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
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
For a healthier and more secure retirement, visit
— 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
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:
- Interest isn't taxed, so you'll earn more than with a Traditional IRA.
- Unlike distributions from Traditional IRAs, Roth IRA income isn't counted in calculating
tax on Social Security benefits.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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!
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