Health Care Inflation and Retirement Health Care Cost Index

One of the most subtle yet dynamic variables that contributes to rising medical expenses is health care inflation, which is projected to grow between 5% and 6% annually for the foreseeable future – more than twice the historic rate for Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLAs). The compounding effect of this differential over the next 20 years, combined with legislative changes that are shifting costs back to subscribers, means that retirees on fixed budgets will have a difficult...

Long Term Care

What is Long Term Care? Long-term care (LTC) refers to assistance with daily living activities – including bathing, eating, and dressing – for a prolonged period of time (usually over 90 days). LTC can range from support with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), such as taking medication and shopping, to 24-hour nursing home care. Three Types of LTC Nursing Home Care is medically necessary and usually requires a residential stay. It is important to understand that...

NEW: Introduction to Social Security: Part II

Introduction to Social Security: Part II (Policy)  Understanding FRA is important, but it is also necessary to understand how additional policies could potentially impact benefits.  Working in Retirement For those who claim before FRA, Social Security’s Earnings Test will automatically reduce benefits to the extent your wages exceed the below (in 2017).   Year Earnings Limit Withholding from Benefit Before year FRA is reached $16.920 $1 for every $2 earned...

Introduction to Social Security: Part I

Introduction to Social Security: Part I (Overview) Millions of Americans rely on Social Security as a source of income in retirement.  Despite its importance, most only have a cursory understanding of the program – including how benefits are calculated, the best time to claim, and how much will be deducted from monthly disbursements to pay for Medicare Part B premiums (and/or potential surcharges).  Also, recent changes to claiming strategies have left many people confused about what...

A Ringside Seat on Rising Health Care Costs

As a Health Policy Commissioner, I had the opportunity to participate in a two-day public hearing organized by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) in collaboration with the Office of the Attorney General and the Center for Health Information and Analysis. Attendees included the Governor of the State of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, the Attorney General, representatives from The Urban Institute, Harvard Business School, CEOs of major health care providers and medical...
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June is a truly beautiful time of year.  Mild weather makes afternoon walks more enjoyable; my golf game continues to decline, and there are plenty of family gatherings to celebrate different events –specifically graduations.  In fact, I have attended multiple parties this month.  Christopher graduated from Suffolk University, and Nicole and Ed Jr. both graduated from high school near the top of their respective classes. While these are certainly joyous times for the students and their...
Managing Oral Health

Managing Oral Health

Peggy Sue: Grandpa, if you had a chance to go back and do it all differently, what would you have changed? Grandpa: Well, I would have taken better care of my teeth. - Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) Words to live by. The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) had a board meeting this past week and oral health was on the agenda.1 Why address this issue? Because the Commission’s objective is to develop policies that reduce growth in health care expenses and improve quality of...
The Alarming Cost Of Out Of Network Health Care Services HVS 06 01 2016

The Alarming Cost of Out-Of-Network Health Care Services

While preparing HealthView’s 2016 Data Report, I learned something thought-provoking about out-of-pocket medical expenses. As I was reviewing some data, I uncovered what appeared to be a statistical error: the Report was projecting that pre-retirement out-of-pocket expenses would increase by around 7% annually, compared to an in-retirement rate of 3%-3.5%. Put another way: a 40-year old would pay more than a 70-year-old for the same out-of-pocket medical product or service. And the...
Surprise Healthview Financial


A number of readers have expressed that they would like to read an “old fashioned” Update (Ron’s View). To say the least, I was surprised and somewhat flattered. A good friend and highly regarded industry expert summed it up best. “I can read serious industry news 24/7 but what you wrote was unique. You brought us into your life and ended the column with sound advice. It was different and enjoyable to read. Even my wife looked forward to reading ‘Ron’s View,’ but...
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