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Social Security COLA could get wiped out by Medicare costs

September 15, 2017

Consider this perverse scenario. Next year, typical retirees could see their expected Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2018 virtually wiped out by a big jump in Medicare premiums, but premiums for many higher-income clients could...

How to appeal higher Medicare premiums

September 6, 2017

It's time to prepare higher-income clients for a nasty surprise that awaits some of them this fall. Notices of monthly surcharges involving both Medicare Part B and Part D premiums in 2018 will be sent to affected Medicare enrollees in October....

Good health is key to retirement security

August 8, 2017

The key to retirement security has traditionally focused on money. But lately, the discussion has embraced health as an increasingly important component in the retirement security equation. In fact, health status during working years and health-care...

Health-insurance reform uncertainty hampers advisers' ability to counsel to clients

July 8, 2017

The failure of congressional Republicans to pass a health-insurance reform bill to replace the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act has complicated the lives of financial planners and investment advisers in many ways. The most obvious...

10 surprising facts about Medicare

June 22, 2017

More than 55 million Americans rely on Medicare for their health care coverage. Every day, another 10,000 people turn 65, making them eligible for the government-provided health insurance program. But the rules are complicated, and what you...

Milestone birthday triggers crucial financial decisions

May 5, 2017

It all began with my husband's surprise party. I planned an intimate dinner with close friends and family at a local restaurant to celebrate his 65th birthday. Mission accomplished. He was surprised, and we all had a good time. Little did we...

Courses available to become a Medicare pro

April 12, 2017

Like it or not, clients near retirement often have burning questions about when to enroll in Medicare, particularly if they are still working. If they are enrolled in Medicare already, they may have questions about their premiums. Wouldn't it...

Social Security update for same-sex couples

April 10, 2017

When is a marriage a marriage? In the case of same-sex couples, it can be complicated, particularly if their union pre-dates the nationwide recognition of gay marriage. On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell...

Tips for managing clients' health care expenses in retirement

March 27, 2017

Survey after survey shows that health care expenses in retirement are a top concern for clients, and financial advisers are finally taking notice. According to a 2017 Survey conducted by The American College of Financial Services, advisers reported...

Medicare rules differ for small business owners and employees

March 13, 2017

Financial advisers who work with owners or employees of small businesses that employ fewer than 20 workers should be aware of a special rule that affects these clients: They must enroll in Medicare when they turn 65 or face lifelong penalties....

Gray divorce presents Social Security challenges

March 10, 2017

While overall divorce rates in the U.S. remained stable between 1990 and 2010, gray divorce among spouses age 50 or older doubled during the same 20-year period, jeopardizing the retirement security of millions of baby boomers. Now, one in four...

Strict timeline governs health savings accounts and Medicare

February 28, 2017

Many clients have chosen to enroll in health savings accounts (HSAs) because they like the triple tax savings that HSAs offer when paired with a high-deductible health insurance plan. But things can get very complicated when clients approach...

Using IRAs to reduce Medicare premiums

February 21, 2017

High-income Medicare beneficiaries who are age 70 1/2 or older can use a recent change in the tax code to reduce their Medicare premiums surcharges. Individuals whose modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), which encompasses all income including...

Medicare enrollment ends HSA eligibility

February 9, 2017

As many clients continue to work beyond the traditional retirement age of 65, financial advisers are often confronted with questions about the interaction of employer-provided health insurance, Medicare and health savings accounts. Health savings...

2016 tax returns determine 2018 Medicare premiums

January 25, 2017

As your older clients gather their financial documents to file their 2016 federal income taxes, they should pay close attention to the bottom line on their tax return. Their adjusted gross income in 2016, plus any tax-exempt interest income,...

Medicare decisions get personal

January 13, 2017

This is my latest dispatch from the retirement front, an occasional series of articles where I chronicle my personal retirement decisions that I hope can offer some insights for advisers working with retired and soon-to-be-retired clients. This...

Advisers and clients worry about Obamacare changes under Trump

November 17, 2016

Financial advisers who have Obamacare policies for their families and staff, or have clients with the plans, are nervous about the specifics of President-elect Donald Trump's intention to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. About 20...

Low Social Security cost-of-living adjustment keeps Medicare premiums lower for most

November 11, 2016

Seventy percent of people with Medicare are protected from a large rise in premiums next year because of the low cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits, leaving the rest to absorb higher health care costs. The standard monthly...

Where will Medicare costs go in 2017?

November 7, 2016

People are asking me where Medicare costs, specifically Part B premiums and Part B and D high-income surcharges, are going in 2017. While the final numbers have not yet been released, we know that Medicare costs have been going up dramatically....

Big gap between Social Security cost-of-living adjustment and retiree inflation

October 24, 2016

One of the great values of Social Security benefits is that they are supposed to increase each year to keep pace with inflation and protect seniors' buying power. Unfortunately, that's not the way it has worked out in recent years. The rising...

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