What the experts say
Saving tips for the cash-strapped
If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, saving for retirement and other financial goals “can feel out of reach,” said Jonnelle Marte in The Washington Post. But taking small steps can go a long way. If the traditional advice of setting aside three to six months’ worth of expenses “feels impossible,” don’t be afraid to adopt a more modest goal. “For some people, that may mean saving only $1 a day.” Socking away any windfalls, such as a tax refund, can also help you meet your goals. Contradictory as it may sound, you should also allow yourself occasional indulgences. “If you budget for splurges, the sacrifices you make every day— such as having a sad desk salad for lunch— can feel a lot less painful.”
Happy 65th birthday! Now do this.
“If you will be turning 65 this year and plan to keep working, you have essential money decisions to make that can’t be ignored,” said Gail MarksJarvis in the Chicago Tribune. Even if you have health insurance through work, it’s still a good idea to sign up for Medicare Part A. These free benefits cover some hospital care and can be used to supplement your workplace insurance. After you retire, you can sign up for Medicare Parts B and D, which cover doctors and drugs, respectively. In the meantime, you should ideally wait on taking Social Security, if you can. For most people turning 65 right now, full benefits don’t kick in until age 66 anyway. But payments increase 8 percent every year you wait until age 70. “That makes waiting to retire a smart move if possible.”
How to handle a denied claim
Appealing a denied health insurance claim can be frustrating and time-consuming, but “it’s often worth putting up a fight,” said David Lazarus in the Los Angeles Times. Of the relatively small percentage of denials that are challenged by patients, about half end up being reversed, according to a 2011 Government Accountability Office study. Of those, many stemmed from billing errors or missing information. “Something as simple as an incorrect code submitted by a doctor’s office can trigger a denial.” To get started, contact your insurer or pharmacy benefit manager to see if any paperwork is missing, or if an erroneous code was used. “The fix might be as simple as resubmitting a certain document.” If you need help navigating the process, start with the Patient Advocate Foundation’s guide to the appeals process, or the Alliance of Claims Assistance Professionals.