• Video Hospital Surprise Medicares Observation Care

    This week, TSCL's legislative team, which is led by former Congressman David Funderburk and Mrs. Betty Funderburk, met with several Members of Congress and their top staff to discuss issues of critical importance to seniors. The following bills, among others, were discussed this week: the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPI-E) Act (H.R. 1030), the CPI for Seniors Act (H.R. 2154), the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 1795), the Notch Fairness Act (H.R. 155), the No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act (H.R. 2745), and the Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act (H.R. 574). .Federal records and senior advocates indicate that many observation patients who call Medicare about the billing problem are told there is nothing that Medicare can do to help. Hospitals are not required to tell patients they are under observation. Patients only learn they were receiving observation services when the bill arrives. By then it's too late because hospitals and doctors are prohibited from reclassifying observation patients as inpatients once they've been discharged. .Perhaps the most difficult task on Capitol Hill today is getting the attention of Members of Congress. Yet, the nature of grassroots advocacy lends itself as an effective tool for grabbing the ear of Congress on matters needing decisive action. For The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) and our nearly 1.1 million supporters across the nation, this is no different. … Continued

  • Benefit Bulletin October 2020

    The proposal is not new. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan supported a similar proposal in the late 1990s. In fact, it's one of a series of technical changes to the CPI recommended by the Boskin Commission in 1996 — which said that the CPI overstates inflation and that the COLA overpays seniors by about 1.1%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics busily instituted a number of those changes from 1995 through 2000 that, by my estimates, have already cut the rate of growth in the CPI and average Social Security benefits, compared to previous CPI measurement methodology by about 5 annually over the past ten years. If Congress were to adopt the chained CPI to calculate COLA starting with the COLA payable in 2012, that would additionally cut the growth in average benefits by about ,429 over the next ten years. .Meanwhile, some of the highest-priced drugs in the United States are brand-name drugs that can cost thousands of dollars per dose and are used to treat life-threatening illness such as hepatitis C or cancer, the researchers said. .In the absence of reliable data, we decided to ask the experts about the possibility of contracting the virus while on a flight. On the whole, airplanes on their own provide generally safe environments when it comes to air quality, but experts said the risk for infection depends largely on policies airlines may have in place regarding passenger seating, masking and boarding time. … Continued

Only one other time in recent years, in 2009 at the peak of Great Recession job losses, has the AWI ever gone negative. The 2009 AWI dipped by 1.51% and retirees who were born in 1949 were affected. Although the problem was known at the time, the reductions to benefits were considered small and Congress took no action to prevent those reductions. .According to the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation, the average Medicare Part D plan premium increase for 2016 is likely to be the largest since 200In addition, Medicare Part B premiums will increase more than 16 percent, from 4.90 to 1.80 per month, for about one in three beneficiaries next year, and that's after legislation that reduced the increase. .Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced earlier this year that he wants to overhaul entitlement spending. TSCL is concerned that, after the elections, Congress could address rising deficits by moving legislation that would cut Social Security benefits. .While Part D and Medicare Advantage have proven popular with seniors, nobody is lining up at the doors during the fall Open Enrollment to shop for and compare plans. The vast majority of beneficiaries, more than 80% according to TSCL Senior Surveys, don't compare their Part D or Medicare Advantage plan, and consequently don't reap any savings from competition between plans. If Congress were to convert all of Medicare to premium support in the future, the devil will be in the funding details — finding the balance between saving the federal government money while still keeping the program affordable for beneficiaries. And so far premium support hasn't been any magic bullet for reducing federal spending on Medicare. .You must follow Medicare guidelines for receiving the services to ensure coverage. Find out how often you should receive a service. Some preventive services are covered only once every few years, others are covered only if you meet specific criteria. To learn more read "Your Guide to Medicare's Preventive Services," CMS Product No. 101Download a copy at or call 1-800- Medicare ( 7). .This week, Senate Budget Chair Kent Conrad (ND) released his Fiscal Commission Budget Plan, which would overhaul the tax code and make major changes to both Social Security and Medicare. In addition, TSCL saw support grow for the Social Security Fairness Act. .TSCL Urges Action on Debt Ceiling .Virtually all of the changes tend to show inflation as growing more slowly. Independent economist John Williams believes that the combined effect understates the measured rate of inflation by an astonishing 7 percentage points. One of the clearest illustrations of the impact of a major change is seen in the following chart of COLAs between 1976 and 1987. .As with the start of any new Congress, TSCL is encouraging Senators and Representatives to reintroduce and co-sponsor key legislation for seniors, like the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers Act, the Notch Fairness Act, the No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act, and the Social Security Fairness Act. In addition, with comprehensive Social Security and Medicare reform on the minds of many deficit hawks, TSCL is working diligently to prevent harmful cuts for beneficiaries.