Congressional Corner Protecting Against A New Wave Of Senior Scams
When asked how Congress should address the lack of coverage, 79 percent of poll respondents said Medicare coverage should be expanded, while 14 percent said private Medicare Advantage plans that sometimes cover more of these services should be better promoted. Only 7 percent of respondents said Medicare's coverage of dental, vision, and hearing services should remain unchanged. .Money for Life: Turn Your IRA and 401(k) Into a Lifetime Retirement Paycheck, Steve Vernon, September 2012. .This week, President Obama delivered his State of the Union Address, and talks to repeal and replace the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for doctors who treat Medicare patients seemed to have stalled. … Continued
Category Legislative News Page 30
Reduce the size of the initial retirement benefit that new Social Security beneficiaries are scheduled to receive; .According to the Social Security Handbook, when Social Security decides an overpayment has been made, a written notice will be sent to the overpaid individual or the legal representative (such as guardians or estates), if any. People other than the beneficiary can be liable for overpayments if they are entitled to benefits on the same earnings record, like widows, divorced widows, spouses, divorced spouses, and children. .Without changes, SSDI will only take in enough revenues to pay 80% of scheduled benefits by 201TSCL believes that suspected fraud is compounding the crisis in the disability program, and that Congress should cut fraud — not benefits of those who are truly in need. TSCL supports measures that would provide stiffer penalties for disability fraud, make eligibility criteria more objective and measurable, and step up reviews to determine whether people currently on the rolls remain entitled to benefits. … Continued
The authors of the study concluded that unless the overall trend stabilizes or is reversed, or high cost-to-claim drugs are addressed, this trend will place an increasing burden on the neurologic Medicare budget. .That said, the SSDI program paid .2 billion in benefits to ineligible people in FY2012 according to the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General. And skyrocketing enrollment is putting added financial strains on the program. Both the Social Security Trustees and the Congressional Budget Office have recently forecast that the SSDI trust fund will become fully depleted in three years. When that occurs, program revenues will only be sufficient to pay about 80% of benefits. Unless Congress takes action, severely disabled beneficiaries would face benefit cuts of 20%. ."Super Committee" Holds Second Hearing .At any rate, what this means is the legislation that TSCL is fighting to pass which would safeguard and improve Social Security and Medicare still has the possibility of passing this year. Most of those bills will involve new spending, which means they will need to be included in new funding legislation. .In a statement issued early this week, America's Health Insurance Plans, an advocacy organization for insurers, wrote: "Reports from leading industry analysts show broad consensus that the CMS proposal, if finalized, would result in Medicare Advantage payment cuts of at least 4 percent in 2015 and likely much higher once other changes are factored in." But in a statement of their own, representatives from CMS countered: "The proposed changes for 2015 for Medicare Advantage are smaller than those implemented in 2014 – a year in which CMS expects to exceed its 5 percent enrollment growth projection." They went on to claim that the 2015 MA cut will actually result in lower premiums and better care for seniors. .Elmendorf began his testimony by sharing some grim projections that have recently been developed by the CBO. He stated that the economy will likely grow by only 1.5 percent this year, and that next year, it's expected to increase by only 2.5 percent. He also announced that the unemployment rate will continue to hover around the 9 percent mark until the end of 2012. .This year, we challenged our members to be more vocal than ever about their Social Security and Medicare concerns, and our expectations were surpassed to say the least! Our members signed an unprecedented 1,504,372 petitions, and in April, we boxed them up, trekked to Capitol Hill, and delivered them by hand to the offices of each Representative and Senator in the U.S. Congress. .Congress Adjourns for Memorial Day Recess .Again, next year, a number of physicians and medical specialists were facing sharp Medicare pay cuts. This was to come, of course, in the face of the worst pandemic in our lifetimes and one which has worn so many physicians and nurses to the point of exhaustion.