Should you Purchase Health Insurance or Pay the Penalty?

This article first appeared in on September 17, 2013

drug vialsObamacare is right around the corner, with most of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) policy changes taking place in early 2014. But one recent change to the ACA could drastically affect many individuals who thought their employer would provide the requisite coverage.

A major component of the ACA is the requirement of organizations with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance benefits to their full-time staff. However, this component was postponed until January 1, 2015. That means that the employees of companies who fall into this category may not immediately receive health benefits through their employer or coverage that is sufficient to meet the criteria, and will be required to either purchase individual health insurance by March 31, 2014 or pay a fine that will be collected when filing 2014 income taxes.

This delay will end up directing more people into the new federal and state insurance exchanges, or “Health Insurance Marketplaces.” Plans are available in four tiers of premiums and deductibles designated as “Bronze”, “Silver”, “Gold”, and “Platinum”. Purchasers can compare plans and pick insurance policies that best fit their needs.

The question many people are asking themselves is, “Should I buy health insurance or pay the fee?”

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4 Strategies to Maximize Retirement Income

This article first appeared in on November 28, 2013.

Retirement Fund 3More than seven out of 10 Americans worry about outliving their income during retirement, according to a recent survey by Prudential PUK +1.57% Retirement. Decades of pension plan conversions to profit-sharing plans, combined with a stock market decline of more than 50% in 2008 and falling real estate values have devastated savings and retirement accounts nationwide. As a result, a combination of post-retirement work, Social Security benefits, and prudent portfolio management is going to be necessary for most baby boomers to retire during the next two decades. Implementing the following steps can help you maximize your post-retirement income so that you remain financially independent during your golden years.

1. Continue to Work

According to a recent Gallup Poll, almost three-quarters of U.S. workers intend to work past retirement age, 40% by choice and 35% due to necessity. Delaying retirement as long as possible makes economic and psychological sense due to the following reasons:

  • Increased Financial Security During Retirement. The last years of work are typically the highest income-earning years of employment. At the same time, most of life’s major expenses – buying a house, educating children, acquiring significant assets – are over, so that a greater proportion of income can be devoted to savings.
  • Improved Mental and Physical Health. According to Carol Dufouil, at a recent presentation at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, the risk of getting dementia drops by 3.2% for every year worked past retirement age. Study after study indicates that people who continue to work live longer and are in better health than those who retire at age 65 or earlier, and the benefits are present for those who worked full-time or part-time.

Unless your job is too physically demanding or stressful, seek to extend your employment, either full-time or part-time, as long as possible.

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8 Tips to Protect Yourself from Rising Healthcare Costs

Rising healthcare costsThe impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, informally referred to as “Obamacare,” is likely to be felt by Americans in the near future through higher healthcare insurance premiums, increased difficulty in making doctor appointments, and decreased face-to-face consultations with their personal physicians. While the exorbitant annual increases in healthcare costs of past years could moderate – and possibly reverse – in the long-term as a result of the act, everyone should be prepared for higher healthcare expenses in the short-term.

Each American will be required to assume more financial responsibility for his or her health. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to moderate the higher costs while improving the health of yourself and your family. Most steps merely involve simple changes in lifestyle and everyday habits.

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