>Paying it back to Mom and Dad</h2> <p>Your parents took care of you throughout your childhood (and maybe a little into adulthood, too). Now it's your turn to look out for them. Give your parents the gift of some help with retirement planning, so they can relax and enjoy the end of their career and the beginning of the next phase of their lives.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-help-your-parents-retire&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Help%2520Your%2520Parents%2520Retire.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Help%20Your%20Parents%20Retire"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Help%20Your%20Parents%20Retire.jpg" alt="How to Help Your Parents Retire" 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/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-parents-retire">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/how-to-save-for-retirement-while-caring-for-kids-and-parents">How to Save for Retirement While Caring for Kids and 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/how-to-overcome-these-4-common-retirement-fears">How to Overcome These 4 Common Retirement Fears</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/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know">13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know</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-enjoy-retirement-if-you-havent-saved-enough">How to Enjoy Retirement If You Haven&#039;t Saved Enough</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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change When You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Retirement assistance caregiving financial help medicare parents saving money scams social security Tue, 12 Sep 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2019028 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Your Taxes Will Change When You Retire http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508211721.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When most people dream about their retirement, they focus on the places they'd like to travel, the hobbies they'd like to spend time on, and the people they will see more of. Pondering how to deal with taxes in retirement generally does not enter into these sorts of reveries.</p> <p>While everyone should plan for the good stuff in retirement, it's also important to recognize the less fun aspects of retiring &mdash; like taxes. If you are prepared for the financial side of retirement, then you'll be better able to enjoy your time.</p> <p>Here's what you need to know about how your taxes will be different post-retirement.</p> <h2>Understanding Your Tax Bracket</h2> <p>Before discussing how your taxes change in retirement, it's a good idea to understand both what your tax bracket is and what that means for the amount of money you owe. As of 2017, these are the federal tax brackets for ordinary income:</p> <p><strong>Tax Rate &nbsp; &nbsp; Married Filing Jointly &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Most Single Filers</strong><br /> 10% &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $0&ndash;$18,650 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;$0&ndash;$9,325<br /> 15% &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $18,651&ndash;$75,900 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;$9,326&ndash;$37,950<br /> 25% &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $75,901&ndash;$153,100 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;$37,951&ndash;$91,900<br /> 28% &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $153,101&ndash;$233,350 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;$91,901&ndash;$191,650<br /> 33% &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $233,351&ndash;$416,700 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;$191,651&ndash;$416,700<br /> 35% &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $416,701&ndash;$470,700 &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;$416,701&ndash;$418,400<br /> 39.6% &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;$470,701+ &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; $418,401+</p> <p>What these tax brackets describe is your marginal tax rate, which is the rate you pay on the highest portion of your income. For instance, if you are single and fall in the 25% tax bracket, you are not taxed 25% on all of your income. You are taxed 25% on any income above $37,950, you are taxed 15% on any income between $9,326 and $37,950, and you are taxed 10% on any income below $9,325.</p> <h2>The Tax You Will No Longer Pay in Retirement</h2> <p>Let's start with the good news. There is one type of federal tax that retirement income and Social Security income are both exempt from. That's the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax, which funds Social Security and Medicare.</p> <p>Employed individuals see 6.2% of their gross earnings taxed for Social Security through FICA (and their employers also kick in 6.2%, making the total tax contribution 12.4% of each earner's gross income). In addition to Social Security, FICA also collects 1.45% of your gross income for Medicare Part A.</p> <p>Once you retire and you are no longer earning income from employment, then all of your income will be exempt from FICA &mdash; even any income you take from tax deferred accounts, such as 401K accounts or traditional IRA accounts. That's because your contributions to these accounts were already subject to FICA taxes, even if you funded the account with pre-tax dollars.</p> <h2>The Taxes You Will Owe on Tax-Deferred Accounts</h2> <p>Tax-deferred accounts, like 401Ks and traditional IRAs, allow workers to set money aside before Uncle Sam takes any income tax (although FICA taxes are deducted before the money is placed in such accounts). That money grows tax-free, and once the account holder reaches age 59&frac12;, they can take distributions from it without any penalty.</p> <p>However, the money will then be considered ordinary income and taxed accordingly. So that means a single retiree's $30,000 distribution from their IRA will place them in the 15% tax bracket, and they will owe $4,033.75:</p> <p>10% of $9,325 = $932.50</p> <p>15% of $20,675 = $3,101.25 ($30,000 - $9,325 = $20,675)</p> <p>$932.50 + $3,101.25 = 4,033.75</p> <p>The other important thing to remember about tax-deferred accounts is that you will have to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) once you reach age 70&frac12;. That's because the IRS does not want you to hold onto the money, tax-free, forever. Once you reach 70&frac12;, you must take the RMD amount every year, or owe the IRS 50% of the amount you should have withdrawn. The RMD is calculated based on your date of birth, the balance of each tax-deferred account as of December 31 of the previous year, and one of three <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/required-minimum-distribution-worksheets" target="_blank">IRS distribution tables</a>, and it is taxed as ordinary income.</p> <h2>No Taxes on Roth IRA and Roth 401K Distributions</h2> <p>The Roth versions of IRAs and 401Ks are also tax-advantaged, but the tax burden is front-loaded. That means you invest after-tax dollars into your Roth account, the money grows tax-free, and any distributions taken after you have reached age 59&frac12; and have held the account for at least five years are completely tax-free.</p> <p>This is one of the reasons why many retirement experts recommend investing in both traditional and Roth tax-advantaged accounts, because it offers you tax-savings both during your career and once you reach retirement.</p> <h2>Capital Gains Taxes</h2> <p>Any investments you have made outside of tax-advantaged accounts &mdash; such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and real estate &mdash; are taxed as capital gains, which is great news for many investors.</p> <p>That's because long-term capital gains tax rates, which apply to assets you have held for a year or longer, are quite low. For any investor in the 10% or 15% tax bracket, long-term capital gains taxes are a very favorable 0%. Investors in the 25% through 35% tax bracket will only owe 15% on long-term capital gains, while those in the 39.6% tax bracket owe 20% on long-term capital gains.</p> <p>Short-term capital gains, on the other hand, are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate, as is the interest on your savings account and CDs, as well as dividends paid by your money market mutual funds.</p> <h2>Taxes on Your Social Security Benefits</h2> <p>Up to 85% of your Social Security benefits may be subject to income tax in retirement. The higher your non-Social Security income in retirement, the more likely it is that you'll owe taxes on your Social Security benefit.</p> <p>The way the IRS determines whether your benefits are taxable is by calculating something known as provisional income. The formula for determining the provisional income is: one-half of your Social Security benefits, plus all your other income, including tax-exempt interest. (While tax-exempt interest is included in this calculation, tax-free distributions from a Roth IRA are not.)</p> <p>This means that the more money you take from your retirement accounts, the more of your Social Security benefits are considered taxable.</p> <h2>Taxes on Pensions and Annuities</h2> <p>Pensions from both private companies and the government tend to be taxed as ordinary income, unless you also contributed after-tax dollars to your pension.</p> <p>As for annuities, the tax on your annuity will depend partly on how you purchased it. For instance, if you used pre-tax dollars (like from an IRA) to purchase your annuity, then your annuity payments will be taxed as ordinary income. However, if you purchased the annuity with after-tax dollars, then you will only be taxed on interest earned. With each annuity check you receive, a portion will be considered non-taxable principal, and a portion will be interest that is taxed at your ordinary income tax rate.</p> <h2>Diversifying Your Taxes</h2> <p>Most people recognize that diversifying investments is a sound strategy for growing wealth. However, it's also a good idea to diversify your taxes &mdash; that is, make sure you will not be paying all of your taxes at the same time.</p> <p>Many workers only contribute to tax-deferred retirement accounts, which means they will be facing large tax bills in retirement. It makes more sense to understand when and how you will owe taxes on your various sources of retirement income, and try to diversify the tax burden.</p> <p>Taking a small tax hit now, by investing a Roth account or making other investments with post-tax dollars, will help make sure you are not overwhelmed by your tax burden once you retire.</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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire">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/why-tax-day-is-april-15-and-other-weird-financial-deadlines">Why Tax Day Is April 15 and Other Weird Financial Deadlines</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/three-of-the-toughest-decisions-youll-face-in-retirement">Three of the Toughest Decisions You&#039;ll Face in 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/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">7 Penalty-Free Ways to Withdraw Money From Your Retirement Account</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/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know">13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Taxes 401k benefits capital gains distributions FICA IRA medicare social security tax brackets tax changes tax-deferred accounts Thu, 09 Mar 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1902767 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know http://www.wisebread.com/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_social_security_42928626.jpg" alt="Learning social security terms everyone needs to know" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>All Americans expect to receive Social Security benefits during their retirement years.</p> <p>According to the latest data from the Employee Benefits Research Institute, <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_422.Mar16.RCS.pdf">91% of U.S. retirees</a> and 84% of U.S. workers expect Social Security to be a major or minor source of income during retirement. And since about a third of Americans have less than $1,000 saved for retirement, it's not surprising that many expect Social Security benefits to be their major source of income.</p> <p>That's why it's essential you understand these 13 important Social Security terms.</p> <h2>1. Full Retirement Age</h2> <p>Starting at age 62, you become eligible for Social Security benefits. However, you would take reduced benefits if you were to retire anytime before your full retirement age, which for most Americans is now 65 or older.</p> <p>For example, individuals born in 1960 or later have a full retirement age of 67. If a person with a full retirement age of 67 were to start taking benefits at age 62, she would receive a retirement benefit <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/1960.html">reduced to 70%</a>. For every month past age 62 that she waits, she earns about 0.4% more in retirement benefits until she reaches a full 100% at age 67.</p> <p>Depending on your year of birth, your full retirement age ranges from <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html">65 to 67</a>.</p> <h2>2. Delayed Retirement Credits</h2> <p>About 19% of Americans <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-13/-i-ll-never-retire-americans-break-record-for-working-past-65">age 65 or older were working</a> during the first quarter of 2016. One possible reason is that working past age 65 to 67 can increase your retirement benefit from <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/delayret.html">5.5% to 8% per year</a>, depending on your year of birth. For every month past your full retirement age that you wait to start receiving your benefit check, you earn delayed retirement credits that boost your full retirement benefit beyond 100%. Going back to the example of the individual with full retirement at age 67, she would receive a monthly increase of two-thirds of 1% for every month that she delays retirement past age 67.</p> <h2>3. Age 64-3/4</h2> <p>Even though you may decide to wait until or past full retirement age to start taking your benefits, you can still apply for Medicare <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/justmedicare.html">within three months of age 65</a> (age 64-3/4) and apply for your retirement or spouse's benefits later.</p> <h2>Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D</h2> <p>People age 65 or older have access to the U.S. health insurance program known as Medicare. This program helps cover health care costs and has several parts.</p> <h3>4. Medicare Part A</h3> <p>This hospital insurance helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home health care, and hospice care.</p> <h3>5. Medicare Part B</h3> <p>Medical insurance that helps pay for doctor services and many other medical services and supplies not covered by Part A.</p> <h3>6. Medicare Part C</h3> <p>Also known as Medicare Advantage Plans, Part C plans are offered by private health carriers approved by Medicare and available to Americans enrolled in Part A and Part B with Medicare.</p> <h3>7. Medicare Part D</h3> <p>A drug coverage plan available to everyone with Medicare.</p> <p>While you have a seven-month window starting age 64-3/4 to sign up for Part A, you don't have to enroll in Part B. Depending on when you enroll for Part B and other factors, your coverage may be delayed and you may have to pay a higher monthly premium unless you qualify for a&hellip;</p> <h2>8. Special Enrollment Period (SEP)</h2> <p>Every year has an open enrollment period in which you can enroll in an insurance plan. There are certain life events that qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. Qualifying events include losing job-based coverage and losing coverage through a family member. For the full list of life events that make you eligible for SEP, visit this section from <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage-outside-open-enrollment/special-enrollment-period/">HealthCare.gov</a>.</p> <h2>9. Social Security Credits</h2> <p>In 2016, you will earn <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/dqualify2.html">one Social Security work credit for each $1,260</a> of wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four of these credits per year. The amount of money required to earn one credit goes up every year. Most Americans need to accumulate <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10024.pdf">40 credits</a> (about 10 years of work) to qualify for Social Security benefits. However, adults and children may require fewer credits to be eligible for other certain types of Social Security benefits, such as...</p> <h2>10. Disability Benefits</h2> <p>Those who can't work due to a qualifying medical condition that's expected to last at least one year or result in death can receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.</p> <p>Besides meeting the Social Security Administration's definition of disability, you must also have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Unless you're <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/dqualify8.html">blind or have low vision</a>, you must have earned <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/credits.html">at least 20</a> of your required credits in the 10 years before you became disabled to qualify for disability benefits. For example, if you were born after 1929 and became disabled at age 50, you would require at least 28 credits to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.</p> <p>Certain family members, including your spouse if he or she is age 62 or older or an unmarried child, may qualify for benefits based on your work.</p> <h2>11. Supplemental Security Income Benefits</h2> <p>The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10026.pdf">disabled adults and children</a> who have limited income and resources. Qualifying recipients of Social Security disability or retirement benefits can receive SSI as long as they meet the requirements. The online <a href="https://ssabest.benefits.gov">Best Eligibility Screening Tool</a> can help you determine whether or not you or your child are eligible for SSI benefits.</p> <h2>12. Back Payments</h2> <p>Given that there are an <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/">estimated 74.9 million Baby Boomers</a> (ages 51 to 69) in the U.S., you can expect that Social Security consistently receives a large number of enrollments. The more paperwork, the longer the time to process your application. So, you'll receive back payments from the Social Security Administration for the months between the date that you applied for benefits and the date you were approved for benefits.</p> <p>There is a mandatory <a href="https://faq.ssa.gov/link/portal/34011/34019/Article/3715/Is-there-a-waiting-period-for-Social-Security-disability-benefits">five-month waiting period</a> for SSDI benefits, so back payments only start once the waiting period ends.</p> <h2>13. Retroactive Benefits</h2> <p>Back payments are available for for both SSDI and SSI benefits, but retroactive benefits are only available for SSDI benefits. Retroactive benefits are the monies that you were already eligible for due to your disability onset date but didn't apply for earlier. Keep in mind that you'll receive no interest on any back payments for SSDI or SSI.</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/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know">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-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits">5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Claiming Your Social Security 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/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age">3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Before Your Retirement Age</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/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement backpayments benefits credits income medicare retroactive social security terms Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Damian Davila 1808267 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Handle a Forced Early Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-handle-a-forced-early-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-handle-a-forced-early-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_taking_notes_73540307.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to handle early retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You had a plan: You would work until 67, contributing the maximum amount of each paycheck into your company's 401K plan. You would then <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-for-retirement-when-you-re-ready-to-retire">enjoy a retirement</a> of traveling the world and spending time with your grandchildren.</p> <p>But then your company changed your plans. They let you go you at age 55 or 60. Finding a new job at this age isn't easy. According to an AARP study released in 2015, 45% of job hunters aged 55 or older were members of the long-term unemployed, those who were out of work for 27 weeks or longer. And when these older job seekers did find new jobs, they tended to earn less money. The same AARP survey found that almost 48% of people 55 or older were earning less on their new jobs than they did at their old ones.</p> <p>Those are intimidating numbers. But they don't mean that a forced early exit from the workforce will dash your retirement dreams. Here are five steps that you can take after you've been laid off or fired to make your earlier-than-planned retirement a successful one.</p> <h2>1. Assess Your Financial Reality</h2> <p>It's easy to panic when you've lost a job. But your financial situation might not be as dire as you think. To find out, it's time to perform a quick financial assessment.</p> <p>First, list your monthly expenses. These might be lower if you are no longer paying a mortgage each month. Then list the income you have coming into your household. Maybe your spouse's income means that you can still save enough money each month for a happy retirement. Maybe you'll need an extra income boost from somewhere to still hit those goals.</p> <p>Depending on how close you are to your official retirement age, you might decide to start receiving your monthly Social Security payments. You'll get less each month if you haven't reached full retirement age, but if you can't hold off on the extra monthly income, receiving your benefits a few years early might be a sound move.</p> <p>If you were laid off or fired, you probably qualify, too, for unemployment insurance. Make sure to take advantage of this. That extra monthly income could help you stay on track for your retirement goals.</p> <h2>2. Get Realistic About Your Retirement Goals</h2> <p>You might have to scale back your retirement goals should you be forced to exit the workplace earlier than planned. Maybe you planned to take a long trip every year. If you're forced out of work five years early, you might have to scale that back to just three big trips spread out over your entire retirement.</p> <p>This doesn't mean that your retirement is ruined. But you might have to refocus. Maybe instead of joining that high-priced country club, you'll be taking your golf clubs to public courses throughout your city.</p> <h2>3. Make Sure You Have a Plan for Insurance</h2> <p>You'll need health insurance even after you lose your job. You might qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, though you might not qualify for these government programs depending on your age and income levels.</p> <p>If you need insurance not offered through the government, you can search for a low-cost plan through the insurance exchange created under the Affordable Care Act.</p> <p>Letting your health insurance lapse can be a costly mistake.</p> <h2>4. Find Part-Time Work to Fill in the Income Gaps</h2> <p>If you need some extra income each month, consider taking a part-time job. This work, even if it doesn't come with the benefits of a traditional full-time job, could provide you with the extra bit of cash that will keep your retirement dreams alive.</p> <p>Depending on your field, you might find a part-time job as a consultant. But even if you can't, you can still find enjoyment, and some extra financial security, by taking on a position in a new field.</p> <h2>5. Meet With a Professional</h2> <p>Retirement planning is complicated when everything goes according to plan. When those plans are suddenly changed? It's even more of a challenge to make sure that you have enough dollars saved for your after-work years.</p> <p>That's why it's important to meet with a financial adviser who can help you determine what financial steps you need to take now. Depending on your income and community, you might even qualify for free financial advice.</p> <p>A financial planner can help you create a new budget and a new financial plan that fits with your new money reality.</p> <p><em>Have you faced early retirement? What steps have you taken?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-handle-a-forced-early-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/5-actions-women-can-take-right-now-to-get-their-retirement-on-track">5 Actions Women Can Take Right Now to Get Their Retirement On Track</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/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-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-keys-to-an-early-retirement">4 Keys to an Early Retirement</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/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement">4 Moves That Guarantee a Great Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k early retirement extra income forced retirement insurance job loss medicaid medicare part-time jobs unemployed Tue, 07 Jun 2016 09:30:33 +0000 Dan Rafter 1725699 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things That Cost More in 2016 http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-that-cost-more-in-2016 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-that-cost-more-in-2016" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bottled_wine_000023538266.jpg" alt="Learning which things that cost more in 2016" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If your New Year's resolutions included trimming the fat from your budget, you'll want to avoid these nine purchases that will see a price hike this year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-necessities-that-will-be-cheaper-in-2016?ref=seealso">8 Necessities That Will Be Cheaper in 2016</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cable and Satellite TV</h2> <p>NBC recently reported that DirecTV and AT&amp;T's U-verse packages, channel bundles, and premium channels will see increases ranging from <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/cable-satellite-tv-costs-will-climb-again-2016-n484531">$2 to $8 per month</a>, a change that went into effect Jan. 28. Dish Network customers also will experience a similar pricing increase on its bundles, which started on Jan. 14.</p> <p>Cable industry watchdog Chris Brantner (Mr. Cable Cutter of CutCableToday.com) says these increases are not limited to just a couple companies. In fact, most of the big national names in the cable and satellite TV game will be jacking up prices.</p> <p>&quot;Comcast is raising its broadcast fee to $5 from $1.75, and its sports programming fee to $3 from $2,&quot; he says. &quot;Time Warner is raising both broadcasting and sports fees as well &mdash; from $1 to $3.75 and $2.25 to $5, respectively. This seems to be a yearly trend, as pay-TV prices have skyrocketed over the last few years, with average bills breaking $100 a month.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Medicare Premiums</h2> <p>If you're retired and new to Medicare Part B, beware. <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire/2015/11/20/some-retirees-pay-higher-medicare-premiums-in-2016">Double-digit price hikes</a> &mdash; about 16% over last year &mdash; went into effect at the beginning of the year. Previously enrolled Part B recipients aren't faced with the increase because Social Security didn't see a cost-of-living adjustment in 2016, and Medicare payments, by law, are prevented from increasing faster than SS payments. Thus, just consider the $16.90 more you have to pay per month than older retirees your dues for being the new kid on the block.</p> <h2>3. Netflix</h2> <p>Remember back in 2011 when Netflix announced it would increase its then $10 dual streaming-plus-DVD-by-mail combo plan to $16, and the Internet lost its collective mind? Netflix stock dropped 40% after the announcement, and some called on CEO/co-founder Reed Hastings to resign. Because unlimited DVDs, y'all!</p> <p>Well, Netflix has learned several lessons since then, and while it abandoned all those 2011 plans (including an ill-fated breakaway brand called Qwikster), it raised prices $1 to $8.99 in 2014, and it plans to <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/08/media/netflix-raising-price-standard-plan/">increase the price of its streaming service</a> by another dollar to $9.99 this May for new customers. If you're already a Netflix subscriber, however, you won't get hit until 2017.</p> <h2>4. Chocolate</h2> <p>If you can't trust Forbes, who can you trust? Its 2016 consumer predictions include higher prices for chocolate. According to the publication, &quot;the Ivory Coast, center of world cocoa production, is under strain from drought &mdash; putting the world's chocolate industry at risk.&quot;</p> <p>Better start rationing those leftover Kisses from Christmas.</p> <h2>5. Domestic Wine</h2> <p>If you fancy a nice glass of wine, you may have to switch up what you're drinking &mdash; at least from domestic bottlers.</p> <p>The blog SVB on Wine reports that according to its annual State of the Industry report, 41.74% percent of winemakers plan to <a href="http://svbwine.blogspot.com/2015/10/bottle-prices-are-going-up-in-2016.html">implement a small price increase</a>, while another 16.12% are planning a moderate increase in 2016. Another 2.07% are really going for the jugular with a strong increase. Alas, at least 34.71% of respondents will have pity on your pocket when you're at the liquor store: They'll hold prices steady they said, while an additional 5.37% will decrease prices slightly.</p> <h2>6. Postage</h2> <p>A summary of postage rate increases show prices for First Class Mail Letters, metered mail for First Class Mail Letter, and First Class Mail Flats will remain constant into 2016, but <a href="http://www.stamps.com/usps/postage-rate-increase/">most other services</a> will see an increase.</p> <p>Priority Mail Express recently saw an average rate increase of 15.6%, while traditional Priority Mail has increased 9.4%, as of Jan. 17. Other hikes include 11.6% for Priority Mail Express International, 10.2% for Priority Mail International, and 21.6% for First Class Package International Service.</p> <h2>7. Girl Scout Cookies</h2> <p>Your undying love for the Girl Scouts' Thin Mints will make your wallet a little thinner now that boxes of the good stuff are <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/katiesola/2015/11/05/girl-scout-cookie-price-increases-spark-outrage-but-experts-say-its-good-business/#16819fbf4deb">$5 in some areas</a> like Massachusetts and California, up from $4 last year. Pricing is set based on factors like ingredient costs, market size and availability, and shipping costs. From the new fee structure, troops would receive about $.90 per box sold opposed to the $.62 they made on the $4 box. Expect more troops across the country to adopt the new pricing in 2016.</p> <h2>8. Hotels</h2> <p>MarketWatch reports that according to the 2016 Global Travel Price Outlook, hotel prices around the globe are expected to rise this year, with North America taking the lead with a 4.3% increase. Hotel prices are estimated to increase 1.8% in Europe, 3% in Asia Pacific, and 3.7% in Latin America. Luckily, there are plenty of deals to cash in on &mdash; if you're a savvy shopper &mdash; and you can also save some dough by booking private short-term accommodations from services like Airbnb and Roomorama.</p> <h2>9. Prescription Medication</h2> <p>Drug companies aren't relenting on seemingly never-ending price increases. The Wall Street Journal reports that Big Pharma players like Pfizer, Amgen, Allergan, and Horizon Pharma &quot;have raised U.S. prices for dozens of branded drugs since late December, with many increases between 9% and 10%, according to equity analysts.&quot; Vanda Pharmaceuticals increased by 10% the price of its new drug Hetlioz, which treats a sleep disorder in blind people, resulting in a 76% hike from when it was introduced in 2014.</p> <p><em>Has &quot;Pharma Bro&quot; Martin Shkreli started offering classes on how to rip people off that we don't know about? What are you spending more for this year?</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/9-things-that-cost-more-in-2016">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/are-your-five-senses-tricking-you-to-spend-more">Are Your Five Senses Tricking You to Spend 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/how-to-save-on-12-winter-essentials">How to Save on 12 Winter Essentials</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-ways-to-live-like-a-celebrity-on-a-budget">5 Ways to Live Like a Celebrity on a Budget</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/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</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/25-thoughtful-and-frugal-personalized-gift-ideas">25 Thoughtful and Frugal Personalized Gift Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping cable chocolate expenses medicare postage price increases wine Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1650372 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Medicare Plan http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-getting-the-most-out-of-your-medicare-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-tips-for-getting-the-most-out-of-your-medicare-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/social-security-tips.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The annual election period for making changes to your Medicare plan is from October 15 to December 7, which means that it is time to consider all your plan options. With your health at stake, it's important that you choose the Medicare plan that strikes the right balance between affordability and health benefits, and consider what kind of plan will best help you meet your health and financial goals. Even after the election window has closed, whether you&rsquo;re looking for yourself or a family member, it's still worthwhile to do the research on ways to get the most from your current plan and which one to choose next year.<br /> Consider the following tips to get the most from your Medicare plan:</p> <h2>1. Focus on Your Priorities</h2> <p>Everyone has different priorities and goals, and your personal plan should reflect that. Is keeping a low monthly premium and low out-of-pocket costs a priority for you? Do you want a plan that focuses on preventive care? Do you lead an active lifestyle and want a plan that provides fitness programs and benefits? Consider all your goals before choosing a Medicare plan.</p> <h2>2. Premium Costs and Hidden Costs</h2> <p>Compare overall costs among different plans by using the <a href="https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx">Medicare Plan Finder</a>, and spend some time familiarizing yourself with the details of the plan. Be realistic about what services you are likely to use in the next year. A good place to start is to review which services you used the previous year, and factor those into your decision.</p> <h2>3. Benefit From Preventive Care</h2> <p>Choosing a plan with comprehensive preventive care benefits could keep you healthier by taking care of problems before they become serious. The great thing about many plans is that preventive care is offered at little to no cost. Statistics bolster the idea that preventive care saves lives. The CDC estimates that <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0903-vs-heart-disease.html">200,000 deaths per year from heart disease and stroke</a> alone could be prevented if people received the appropriate preventive care.</p> <h2>4. Know Your Network</h2> <p>Try not to get hung up on HMO or PPO alphabet soup. Focus on which doctors are in a Medicare plan's network. Choosing a primary care doctor and specialists within your network will help you keep costs down. And if you have particular doctors you want to see, you may want to choose a plan in which they are in-network. Going to a doctor outside your network can result in additional out-of-pocket costs, so staying informed about your network is vital for your bottom line.</p> <h2>5. Stay Active and Reap Rewards</h2> <p>My husband's grandmother is the epitome of staying fit while aging healthfully. Decades ago, she committed to walking at least two miles every morning. She is now in her nineties and still going strong. Keeping active is an essential part of staying healthy. Many Medicare plans offer fitness benefits &mdash; such as a free gym membership, and some even reward you financially for being active. If having an incentive to stay fit would help you reach your health goals, then it may be smart to consider plans with these added benefits.</p> <h2>6. Make Sure Your Drugs Are Covered</h2> <p>Costs for prescription medications can ramp up quickly if they're not covered under your insurance plan, leaving you with a hefty bill. To avoid unexpected expenses, make sure any drugs you need are covered under your plan, and check the quantity limits to ensure it covers the amount you require. Although brand-named drugs may come to mind first, generic versions do the same job and can save you a lot of money.</p> <h2>7. Be Informed about Changes to Your Plan</h2> <p>Just because your Medicare plan has worked for you before, doesn't mean it's the best fit for you now. Many plans change every year, so reading the Annual Notice of Change is essential as you decide if your current plan is still right for you. In addition, your needs may have changed. While it can be easier to simply go with your old plan, taking the time to re-evaluate each year can help you to reap the most benefit for your health and financial wellness.</p> <h2>8. Take Advantage of Free Resources</h2> <p>The Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services <a href="https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx">Plan Finder</a> page is a great place to start learning about different Medicare plans. If you prefer more personal interaction, many insurance companies offer free information sessions and seminars about their Medicare plans. You can also contact insurance companies directly by telephone to find out more with no obligation.</p> <p>Staying informed about your Medicare plan is one of your best tools for feeling great and achieving your health goals. And it can save you from financial surprises and the stress that would follow.</p> <p><em>This article is sponsored by Cigna. This article is for educational purposes only and is intended to promote consumer health. It is not intended as financial or medical advice and you should always consult a professional for financial or medical advice. To learn more about getting the best Medicare coverage, visit <a href="http://www.cigna.com/cignamedicare/">http://www.cigna.com/cignamedicare/</a>.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-getting-the-most-out-of-your-medicare-plan">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-common-medicare-myths-debunked">5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked</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/33-ways-to-feel-10-years-younger">33 Ways to Feel 10 Years Younger</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-to-compare-medicare-part-d-plans-a-beginner-s-guide">How to Compare Medicare Part D Plans: A Beginner’s Guide</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/3-ways-technology-can-keep-you-healthy">3 Ways Technology Can Keep You Healthy</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-to-help-protect-your-financial-future-from-unexpected-medical-expenses">7 Ways to Help Protect Your Financial Future From Unexpected Medical Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Cigna medicare Thu, 12 Nov 2015 02:05:09 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1611122 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Compare Medicare Part D Plans: A Beginner’s Guide http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-compare-medicare-part-d-plans-a-beginner-s-guide <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-compare-medicare-part-d-plans-a-beginner-s-guide" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pharmacy-consultation-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Prescription drug coverage can sometimes feel overwhelming. I know &mdash; I recently navigated an authorization process for my teenage son&rsquo;s acne medication that took several phone calls and 10 days to complete. And I&rsquo;m not alone in feeling stressed about prescription coverage &mdash;<a id="fck_paste_padding"></a>&nbsp;according to a recent survey conducted by <a href="http://www.Walgreens.com/Medicare">Walgreens</a>, 37% of the more than 31.5 million people enrolled in prescription drug plan Medicare Part D worry about their prescription drug costs. And 20% say they&rsquo;ve made sacrifices to help manage costs, such as delaying the filling of a prescription or skipping doses.</p> <p>Moreover, while most beneficiaries surveyed say they have a clear understanding of their current plan benefits, many don&rsquo;t understand that there can be several differences between plans. Only half realize that copay amounts may vary by pharmacy. And 24% are not sure whether their plan offers a preferred pharmacy option, which can offer cost savings above and beyond network pharmacies. Although Part D Plans must meet certain standards, these plans are not all the same. Nationally, there are hundreds of different plans. But thankfully, you do not need to compare this many &mdash;&nbsp;<a id="fck_paste_padding"></a>there are generally 20-30 plans available in a given service area.</p> <p>In short, if you have Medicare Part D, you might be paying more than you need to. This article can help you understand plan features relating to coverage and cost so you can make an informed plan decision.</p> <h2>Cost Factors</h2> <p>Here are cost factors to consider when you compare Medicare Part D plans.</p> <p><strong>Monthly Premiums</strong></p> <p>You pay a fixed monthly premium for your Medicare Part D Plan.</p> <p><strong>Yearly Deductible</strong></p> <p>You must reach the annual deductible before the plan covers any of your prescription drug costs. Some plans have a deductible of $0, so initial coverage starts immediately.</p> <p><strong>Copayments/Coinsurance</strong></p> <p>You share in the costs of your prescription drugs with the Part D Plan by making a copayment (set amount for each prescription) or paying a coinsurance amount (a percentage of the cost of the drug).&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Formulary</strong></p> <p>Each plan has a formulary, or list of drugs covered by the plan.</p> <p><strong>Tiers</strong></p> <p>Within the formulary, drugs are assigned to tiers. Cost-sharing arrangements (either copayment or coinsurance) are based on the drug tier. Typically, there are tiers for preferred and non-preferred generic drugs, preferred and non-preferred brand-name drugs, and specialty drugs.</p> <p><strong>Network Pharmacies</strong></p> <p>Part D Plans may have a list of pharmacies inside their networks. Prescriptions may be covered only if you use a network pharmacy. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Preferred Pharmacies</strong></p> <p>Some plans have preferred pharmacies that offer lower prices, beyond the plan savings available at network pharmacies. Using a preferred network pharmacy may potentially save beneficiaries <b>hundreds of dollars per year</b> in copay costs.</p> <p><strong>Gap Coverage</strong></p> <p>The gap &mdash;&nbsp;<a id="fck_paste_padding"></a>also known as the &ldquo;donut hole&rdquo; &mdash;&nbsp;<a id="fck_paste_padding"></a>in coverage happens when you reach a certain amount in prescription drug costs ($2,970 in 2013). After that point, you must pay out of pocket until you reach the minimum for catastrophic coverage. Some plans offer special discounts when you are in the coverage gap.<b> </b>(Note that the Affordable Care Act has provisions to close this gap &mdash; <a href="http://www.healthcare.gov/law/features/65-older/drug-discounts/index.html">see details at healthcare.gov</a>.)</p> <h2>Quality Factors</h2> <p>There are many quality factors to consider when choosing a plan. Medicare rates plans based on a five-star system, taking into account:</p> <ul> <li>Responsiveness to pharmacist calls</li> <li>Timeliness in handling appeals</li> <li>Complaints about the drug plan</li> <li>Ease of getting prescriptions filled</li> <li>Accuracy in providing drug pricing information to the Medicare website</li> </ul> <h2>Plan Comparisons</h2> <p>You can compare Medicare Part D Plans by using the <a href="https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx">Medicare Plan Finder</a> (an interactive tool on the <a href="http://medicare.gov/">Medicare.gov</a> website) and evaluating materials provided by plan sponsors.</p> <p>To use the Medicare tool, having the following information is useful (but not required) to finding and sorting through your options:</p> <ul> <li>Your zip code, which helps find plans offered in your area plus gives you cost information by pharmacy<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your Medicare number for a personalized search of plans<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The type of Medicare coverage you have and the type of assistance, if any, that you receive<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Names of prescription drugs you currently use along with dosage amounts, quantity per prescription, refill frequency, and whether the drug is filled at a retail or mail-order pharmacy<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your preference among a list of nearby pharmacies (you can choose two pharmacies at a time to compare Medicare Part D costs)</li> </ul> <p>By following the prompts, you will get a list of plans available in your area. You can screen the plans in various categories; for example, ask to see only those plans with your prescription drugs on their formulary by selecting &ldquo;have all my drugs on formulary&rdquo; under &ldquo;Select Drug Option.&rdquo;</p> <p>Choose plans from the results to compare details including monthly premiums, deductibles, estimated annual costs of drugs at a retail pharmacy, and ratings. Note that drug costs are listed by pharmacy name and vary depending on the pharmacy&rsquo;s status within the plan.&nbsp;</p> <p>Comparing plans is not simple, though the interactive tool provided by Medicare is extremely useful. To further help Medicare Part D participants understand their plans and control costs, Walgreens has launched the <i>You&rsquo;re Worth Savings</i> initiative to educate Medicare beneficiaries on ways to get the most from their plan and save as much as 75% on prescription drug costs using three easy steps:</p> <ol> <li>Review your Medicare Part D plan.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Talk to a Walgreens pharmacist about cost concerns and ways you might be able to save. You can <a href="https://www.walgreens.com/pharmacy/scheduler/medicare-part-d.jsp">schedule a free appointment directly online</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Compare copay and other costs against your current plan and pharmacy.</li> </ol> <p>Armed with an understanding of Part D Plan costs and terminology plus knowledge about your specific plan, you can have a meaningful and enlightening conversation with a pharmacist about possible ways to save money on prescription drugs.&nbsp;</p> <p>Below are more detailed results from the Medicare survey. <strong>Are you surprised by these findings?</strong></p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/wisebread/walgreens/Walgreens-HOR-Final-Vertical-Version-605-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>This post was made possible by support from <a href="http://www.Walgreens.com/Medicare">Walgreens</a>. Walgreens is in the network of hundreds of Medicare prescription drug plans and participates in the preferred networks of four national Part D sponsors. The company offers savings of up to <strong>75%</strong> on prescription copays over select pharmacies for a number of plans in which it is a preferred pharmacy.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-compare-medicare-part-d-plans-a-beginner-s-guide">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-common-medicare-myths-debunked">5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked</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/generic-drug-price-lists-for-six-major-pharmacies">Generic Drug Price Lists For Six Major Pharmacies - Updated</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/should-you-ever-buy-eyeglasses-online">Should You Ever Buy Eyeglasses Online?</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-tips-for-getting-the-most-out-of-your-medicare-plan">8 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Medicare Plan</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/walgreens-clinics-provide-free-health-care-for-the-very-recently-unemployed">Walgreens Clinics Provide Free Health Care for the (Very) Recently Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty medicare part d prescription Walgreens Fri, 31 May 2013 10:36:40 +0000 Julie Rains 976338 at http://www.wisebread.com Do You Need Medigap Insurance? http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-medigap-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-you-need-medigap-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/grandma_and_grandpa.jpg" alt="Happy elderly couple" title="Happy elderly couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are few experiences in life more daunting than navigating our health-insurance system &mdash; especially when multiple policies are involved in a complex mix of public and private coverage. Such is the challenge for Medicare recipients who find themselves in need of supplemental insurance. Medicare is government-administered health insurance for people 65 and over, or who are under age 65 and permanently physically disabled (or those who meet other special criteria). But Medicare doesn&rsquo;t cover everything. For those holes in Medicare coverage, a Medigap policy is needed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-examine-your-healthcare-plan-and-save">How to Examine Your Healthcare Plan and Save</a>)</p> <p>As the name suggests, Medigap policies are designed to fill the &quot;gaps&quot; in health care expenses that Medicare doesn&rsquo;t cover or doesn&rsquo;t cover completely. Medigap plans are private, not public, and they're offered by most major insurers. Policies typically pay for the little things that can add up quickly (think co-payments, hospital stays, and deductibles). If you&rsquo;re a Medicare beneficiary and have opted for a supplemental Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of approved expenses, and then your Medigap policy will kick in to (hopefully) cover all or most of the remaining expenses.</p> <p>Medigap polices are strictly regulated by state and federal laws designed to clearly reflect the policy&rsquo;s purpose and to protect Medicare consumers. There are twelve different types of Medigap policies to choose from, and each is designated by a letter A through N. For a comprehensive list of the different types of polices and a description of each, check out this <a href="http://www.medicaresupplementalinsurance.com/medigap-plans-a-through-n.html">Medigap policy overview</a>.</p> <p>Generally speaking, less-expensive plans have fewer benefits and higher out-of-pocket costs. More expensive plans include some extra benefits, like coverage for routine checkups, some Medicare deductibles, at-home care services, and more. For example, Medigap Plan A is the most basic policy; it covers co-payments (but not deductibles), skilled nursing care, or hospice care. Plan L, a more comprehensive policy, covers co-payments plus 75% of hospital deductibles, 75% of skilled nursing care expenses, and 75% of hospice care. Exercise caution if you decide to cancel or change your Medigap plan &mdash; if you bought the policy before 1992, changes to coverage standardization rules will make it impossible for you to get the same policy back once it has been canceled.</p> <p>Regardless of what company sells it, each standardized Medigap policy is required to provide a basic level of benefits for consumers. However, insurance companies may vary in eligibility requirements, responsiveness, and customer service, so keep these things in mind when shopping for a Medigap provider.</p> <p>As Congress debates entitlement cuts to lower-income individuals and retirees and as the health care debate rages on, Medigap insurance warrants a second (or third) look. Though everyone's financial picture is unique, Medigap policies are gaining in popularity as healthcare costs continue to rise and as life expectancy increases.The reality is, we don&rsquo;t know what healthcare will look like in this country in five or ten years, and we don&rsquo;t know what form health insurance and government-sponsored coverage will ultimately take. In the meantime, the smart money is on research, preparation, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-healthy-changes-you-can-make-today">staying healthy</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-medigap-insurance">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/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked">5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked</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/paying-for-pregnancy-and-birth-without-health-insurance">Paying for Pregnancy and Birth Without Health Insurance</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/generic-drug-price-lists-for-six-major-pharmacies">Generic Drug Price Lists For Six Major Pharmacies - Updated</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/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</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> Insurance health insurance medicare senior citizens Fri, 15 Jul 2011 10:24:29 +0000 Kentin Waits 620096 at http://www.wisebread.com