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Retirement eNews

— Fall 2009

From the Union Plus Retirement Planning Center

What Does Health Care Reform Mean for You?


1. What does healthcare reform mean for you?
2. Medicare increase may blindside new beneficaries
3. Are you missing out on union health benefits?
4. Save on wireless with the only all-union carrier
5. Five reasons to convert your IRA to a ROTH in 2010
6. NEW: Apply anytime for a College Savings Grant!
7. Tweet talking

1) WHAT DOES HEALTHCARE REFORM MEAN FOR YOU?

For those who are retired or close to retirement, Medicare can be a financial lifesaver. Health care reform is intended to strengthen this valuable insurance program in several ways:

  • Keep people healthier by covering preventive care with no co-pays
  • Lower drug costs by at least 50% in the "donut hole" coverage gap
  • Prevent payments to doctors from being cut by 21% in January
  • Increase funding of health care delivery in rural communities
  • Create a voluntary long-term care insurance program
  • Keep Medicare in the black through 2022 by reducing fraud and waste

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services provides more details in an online report about reform's effects on seniors.

To stay on top of current developments, keep checking the AFL-CIO Health Care web page. And be sure to make your opinion heard!

2) MEDICARE INCREASE MAY BLINDSIDE NEW BENEFICIARIES

You may have heard that Social Security benefits won't be stepped up for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in 2010. The good news is that by law, Medicare Part B premiums for doctor visits and outpatient services (currently $96.40) won't increase, either — provided these premiums are now withheld from your Social Security check.

That still leaves one out of four Medicare beneficiaries facing the premium hike, including new enrollees and higher-income people who already pay increased rates. See the Center for Medicare Advocacy report here.

3) ARE YOU MISSING OUT ON UNION HEALTH BENEFITS?

Union Plus is fighting hard to help workers and retirees save money while staying healthy and fit. For example, did you know about?

  • A free discount prescription card for up to 40% savings on meds?
  • Discounts on ways to make yourself fitter and healthier, including fitness videos, equipment, and club memberships; smoking cessation and Nutrisystem diet programs, and health coaching?
  • Support services that can pitch in to help you handle health-care debt?
  • The Union SAFE Hospital Care Grant, for assistance in coping with big out-of-pocket hospital bills?

For a healthier and more secure retirement, visit www.UnionPlus.org/Health — and get the help you've earned.

4) SAVE ON WIRELESS WITH THE ONLY ALL-UNION CARRIER

Here's another example that "solidarity" means savings — with discounts from AT&T, the only fully unionized wireless company:

  • A 10% discount on monthly wireless plans for individuals or families
  • Savings on AT&T cell phones and accessories
  • No transfer fee (normally $36) if you switch from a regular AT&T wireless account to the Union Plus program by June 30, 2010

To take advantage of your savings, visit the Union Plus AT&T Wireless Discounts page.

5) FIVE REASONS TO CONVERT YOUR IRA TO ROTH IN 2010

Roth IRAs have been called the best-kept secret in retirement planning. Contributions aren't deductible, but you can get tax-free income once you're retired. It may make a lot of sense to pay the deferred tax now on a Traditional IRA and convert it to a Roth. Consider:

  1. Interest isn't taxed, so you'll earn more than with a Traditional IRA.
  2. Unlike distributions from Traditional IRAs, Roth IRA income isn't counted in calculating tax on Social Security benefits.
  3. Since you're not required to empty a Roth IRA, any funds you don't need can pass to your heirs (who won't owe income tax on them).
  4. If your IRA hasn't yet recovered from the market crash, you'll pay less tax if you convert now than if you wait for it to regain its value.
  5. In 2010, the $100,000 income cap on converting is waived, and you can wait until 2011 and 2012 to pay any tax due.

Would conversion be a smart financial move for you? Find out fast: "Should I convert my IRA into a Roth IRA?".

6) NEW: APPLY ANYTIME FOR A COLLEGE SAVINGS GRANT!

When you're trying to make the most of your own retirement nest egg, it can be hard to set aside money for a child's or grandchild's education. The last edition of Retirement eNews reported that Union Plus college grants can help match a union member's contributions to an education account.

It's a pleasure to announce that this grant program is now open to ANY active or retired union member. You can receive $500 when you open a 529 college savings account or prepaid tuition account and contribute $1,000. For details, see the College Savings Grant web page.

7) TWEET TALKING

Union Plus is now connected! Join fellow union members in the online community of your choice:

Not familiar with these services? Visit Social Media Networking for help in joining any of these networks. See you online!

Copyright (C) 2009 Union Privilege. All rights reserved.
Union Privilege, 1125 15th St., N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005

 

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