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Hear, Hear

Andrew Forsythe  |  Sep 19, 2022

I TURNED 70 THIS YEAR, and decided to finally do something about the hearing loss I’ve experienced over the past few years. In other words, get hearing aids.
I asked my older sister for advice. She told me she ended up spending $4,000 to $5,000 for her hearing aids a few years ago. She also said she wishes she’d asked her friends for advice first.
My sister doesn’t consider herself wealthy but has a few friends who are.

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Prepare for Care

James McGlynn  |  Sep 2, 2022

YOUR LIFE’S FINAL costly chapter may be paying for long-term care. Indeed, the odds of needing care if you’re age 65 or older are around 50%.
Two key questions: Will you need care for an extended period and how will you pay for it? If the duration is short—which it is for many seniors—paying probably won’t be much of a problem. But if long-term care is needed for many years, financial decisions today might protect the legacy you hope to bequeath decades from now.

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An Arm and a Hip

James Kerr  |  Aug 25, 2022

I’M THE PROUD OWNER of a shiny new, state-of-the-art left hip.

My new hip is made of super-strong titanium and cobalt chrome with a ceramic femoral ball. The doctors tell me that with proper care—alas, no more running—it should last me a good 25 years. 

The prosthetic was implanted in early June and already this modern medical miracle is changing my life for the better. It’s less than two months since the surgery and all the old arthritic pain that I’ve lived with for so long is gone.

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My $6,100 Surgery

Howard Rohleder  |  Aug 3, 2022

DICK QUINN RECENTLY wrote about his $233 surgery. I wasn’t so lucky.
When marketplace health plans first became available in 2012 as a result of the Affordable Care Act, my wife and I bought coverage. After my wife signed up for Medicare in 2020, I switched to a solo policy. I’d been counting down the days until I, too, qualified for Medicare at age 65. With a $7,000 deductible on my policy, I was crossing my fingers that my health would remain good.

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Independent Minded

Dennis Friedman  |  Jul 28, 2022

I WOKE UP THIS morning at 4:15 a.m. I don’t need an alarm clock. My internal clock makes sure I’m up at that time.
I hopped out of bed and did a quick shave with my electric razor. I put on my running shorts, shoes and T-shirt. I headed down to the kitchen. I ate half a toasted organic sprouted-wheat muffin with a thin layer of peanut butter and a small portion of a banana.

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A Bad Trip

Richard Connor  |  Jul 27, 2022

FALLING IS ONE of the scariest health risks that seniors face. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one in four seniors fall each year. The CDC estimates that over three million older people are treated in emergency rooms for falls annually, and more than 800,000 are admitted to hospital.
Most hospitalizations after a fall are to treat head or hip injuries. Falls also cause broken bones, especially in wrists, arms, ankles and hips.

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Six Months On

Richard Connor  |  Jul 9, 2022

IN EARLY JANUARY, I wrote an article describing my New Year’s resolution. My No. 1 goal was, and still is, to improve my health and fitness. It’s now six months later. Here’s a review of the results so far—the good, the bad and the ugly. Let’s start with the good:

Weight loss. I’ve shed more than 70 pounds since the beginning of the year. This has improved my life in so many ways.

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Just What I Needed

Dennis Friedman  |  Jun 24, 2022

I MENTIONED IN an earlier article that my wife and I were planning a trip to the U.K. Before we went, I thought I better see my primary care physician. I didn’t want any medical surprises. We’ll be gone for five weeks. A lot can happen to a 71-year-old during that time.
My doctor retired a few months ago, so I decided I’d go see my mother’s old doctor. He specializes in geriatric medicine.

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When It’s Urgent

Howard Rohleder  |  Jun 22, 2022

EVEN THOUGH I’M NOT a doctor, I’ve been around medicine all my life. My father was a general practitioner and I spent my career in hospital administration. I had administrative oversight over three emergency departments of varying sizes. Based on my experience, here are 10 recommendations that may improve your experience should you need to visit an emergency room:
1. If you use the emergency room (ER) for a non-acute medical condition, bring a book.

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Rx for Medicare

Howard Rohleder  |  Jun 9, 2022

RONALD REAGAN SAID “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’.” Government programs are put in place to address real concerns. But they often come with unintended consequences.
When created in 1965, Medicare addressed the real need of senior citizens who couldn’t afford health care, just as Social Security was established in 1935 to help seniors in poverty. Both have become pillars of American retirement,

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My $233 Surgery

Richard Quinn  |  Jun 1, 2022

IT TOOK MONEY to resolve my recent health issue—on the surface, a lot of money. But figuring out what it really cost is difficult. Actually, I found it impossible.
Still, being a health benefits nerd, I couldn’t resist looking at the claims processed by Medicare and my Medigap insurance. Trying to understand billed charges, allowable charges and the resulting payments is daunting. I’m guessing most patients wouldn’t even try. Why should they?
My surgery was in the outpatient department but required an overnight stay.

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Can’t Help Ourselves

Richard Quinn  |  May 5, 2022

I BECAME INVOLVED with employer health benefits in 1962. Back then, my job was to screen medical claims before sending them to the claims’ administrator for processing.

In the decades that followed, I designed, negotiated and managed health plans for a company with 15,000 employees and 4,000 retirees. My job was twofold: to make sure the health benefits were working correctly and to manage costs. The first goal was relatively easy. The second was nearly impossible.

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The Long Goodbye

Richard Connor  |  Apr 25, 2022

RETIREMENT COMES with many risks, but the scariest I’ve witnessed is dementia. It’s estimated that more than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and they account for just 60% to 80% of all dementia cases.
Other types include vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease dementia and Lewy body dementia. Drug side effects, brain injury, depression and alcoholism can create dementia symptoms, too. The symptoms may get better when those conditions are treated.
Whatever the cause,

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Affordable Care?

Howard Rohleder  |  Apr 6, 2022

WHEN PLANNING OUR early retirement, I realized that getting and paying for health insurance for my wife and me would be our biggest financial challenge.
Before 2010’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect in 2014, we talked to an insurance agent who gathered our medical histories and submitted them to insurers for consideration. Despite two major surgeries, I was deemed insurable. My wife, due to a congenital condition that had never caused a problem but might,

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Who’s on First?

Richard Connor  |  Mar 29, 2022

IS IT JUST ME OR HAS dealing with health insurance companies become more confusing and frustrating? Trying to figure out who to speak to feels like that classic Abbott and Costello comedy routine, “Who’s on first?”
My wife retired last July. For the previous four years, we’d used her employer-provided medical benefits and now we needed to shop for coverage. Under my old employer’s pension plan, pension-eligible employees like me—who retired prior to beginning Medicare—were eligible to sign up for one of the company’s medical plans.

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