Congressional Corner Government Needs A New Approach For Determining Colas
Premium support by itself is no shoo-in for cutting federal spending. In fact, the track record is pretty messy. The costs for Medicare Part D have been lower than originally projected. Competition between Part D drug plans seems to be working, for now, to keep costs down both for the government and for some seniors — particularly those who carefully shop and compare drug plans each year. .Despite these known challenges, President Trump recently signed an Executive Order which allows the deferral of payroll taxes, including Medicare taxes, if the taxpayer is affected by a federally-declared emergency like the coronavirus. The Executive Order doesn't apply to all workers, only those earning up to 0,000 annually. The average worker will be able to put off paying just under 0 for the term of the deferral, September 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020, or about per week. The move is only temporary, and workers will be required to repay the taxes next year. .Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown announced a consumer price index bill for elderly consumers on Wednesday. Under the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers Act, the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) would be amended to use a formula that reflects the spending patterns of seniors. The current index is based on the spending patterns of urban workers. … Continued
Benefit Bulletin April 2016
Generic drugs account for 84% of drugs sold nationally, but only 12% of spending. .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. .Your Initial Enrollment Period starts three months prior to turning age 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after you turn 6Advisor editor Mary Johnson, who has helped dozens of friends and neighbors with their Medicare, highly recommends starting the Medicare enrollment process 3 months before you turn 65, in order to have your new coverage become effective in the month you turn 6Enrolling in Medicare is done online through the Social Security website at www.SocialSecurity.gov. Look for the box that says, "Enroll in Medicare". Or you can get assistance to help you with this. … Continued
If your husband's company had 20 or more employees, and your husband's former employer still has the same health coverage, you and your husband may have the option to temporarily continue to get healthcare coverage under your husband's former employer plan as provided by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). That coverage now, however, is likely to be more expensive than it was while your husband was an active employee, and it's only a short-term option. These are two reasons why both you and your spouse should explore other options promptly. .Understand how much risk the insurer shifts to you. Deductibles can commonly range from 0 to ,500, but claims for severe weather disasters can find you responsible for paying as much as 5% of your home's insured value (up to 10 percent in Florida) before your insurer covers damage expenses. Example: Your home is insured for 0,000 and your policy calls for a 5% deductible for hurricanes. You would pay ,500 out-of-pocket on any storm claim prior to your insurer covering the rest. .To learn how you can join the effort for an Emergency COLA and Medicare relief, Visit .When hold harmless is triggered program-wide as in 2016, however, there is no specific provision of law with which to finance the unpaid portion of Medicare Part B premium increases for the roughly 43 million who are protected by the provision. In the past, Congress has chosen to allow this cost burden to shift to the 30 percent of beneficiaries who are not held harmless. Because the cost is spread over far fewer people instead of all beneficiaries, they pay a far larger share of the costs, thus the Part B premium spikes. .Prohibits benefits for disability beneficiaries found guilty of fraudulently concealing work. .Because of the collapse in the real estate market, experts say that thousands of seniors who need assisted living or nursing home care are remaining in their homes longer because they can't sell or get the price they need to cover their long term care. According to Harris Meyer, in an article for Kaiser Health News, the situation is leaving families under pressure to either pay for their parents' placement with their own money, or to provide care themselves. .Last year, my office received reports of people coming up to the doors of our elders, posing as census takers or COVID testers, and requesting sensitive information like Social Security numbers and other forms of identification -- something that real census takers or health workers would never do. .Medigap plans by law are now barred from offering drug coverage, and beneficiaries need to add "drug only" coverage to their Medicare supplement. .Leaders in Congress are reportedly already discussing their next budgetary move – a long-term deal that would fund the entire government for the next two years. It remains to be seen whether they will reach a compromise before the looming deadline. According to House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (KY-5), they will need to have the parameters for the deal set by November 11th so that appropriators have the time needed to negotiate the details.