• Notch Bulletin November 2010 Advisor

    I retired seven years ago at age 65 when I started Social Security and Medicare. I have difficulty budgeting my healthcare costs. I never seem to learn what they will be until I start getting the bills. Can you help? .The responsibility is on you to notify the SSA of your age, and file an application for retirement benefits based on your own earnings, if higher. As you continue working past age 66, the retirement benefit you receive based on your own earnings continues to grow. That retirement credit is only applied until age 70; however, there's no additional increase thereafter, so put in your claim now. .TSCL recently submitted comments on the draft FDA regulations, stating "classifying CAM products as drugs, the cost of access would increase, as consumers may have to visit and pay a doctor for a prescription, instead of being able to choose their own vitamins, minerals and dietary supplement intake." TSCL is further concerned about the impact such regulation would have upon Medicare beneficiaries. Currently, Medicare reimburses few CAM therapies and products and seniors must pay out of pocket. Most Part D drug plans, for example, don't cover vitamins and supplements. TSCL called on the FDA to withdraw the regulations. … Continued

  • Legislative Update Week Ending June 8 2018

    Another supporter told us: "I was paying 4 for a three-month supply of Aromasin. A few days ago, I discovered the new price would be 8 for three months … Pfizer has raised the price far too high for seniors on Medicare living on fixed incomes." .Despite the new endorsement from the Freedom Caucus, leaders in the House do not yet have the votes needed to win passage. On Thursday evening, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) told reporters, "We've been making great progress, and when we have the votes we'll vote on it." .Few diseases or conditions can be treated quickly, so be suspicious of any therapy claimed as a "quick fix." … Continued

In addition to funding the government, the 2,000-page deal will renew health benefits for 9/11 responders, lift a ban on the exportation of crude oil that has been around for nearly fifty years, and delay two Obamacare taxes for two additional years – one tax on medical devices and one tax on high-cost "Cadillac" healthcare plans. As a part of the deal, leaders in Congress also agreed to make permanent a number of tax breaks that have been subject to frequent renewals for decades. .In a normal year the two-week period around Christmas and New Years Day is a slow news period. But, as with so much else, that was not true this year. .In a statement, Congressman Doggett said: "Despite groundbreaking medical discoveries, we see no breakthrough in affordability for consumers. Drug pricing in America is a tangled mess, a knot that will take more than one cut to pull apart … Sick patients are tired of seeing Congress do nothing about a problem that affects so many." .The bill, which TSCL supports enthusiastically, was amended this week to include a pay-for that would cover the projected cost of its passage. Since the IPAB currently has no appointed members and it has not yet been triggered to begin making recommendations to Congress, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that its repeal will have no budgetary impact over the next six years. However, it could increase spending by around .1 billion between 2022 and 2025 since it may be triggered during that timeframe. .For decades, Medicare and Social Security have lifted millions of people out of poverty and provided seniors with affordable, high-quality healthcare and reliable financial support. In Congress, we have a responsibility to strengthen and modernize Medicare and Social Security for today's seniors and future generations. That's why, earlier this year, I worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to oppose proposals by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to cut Medicare Advantage and limit access to prescription drugs. Thanks to these bipartisan efforts, CMS reconsidered these proposals. .Allow states, wholesalers, and pharmacies to import FDA-approved drugs from foreign countries and sell them in the U.S. Trump has long complained that countries where the government sets the price of drugs are taking advantage of American consumers. The order includes a special provision to allow wholesalers and pharmacies to re-import insulin and biological drugs. .TSCL enthusiastically supports H.R. 2305 and H.R. 3118, and we were pleased to see support grow for both of them this week. .The "offset" rules for unemployment affected large numbers of seniors during the recent period of high unemployment. In Virginia, for example, the state unemployment insurance reserves dropped so low that a state law was triggered requiring cuts to the unemployment benefit payments of Social Security recipients in January 20By October, 30,000 jobless seniors in Virginia had been affected, and the offset completely wiped out the unemployment benefit of an additional 4,000. .Last Friday the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer, Inc., urged President Biden to form a bipartisan coalition in Washington to address high drug costs.