• Legislative Update September 2011 Advisor Feed

    Ask about insurer discounts. When shopping, learn what the prospective insurer gives discounts for. Smoke detectors, burglar alarms and dead bolt locks can be worth a 5% premium discount. .For Medicare Advantage enrollees whose physicians are dropped, this means one of three things. They will either have to scramble to find a new doctor, pay more to see their out-of-network doctor, or switch to a Medicare Advantage plan with a better network of providers. Seniors who did not choose the third option last fall will have to wait until October – the start of Medicare's open enrollment period – to find a new plan. .There is a misconception that all veterans can get health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. But that is not true. To get health care there a veteran must have a VA-rated disability. … Continued

  • Benefit Bulletin August 2015

    Several subcommittee members at Thursday's hearing spoke about the importance of stable and reliable funding for the administration in the coming years so that it can continue its efforts to modernize the program's IT system. The Senior Citizens League agrees that adequate administrative funding is critical, and we will continue to advocate for the Social Security Administration Fairness Act (S. 6251, H.R. 3147) in the months ahead. That bill, if adopted, would set SSA's funding level at 1.5 percent of overall benefit payments, and it would implement a moratorium on field office closures so that beneficiaries receive the service they have earned and deserve. .A number of the Commission's proposals would hit seniors particularly hard. Here are a few highlights: .Rep. Allyson Schwartz's (PA-13) Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act (H.R. 574) also gained support this week. One new cosponsor – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-1) – signed on, bringing the total up to thirty-four. If signed into law, Rep. Schwartz's bill would repeal and replace the SGR, bringing increased stability to the Medicare program for both physicians and beneficiaries. … Continued

Surprise! A new Part D plan drug pricing program may lower costs for those who seek out the savings. Recent Congressional scrutiny on drug pricing may be spurring some drug plans to drop prices on certain drugs. A new drug plan pricing program offered by Cigna, for example, lowers the cost of insulin. In 2018, the lowest cost Part D plan charged an copay for a 100/ML of Lantus Solostar. In 2019, the lowest cost plan in my area charges copays as low as .00 - .00 for Lantus Solostar in the Cigna-HealthSpring Rx Secure — Extra Part D plan. The highest cost plan, which does not cover Lantus, charges the full price, 3.18 per 100/ML. Which would you rather have? .TSCL enthusiastically supports the Credit for Caring Act, the Social Security Fairness Act, and the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act, and we were pleased to see support grow for each one this week. To receive frequent progress updates on these and other Social Security, Medicare, and family caregiving bills, follow TSCL on Twitter. .TSCL believes that these two provisions unfairly reduce the earned benefits of millions of seniors each year. We were pleased to see support grow for the Social Security Fairness Act this week. .It would: boost monthly Social Security benefits by 2 percent, improve the adequacy of the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment, create a new minimum benefit set at 125 percent of the poverty line, and cut taxes for millions of beneficiaries. To cover the cost of these benefit enhancements and extend the solvency of the Social Security Trust Funds for decades to come, it would also apply the payroll tax to income over 0,000 and gradually increase the payroll tax rate from 6.2 percent to 7.4 percent. .There seems to be a great disagreement among supporters of Notch reform over who is truly a Notch Victim. What are the facts? .A California physician ordered 115 Schedule II drugs (the class at highest risk for addiction) for just one beneficiary in 200Medicare paid 5,711. .To cover the projected cost, lawmakers included a reduction in funding to the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which was created by the ACA to support preventive care efforts, the management of chronic conditions, and developments in public health. .Former doughnut hole coverage gap: After spending the initial coverage amount of ,005, you are responsible for 25% co-insurance for both generic and brand name drugs, plus a portion of the pharmacy dispensing fee which is approximately $$Your drug plan pays 75% of the cost of generic drugs and 5% on brand-name drugs. The drug manufacturer provides a 70% discount on brand-name drugs. Your total costs in this stage could run as high as ,345 between the end of the Initial Coverage Period and the Catastrophic stage of coverage begins. Altogether, beneficiaries could be responsible for as much as ,350 in TrOOP, which includes the drug costs paid by the beneficiary and the 70% discount on brand-name drugs provided by the drug manufacturer. Payments made by the drug plan DO NOT count TrOOP costs. .TSCL is carefully monitoring these recommendations and believes they would be financially punitive to seniors who are depending on Medigap supplements to provide a more secure retirement.