Many Hospitals Refuse to Follow U.S. Price Transparency Rules

New rules requiring hospitals to let patients know ahead of time what their care will cost – covered here and here – continue to be badly implemented if not ignored altogether, according to a new study posted by the Peterson-KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) Health Tracker. The new rules took effect…

Navigating Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare’s annual open enrollment period begins October 15 and extends through December 7. During this time, people already on Medicare have the option to: Switch from original Medicare (Parts A and B) to a Medicare Advantage plan. Switch from Medicare Advantage to original Medicare. Keep…

Taking Social Security reduces your ex-spousal benefits

Diana – Minnesota: I’m 71 and my ex-spouse is 67. I began drawing Social Security at age 62, and don’t know if my ex-spouse has begun drawing his Social Security or not. How should I proceed in order to apply for and receive ex-spousal benefits? And what benefit should I expect? Would it be based…

Medicare Q&A

I periodically post answers to reader questions. Email yours to philsquestions@gmail.com. I will let you know if I answer yours. Anonymous – Pennsylvania: I am 42, have three children, and am receiving Social Security disability benefits. I also have become addicted to Xanax, which has been prescribed…

Employers are Helping to Clarify Real Health Costs

In Nashville, going to the Vanderbilt University Hospital emergency room for a moderate problem could be costly, according to detailed cost information compiled by a company called Healthcare Bluebook. The cost for the visit would be $1,584 – the highest among 30 area hospitals and nearly four times…

Medicare and Social Security Feel the Financial Heat

The trust funds supporting Social Security and Medicare have taken a double hit from the pandemic. While a gridlocked Congress has looked the other way for years as program finances deteriorated, the damage has reached the point that the new Congress elected this November cannot continue to kick this…

Trump Payroll Tax Deferments Make No Sense, Unless the Goal is to Attack Social Security

President Donald Trump’s executive order to defer Social Security payroll taxes for the last four months of 2020 takes effect tomorrow. I have not read any expert’s take on this that is favorable, so if you know of any positive punditry, please send me links, and I add them to the bottom of this…