Health Costs Continue Upward Trend
Market Watch reports that an index tracking health care costs rose for the fourth time in a row. Meanwhile, McClatchy reports that disability benefits are on a financially unsustainable path. Finally, NPR offers advice for handling health expenses during one's golden years.
Market Watch: Aug. Health Care Costs Up 4th Straight Month: S&P
An index following the average cost for health care is up a fourth consecutive time, after it hit a bottom in April, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said. According to the ratings firm's latest index report, the average per capita cost of health care covered by commercial insurance and Medicare rose to 5.73 percent over a 12-month period ended in August. The increase is just above the 5.69 percent index level set in July. The index hit a recent nadir in April at 5.32 percent (Fox, 10/20).
McClatchy: Disability Benefits Program On Unsustainable Financial Path
The sour economy, weak eligibility standards and a wave of aging baby boomers are driving an explosive increase in the number of injured workers who get disability benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance program. … Among new program enrollees in 2010, more than half cited back pain or mental problems, like depression or mood disorders, as their disabling injury, compared with just 26 percent of such claims in 1965. Both ailments are among the hardest to evaluate medically, which opens the door for potential fraud — both in program applications and during appeal hearings, where 60 percent of previous benefit denials are reversed (Pugh, 10/20).
NPR: Advice For The Golden Years: 'Don't Ever Retire Mentally'
[Retirement is] a stage of life that's usually more difficult and expensive than people expect. ... As a recent poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, suggests, many people still have an overly rosy idea of what the golden years will bring. Thirty-nine percent of retirees say their health is worse, compared with 13 percent of nonretirees' expectations for life after work. Many people don't take into account financial obligations that hit long after they've settled into retirement, such as drug costs or the need for a personal caretaker (Calmes, 10/20).