So Long 2015, Hello 2016!

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Like many of you, I can’t quite believe that the holiday season is already upon us.

This is my last blog of the year, so I’ll keep it short and let you get back to thinking about last minute shopping and drinking eggnog…

I would first like to announce our 2016 Retirement Health Care Cost Data Report, which will be published early in 2016. In this report, we will address the changes to Social Security filing strategies, COLAs, Medicare Surcharges, and health care inflation.

Now, 2015 was an important year for the retirement planning industry. The fed’s announcement that rising interest rates have moved us out of the financial crisis, changes to Social Security filing strategies and COLAs, and the progress of the DOLs new fiduciary rule all generated headlines.

These events could have an impact on the important work being undertaken by the financial industry and the advisors who work to prepare future generations for retirement. How significant an impact however, remains to be seen.

While the events mentioned above generated a lot of attention, there was a significant change that received comparatively less recognition. Specifically, the alteration of Medicare surcharges via the Doc Fix legislation earlier this year. As a result, retirees could be hit with higher surcharges, due to the changes moving many retirees to higher Medicare Means Testing brackets. This change underlines an ongoing health care trend affecting working and retired Americans: the impact of continued cost shifting on individuals.

When we look back at 2015, I believe it will be seen as the year when retirement health care costs shifted to a more mainstream focus, as should be the case.

Of course, that might just be the optimist in me. If this year has shown us anything, retirement health care costs are still a problem that needs to be addressed more effectively. Our recent paper on Income Replacement Ratios and Retirement Health Care illustrates this point.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s blogs as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. But, now is the time to enjoy the holidays, so you won’t be hearing from me until 2016.

On behalf of HealthView Services, I wish you a happy holiday season and a great 2016!