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Posted on Thursday, 28th January 2021 by

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Those approaching retirement and retirees are the most susceptible to COVID-19 infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is deadliest among older populations. In fact, through January 21, 93 percent of COVID-19 deaths nationwide have occurred among those ages 55 or older.

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There is bundant information available on how to avoid catching the virus, potential remedies, and vaccines that are on their way, but little information about how to fight COVID at home after being diagnosed with the disease.

I received a message from someone that came down with Covid last November and went to the hospital with a high fever, rapid heartbeat, and other common symptoms. The advice he received when discharged for treatment at home is included in this patient’s summary that I converted to a PDF for our readers. You may wish to download this and keep it handy. If you are diagnosed with COVID, discuss these recommendations with your doctor to see if they are appropriate for your course of treatment.

According to Newsweek, nearly 200 of the National Guard’s 35,000 troops deployed to Washington DC for the inauguration, tested positive for COVID-19. They go on to say, “crowded conditions and a lack of face masks among the troops could worsen the virus’ spread, especially since 15,000 are expected to leave Washington D.C. and return to their home states within five to 10 days, according to Reuters.” Large gatherings with close quarters spread COVID.

Caravans of immigrants are heading our way from South America and potentially spreading COVID as they approach our southern border and enter this country. The President of Guatemala stated in a recent article that, “most entered his country without showing the negative coronavirus test that Guatemala requires.” The migrants are crowded together day and night and many if not most aren’t wearing masks. Thousands more are joining the caravan as it heads north. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was ordered to suspend removals, and to release detainees. I hope the new administration, with Doctor Fauci’s input, follows the science and take necessary steps to prevent spreading the virus before releasing anyone! If they don’t, this could spread infections throughout America.

Illegal immigration also creates a financial burden on taxpayers considering that in 2020 the federal government borrowed 56 cents of every dollar it spent. My last article, titled Unreasonable Expectations – The Debt Crisis,” outlines the dire straits we find ourselves in these days.

Several of my nephews and their spouses were diagnosed with COVID two months ago and all but one recovered after a short hospital stay. Johnny was in ICU for 7 weeks and moved out of intensive care last Thursday. He is still at the hospital on 100% oxygen, they don’t know when he will return home. Johnny, my 67-year-old nephew, was always active even after multiple botched hip replacement surgeries. One of the contractors I use and his wife tested positive for COVID last week, they are in their 50s and having problems.

My wife and I always wear face masks when out, constantly use hand sanitizer, and socially distance whenever possible. We order takeout occasionally, and haven’t eaten out at a restaurant since last March. Our health care provider launched an online COVID – 19 vaccine registration process this week; my wife and I signed up. If they receive sufficient inventory, we could receive our shots as early as February 1st.  Our daughter is a critical care respiratory therapist and received both shots several weeks ago with no significant side effects. Hopefully, after the majority of us get vaccinated, things will improve dramatically. I am cautiously optimistic.

Request a Federal Retirement Report

Retirement planning specialists provide a comprehensive Federal Retirement Report™ including annuity projections, expenditures verses income, with a complete benefits analysis. This comprehensive 27-page benefits summary will help you plan your retirement.

Request Your Personalized Federal Retirement Report™ Today

Find answers to your questions: The best time to retire, retirement income vs expenditures, FEGLI options and costs, TSP risks and withdrawal strategies, and other relevant topics. Determine what benefits to carry into retirement and their advantages. You will also have the opportunity to set up a personal one-on-one meeting with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in LIFESTYLE / TRAVEL, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SURVIVOR INFORMATION, WELLNESS / HEALTH

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Posted on Friday, 22nd January 2021 by

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The national debt consists of public and intragovernmental debt owed by Uncle Sam. Public debt is what the government owes to bond holders including American citizens, international investors, and foreign governments that buy our bonds. Actually, U.S. citizens own the majority of the national debt!

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A one hour session with a Certified Financial Planner is incuded.

Currently, the national debt is just under $28 trillion dollars and is expected to reach or possibly exceed 100% of our gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020. The last time we attained this lofty perch was during WW II. Seventy percent of our GDP is generated by consumer spending!

The government borrowed 56 cents of every dollar they spent to cover this country’s 2020 budget and the 4 trillion spent on COVID relief last year. The Federal Reserve, this country’s central bank, simply made an entry on the books increasing their reserve sufficient to cover the deficit, and then purchased bonds from the Treasury to cover the shortfall. The Central Bank makes money out of thin air and then buys Treasuries that few if any others would purchase under the circumstances.

Everyone is impacted by out-of-control spending, and neither political party is immune to spending beyond our means. COVID relief was and is still necessary, however it should be targeted to those truly in need and government must tighten its belt to make up some of the shortfall.

The state of the American economy isn’t in the best of shape even though you wouldn’t know it from the stock market highs we’ve seen recently.

The only things keeping the market up, from my perspective, are the huge profits from select industries deemed essential during the pandemic, increased consumer spending due to stimulus payments, anticipation of additional stimulus spending coming down the pike, and the hope that the economy will open up quickly and prosper from pent up demand once the majority of Americans are vaccinated.

Stock valuations are at all-time highs and the tech sector growth has exploded this past 9 months. According to a recent Reuters’ article, “The technology sector along with shares of big tech-related companies — Amazon, Google-parent Alphabet and Facebook — account for about 37% of the market-cap weighted S&P 500!” It feels like the Dot-Com bubble of 2000.  When new tech stocks increase 100% the first day of trading and other tech stocks are spiraling up 400 to 500 % and higher, the trajectory seems unsustainable.

Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (ZM) was selling for $67.28 on January 2, 2020 and rose to a high of $578 last October. It now has a valuation of $113.6 billion dollars and selling at a price to earnings ratio (PE) of 273! The modern-era market average PE is 19.6. Zoom’s value is now greater than IBM, Caterpillar, or 3M! According to The Motley Fool, there is some evidence of a possible sector rotation to downtrodden value stocks.

The following chart depicts the scope of the debt problem and unfortunately the predicament we find ourselves in today.  This chart compares the United States’ budget and spending to that of an average American family. These figures do not include over 158 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities for projected future social security, Medicare and other costs.

Government Budget Statistics for 2020.

  • United States Tax Revenue: $3,863,000,000,000 (Estimated)
  • Federal Budget: $4,790,000,000,000
  • Stimulus Spending $4,000,000,000,000 (COVID Stimulus)
  • New Debt: $4,927,000,000,000 (Budget – Revenue + Stimulus)
  • National Debt: $28,260,000,000,000 (Doesn’t include unfunded liabilities)

Now, remove eight (8) zeros and imagine it’s a household budget as noted below. The title for each entry was changed to a related household category:

  • Annual family income: $38,630
  • Money the family spent: $87,900 (Budget + Stimulus)
  • New debts: $49,927 (Borrowed in the Current Year)
  • Outstanding debt: $282,600

The $282,699 could include credit cards, home mortgage, and car loans. However, the interest would be prohibitive. For example, consider the average total interest paid on the debt at 7%. Credit card and auto loan interest can be much higher than the current 3% home mortgage rate. The yearly interest would consume $19,775 or 48.5% of their annual family income. Totally unsustainable.

Thankfully or regrettably depending on how you look at it, the Federal Reserve simply makes a book entry adding trillions to our money supply. They purchase Treasury notes, bills and bonds plus they now purchase bonds and equities of all stripes. This is somewhat disconcerting on many levels. The government must keep interest rates artificially low in order to service the debt and pay interest to the bond holders. Otherwise, we could default on our obligations and that would devastate the world economy.

How long could a family continue doing this without going bankrupt and insane to boot. Having unmanageable debt would drive me CRAZY. The government knows this is a problem but continues to ignore the issue. Imagine having a $100,000 loan and you decide it’s best to borrow more each year without substantial payments on the outstanding debt. This simply can’t work.

We are truly in a debt crisis and the longer our economy is shut down, the worse it will get. A balanced budget amendment would help to restore our financial health and ensure future Congressional bodies won’t break the bank. We frequently hear about ten-year budget reduction plans passed by congress. However, after the next election, the new congress is not obligated to continue with those plans and often ignores them completely.

In my opinion we don’t have a revenue problem; we have a chronic spending problem!

I wrote several articles that discuss ways to protect what you worked a lifetime to accumulate. You may find these interesting, some were written several years ago. Take that into account when reading them:

Request a Federal Retirement Report

Retirement planning specialists provide a comprehensive Federal Retirement Report™ including annuity projections, expenditures verses income, with a complete benefits analysis. This comprehensive 27-page benefits summary will help you plan your retirement.

Request Your Personalized Federal Retirement Report™ Today

Find answers to your questions: The best time to retire, retirement income vs expenditures, FEGLI options and costs, TSP risks and withdrawal strategies, and other relevant topics. Determine what benefits to carry into retirement and their advantages. You will also have the opportunity to set up a personal one-on-one meeting with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, FINANCE / TIP, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE, SURVIVOR INFORMATION

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Posted on Tuesday, 19th January 2021 by

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Our 1099R Tax Forms typically aren’t available until the end of January by regular mail. Registered users of OPM’s Retirement Services Website can download their 1099R NOW! I visited the site on January 19, 2021 and downloaded my copy early to use for my 2020 tax return.

You must be registered to use their site. If you aren’t registered read the article titled “Connect to OPM’s Online Services” to understand the registration process and sign up. It doesn’t take long, however, you may have to wait for your password to be sent via regular US mail and that can take several weeks.

Many banks and brokerage house’s 1099 reports are also available online for download early. Treasury Direct doesn’t send out print copies. You must download your Treasury’s OID and 1099 INT statements from your online account. If you have complex investments, your brokerage statements could be delayed until mid-March or later. Even with all of the disruption to services this year from COVID 19, OPM was able to get our tax forms out early.

I’ve personally used TurboTax software for decades with success. It’s intuitive and walks you through the entire process, double checks your work, and they allow you to file online. This software can also download and integrate your brokerage accounts into your tax return, saving you considerable time.

There are also a number of free online filing services available through the IRS and several of the tax preparation services. The IRS allows you to file online at no cost if your annual income is less than $72,000. You will have to file y our State tax form separately. This free service has the following notice posted on their site for those who didn’t get the full Economic Impact Payment last year:

“If you didn’t get the full Economic Impact Payment, you may be eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit using Free File. If you didn’t get any payments or got less than the full amounts, you may qualify for the credit, even if you don’t normally file taxes. See Recovery Rebate Credit for more information.”

Turbo Tax offers free online tax preparation and submission of both your Federal and State returns for simple returns. A simple tax return is Form 1040 only OR Form 1040 + Unemployment Income.

Take advantage of OPM’s early 1099R online availability if you wish to file your taxes early or simply need to replace a lost 1099R.

Request a Federal Retirement Report

Retirement planning specialists provide a comprehensive Federal Retirement Report™ including annuity projections, expenditures verses income, with a complete benefits analysis. This comprehensive 27-page benefits summary will help you plan your retirement.

Request Your Personalized Federal Retirement Report™ Today

Find answers to your questions: The best time to retire, retirement income vs expenditures, FEGLI options and costs, TSP risks and withdrawal strategies, and other relevant topics. Determine what benefits to carry into retirement and their advantages. You will also have the opportunity to set up a personal one-on-one meeting with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in ANNUITIES / ELIGIBILITY, ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCE / TIP, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE, SURVIVOR INFORMATION

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Posted on Thursday, 14th January 2021 by

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OPM is currently experiencing high call volumes and longer than normal wait times on the Retirement Information Office Toll Free number (888-767-6738). Their highest call volume is on Monday and Tuesday mornings.

Request a 27 page Federal Retirement Report™ today.
A one hour session with a Certified Financial Planner is incuded.

To minimize wait times, consider calling the Retirement Information Office outside of these hours. Their hours are Monday – Friday 7:40AM EST to 5:00PM EST. As long as you are in queue at 5:00PM, your call will be answered. Also, consider using their Customer Support Center, contacting them via email at retire@opm.gov, or their self-service site at www.servicesonline.opm.gov. Their Customer Support Center is basically a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page with links to information of interest for retirees.

It’s always difficult getting through to OPM, especially this time of year. What I do is dial their number; if its busy, I hang up and immediately click on redial. I typically get through in several minutes using this technique. Expect long wait times, I’ve waited on hold for up to 45 minutes. You can also email questions to retire@opm.gov anytime to ask questions or request assistance with their personal retirement issues.  It can take several weeks to get a reply via email.

When you do get through ask the customer service representative to initiate access to their online services portal if you haven’t already done so. OPM must send you your access information via regular mail and it can take several weeks to receive this information. You can do many things online without having to call OPM. Here is a link to an article on how to sign up for OPM’s online services:

Request a Federal Retirement Report

Retirement planning specialists provide a comprehensive Federal Retirement Report™ including annuity projections, expenditures verses income, with a complete benefits analysis. This comprehensive 27-page benefits summary will help you plan your retirement.

Request Your Personalized Federal Retirement Report™ Today

Find answers to your questions: The best time to retire, retirement income vs expenditures, FEGLI options and costs, TSP risks and withdrawal strategies, and other relevant topics. Determine what benefits to carry into retirement and their advantages. You will also have the opportunity to set up a personal one-on-one meeting with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in ANNUITIES / ELIGIBILITY, BENEFITS / INSURANCE, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SURVIVOR INFORMATION

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Posted on Thursday, 7th January 2021 by

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Corrections:  I misquoted the 2021 COLA in last week’s article titled “1% Pay Raise Approved for 2021 – GS Pay Charts Available;” it is 1.3% not 1.6%  The blog article was corrected.

Generally, in late December federal retirees receive a Notice of Annuity Adjustment that provides abundant information for annuitants and their survivors. The mailed statements were apparently delayed this year and I still haven’t received a copy. However, I signed on to OPM Services Online and printed out my January 2021 Annuity Statement, and reviewed my Annual Summary of Payments report. Whenever your annuity payment is modified, for whatever reasons, OPM sends out a Notice of Annuity Adjustment outlining the changes to your monthly payment. This year’s statement includes a 1.3% COLA, and they will send out another statement to show the health care premium changes for 2021.


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A one hour session with a Certified Financial Planner is included.


This document provides annuity and benefit information for you and your family. It includes the annuitant’s Claim number, the amount withheld for each item deducted from your annuity payment, and your gross and net payment. This document specifies the monthly survivor annuity currently payable in the event of the annuitant’s death and includes an annual Notice of Survivor Annuity Election Rights. You will also find OPM contact information and they include a recommendation to register and log on to their online services. The online Annuity Statement also lists the survivor’s monthly annuity payment.

This form provides instructions on how to make benefit elections such as how to apply for a survivor election for a spouse you marry after retirement, survivor annuity elections for a former spouse, and others.

I elected a full survivor’s annuity for my wife when I retired as a CSRS employee. My wife will receive 55% of my full annuity when I die. The full FERS survivor’s annuity is 50%. I divided the surviving spousal monthly annuity listed on this document by my gross monthly benefit; my wife will receive 60% of what I was receiving while alive. When I elected a full annuity, my annuity was reduced by 10%. What many don’t realize is that the surviving spouse of a CSRS retiree receives 55% of the unreduced annuity amount or in my case 60% of what I was receiving monthly while alive. Many believe the surviving spouse receives 55% of what the federal annuitant was receiving prior to death. This is good information to have when finalizing your estate plans.

I keep the Notice of Annuity Adjustments that I receive in my retirement folder and include a copy in our estate binder along with OPM’s annuity and FEGLI insurance verification forms that OPM sends out upon request or you can download then online. This is an important document and needs to be readily available if you or your survivor need to contact OPM or require benefit clarifications.

I receive many questions each year from retirees and survivors that misplaced their CSA retirement Claim Number and need to contact OPM. If you file this form in your retirement planning or estate file this information will be readily available when needed.

1099 Tax Forms Coming Soon

Federal annuitants typically don’t receive their 1099R Tax Forms until the end of January or the beginning of February by regular mail. If you are registered to use OPM’s Retirement Services Website your 1099 R is often available earlier for download. I generally download a copy of my 1099 R to start my tax return early.

To get a head start on your taxes visit OPM’s Online Services later this month and download a copy. You must be registered to use the site. If you aren’t registered read the article titled “Connect to OPM’s Online Services” to understand the registration process and sign up. It doesn’t take long however you may have to wait for your password to be sent via regular US mail and that can take several weeks. If you haven’t signed up yet do it now. The site offers retired federal employees many helpful options such as changing your direct deposit information, address changes, 1099 R copies, download annuity and insurance verification documents, and much more.

Request a Federal Retirement Report

Retirement planning specialists provide a comprehensive Federal Retirement Report™ including annuity projections, expenditures verses income, with a complete benefits analysis. This comprehensive 27-page benefits summary will help you plan your retirement.

Request Your Personalized Federal Retirement Report™ Today

Find answers to your questions: The best time to retire, retirement income vs expenditures, FEGLI options and costs, TSP risks and withdrawal strategies, and other relevant topics. Determine what benefits to carry into retirement and their advantages. You will also have the opportunity to set up a personal one-on-one meeting with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER. Helpful Planning Tools

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in ANNUITIES / ELIGIBILITY, BENEFITS / INSURANCE, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE

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Posted on Friday, 1st January 2021 by

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Those planning to retire soon will benefit somewhat from the small 1% federal employee’s pay raise this year. Primarily, your annual leave buy back will be at the new pay rate starting the first pay period of 2021. If you plan on staying another year or longer the raise will increase your high three average earnings that is used to determine your monthly annuity. Retirees ended up with a 1.3% COLA this year, a bit more than the federal employees increase, still not enough considering inflation and especially higher health care costs.

Request a Federal Retirement Report™ to review projected annuity payments,
income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections.

The President signed an Executive Order in December.  The 1% pay raise 2021 charts are now available along with all special rates and wage grade salaries.

The pay raise will take effect with the first full pay period of 2021. We published the new pay table on January 1, including the locality pay area definitions outlining the pay rates for all regions nationwide.

The rates of basic pay or salaries of the statutory pay systems are included. The general categories are listed below:

  • The General Schedule
  • The Foreign Service Schedule
  • schedules for the Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Senior Executive Service
  • Certain Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Salaries
  • The Executive Schedule

OPM was fast to react to the Presidential Order and released the new tables in late December.

Following are links to the new 2021 locality pay tables:

Click here for: Special Rates Tables

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in ANNUITIES / ELIGIBILITY, BENEFITS / INSURANCE, ESTATE PLANNING, FINANCE / TIP, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SURVIVOR INFORMATION

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Posted on Saturday, 19th December 2020 by

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The year started off with a bang: market up, unemployment the lowest it had been in decades, and hopes were high for the new year.  That changed course abruptly when COVID overtook life as we knew it, yet we persevered and are on the road to recovery at years end thanks to the Warp Speed initiative. We suffered through a brutal election and still survived; there is much to be thankful for.

 

Retirees were caught in the middle due to our higher risk factors and many nursing homes were decimated by this disease.  Over 42 percent of all COVID deaths were at nursing homes and assisted living facilities! In some states like New York, the death rate at these facilities were even higher.  I can’t understand how the politicians and so-called experts running the show thought it would be appropriate to send COVID patients back to their nursing home or assisted living facility. I wonder if their mothers, fathers, and grandparents resided there if they would have pushed this narrative. Oh, I forgot, they can afford private nursing care for their loved ones! These same Politicians implore us to forgo family and friends during the holidays, and are caught violating their own edicts. OK, I know what you are thinking, I should know they expect us to do what they say, not what they do! They are special, truly privileged and unaccountable for their own behavior. I understand!!! 

Now that vaccines are available, we expect that our most vulnerable: the elderly, health care and frontline workers will be the first in line for vaccination.  If they do otherwise, God help them. Our most vulnerable MUST be protected first.

Our small businesses, restaurants, and even churches are on the brink of destruction, many won’t survive. These small businesses are the mom-and-pop enterprises that have sustained their families and the surrounding communities for years.  They know how to do things right but aren’t given a chance to earn a living.

When my wife and I go to the big box stores they are functioning, social distancing isn’t followed as one might expect in crowded isles, etc. Sure, all are wearing masks, many with it below their nose to breath. Yet, a small business and their employees are robbed of their livelihood even when so called science says the risks are minimal. I marvel at the hypocrisy when I hear the mayor of New York shut down restaurants that account for around 2 percent of infections knowing full well that over 40% of the infections are from indoor social activity.  No one knows just how many of those infections are coming from the big box stores!

I started writing this article with something entirely different in mind to close out the year, just can’t help myself these days.

I sincerely want to thank my site visitors, newsletter subscribers, and blog followers. Over the past three years we’ve had over 7 million visit our web sites and view just under 9 million pages and our blog received over 621,000 visits. I sincerely appreciate all of you for your patronage, you are truly appreciated and thank you so much for following me all of these years, some for as many as two decades.

My best to you and yours this holiday season, may you have a healthy, safe and prosperous New Year.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, LIFESTYLE / TRAVEL, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, WELLNESS / HEALTH

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Posted on Wednesday, 9th December 2020 by

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John read my article titled “Changes for the 2021 FEHB Open Season – Save Some Serious Money” and asked what my wife’s OPP costs were for the surgeries I mentioned. Many want to know if what our FEHB plans pay is enough to offset and warrant paying Part B premiums?

Request a Federal Retirement Report™ to review projected annuity payments,
income verses expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections.

This is a great question and one I could easily answer. I keep all of the GEHA Explanation of Benefits and Medicare’s Summary Notices. My wife and I are enrolled in GEHA Self Plus One standard plan. A summary of the total costs and what we paid for her two eye surgeries and treatment in 2020 follows:

  • Service Provider Charges = $57.440
  • Medicare Allowed & Paid = $40,516
  • GEHA Payments = $2,202
  • Member Responsibility = $0

That was just for my wife this past year, I too had my share of medical care and paid $0 except for prescription copayments.

If you don’t have secondary health insurance the costs under Medicare A and B are significant. In 2020 the deductible was $198 ($202 in 2021) for Part B medical services. After your deductible is met, you typically pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for most doctor services (including most doctor services while you’re a hospital inpatient), outpatient therapy, and durable medical equipment (dme).

When hospitalized under Part A you must pay $1,408 for each benefit period and then coinsurance for extended days in the hospital. For example, days 61-90: $352 ($371 in 2021) coinsurance per day of each benefit period.

Without secondary coverage either through the FEHB program, Medicare Advantage or others, costs would be prohibitive to say the least.  In my wife’s case our costs would have been around $8,000 and more when adding in the deductible and other costs.

Another key factor is how well your plan responds when things go wrong. My wife’s first surgery failed and we were fortunate to have GEHA and medical providers we trusted to do whatever was necessary to get things turned around.

There is much to consider when deciding on what plans are best for you and your family. Out of Pocket costs are a major consideration.

Helpful Retirement Planning Tools

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Disclaimer: The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, medical procedures, and benefit information are subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact relevant parties for assistance including OPM’s retirement center. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial, medical or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in BENEFITS / INSURANCE, FINANCE / TIP, RETIREMENT CONCERNS, SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE, SURVIVOR INFORMATION

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