Finance: How to Opt Out of Credit Card Offers
Financial guidance for your financial life
Q: I recently received a credit card offer in the mail that listed a web address where I can request to opt out of all prescreened credit card solicitations. Is this legitimate?
A: Yes. The site, www.optoutprescreen.com, is run by the major credit bureaus. Opting out of prescreened card offers makes it less likely that an ID thief will intercept them and take out credit in your name.
You can opt out for five years electronically or by phone (888-567-8688), or you can mail in a form to block prescreened offers permanently. (You may still receive offers from companies you currently do business with.)
Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, suggests signing up for the service and shredding unused offers. If you have elderly parents, help them opt out, too. And if you miss hearing about card deals, you can opt back in.
Q: My Medicare Part D plan is not covering a drug that my doctor prescribed. What can I do?
A: Find out why the drug wasn’t covered. Your doctor may just need to fill out a prior authorization form each year explaining why you need the drug. If insurance still doesn’t cover it, ask your pharmacist for the cash price, which may be less with coupons or discount programs found through GoodRx.
Alternatively, ask your doctor if you can switch to another drug that is covered by your insurance. Many plans have online tools listing these “therapeutic alternatives” and showing how much you’d pay.
If that doesn’t work, your doctor can request an exception or file an appeal (see www.medicare.gov/appeals). Your pharmacist and State Health Insurance Assistance Program can help (see www.shiptacenter.org).
Q: My company is starting to offer a Roth 401(k). I’m 56 years old, and most of my savings is in a traditional 401(k). Does it make sense to contribute to the Roth?
A: The key question is whether you think your income tax rate is lower now than it will be in retirement. That’s because with a Roth 401(k), you don’t get a tax deduction for your contribution up front, but you can withdraw the money tax-free in retirement.
“For a younger person who expects their earnings to go up later, that’s a clearer case for the Roth 401(k),” says Roger Young, a senior financial planner with T. Rowe Price.
It’s a tougher decision if you’re currently in a high tax bracket. Your tax rates could still be high in retirement if you have a lot of savings in tax-deferred accounts. (Tax rates are set to rise at the end of 2025.) Consider contributing at least some money to the Roth to provide tax diversification, allowing you to manage withdrawals from tax-free and tax-deferred accounts so you can limit the tax bite and avoid other levies on high-income retirees, such as the Medicare surcharge.
Kimberly Lankford is a contributing editor to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. And for more on this and similar money topics, visit Kiplinger.com.
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