Picking the Right Medicare

As you approach the golden age of 65, your conversation always seems to turn to Medicare. This government health-care program can be confusing, leaving you afraid of not having the information to make an educated decision. When applying for Medicare benefits, decide if traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan works best for you.

Avoiding Insurance Fallacies

Young adults starting out in life, especially newlyweds, need insurance. But what kind? As a start, a good term life policy likely is a smart move. Other types of insurance may not be. And as they age, what other varieties of coverage make sense? A good deal of misunderstanding surrounds insurance protection planning.

Escaping a Bad Annuity

Signed up for an annuity that went sour or never was for you in the first place? Here’s how you get out – sometimes even with a profit.

Annuities invest funds and then issue payments to you. They work well as a secondary tool to support your retirement saving, though – as critics point out – they lock up your money for a set period, often come with stiff maintenance fees and eventually incur income tax on earnings.

Pet Financial Planning

Are you a good pet owner? Owning an animal means more than feeding it and loving it. Pets aren’t cheap, so doing right by Fido or Tabby involves financial planning.

Newlywed Protection

The ceremony is over. Mom and dad paid the tab for the wedding, you are back from the honeymoon, you wrote your thank you notes. You are settling into a married routine midst the glow of newness. Time to think about financial planning? You bet.

Navigating Medicare’s Maze

It’s amazing how many people think that Medicare is free. It is anything but: You must pay premiums for part of it, and it does not cover everything. Make sure you avoid some traps signing up for this health-care plan for older Americans.

Here are the broad outlines. The program’s website,, has a lot more details.

Lower Your Auto Deductible?

Your car insurance offers many hidden ways to save money. One involves tinkering with how much you pay out-of-pocket if you file a claim.

You reduce auto-insurance costs in general with commonsense moves: insure multiple cars and drivers, keep a clean driving record, take a defensive driving course and, believe it or not, take mass transit. What about other ways to cut auto premiums? As with any insurance, the higher your deductible on your auto policy, the lower your premiums.

Qualifying for Obamacare Aid

Obamacare continues to make headlines, good and bad. No matter your thoughts about the concept, you may qualify for help when using this avenue to sign up for health insurance. Here’s how.

Nearly 3.3 million people enrolled in Obamacare-offered insurance plans through early February. The Premium Assistance Tax Credit (PATC) is designed to help lower-income individuals and families pay for insurance they buy through the health-care exchanges.

The Health-Care Maze

Obamacare is extremely difficult to navigate. Here’s a preliminary guide to how you find your way through the labyrinth.

It’s reminiscent of where I-85 and I-285 intersect near a host of heavily traveled feeder roads, in the northeastern suburbs of Atlanta. This is a maze of on-ramps, exit-ramps, underpasses and flyovers that locals call Spaghetti Junction. Also dubbed Malfunction Junction, the roads can be confusing, jammed, delay-prone and frustrating.

Obamacare’s Impact on You

Obamacare brings health insurance to millions. Have you been left behind?

My insurance company recently wrote me to say that it may soon drop Piedmont Hospital –source of most of my family’s medical care —as an in-network provider. Piedmont and my insurer came to terms just before the contract deadline. Thank goodness.

As one of thousands who may soon search for a new health-care system, I want to know: Is the standoff completely the fault of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare?


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