How to Battle Pandemic Winter Blues

Good news seems in short supply these days, so when I find some, I like to pass it along. Older people, it turns out, are more resistant to mental stress and depression than younger age groups. As winter approaches with alarming COVID-19 case counts and lockdown protocols, resistance to stress and depression…

How to Fix Annual Health Care Enrollments

Every fall, nearly everyone with health insurance must pick the coverage they want for the next calendar year. And every year since I’ve been writing about the subject, I see a flurry of stories about how people can make good choices but often do not. On cue, health experts lament that open enrollments…

Medicare Announces 2021 Premiums and Deductibles

While the nation was mesmerized with election returns late last week, Medicare announced modest increases in premiums and cost-sharing figures that will take effect next year. PART B The standard monthly premium for Part B of Medicare will be $148.50, up by $3.90 (2.7 percent) from $144.60 this…

Divided Government Means Small Ball for Health Reform

President-elect Joe Biden may be facing off the next two years against Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, who is unlikely to depart from his consistent and effective refusal to consider substantive health reforms. That was Wall Street’s take-away last week. Health stocks soared after it became…

The Coming Battles Over Disclosing Real Health Costs

The Trump Administration last week issued sweeping price disclosure rules that would require health providers and insurers to tell consumers the real prices of care, permitting them to comparison shop for the best deal and understand what their out-of-pocket costs would be. The disclosure requirements…

ACA Open Enrollment Begins November 1

The annual enrollment period for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) begins in most states on November 1. Rules may differ in your state, so check  for details. Typical premiums are expected to decline a bit (2 percent), although the costs for family coverage are hardly a bargain. More insurers…

Social Security Announces Modest 2021 Benefit Increase

Social Security benefits will rise 1.3 percent in 2021, the agency announced. Such a modest cost of living adjustment (COLA) -- $20 a month for the average beneficiary -- normally would translate into meager 2012 benefit gains once Medicare beneficiaries back out higher 2021 monthly premiums for Part…