Introducing Ask Phil – A Curated Guide to Your Benefit Questions

Since co-authoring the first “Get What’s Yours” book in 2015, I have spent nearly seven years fielding reader questions. That first book was about Social Security. It sold lots of copies and led me to become a contributor to a PBS web site overseen by one of my co-authors, Paul Solman, who has…

Aduhelm Preliminary Approval Only for Limited Use in Clinical Trials

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said today (January 11) that it provisionally supports the limited use of Aduhelm, the controversial Alzheimer’s medicine, in clinical trials. The agency's final decision is expected in April. The drug was approved last June by the U.S. Food…

Why Can’t We Make Things Better in Health Care?

I have spent a lot of time around all sorts of insurance companies during the past 25 years, as an executive, entrepreneur, and contributing writer. In the health space, it is easy to hate insurance people. They receive our premium dollars, cover some of our health needs – often putting their commercial…

We Spent Nearly 10% More in 2020 for Less Health Care

The government’s comprehensive annual report on health spending last year has been released. It shows that spending rose by nearly 10 percent to more than $4.1 trillion, fueled by big increases in government COVID spending. National health expenditures (NHE) rose from 17.6 percent to 19.7 percent…

2022 Medicare Premiums Post Big Increases

UPDATED DEC. 21 Medicare announced on November 12 that it would apply big rate hikes on Medicare premiums next year. The monthly Part B premium will rise by $21.60, or nearly 15 percent, to $170.10 from $148.50 this year. This increase is more than double the projected $10 boost included in the…

Medicare Open Enrollment Rewards Homework, So Do It!

Welcome to my annual plea to spend time on Medicare’s annual enrollment process for next year. Beginning Oct. 15 and extending through Dec. 7, you can switch your current Medicare coverage, with no penalties, for plans taking effect on Jan. 1, 2022. I wait each year to do this story until the Kaiser…

Medicare Drug Pricing Deal is Both Modest and Momentous

Viewed through the Democrats’ political lens, the tentative Medicare drug pricing deal announced yesterday was a pale shadow of the tough price-cutting measure staked out by the progressive wing of the party. Viewed in terms of the changes its passage would trigger, it is a big deal. A review of…