Ask Advisor June 2015
Pressure is on Congress and President Obama to reach a deficit reduction agreement to address rising federal debt. Many analysts expect that cutting annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) will be a central part to any agreement. That would not only cut the benefits of more than 53 million Social Security recipients, but those of Railroad Retirement recipients, military and federal worker retirees as well. .The prices that insurers pay for in-network services are typically much lower than the provider list prices. .Also this week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) expressed optimism that he will gain support for the bill to lower prescription drug prices that he and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have written. Grassley's remarks came in the light of President Trump's State of the Union speech where he thanked Grassley for his work on the drug price issue and urged Congress to get a bill passed and sent to him. … Continued
One Third Of Adults Over 65 Have Not Received Dental Care In More Than Two Years
This week, lawmakers in the House and Senate adjourned for a week-long recess. In addition, The Senior Citizens League saw three key Social Security and Medicare bills gain support in the House. .Tax Reform Legislation Introduced in House .Unlike many other organizations TSCL accepts no government funding -- this leaves us free to truly represent the interests of supporters like you. … Continued
The Senior Citizens League is proud to have endorsed the BENES Act, and we hope the Senate Aging Committee will work to enact this legislation by the end of this year. To stay updated on the progress of the BENES Act, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website. .Retirees' budgets take a beating when prescription drug prices rise faster than the annual cost – of – living adjustments (COLAs). But new legislation moving in the Senate would address that problem. The drug bill would require drug manufacturers to pay rebates when prices rise faster than inflation. Lobbying groups for drug manufacturers don't like the idea. .Millions of people, age 65 and older, have very limited incomes, and minimal savings. In 2016, half of all Medicare beneficiaries had incomes less than ,200. A looming question is whether the official measure still provides an accurate picture of poverty. .Deficit hawks on Capitol Hill agree that the current inflation index is inaccurate, but instead of adopting a method that actually measures seniors' spending, many have been advocating for an index that would further trim COLAs. The "chained" CPI has been lauded by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle – including President Obama – as a small technical correction that would factor in the substitution that occurs when the prices of certain goods increase. However, since medical care – a major expense for seniors – cannot be substituted for something cheaper, this index would unfairly affect them. After ten years, adopting the "chained" CPI would result in an monthly benefit cut for the average retired couple, and that loss would continue to compound. .According to the National Council on Aging, 34% of older households hold credit card balances, and another 29% still owe money on a mortgage, home equity line of credit, or both. Digging out requires work and making changes. Reducing debt requires increasing income, restructuring your budget, and other changes. Here are some things to consider: .This week, one new cosponsor – Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-3) – signed on to the Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act (H.R. 1811), bringing the total up to eleven. If signed into law, H.R. 1811 would base Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) and it would gradually phase out the cap on income subject to the payroll tax. It would extend the program's solvency for decades into the future responsibly, without cutting benefits for seniors. .For more information, or to see if your Members of Congress have scheduled town halls during the August recess, contact their local offices. You can find contact information HERE, and for a list of sample questions, click HERE. .The President ordered a payroll tax deferral, not a cut, meaning the taxes will not be collected for a while but they will still be due at a later date. However, some observers have suggested that rather than give employees the additional money and then try to collect it back from them at the end of the year, employers will simply hold onto the money so that the employees would never see it in their paychecks. .Sources: "Do You Like Your Doctor? Obamacare Drives UnitedHealth to Downsize its Medicare Physician Networks," Avik Roy, Forbes, November 18, 2013.