Legislative Update For Week Ending October 28 2011
Last week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report that revealed Medicare outpatient plans are three times more expensive for the same drugs as those covered by Medicaid. .Another Social Security reform bill – the Social Security for Future Generations Act (H.R. 2855) from Congressman Al Lawson, Jr. (FL-5) – gained one new cosponsor this week. The new cosponsor, Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (MP-1), is the nineteenth lawmaker to officially sign on to the bill. If adopted, it would strengthen and improve the program by adopting the CPI-E, applying the payroll tax to income over 0,000, creating a new benefit for widows and widowers, and increasing the Special Minimum Benefit so it equals 125 percent of the poverty line. .TSCL believes the current COLA is not sustainable for today's retirees and disabled beneficiaries, and is lobbying for legislation that would provide a minimum COLA of 3% in years in which inflation drops lower. What do you think? Visit TSCL's website at and take a poll. … Continued
Six Ways To Avoid Being Overcharged For Your Prescriptions
Two years ago, President Obama bypassed Congress to halt the deportations of almost 5 million unauthorized immigrants. The Supreme Court recently tied on a ruling that allowed a lower court's ruling to stand, barring Obama's executive action. Do you believe President Obama overstepped his constitutional limits? .Ignoring mature worker employment will have long-term effects on American families and our overall economy. During the final years of their careers, mature workers traditionally earn their highest salaries, pay off their mortgages, care for aging parents, put their children through school, take a splurge vacation and save for their retirement. .The Senior Citizens League's members nation-wide agree that the elimination of the medical expense deduction would be a significant loss for those living on fixed incomes. I encourage lawmakers to keep this critical tax deduction in place and to take a stand for older and disabled Americans as tax reform discussions continue in the days and weeks ahead. … Continued
With the Medicare physician payment "doc fix" scheduled to cease at the end of February, lawmakers remain divided on where the funding will come from to extend the current level of payments to doctors. If the current "doc fix" expires, physicians' reimbursements will be reduced by a 27 percent rate. .Annual vaccinations. While you don't want to skip annual exams and vaccines, you might be surprised to learn that many recommended vaccines are licensed to be effective for three years or more. However, all pets are different and some non-core vaccines may need to be given more frequently. State and local laws can affect how frequently some vaccines are given. Ask for a copy of your pet's vaccination records, if you don't already have them. Then check around for low-cost spay & neuter clinics that also offer discounted vaccinations. To learn more about discounted vaccines, contact your local SPCA, animal shelter, or local pet supply stores to learn what may be scheduled in your area. .This will give them an additional week to try and get something done. If they can't by then, they'll either pass another short-term CR giving them additional time to work until probably Christmas, or they'll give up and go home for Christmas and push everything off to the new Congress and new President in January. .Missing Medicare Part B Enrollment Deadline Triggers Penalties .I'm 63, married, and recently earned about ,000 a year until I got laid off in March. My wife is younger but only receives a small income from providing part-time day care services. We don't have any savings. I'm not receiving any Social Security now. Can I receive Social Security benefits and get unemployment benefits? .The potential cost of illegal immigration on federal benefit programs is for now still flying under the radar as political candidates vie for votes. Latinos are becoming a key electorate group. In 2010, The National Council of La Raza estimated that 20 million Latinos were eligible to vote in the 2010 elections — representing the fastest electorate growth rate of any group in the U.S. .Co-pays and coinsurance: This refers to the portion of the cost of services that you pay out-of-pocket. Co-pays are a fixed amount that you will pay for each service. For example, in a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be billed a co-pay of to see a primary care physician and to see a specialist. On the other hand, coinsurance is a variable amount. It is a percentage of the cost of the service. Theoretically if the total cost of the service is ,000 and you pay 20% coinsurance, your cost could be about 0. Under Medicare Advantage your health plan negotiates the cost of service, thus you would want to call your plan to get an idea what your total out-of-pocket costs would be, and whether your provider is a preferred provider. Under most Medigap policies, the Part B co-insurance cost is covered in large part, but there still could be some "excess charges" that you pay out of pocket. .My husband survived cancer but his healthcare costs depleted our savings. Do you have suggestions for coping with debt in retirement? .On Tuesday, the Senate HELP Committee held a bipartisan hearing to discuss the rising costs of prescription drugs. Members of the committee heard from four expert witnesses, including Doctor Paul Howard – Director of Health Policy at the Manhattan Institute – and Doctor Gerard Anderson – Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.