Aging Energized Articles

Read about topics to help you age well, enjoy your retirement years, and navigate the intricacies of Medicare and Social Security.

Social Security 2021 COLA Increase Announced

social security Oct 13, 2020

The Social Security Administration just announced a 2021 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 1.3%. From the Social Security Administration's website:

"The 1.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2021."

COLAs are implemented automatically based on the annual increase in consumer prices. This has been happening automatically since 1975, when legislation from 1972 took effect. Since that time, Social Security beneficiaries don't have to wait for a special act of Congress to receive a benefit increase.

Other Changes

There are a few other changes. They include:

  • The maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax will increase to $142,800.
  • The earnings limit for workers younger than full retirement age (FRA) will increase to $18,960. The Social Security Administration deducts $1 from benefits for each $2 earned over $18,960.
  • The earnings limit for people reaching FRA in...
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New Book--Social Security Basics!

social security Sep 11, 2020

Social Security is probably the most complex area to understand and navigate for pre-retirees and retirees. Compared with Medicare, it certainly has the most moving parts, nuances, and unique situations, which is saying a lot because Medicare is also quite complex.

Our newest book, Social Security Basics, provides the information you need to make an informed decision about when (at what age) to start collecting Social Security benefits. It's the most asked question—and hardest to answer—about Social Security. We do our best to cover all the angles to provide you with the confidence you need to make this all-important decision. This includes addressing whether you should consider collecting Social Security benefits early, before your full retirement age.

We also cover some specific topics that impact a significant number of people. They include:

  • Spousal benefits.
  • Survivor benefits.
  • People often have questions about Social Security benefits being taxed, so we tackle...
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New Book--Medicaid for Seniors Basics

medicaid Aug 12, 2020

It's launch time again! We're super excited to release our newest book, Medicaid for Seniors Basics. It explains how the Medicaid for seniors program for long-term care can help those who have a low in come and have exhausted their assets can pay for the long-term care they need.

It explains the income and asset requirements, how the non-applying spouse is affected, and important concepts such as:

  • 5-year look back
  • Spend down

This book can be your lifeline to paying for essential care for yourself or a loved one.

You can find this book in the Aging Energized shop.

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Social Security Basics -- New Course!

social security Jul 21, 2020

We are very excited to announce the launch of our third course, Social Security Basics. As you're planning your retirement, understanding how Social Security works is key to knowing what your financial situation will look like. Decisions you make about when you start collecting Social Security benefits impact how much you'll receive each month. You can retire as early as age 62 and collect less than your full retirement age, or you can wait until age 70 and collect more. Understanding how this works is key to knowing when to make the leap into retirement.

The course covers many other topics, including spousal benefits (if you're divorced, did you know you may be entitle to collecting Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse's earning history?), survivor benefits, tax considerations,  how to apply for social security benefits, and much more.

The course is simple and straight forward. It includes 7 video lessons, each with a handy download summarizing what's included in...

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Medicare vs. Medicaid - Do You Know the Difference?

medicaid medicare Jun 29, 2020

Medicare and Medicaid sound similar, but they're actually very different. Each provides different types of assistance to help with healthcare. Both are government programs, but they are very different. Medicare is provided by the federal government (the Social Security Administration). Medicaid is provided by state governments and varies from state to state. Medicare is available to anyone age 65 and older who has worked at least 10 years in the U.S., and at any age to people with disabilities. Medicaid is only available to people with limited income and assets.

Let's look at the other differences.


Medicare is federal healthcare insurance for people 65 years of age or older. You can get Medicare under age 65 if you have a qualifying disability, including end stage renal disease (ESRD) or ALS. Medicare covers inpatient or hospital care (Part A), outpatient services (Part B), and prescription drugs (Part D). Other plans, such as Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medigap are...

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How Safe is that Nursing Home?

Have you visited Medicare's web page for finding and comparing nursing homes? You can enter a ZIP code, city and state, or just a state to find nursing homes and compare their ratings for health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. If you're lookig for a nursing home for yourself or a loved one, this information is extremely helpful.

But with COVID-19 and the pandemic, there are more reasons wto be concerned about nursing homes. many of the most serious COVID-19 outbreaks have been in care facilities. This means that new tools are needed to determine which care facilities have not only the best ratings, but also have the fewest COVID-19 cases.

CMS Providing COVID-19 Nursing Home Data

 In early June 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS, or started posting its first set of underlying COVID-19 data for nursing homes. This is part of their effort to require nursing homes to inform residents and their families of COVID-19 cases in their...

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New Book--Medicare Basics

books medicare Jun 12, 2020

Aging Energized has released a new eBook, Medicare Basics. Unlike many Medicare books currently available, this book is current with 2020 Medicare information. It starts at the beginning and works through the basic information you need to know about Medicare. After a short overview of Medicare's parts, you learn the details of when you need to sign up. This information alone is worth the price of the book, because it can save you from the late penalties that can become part of your Medicare premium for the rest of your life if you sign up for Medicare late.

The book then goes on to explain each of Medicare's parts in detail. This empowers you to choose the best Medicare plans for your personal situation.

Throughout the book, recommendations and guidance are provided to help you understand how information pertains to you. Examples and a case study are used to communicate key points. The closing chapters go into detail about different scenarios for what plans a person might choose and...

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Medicaid for Seniors Basics - New Course!

medicaid May 01, 2020

Aging Energized is very excited to announce the launch of our newest course, "Medicaid for Seniors Basics."

This course helps you understand what you need to know about Medicaid for Seniors, a Medicaid program specifically for seniors who have exhausted their financial resources or long-term insurance benefits and need help paying for long-term care or services that are considered to be activities of daily living. This is the type of care typically found in assisted living facilities or nursing homes.

This course may be helpful to you if you are dealing with these issues for yourself, or for a loved one such as a parent.

You may not realize that there are things you can and should do long before you need Medicaid so you'll be better prepared to sign up and be accepted by Medicaid. For example, there are income and asset limitations. Your assets must be under a certain amount, and only certain things count toward your assets. and your income must be below a certain amount. This...

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Coronavirus and Medicare

medicare Mar 23, 2020

There's no doubt that by now you've heard about the Coronavirus (which is officially called "2019 Novel Coroavirus" or "COVID-19"). Medicare recently released a statement saying that Medicare Part B (medical insurance) covers a test to see if you have Coronavirus.

To get the test, your doctor or health care provider must order it. The availability of tests at this time is limited, however, and varies depending on your location. This is expected to change in the next days and weeks. Be sure to check with your health care provider for information if you feel that you need to be tested.

Medicare Coverage of Coronavirus Test

Here are the details of what Medicare covers for Coronavirus:

  • Lab tests for COVID-10. You pay no out-of-pocket costs.
  • All medically necessary hospitalizations. This includes if your diagnosed with COVID-19 and might otherwise have been discharged from the hospital after an inpatient stay, but instead you need to stay in the hospital under quarantine.
  • A vaccine for...
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Medicare Advantage vs. Medigap

Medicare Advantage vs. Medigap. There are actually three choices to contemplate but this quickly resolves down to these two primary choices.

When you sign for Medicare at age 65, you first sign up for Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (outpatient and physician insurance). For most people Part A is free and Part B is reasonably priced at $144.60 per month in 2020. You could stop here with this basic coverage and not purchase any additional health insurance. This is not advised, but you could.

The three choices to contemplate are:

  1. Sign up for Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) only and do not sign up for additional supplement coverage.
  2. Sign up for Original Medicare and also sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  3. Sign up for Original Medicare and also sign up for a Medigap Plan and a Part D prescription drug plan.

We don't advise that you choose option 1, original Medicare with no additional supplement coverage. Why? Because the out-of-pocket expenses, at 20% of total...

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