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Social Security Changes in 2018 - What to look for in your benefits in the new year. Benefits jump Social Security recipients will get a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their monthly benefit payments, the largest increase since 2012. Higher tax cap Workers now contribute 6.2 percent of their earnings to Social Security up to an income of $127,200. That ceiling rises to $128,700 in 2018. Full retirement age gets older For those born in 1956, the full retirement age climbs to 66 and 4 months. That’s up from 66 and 2 months for those born in 1955. Maximum benefits to rise For those retiring at full retirement age, the maximum payout increases 3.7 percent to $2,788 a month, or $33,456 a year. That’s up from $2,687 a month, or $32,244 a year. New earnings limit For beneficiaries who work while collecting Social Security, those younger than full retirement age can earn up to $17,040 in 2018 without being penalized, up from $16,920 in 2017. Above that level, you’ll lose $1 in benefits for every $2 earned. The earnings limit is $45,360 for those who will hit their full retirement age in 2018. Gone digital The Social Security Administration stopped mailing paper statements, which detail past yearly earnings and provide retirement benefits estimates, to most workers in 2017. Two-step online account access You’ll need an email address or cellphone as a second identification method besides a username and password for online account access. Benefits for the disabled Disability payments increase $10 to $1,180 a month. For those who are legally blind, monthly payments will be $1,970 a month, up from $1,950 in 2017. Read full article Related: Social Security Question and Answer Tool… more
1 day ago
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What's new for Medicare in 2018? Here's the latest on Part B and D monthly premiums and Medicare Advantage costs. Part B premiums • If you are on Medicare but not yet collecting Social Security benefits, your Part B monthly premium is expected to hold steady at $134. • If you are collecting Social Security, which automatically pays your Part B premium, you’re paying about $109 a month in 2017. That amount could change for 2018 depending on how the 2 percent Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) affects your individual monthly payment. Medicare Advantage (MA) premiums dip The average monthly premium is expected to be about $30 next year, a slight decrease of $1.91 a month. MA plans are a private insurance alternative to original Medicare. They cover Part A (hospital), Part B (doctor and other outpatient services) and usually Part D, prescription drugs. More choice of MA plans The number of MA plans available across the country is increasing. In 2018, 99 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will have access to an MA plan, and 85 percent will be able to choose among 10 or more MA plans. Prescription drug (Part D) premiums dip These monthly charges are expected to decline slightly to an average of $33.50, compared with $34.70 a month in 2017. This premium decline will be the first for Part D since 2012. Part D coverage gap narrows For 2018, once you have incurred $3,750 worth of drug costs, you’ll be in the coverage gap. At that point, you’ll pay 35 percent of the cost of brand-name drugs and 44 percent of generics. You’ll continue to pay those prices until the total cost of your drugs reaches $5,000. Once you’ve hit that limit, you’ll pay no more than 5 percent of your drug costs for the rest of the year. High-income surcharges For 2018, if you are an individual earning $133,500 a year or a couple earning $267,000 a year, your premiums will increase. Read full article Related: What You Need to Know About Medicare Part D… more
1 day ago
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The federal government is launching an effort to stop nursing homes from illegally discharging residents who are sometimes left homeless or hospitalized for months when they are evicted. In 2015, these advocates for nursing home residents received more than 9,000 such complaints. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees nursing homes, said it has begun an examination of this widespread problem and will explore ways to combat it. Read full article Related: What You Need to Know About Nursing Homes… more
1 day ago
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For the next two years, all taxpayers can write off health care spending that exceeds 7.5 percent of their income. The new federal tax law preserves the ability of millions of Americans with high medical expenses to deduct those costs from their returns. You may be surprised at some of the medical costs that are deductible. Read the full article to look at what is and isn’t eligible. Related: IRS Demands Proof of Health Insurance… more
1 day ago
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Great Second Careers - For six months, the editors at the AARP Bulletin searched America to find ordinary people who have done extraordinary things with their second careers. 1. Dog Walker, $40,000 a year 2. Museum CEO, $100,000 a year 3. Air Rescue, $53,000 a year 4. Sailboat Captain, $52,000 a year 5. Personal Trainer, $30,000 a year 6. Innkeepers, $160,000 a year 7. Real Estate Agent, $50,000-90,000 a year 8. Bicycle Tour Guide, $40-100 an hour 9. Organic Farmers, $100,000 sales per year 10. Store Owner, $0 salary in first year 11. Skin-Care Entrepreneur, $100,000 a year 12. Company Founder, $120,000 a year 13. Photographer, $5,000 a year 14. Park Ranger, $15,000 a year 15. Flight Attendant, $38,000 a year 16. Physician, $250,000 a year 17. Nurse, $70,000 a year 18. Massage Therapist, $30,000 a year 19. Voiceover Artist, $20,000 a year 20. Reference Librarian, $45,000 a year 21. Inventor, $100,000 a year 22. Attorney, $25,00-30,000 a year Read full article Related: Second Career Missteps to Avoid… more
1 day ago
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AARP’s Top U.S. Destinations for 2018 New Orleans. The Big Easy is celebrating its 300th anniversary all year. So don’t miss out — if any city knows how to toss a party, it’s NOLA. Healdsburg, Calif. Healdsburg, a pretty town surrounded by vineyards, about an hour north of San Francisco, escaped damage and is open for tourist business. Houston. The nation’s fourth-largest city is rebounding from a disastrous late-summer hit by Hurricane Harvey. But tourist areas escaped major damage, the Astros won the World Series, and the city is hitting home runs with its lineup of museums and restaurants. Kodiak Island, Alaska. Reached by plane or ferry from Anchorage, it is home to its own species of bear, and guides can take you to watch them catch fish and play in their natural habitat. Charleston, SC. Step back in time by choosing a B&B in an antebellum home in the compact tourist area. Get a view of historic Fort Sumter from the waterfront Battery. Some come to this city just for the cuisine. See full slideshow Related: AARP's 2018 Top International Destinations… more
1 day ago • Edited
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Blood pressure readings of 130 as the top number or 80 as the bottom number now are considered to be high. High readings had been defined as 140/90. The AHA's new guideline is designed to encourage people to take earlier steps to control their blood pressure. Read full article Related: Quiz - How High Is Your Blood Pressure IQ?… more
1 day ago • Edited
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A new study suggests saunas may reduce the risk of high blood pressure. The findings: The men who went to saunas two to three times a week were 24 percent less likely to have hypertension than those who went once a week or less. Those who took four to seven saunas a week reduced their risk by nearly half (46 percent). Read full article Related: Foods that Naturally Lower Blood Pressure… more
1 day ago • Edited
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