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5,087 posts
msg #143958
Ignore four
6/29/2018 10:24:26 AM
Howard Gold

5,087 posts
msg #143982
Ignore four
7/1/2018 11:39:12 AM

The 5 ideas are opposite of what is promoted in the current world

5,087 posts
msg #143986
Ignore four
7/2/2018 1:13:11 AM



" Failure is part of the expected result. "


"Research shows that when people are unable to get any kind of feedback about how well they are doing on a task, they quickly become disengaged from it."

"As a leader, “helping people see the impact of their work—their help—is one of the most important motivators you can wield.” "

5,087 posts
msg #144007
Ignore four
7/2/2018 11:44:03 PM

"And investors who buy Sears at a reasonable price will most likely enjoy enviable long-term returns as Lampert’s plans are eventually realized."

Article Date: December 2011
6 years later (July 2, 2018).. Is it a reasonable price? Are Lampert's plans realized?

Market Summary > Sears Holdings Corp
2.34 USD −0.030 (1.27%)
Closed: Jul 2, 4:24 PM EDT · Disclaimer
After hours 2.34 0.00 (0.00%)

5,087 posts
msg #144013
Ignore four
7/3/2018 1:27:04 AM

Nearing 65? Don't Get Caught By Medicare's 'Money Traps'

Jul. 2, 2018 9:30 AM ET|49 comments
Bonds, long-term horizon, I Bonds, TIPS
Medicare isn't free and in fact may end up costing more than you expect.

High-income earners may face substantially higher prices for Medicare coverage, as much as $8,800 a year in extra costs for a couple.

Which Medigap plan is best? If you want comprehensive coverage and travel overseas, choose Plan G over Plan F.

If you are just cresting over the age of 60 and anticipating a blissful life of retirement and excellent medical benefits at age 65, I have some bad news for you: Medicare isn't free. In fact, it's very likely that Medicare will cost you more per month than your premium for company-provided health insurance.

However, you'll finally be able to ditch that high-deductible health insurance plan and get much more comprehensive coverage under Medicare. So it's worth the cost. At age 65, plan on paying at least these costs if you choose to go with original Medicare, a supplement policy and a drug plan:

$134 a month (at least) for doctor and outpatient coverage under Medicare Plan B.
$110 (at least) for a comprehensive Medicare Supplement plan, also called Medigap.
$15 a month (at least) for Medicare prescription drug coverage, called Part D. Plus extra costs for the drugs you purchase.
That adds up to $259 a month, at least, for comprehensive coverage. But your costs could end up being substantially higher - $650 a month or more - under certain circumstances. If you are closing in on 65, now's the time to begin researching and preparing for Medicare-enrollment decisions.

Realize that Medicare costs vary for men and women and from state to state and company to company and probably will increase as you age. In this article, I have used 2018 pricing for a 65-year-old male in North Carolina. Your prices will vary, but the concepts for avoiding 'money traps' apply to everyone.

My Medicare adventure begins August 1, 2018. Here are the 'money traps' I've discovered along the way.

Two years out, beware of the IRMAA
Most people don't realize that the income they earn at age 63 is going to affect the amount they pay for Medicare when they turn 65. In fact, this can be a huge shock. The standard cost for Medicare Part B in 2018 is $134 a month, but that can zoom up to $428.60 a month for a high-income earner.

This extra charge - should we call it a tax? - on high earners is called the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). To determine if you are subject to IRMAA, Medicare uses the modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) reported on your IRS tax return from two years ago. So for a person starting Medicare in 2018, the government will look at the 2016 tax return.

What is MAGI? Take a look at your income-tax return and add together lines 37 (adjusted gross income) and 8B (tax-exempt interest). Here are the Medicare income breakdowns for 2018 and costs for Medicare Part B, based on MAGI reported on the 2016 tax return:

Medicare IRMAAThe brutal part: If your IRS-reported MAGI is just $1 above the income limit, you immediately move to the higher costs. There's no phase-in. If you have a spouse also enrolling in Medicare, you face double those higher costs. That could add up to more than $7,000 in annual extra costs for a couple.

And this is just for Part B coverage. There is also a surcharge added to Part D (drug coverage), known as Part D-IRMAA. Here are those costs for 2018:

Drug Plan IRMAAAdd it up: A high-income couple (based on income two years ago) could face extra Medicare charges of about $8,800 a year. So here's the warning: Watch your income level in the year you turn 63, and try to avoid rising above a level that will increase the IRMAA costs. That might mean avoiding a large capital gain, for example, or deferring as much income as you can, or putting off distributions from an IRA or 401(k). Even a maturing U.S. Savings Bond could push you over the limit.

The good news: You can appeal
Medicare, which is managed by the Social Security Administration, will lower or eliminate your IRMAA if you can show that you have experienced a life-changing event or have filed an amended tax return. Here are conditions that the SSA will consider:

You married, divorced, your marriage was annulled, or you became widowed;
You or your spouse stopped working or reduced work hours;
You or your spouse lost income-producing property due to a disaster or other event beyond your control;
You or your spouse experienced a scheduled cessation, termination, or reorganization of an employer’s pension plan; or
You or your spouse received a settlement from an employer or former employer because of the employer’s closure, bankruptcy, or reorganization
In my case, I was laid off from my newspaper job in October 2016 and received a buyout. I retired at that point but the buyout pushed our 2016 MAGI slightly above one of the IRMAA tiers. After I applied for Medicare in June, I received a letter from a local SSA office explaining I would be paying the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount. But the letter also listed the 'life-changing events' and I realized I might qualify to have the IRMAA reduced.

I called the SSA and - after a 40-minute wait on hold - told them I wanted to appeal. They said to find and fill out Form SSA-44 and mail it along with a copy of our 2017 IRS return to my local Social Security office, which sent the original IRMAA letter. I did that, and a few weeks later, I received word that the SSA had reduced our Part B and D extra charges.

Filing an appeal is well worth your time if you can show a life-changing event (loss of job, for example) and your IRS return backs up your claim of lower income in the next year.

Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage
At first glance, Medicare Advantage plans (also known as Medicare Part C) look like a great deal: Lower premiums combined with built-in drug coverage and possibly some dental and vision benefits. These plans cover about 30% of all people on Medicare. But while original Medicare (combined with a Medicare supplement) allows you to use any doctor or hospital accepting Medicare, most Medicare Advantage plans control costs by using doctors and hospitals in a network. If you go outside that single network, you will pay more or possibly not be covered at all. You may also face copay and/or deductible charges when you visit the doctor, and have limited access to specialists.

So if you are comfortable with a limited network of doctors and hospitals, a Medicare Advantage plan may be a cost-efficient choice. But if you want ultimate flexibility - and especially if you travel a lot - go with the Medicare/Medigap option. Medicare Advantage plans often operate only in certain regions, and generally don't cover emergency medical expenses outside of the United States.

(Also, with a Medicare Advantage plan, you will still be participating in Medicare Part B and be subject to the IRMAA costs described above. Medicare Advantage takes over, but does not replace, Part B.)

My wife and I travel a lot and want flexibility in health care. So original Medicare plus Medigap was the right choice for us, and would probably end up costing less in the long run.

Medigap quest: Comprehensive coverage
When you are shopping for a Medicare Supplement plan, you'll find there are more flavors than variations of Nabisco Triscuits (11 versus 10, at last count). Shopping for Triscuits is confusing; same for a Medicare Supplement policy. An important thing to remember is that Medigap policies are offered by private insurance companies, but are standardized. Coverage is exactly the same for every company offering plans A through N.

You can find a good comparison of these plans on

Let's assume you want a comprehensive Medigap plan - without a lot of co-pays and deductibles - and you want emergency coverage when you travel outside the country. Traditional Medicare will not cover emergency medical costs outside of the United States, but some Medigap plans will, covering 80% of costs up to plan limits. Those plans are C, D, F, G, M and N. So let's look at those:

Plan F is the most comprehensive Medigap plan. It covers everything on the chart. (View the chart here). Thumbs up.
Plan G is exactly the same as Plan F, except it does not cover the annual $183 Part B deductible. Thumbs up.
Plan C is exactly the same as Plan F, except it does not cover Part B excess charges. (Medicare Part B covers doctor’s visits and outpatient services.) Is this 'excess charge' important? Possibly. Doctors who don't accept Medicare "assignment" are legally allowed to bill you up to 15% more than the Medicare allowable amount. You'd have to pay this cost out of pocket if you don't have Plan F or G coverage. Thumbs down.
Plan D doesn't cover the annual $183 Part B deductible or the Part B excess charges. Thumbs down.
Plan M doesn't cover the annual $183 Part B deductible or the Part B excess charges and only covers 50% of the Part A deductible ($1,340 in 2018). Thumbs down.
Plan N adds a copay for some doctor office and emergency room visits, and also doesn't cover the annual $183 Part B deductible or the Part B excess charges. Thumbs down.
Medigap Plans F versus G: Just run the numbers
So, to review, Plans F and G are the only options that cover emergency medical costs outside the United States, plus Medicare Part B excess charges.

Plan F is the most comprehensive and expensive Medigap plan, and it also has been the most popular, chosen by 55% of Medigap policy holders in 2015, according to a study by Gorman Health Group. It even comes in two variations: regular and high-deductible ($2,240 in 2018).

So if you want comprehensive coverage, should you choose regular Plan F? The answer is no. As of 2020, Medicare will be phasing out both Plans C and F, the only plans that cover the Part B (doctor costs) deductible. So while Plans C and F will still be offered to renewing customers after 2020, there won't be any new enrollees. This may mean that rates for Plans C and F will climb faster than other Medigap coverage in the future as the customer population ages.

But setting the phase-out aside, you shouldn't go with Plan F anyway. The better choice is Plan G, which is growing greatly in popularity. Its coverage is exactly the same as the super-comprehensive Plan F, except that it does not cover the $183-a-year Plan B deductible.

Do the math. If the annual Plan F premiums exceed the costs of Plan G by more than $183, Plan G is the no-brainer choice. I did the math, and I believe in almost every case, Plan G will cost less than Plan F over a year. Here are the numbers for a 65-year-old male in North Carolina:

Plan F versus GThese are real savings, ranging from $85 to nearly $500 a year, depending on the insurer. Plan G is the new choice for people wanting a comprehensive Medigap policy.

Take a careful look at Medigap premiums
Although coverage under Plan G is exactly the same no matter the insurer, the prices insurers charge vary widely. These prices can be confusing, and in some cases, misleading. There are tools for comparing prices, including one on the government's excellent site, I did most of my research on the search tool provided by the North Carolina Department of Insurance.

After my initial search, I decided to go with Plan G coverage provided by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina, at a cost of $111.75 a month. Good company, good price. And I was baffled that the price of the UnitedHealthcare / ARRP policy was listed at $193.50 a month. Why so high?

In North Carolina, 57 companies offer a Part G Medigap policy, and 55 of them use 'attained-age pricing,' meaning that the price is based on your current age and will rise as you get older, even before inflation is figured in. In many cases, these prices are set in five-year blocks, such as 65 to 69, 70 to 74, and so on. Or the prices rise a small amount each year.

After doing some deep diving, I realized the Blue Cross/Blue Shield premium (at current pricing) would rise from $111.75 at age 65 to $144.25 when I reached age 66 - a rather nasty 36% increase in one year. The $111.75 was a 'teaser' rate. Not good.

On the other hand, I learned that UnitedHealthcare is the sole carrier in North Carolina offering 'community rating' pricing, which means it charges the same rate to all policyholders, regardless of age. That price in 2018 in North Carolina is $193.50 a month. But ... UnitedHealthcare then discounts that price by 36% for a person enrolling at age 65. The discount drops to 33% at age 66, 30% at age 67, and so on, until the discount is eliminated at age 77.

This unique pricing by UnitedHealthcare means - in general - that policyholders will pay more than 'typical costs' in early years of enrollment and less than typical in later years. This pricing rewards longevity.

Also, it's important to ask the insurer what discounts are offered. For example, UnitedHealthcare has a 5% discount if two people in a family are covered under its Medigap plans, and a 2% discount for automatic drafting of the monthly payments. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina doesn't offer these discounts. Mutual of Omaha has an even more generous discount - 12% - for anyone currently living with a significant other, even if the second person isn't yet enrolled in Medicare.

Here is my analysis of the current costs - in 2018 - for Plan G offered by UnitedHealthcare, BCBS/NC and Mutual of Omaha. Note that the total cost through age 89 is very close for UnitedHealthcare and Mutual of Omaha, but is substantially higher for BCBS/NC.

Comparing Plan G costsA final point: UnitedHealthcare dominates the Medigap market, with 34% of the policies and 4.3 million members, according to a 2016 study by Mark Farrah Associates. This is no doubt due to its partnership with AARP. Mutual of Omaha comes in second with 10% of the market.

The AARP partnership means that it is easy to get answers from UnitedHealthcare representatives, any day of the week. I had trouble reaching some other Medigap providers and even heard, "Our offices are closed, call again Monday morning after 9 a.m."

What about a drug plan?
It's important to sign up for Medicare Part D when you enroll in Medicare because you'd face a late-enrollment penalty if you delay signing up. The formula is complicated, but don't fall into that trap. Sign up.

If you don't take any prescription drugs, enroll in an inexpensive drug plan that has network pharmacies near your home. That might cost $13 or so a month, unless you face an extra IRMAA charge. Drug plans can be changed every year, and in fact, you should shop every year for a new plan that best meets your needs. The site has a search tool that can estimate your costs under each plan, shows participating pharmacies and includes star ratings for each provider.

In my case, I take a single generic prescription drug that costs about $60 a year at retail. For that one drug, I'll be paying $13 a month for a Part D plan, another $13 for IRMAA in 2018-19 and maybe $4 for the drug, for a total of $300+ a year for my $60 drug. But you never know what will come. You need to have Medicare's drug coverage.

You can get help from a SHIP ...
As you approach age 65, you are going to be bombarded with mailings and phone calls pitching Medicare. If you search for information on company websites, they will almost always require you to enter an address and phone number before you continue, which will step up the mailings and calls.

Some of the mailed information is very good; this is how I got the first hint of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield 'teaser' rate. But the phone calls! In one day, I got seven telemarketer calls, before noon. I accidentally answered one in the car.

"Hello David, I am calling from Medicare Support," said the man with a heavy Eastern European accent.

Me: "Medicare Support, what is Medicare Support?"

Man: "It is to help you ..."

Me: "Why would I want Medicare Support, I'm 27 years old!"


In these months before age 65, don't answer your phone - landline or cell - if you don't know the caller. Telemarketers and scammers rarely leave a message.

A better idea. About six months before you enroll in Medicare, I highly recommend making an appointment to talk with a Medicare counselor in your state. Here is a list of these offices in each state. The program is generally called SHIP, but in North Carolina it's called SHIIP. It stands for State Health Insurance Programs or in North Carolina's case, Seniors' Health Insurance Information Program. SHIPs operate in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The counseling is free. SHIP counselors are state-certified experts in Medicare and won't try to sell you on a particular product. They are there to provide advice and guidance toward sensible choices. My wife and I spent 90 minutes with a highly qualified counselor a few months ago and came away with a much clearer idea of the path ahead.

These choices aren't easy; in fact, the entire Medicare spectrum of issues is bewildering and daunting. This article doesn't cover them all, and your issues could be much different from mine. Good luck hunting!

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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Comments 49

Comments (1217) |+ Follow
Excellent and thanks.
02 Jul 2018, 09:53 AM Reply5Like

Comments (276) |+ Follow
Very useful. Thanks!
02 Jul 2018, 10:11 AM Reply4Like

Red Rabbit
Comments (5) |+ Follow
excellent primer for the person turning 60 or so. Medicare is a perfect example of government simplicity at work. NOT!
02 Jul 2018, 10:24 AM Reply6Like

mike s
Comments (8) |+ Follow
Great article, thanks for all the good info.
02 Jul 2018, 10:24 AM Reply2Like

Comments (10880) |+ Follow
Good info - thanks
Once again, the rich pay !
02 Jul 2018, 10:44 AM Reply3Like

Experience Counts
Comments (158) |+ Follow
Ordinary people who have saved money in an IRA or pension plan pay! Been there, done that!
02 Jul 2018, 03:01 PM Reply6Like

Tipswatch, Contributor
Comments (350) |+ Follow
Author’s reply » Bit of a Catch-22, also, because Medicare's IRMAA is based on income two years ago. If it was high, you pay more now, possibly much more. Then you have to raise the cash to pay the higher current costs, and that raises your current MAGI, and you inch closer to higher costs two years from now.
02 Jul 2018, 03:10 PM Reply2Like

Comments (2) |+ Follow
Beautiful article! Thanks for sharing.
02 Jul 2018, 10:44 AM Reply2Like

Comments (549) |+ Follow
Good article. Very close to making these decisions. Thanks much for the review.
02 Jul 2018, 12:36 PM Reply2Like

Comments (755) |+ Follow
Its all relative, my wife went from a Obama platinum plan $1300 to United F for $340.
02 Jul 2018, 01:10 PM Reply5Like

Comments (3100) |+ Follow
US Medicare is a mixed bag. US Medicare depends upon wealth transfer ala Democratic Socialism writ large across all citizens.
I ain't complaining about Medicare because it props up the US health care vertical well enough.
SA readers: regional healthcare systems are springing up across the US. Here is how these state of the art digitalized systems work. They partner with insurance companies to reduce patient costs, improve local health statistics vis a vis health outcomes (e.g., preventative programs), track program efficacy (i.e., cost / benefits). Insurance companies test e-health and EHRs to boot.
You can invest in this trend. You can bank your family's future health by moving to Metropolitan Statistical Areas actively supporting this trend. Understand that different regions are standardizing and usually digitally interoperable. The relevant hierarchy is State, Counties, optionally a large City along side a regulated regional health care system contracting with hospitals, specialty centers, urgent health care units, doctors, practices.
US citizens have learned about "health deserts" and "food deserts". Now there are "health oases".
02 Jul 2018, 02:47 PM Reply0Like

Comments (2) |+ Follow
Great article. Thanks.
02 Jul 2018, 03:34 PM Reply2Like

Comments (519) |+ Follow
Thanks for the article. This provided a different look than other articles that I have read. I'm 29,584 work hours away from being Medicare eligible, but my wife is older then me and will qualify in three years, two months so I'm trying to gain as much insight as possible.
02 Jul 2018, 03:43 PM Reply2Like

Comments (510) |+ Follow
Great article and helpful for me personally (as I turn 62 this month).
Thanks for sharing your experiences.
02 Jul 2018, 03:53 PM Reply3Like

Comments (510) |+ Follow
FYI, looks like one can file a form to decrease the IRMAA in future years (assuming the MAGI is lower).
02 Jul 2018, 04:05 PM Reply0Like

Tipswatch, Contributor
Comments (350) |+ Follow
Author’s reply » Yes, I mentioned that in the article and included a link to the form, SSA-44. The appeal worked for me.
02 Jul 2018, 04:17 PM Reply0Like

Comments (61) |+ Follow
This was a wealth of info and very well written so that anyone can understand. Thank you for taking the time to share!
02 Jul 2018, 04:09 PM Reply3Like

Comments (593) |+ Follow
Thanks for this article. I started my analysis this year (will turn 64 in a few days) and this article is helpful. Am unloading a rental house pretty soon. I’m glad I didn’t unload last year as I wasn’t aware that Medicare looked at AGI from two years back. For better or worse I was unemployed then, with only my wife working so our AGI should be ok. They don’t look at AGI just one year prior to Medicare do they?
02 Jul 2018, 04:20 PM Reply0Like

Tipswatch, Contributor
Comments (350) |+ Follow
Author’s reply » Each year becomes the MAGI number for two years in the future. So this year’s income will be the basis for 2020.
02 Jul 2018, 04:36 PM Reply3Like

Comments (96) |+ Follow
Under no circumstances should a person fall for any of the "Medicare Advantage" plans. This takes you out of Medicare and into the clutches of a private insurance plan and you know what that means. Lots of limitations. And you can only get back into the real Medicare once per year during open season in December. Don't fall for it.
The real Medicare is part A, B, and D. Only get A, B, and D.
Do not, I repeat, do not fall for an "Advantage" plan. You will regret it once you get very sick. It is a total con job designed to fool people into thinking they are saving money by shoving them into an HMO. It is penny wise and pound foolish. It's basically for people who think they are ever so much more clever because they got out of co-payments with their new HMO plan.
02 Jul 2018, 04:34 PM Reply7Like

Comments (2503) |+ Follow
Are you sure you're not overstating your case?
Anyone here happy/satisfied with an MA plan ?
02 Jul 2018, 05:26 PM Reply0Like

Comments (102) |+ Follow
JunkBonester is absolutely right!!!
Medicare Advantage is fine if you are healthy and only need routine office visits/generic maintenance prescriptions. Medicare Advantage plan doctors/physicians assistants are generally less experienced and not as likely to be able to diagnosis non-routine medical ailments.
For a Medicare Advantage client who suffers a catastrophic health event, Medicare Advantage is a death sentence. They minimize care for patient care so they can maintain their profit. They treat their patients with costly claims badly to force them to switch to Medicare.
It's not personal, it's just business.
02 Jul 2018, 06:35 PM Reply0Like

Comments (2503) |+ Follow
Call me skeptical of these scare tactics.
You mean If someone has a heart attack they get different treatment if they are on MA? Maybe they get wheeled right to the morgue.
Any stat studies showing this to be true?
02 Jul 2018, 06:44 PM Reply0Like

Comments (102) |+ Follow
Here is an example of how Medicare Advantage treats a stroke patient.
The article is from 2014 but I know people who have Medicare Advantage who are still be treated in the same manner in June 2018 until their advocates insist on recovery benefits that they are entitled to.
Medicare Advantage is able to fly under the radar because their clients are generally are uninformed about their rights and/or are intimidated by Medicare Advantage reps.
02 Jul 2018, 08:36 PM Reply0Like

Comments (1013) |+ Follow
Health insurance is itself a scam: take the premium first, pay the service providers later, with conditions & exceptions. HMOs working w providers are worse: patients showing up at the doors make them unhappy.
02 Jul 2018, 08:41 PM Reply1Like

Comments (1013) |+ Follow
why would a person on MA be wheeled to the morgue? that would stop the premium stream, better alive than dead.
02 Jul 2018, 08:46 PM Reply0Like

Comments (7) |+ Follow
Red Flag warning: you are correct - there are so many variations for individuals and potential pitfalls that everyone approaching age 65 needs to become their own expert. My individual situation is different that those described, however I should have been better prepared and could have avoided an extra surcharge. My income was few dollars above one of Medicares thresholds and I got hammered. My spouse is rapidly approaching that age and we will have to come up with Plan B, or get a double hammering - all for 35 years of frugal living, savings, and investing to be prepared for retirement.
Unfortunately, I think Social Security will also develop a similar income "means test" to trim benefits for those that made life long efforts to prepare for retirement.
Thanks for the timely (but a little late for me) article.
02 Jul 2018, 04:35 PM Reply7Like

Comments (120) |+ Follow
Excellent article! Thank you for initiating this discussion.
02 Jul 2018, 05:02 PM Reply1Like

Comments (594) |+ Follow
I turned 64.5 over the weekend, so it’s time to get to work on this. Thanks for this helpful article. The SHIP advice alone is worth the read. And I’ve thought Plan F is what I’d take, but G sounds better if my numbers are similar to the article discussion on F versus G.
Also, my landline phone has been ringing off the hook recently, and I don’t pick up unless I recognize the phone number. Now I know why!
02 Jul 2018, 05:08 PM Reply1Like

Comments (1) |+ Follow
Excellent article. Clear and informative. Just like your TIPS and IBonds articles. Thank You. Only wish you were a year older so I would have learned about increased Medicare premiums with AGI above $170,00 before withdrawing extra funds from Deferred Comp account this year.
02 Jul 2018, 05:29 PM Reply2Like

Comments (93) |+ Follow
I love the way that the overwhelming amount of information was condensed into what matters and what is fluff. I am in my 40s, but I like to know what is going on with money manners and looked over the article since I have not come across a more concise and easy to follow one before. I think it also elevates the bar on due diligence.
02 Jul 2018, 05:31 PM Reply1Like

Comments (2) |+ Follow
Thanks for taking the time to write the article. Very informative.
02 Jul 2018, 05:57 PM Reply1Like

Comments (1519) |+ Follow
The US health care insurance system is way too complicated, from the ACA to Medicare and it's add ons. It needs to be simplified!
02 Jul 2018, 06:11 PM Reply0Like

Comments (985) |+ Follow
Yes, and makes it easy for scammers to take advantage of folks due to complexity.
02 Jul 2018, 07:54 PM Reply1Like

Comments (57) |+ Follow
Geezzz, going to have re-read this article, as it has a lot of great info that I am going to have to get a grip on...ARG!
02 Jul 2018, 06:21 PM Reply0Like

Comments (12) |+ Follow
Thank you. A very worthwhile read.
02 Jul 2018, 06:59 PM Reply0Like

Comments (985) |+ Follow
I am sure many will be helped by this article. Bless you for sharing.
02 Jul 2018, 07:51 PM Reply0Like

Comments (1267) |+ Follow
Very nicely written for those who are close to or already at age 65. In the next several years we probably will have a very different medical care insurance system and rules for medicare will change too.
They should lower the medicare age to around 55. If your job is outsourced or lost for other reasons in your 50s who will hire? Also if they reduce the age, those who can afford to retire early will leave the job market, and free up the job for younger people, it is not a terrible solution.
Best to get a public school teacher or a law enforcement job at an early age, in some states they retire by around age 50 or even younger with free/subsidized health care, guaranteed pension for life and other benefits, who knew.
02 Jul 2018, 08:30 PM Reply1Like

Comments (1013) |+ Follow
Thank you for good information. Also one needs to register w Medicare authority 6 months ahead of one's 65 birthday to avoid paying premium penalty for the rest of life.
02 Jul 2018, 08:36 PM Reply1Like

Comments (2503) |+ Follow
Fake news vic
02 Jul 2018, 10:45 PM Reply0Like

Comments (27) |+ Follow
Thank you. This is an awesome article.
02 Jul 2018, 08:50 PM Reply0Like

Comments (5332) |+ Follow
Even with our best efforts, my wife and I are caught in the "trap"
There is a point where one can only shield so much income, especially with two defined benefit pensions and five million in investments.
The worst of this is, because of our defined benefit type pensions, all the income we made on other ventures that was paid into social security during our employment history was lost (around $400,000.00) and was not calculated in our ss benefit...only the money we p in ss before and after our employment. This is thanks to the 1986 law limiting pensions of those with certain defined benefits.
I''m not complaining as we are more than well off, but it sucks not to be treated equally.
02 Jul 2018, 09:04 PM Reply2Like

User 11948651
Comments (23) |+ Follow
A lot of really useful and timely information, well-communicated. Thanks!
02 Jul 2018, 09:25 PM Reply0Like

Chillin' Out
Comments (148) |+ Follow
Outstanding article -- although I'm only going to be 60 this year, this has been on my mind. Also, appreciate some of the thoughts in the comments regarding private Medicare Advantage policies.
02 Jul 2018, 09:51 PM Reply0Like

Comments (5332) |+ Follow
If you are buying a MA Plan, make sure there is no limit - or a $1,000.000. limit on the benefits. Many MA policies are worthless for major or long term illness because of caps in coverage.
AETNA has a good MA, and I'm sure you can investifate and findothers.
02 Jul 2018, 10:28 PM Reply0Like

Comments (62) |+ Follow
Good article and good to know. However, the Medicare premiums relative to income are extremely cheap. So cheap in fact that it just isn't an issue.
We are retiring next year at 59 and Obamacare premiums and deductibles to bridge the gap to Medicare are astronomical. If our income is $65k or greater, that route will cost us in the neighborhood of $25,000 per year for a Silver plan with a $10k deductible.
I've been studying Obamacare since it came out and there's only one way game it: Keep your income under the subsidy cliff threshold by sheltering some assets in say non-dividend paying stocks (e.g. Berkshire) and get the cheapest highest deductible Bronze plan as catastrophic coverage.
Calibrate your income properly and you can get the Bronze plan for free. You will however pay for all routine medical costs 100% out of pocket each year as the deductible is so high. You have to get really sick for it to pay anything.
Medicare at even the highest cost is an amazing bargain by comparison.
02 Jul 2018, 10:03 PM Reply0Like

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Good article. I was surprised by the Part D surcharge for our income. We get drug coverage from a separate carrier. Hence I was surprised by the extra charge for drug coverage. We never signed up for Part D but still have to pay the extra premium based on our income. No wonder we feel like the government is stealing from us.
02 Jul 2018, 10:26 PM Reply0Like

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Thanks for an excellent article. Much appreciated.
02 Jul 2018, 10:45 PM Reply0Like

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Thank you!
03 Jul 2018, 01:11 AM

5,087 posts
msg #144023
Ignore four
7/4/2018 2:31:34 AM

Quote of the Day
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

5,087 posts
msg #144025
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7/4/2018 12:12:19 PM


"Bloomberg View columnist Barry Ritholtz interviews Annie Duke, an expert in the science of decision-making and for decades one of the top poker players in the world. In 2004, she bested a field of 234 players to win her first World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet. The same year, she triumphed in the $2 million winner-take-all, invitation-only WSOP Tournament of Champions. In 2010, she won the prestigious NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Prior to becoming a professional poker player, Annie was awarded the National Science Foundation Fellowship and studied cognitive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her latest book is "Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts."

Main Site-- Brry Ritholtz Podcasts:

5,087 posts
msg #144031
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7/5/2018 12:07:15 PM

"The income tax treats ordinary saving more harshly than income used for
• The tax code treats a limited amount of personal saving, namely that done
through retirement savings vehicles, in a neutral way relative to consumption.
• Retirement plans provide an important source of retirement income for the
middle class; more than half of taxable private-sector retirement income
flows to households with AGI under $100,000.
• The complex structure of retirement savings plans and the rules and
restrictions applied to these savings vehicles limit their effectiveness in
reducing the tax bias against saving and create an incentive for immediate

Article in PDF

5,087 posts
msg #144041
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7/6/2018 1:07:11 PM

"Bloomberg View columnist Barry Ritholtz interviews the fascinating Victor Niederhoffer, a nationally ranked squash champion and former Berkeley professor of finance and statistics. An undeniably brilliant man who was still unable to adequately manage risk, he offers crucial lessons for all traders. In his first book, "The Education of a Speculator," he reveals the risk-embracing style that created his first fortune. In his follow-up, "Practical Speculation," he almost -- but doesn’t quite -- accept responsibility for the prior disaster. It was published before the devastating second set of losses suffered during the credit crisis."

5,087 posts
msg #144049
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7/8/2018 5:27:16 PM
Brett Steenbarger, Ph.D.

"Why do so many pursue a living from markets when there is clear evidence that the great majority never succeed?"


"Perhaps, just perhaps, people seek trading--against all odds, against all common sense--because the pursuit of a remotely possible winning life feels preferable to assured misery. It's the same reason refugees defy all odds on the high seas in hopes of a better home, a better life. What many aspiring traders need is not false hopes, but genuine, viable alternatives to the traditional "opportunities" out there."


"Trading psychology is much easier when we have a genuine "why" underlying our actions. Too many people are pursuing trading because they can't figure out another way to work independently and make enough money to support themselves. This is understandable, but invariably ends badly. People setting themselves up as gurus are all too willing to exploit the desire to make a living from trading. "

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