Mega Prescription Costs Pushing More People Into Medicares Doughnut Hole
New research, however, suggests that Medigap substantially increases Medicare spending, because seniors with the policies are insulated from costs. Those with polices tend to receive more medical care than people who are required to pay some or all of the costs of their care out-of-pocket. According to the CBO, a 2010 study found that Medicare beneficiaries responded to increases in their cost sharing by reducing visits to physicians and use of prescription drugs. "Making seniors pay higher initial Medigap cost-sharing affects both senior budgets, and senior health — especially if seniors forego necessary care," Cates notes. .Forty-five percent (45%) say their retirement savings dropped significantly in value and that they have cut back on spending. Another 13 percent (13%) say their retirement savings have dropped, but they are unable to cut back any further. .Several lawmakers also expressed their concerns about rising prescription drug prices at Wednesday's hearing. When asked whether the administration would take action to assist seniors who fall into Medicare Part D's "doughnut hole," Congressman Price said: "It is imperative that we provide the greatest amount of opportunity for individual seniors to be able to gain access to the drugs that they need." Senator Bill Nelson (FL) expressed his dissatisfaction with that response, saying: "If I gave [seniors] that answer, I would get run out of the room." … Continued
Legislative Update For Week Ending June 15 2012
Alexandria, VToday's seniors are living longer and spending more years in retirement — which is why a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) that keeps up with rising costs is essential protection, says The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). Yet Social Security benefits have been growing at record lows over the past five years — an average about 1.4% per year — less than half the average rate of growth in previous years. .The report's findings are significant because the DI program is currently in serious financial trouble. If Congress does nothing to address its funding issues, the trust fund will become insolvent next year, at the end of 201At that point, enrollees will face an across-the-board 20 percent cut in benefits. .Many Members of the Subcommittee focused on raising the retirement age, though Mr. Blahous assured them that this action could not fix the shortfall on its own, or seniors would be working well into their late seventies. … Continued
This week, TSCL's Board of Trustees traveled to Washington, D.C. for their first meeting of the year. TSCL's all-volunteer Board of Trustees includes the following members: Edward Cates, Chairman; Tom O'Connell, Vice-Chairman; Charlie Flowers, Secretary; John Martinez, Treasurer; Michael Gales, PAC Treasurer; Rick Delaney, President and Liaison of The Retired Enlisted Association; and Larry Hyland, Immediate Past Chairman of TSCL. .While the cost of the prescription is affordable, the drug causes a number of serious side effects. Susan needs to see her doctor more frequently for monitoring and blood tests. Her biggest prescription cost surprise was learning that her prescription vitamin, folic acid, which she needs to fight the side effects, was not covered under Medicare. Her Part D plan wanted 0.00 for a one-month supply. Susan instead orders an over-the-counter supply of 400 pills for .99 on Amazon, taking 7 pills every day to get to the required dosage, which is still not as effective as the prescription version of folic acid. Now her doctor is considering a different medication. .To learn more about issues facing Social Security and Medicare, visit our weekly legislative updates, which provide information on upcoming town hall meetings. .Despite all the tragedy and difficulty coming out of the pandemic emergency there is a little good news, in our opinion. The spread of the coronavirus has reignited the push in Congress to expand domestic manufacturing of drugs, and renewed concerns the U.S. relies too much on foreign medicine makers. As we have been seeing, the need for medications can be urgent during a pandemic and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have raised alarms about possible shortages. .Social Security's "full" retirement age is the age at which you qualify for full, un-reduced benefits. It's based on your date of birth, so it varies for everyone. In 1983, Congress enacted changes that very gradually raised the full retirement age to age 67 by the year 202The full retirement age for people born between 1943 and 1954 is 6For those born in 1955 it is 66 and 2 months and it goes up 2 months per year for those born between 1956 and 195For people born in 1960 and thereafter, the full retirement age is 67. .Please help us continue our important work on behalf of senior citizens and retirees. Make a secure, online donation today. .The Senior Citizens League enthusiastically supports H.R. 2276, H.R. 4957, S. 2387, and S. 2671, and we were pleased to see support grow for them this week. For more information about these and other TSCL-backed bills, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website. .The government negotiates prescription drug prices for veterans and Medicaid beneficiaries, but it is barred from negotiating lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, seniors enrolled in Part D often pay much higher prices than others for their prescription drugs. What are you doing to correct this unfair policy? .At the time of writing this week's update, neither chamber had voted on the omnibus spending bill, but its passage is expected before funding runs out on Tuesday, December 22nd. A vote in the House is scheduled for Friday morning, and lawmakers in the Senate will likely take it up shortly thereafter, potentially as early as Friday afternoon. President Obama signaled his support for the spending package on Wednesday, which means he plans to sign it into law if it is sent to his desk.