Legislative Update January 2019
Is the evidence really so clear? .Finally, two new cosponsors – Senator John Hoeven (ND) and Senator Angus King (ME) – signed on to the Concentrating on High-Value Alzheimer's Needs to Get to an End (CHANGE) Act (S. 2387). The cosponsor total is now up to twelve. If adopted, the bill would direct the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to create programs that would promote early identification, improve support for family caregivers, and provide continuous care for those battling many forms of dementia. .The new cards will have unique, randomly-assigned numbers called a Medicare Beneficiary. Benefit Bulletin: June 2016 Can You Identify Medicare Fraud In This Story? … Continued
Congressional Corner Two Bills That Would Increase Benefits While Protecting Social Securitys Solvency
The next twelve months is one of the most critical periods for the nation's seniors and disabled who receive Social Security and Medicare. The failure of a special Joint Committee of Congress known as the "super committee," means automatic budget cuts totaling billions of dollars that are scheduled to kick in by 2013 unless Congress enacts different plans. Although Social Security and Medicaid appear to have escaped the knife for now, billions in Medicare spending would be cut from payments to hospitals and other providers. .Uncovered healthcare costs — In planning your budget, include costs that Medicare doesn't cover — dental care, eye exams and eyeglasses, for example. When shopping health plans, some MA plans may offer extra benefits like these. .While the provision is valuable protection, it doesn't apply to all Medicare Part B enrollees. Roughly 30% of all Part B beneficiaries will not be protected in 201Those people are facing a Part B premium increase of about 22.3%, from 1.80 per month to 9.00, the highest increase in 27 years. People who are not protected by the hold harmless provision include: … Continued
Before the Affordable Care Act, seniors could deduct out-of-pocket medical costs that exceeded 7.5 percent of their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). Starting in 2017, however, the law increases this threshold to 10% of a person's AGI – effectively lowering how much can be deducted at the end of the year and increasing how much seniors will pay in taxes. .Specialty-tier drugs are defined by Medicare, as those that cost more than 0 per month in 2019, and include drugs used to treat cancer, hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis (MS), and rheumatoid arthritis. Even when Part D enrollees reach the Medicare Part D catastrophic coverage phase, when co-insurance drops to 5%, beneficiaries who take these drugs can continue to face thousands of dollars in annual out-of-pocket costs, according to the Kaiser study. The study found that annual out-of-pocket costs for specialty drugs in 2019 are expected to average ,994 across the 28 specialty-tier drugs that are covered by drug plans. .However, current benefits, as we will learn today, are inadequate, unfair, and in many cases discriminatory, because of systemic economic inequities. .Source: "Analysis of Plan 2 of The President's Commission on Social Security," Congressional Budget Office, July 21, 2004. .With China taking drastic measures to try and contain the spread of the disease, including quarantines and shutting down some industries, production to supply America's pharmacies and medicine cabinets is at risk of interruption. .Sixty – seven percent of seniors participating in the survey said they already spend up to one-third of their Social Security benefits on Medicare costs. Another 21 percent said they spent up to one-half. "Because healthcare costs are rising more rapidly than Social Security benefits, spending on Medicare takes an increasing share of senior income as seniors age," says Cates. .New Legislation to Stop Looming Cuts to Medicare Urgently Needed .Your responses to our annual Senior Surveys are a key means to helping us convince Congress to move forward on key issues. Please take our 2021 Senior Survey. .If you've received a medical bill for services that you thought were covered by your health insurance you already know what surprise medical billing is. But as a reminder, "Surprise medical billing" is a term commonly used to describe charges received by someone who has health insurance but they received care from a health care provider who is not included in their insurance coverage. This situation could arise in an emergency when the patient has no ability to select the emergency room, treating physicians, or ambulance providers. Surprise medical bills might also happen when a patient receives planned care from an in-network provider (often, a hospital or ambulatory care facility), but other treating providers brought in to participate in the patient's care are not in the same network. This can end up costing patients thousands of dollars they thought their insurance would pay.