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Angry at IRMAA

Richard Quinn  |  Feb 5, 2023

I’M AMAZED BY the opinions expressed by some retirees about the Medicare premium surcharge known as IRMAA, short for income-related monthly adjustment amount. Is it really unfair for higher-income older Americans to pay larger premiums for Medicare Part B and Part D? Many people think so.

IRMAA was part of 2003’s Medicare Modernization Act and took effect in 2007. The threshold at which IRMAA kicks in for a couple is four times higher than the median household income for Americans age 65 and older.

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Improve Yourself

Dennis Friedman  |  Jan 30, 2023

I’LL TURN AGE 72 this year. Since I’ve retired, my wife and I have had some wonderful experiences. Our travel adventures are full of great memories that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.
Still, as great as those adventures have been, they aren’t nearly as important to our happiness as living a healthy, pain-free life without physical or mental limitations. That’s something that’s hard to beat. It gives you a different outlook.

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The Gift of the MAGI

James McGlynn  |  Dec 17, 2022

I’LL BE ENROLLING IN Medicare in a couple of years. I wish I knew how much my premiums will be, but that’s a mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes. I’ve researched it thoroughly, as you shall see, and it all starts with something called IRMAA.
IRMAA is not the name of my seventh-grade crush. Instead, it stands for income-related monthly adjustment amount. It’s the premium surcharge that people with higher incomes pay for Medicare.
How much is the surcharge?

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Walking Man

Richard Connor  |  Dec 13, 2022

I RECENTLY WROTE about things we can do to protect our finances in the event we suffer cognitive decline. This may not be anybody’s favorite subject, but it’s an important one.
 Many of us have first-hand experience with the ravages of dementia. It can upend a carefully crafted retirement plan and necessitate costly medical care. Like many of my friends and colleagues, I’d like to know if there are things I can do to prevent or forestall the onset of mental decline.

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Ounce of Prevention

Richard Hayman  |  Dec 8, 2022

I WISH I HAD HEARD the term “prehab” long ago. I think it would have prevented my current physical disability.
Many people delay surgery. Why not put off a potentially long recovery period—and a big medical bill? Often, this wait-and-see approach is harmless. But not always.
A little history might be useful. A couple of years after college, I joined my dad in his cash register business. Back in 1970, cash registers were massive and heavy—150 pounds or more.

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On My Own—But Not

Kristine Hayes  |  Nov 26, 2022

WHEN I ANNOUNCED I’d be retiring at age 55, the most frequent question I received from friends was about how I’d pay for health insurance. They knew I wouldn’t be eligible to receive Medicare for a decade. They also knew paying for 10 years of premiums would likely leave a large crack in my nest egg.
Fortunately, I was able to take advantage of a health insurance benefit provided by my former employer. As an early retiree,

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Unhealthy Choices

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 23, 2022

I’M GOING TO SHOW you how to lose money. All you need to do is avoid some simple math, while embracing the widespread but illogical fear of health care costs.

Years ago, I designed employer health plans that gave employees several choices. Each option covered the same health care services. The differences among the options were the deductible, out-of-pocket maximum and premiums. The lower the deductible, the higher the premium you paid. Over time,

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Maximum Thinking

Jonathan Clements  |  Nov 20, 2022

WHEN I PICK HEALTH insurance each year, my focus is twofold: What’s the monthly premium—and what’s the out-of-pocket maximum?
Sure, I want to stay with my primary care physician. But my doctor just announced that she’s leaving Philadelphia to return to her native Massachusetts, so that became a non-issue for 2023.
Meanwhile, I’ve long wanted a high-deductible health plan so I could fund a health savings account (HSA). But since 2014, when I started working for myself and had to buy individual coverage,

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D Is for Delay

Richard Connor  |  Oct 26, 2022

REMEMBER THE OLD sayings that “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” and “the carpenter’s house is falling down”? That’s how I felt last month as I frantically tried to enroll in Medicare.
My 65th birthday was in early September. Medicare has an initial enrollment period that lasts seven months. It starts three months before you turn age 65, includes your birth month, and ends three months after the month you turn 65. Suppose you were born on Sept.

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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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