Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Retirees May Well Worry About Health-Care Reform

Retirees May Well Worry About Health-Care Reform
Retirement health-care costs are steep -- are you prepared?

(Source Yahoo Finance, Market Watch) If things weren't bleak before, they certainly are now. Men and women retiring today will need truckloads of money to pay for health-care expenses over the course of their retirement, according to a new study.

And that was the case long before we learned that President Barack Obama plans to cut $313 billion in Medicare and Medicaid spending and reform this nation's health-care system. It's anybody's guess what retirees might need if those reform plans become a reality.
For the time being, at least, the reality is this: Men retiring at age 65 in 2009 will need from $68,000 to $173,000 in savings to cover health-insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses in retirement if they want a 50/50 chance of being able to have enough money, and $134,000 to $378,000 if they prefer a 90% chance, according to a study published last week by the Employee Benefits Research Institute.

Meanwhile, women -- with their greater longevity -- will need even more money. A women retiring at age 65 in 2009 will need from $98,000 to $242,000 in savings to cover insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses in retirement for a 50/50 chance of having enough money, and $164,000 to $450,000 for a 90% chance, said Paul Fronstin, an EBRI researcher, in the report.

But it gets worse. Many Americans may need even more money than the amounts cited above, Fronstin said, because his "analysis does not factor in the savings needed to cover long-term care expenses, nor does it take into account the fact that many individuals retire prior to becoming eligible for Medicare."

Simply opening one's eyes to the issue is key, said Stephen Huth of CCH Inc., a Riverwoods, Ill., publisher and unit of Wolters Kluwer. "Just knowing this is a problem is a good first step," he said. "Few individuals plan for retirement at all, and a small percentage of those even think about health-care costs.

"Even with all the talk about health-care reform, little has been said about the looming crisis for many older individuals," he said.

Next Steps Depend on How Old You Are.
Read Article...

THE INFLUENCE GAME: Health bills prompt grumbles
THE INFLUENCE GAME: Grumbling gets louder as unveiling of health bills gives lobbyists targets

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For President Barack Obama, the MRIs and other medical scans for Medicare patients that cost the government billions are prime targets for cuts to help finance health care overhaul.

The response from physicians and industry: a lobbying counterattack accusing Obama of denying patients the lifesaving tools they need.

Patients, rural doctors and advocacy groups who back the procedures will gather in the House Wednesday for a panel discussion, part of the campaign.

The industry spearheaded a bipartisan letter to Obama from 57 House members objecting to the cuts. It has staged events in North Carolina and other states where senators face re-election next year. And it is using a Web site and newspaper ads to encourage people to complain to Congress about the proposal.

The fight highlights a pivotal moment for one of Obama's chief priorities, revamping the nation's health care system to reduce costs and cover the nearly 50 million uninsured Americans, while finding the roughly $1 trillion needed to do it over the next decade. As the president and lawmakers translate rhetoric into legislation, it is decision time for groups that so far have backed the concept of improving health care without knowing the fine print.

The specifics have sparked grumbling from interests like the insurance industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who dislike what they see. They have also triggered intensified efforts by would-be winners -- like labor and advocates for low-income people -- to nail down potential gains.
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