1. Articles in category: Financial

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    1. ‘Medicare for All’s’ rich benefits ‘leapfrog’ other nations

      ‘Medicare for All’s’ rich benefits ‘leapfrog’ other nations

      The “Medicare for All” plan embraced by leading 2020 Democrats appears more lavish than what other advanced countries offer, compounding the cost but also potentially broadening its popular appeal.

      The plan from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would charge no copays or deductibles for medical care, allowing only limited cost-sharing for some prescription drugs. It would cover long-term care at home and in community settings. Dental, vision and hearing coverage would be included.

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    2. Let's Get Real About Health Care Costs In Retirement

      Let's Get Real About Health Care Costs In Retirement

      You won't pay for health care in retirement with one lump sum. That's the way these expenses are often presented, though, and the amounts are terrifying.

      Fidelity Investments, for example, says a couple retiring in 2019 at age 65 will need $285,000 for health expenses, not including nursing home or other long-term care.

      The Employee Benefits Research Institute says some couples could need up to $400,000 - again, not including long-term care.

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    3. How to control medical debt after a cancer diagnosis

      How to control medical debt after a cancer diagnosis

      Many Americans struggle with medical expenses. One in five Americans who have health insurance struggle to pay off their medical debt. For cancer patients with insurance, out-of-pocket costs can reach $12,000 just for one medication and average treatment costs can hit $150,000, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. And tragically, cancer patients are 2½ times more likely to declare bankruptcy than people without cancer, AARP Magazine reports.

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    4. The tax-smart way to loan money to family members

      The tax-smart way to loan money to family members

      You may want to help a young family member buy a first home or help a financially challenged relative or friend by loaning that person some money. Nice thought, but if you follow through, please make it a tax-smart loan. This column explains how to avoid adverse tax consequences when you make a personal loan to a relative or friend. The interest rate issue Most loans to family members or friends are below-market loans in tax lingo.

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    5. Chart of the Day: Health Insurance Inflation Hits 5-Year High

      Chart of the Day: Health Insurance Inflation Hits 5-Year High

      As of April, the Consumer Price Index for health insurance was up 10.7% over 12 months—the largest increase since at least April 2014, Modern Healthcare’s Shelby Livingston writes: “The likely reason health insurance inflation is rising is because of growth in managed care, including Medicare Advantage, Medicaid managed care and commercial insurance, according to Paul Hughes-Cromwick, an economist at Altarum. He noted that added administrative costs increase insurance price growth.”

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    6. A guide to getting real about health care costs in retirement

      A guide to getting real about health care costs in retirement

      You won't pay for health care in retirement with one lump sum. That's the way these expenses are often presented, though, and the amounts are terrifying. Fidelity Investments, for example, says a couple retiring in 2019 at age 65 will need $285,000 for health expenses, not including nursing homes or other long-term care. The Employee Benefits Research Institute says some couples could need up to $400,000 — again, not including long-term care.

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    7. California hospitals paid 209% of Medicare by private insurers, study finds

      California hospitals paid 209% of Medicare by private insurers, study finds

      The center's analysis of financial data filed by hospitals with the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development found that while Medicare paid an average of 79 percent of cost, private insurers paid an average of 165 percent of cost — more than twice as much as Medicare.

      Researchers uncovered substantial variation in how hospitals' private insurance payments compared to Medicare reimbursement. Private insurance payments averaged 364 percent of Medicare for the 10 percent of California hospitals with the highest ratio of private to Medicare payments. Comparatively, for the 10 percent with the lowest ratio, average private insurance payments were 89 percent of Medicare. 

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    8. Social Security benefits buy 33 percent less since 2000

      Social Security benefits buy 33 percent less since 2000

      Over the last two decades, inflation -- at least the official inflation rate -- has remained tame, and it even went down during the Great Recession. But it hasn’t been so tame for Americans living on Social Security. A new report by The Senior Citizens League found that Social Security benefits lost 33 percent of their purchasing power since 2000.

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    9. IRS audit rate continued to decline last year

      IRS audit rate continued to decline last year

      The Internal Revenue Service’s audit rate went down again in 2018, according to data released Monday by the IRS.

      The IRS Data Book for 2018 showed that compared to 2017, there were fewer audits during fiscal year 2018, from Oct. 1, 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018. The IRS audited more than 892,000 individual income tax returns during the fiscal year, down slightly from the previous year.

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      Mentions: Robert Williams
    10. US steps up enforcement of delinquent student loans

      US steps up enforcement of delinquent student loans

      The U.S. government stepped up collections on delinquent student debt to $2.9 billion last year -- or an average of $1,000 from 2.9 million former students and their cosigners, according to the Treasury Department. And the trend continues. In the first six months of fiscal 2019, which started Oct. 1, collections totaled $3.3 billion.

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    11. Social Security impostor scam: It's growing, and this is how it works

      Social Security impostor scam: It's growing, and this is how it works

      Social Security impostor scam: It's growing, and this is how it works David P. Willis Facing a cash shortfall of $13.9 trillion through 2093, the latest trustees report offers a very simple, yet effective, solution. More To scammers, your Social Security number is a gold-plated and diamond-encrusted asset , and now they have a new way to try to steal yours and get paid. Consumer advocates are raising an alert about a twist to an old impostor phone scam.

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    12. Social Security Buying Power Has Dropped a Whopping 33% Since 2000. Here's What the Average Check Is Now

      Social Security Buying Power Has Dropped a Whopping 33% Since 2000. Here's What the Average Check Is Now

      A retiree who collected the average Social Security check in 2000 has lost $407.90 in purchasing power over the past 19 years. More Social Security benefits have lost one third of their buying power since 2000, according to a report released Tuesday by The Senior Citizens League, a non-profit organization. Retirees’ monthly benefit checks have not kept up with the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs and other essential goods and services, resulting in a 33% drop in purchasing power.

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    13. Tariffs may boost next year's Social Security cost-of-living adjustment. Why that could be bad

      Tariffs may boost next year's Social Security cost-of-living adjustment. Why that could be bad

      The Social Security Office in Alhambra, California. More As Washington and Beijing face off on tariffs, there could be one unseen group affected: retirees. The Senior Citizens League , a nonpartisan group advocating for seniors, on Tuesday released its latest report on the buying power of Social Security benefits. The group also projected this year's Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment, or COLA, at 1.7% for 2020.

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    14. 4 Ways to Squeeze More 'Fun Money' Out of Your Budget

      4 Ways to Squeeze More 'Fun Money' Out of Your Budget

      When was the last time you had fun?  Can't remember.  Now, it's time to get past the notion that there's no money for fun. The key to having enough money to have a good time is to be smart with it in the first place.
      Truth is, with some planning you can have a few fun nights out now and then, you can travel too.  Here are four ways to build more fun money into your finances.

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    15. Long-Term Care Insurance Explained

      Long-Term Care Insurance Explained

      It might be hard to imagine now, but chances are you’ll need some help taking care of yourself later in life. The big question is: How will you pay for it?

      Buying long-term care insurance is one way to prepare. Long-term care refers to a host of services that aren’t covered by regular health insurance. This includes assistance with routine daily activities, like bathing, dressing or getting in and out of bed.

      A long-term care insurance policy helps cover the costs of that care when you have a chronic medical condition, a disability or a disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease. Most policies will reimburse you for care given in a variety of places, such as:

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