• Legislative Update Week Ending April 14 2017

    My pulmonologist ordered a CT scan, but the person scheduling appointments said they first had to check my insurance. Is this correct? I'm covered by Medicare and a Medicare Advantage plan. I thought I would be covered for any medically necessary CT scan. .The Senate Finance Committee recently passed The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act out of committee and now it heads to the floor for further action. The bill, which has support of both Democrats and Republicans would, among other things, cap drug prices based on the rate of inflation. .Check plans offering gap coverage but don't be surprised if you wouldn't save much. If your new prescription will cost enough to put you into the doughnut hole coverage gap, check the cost of plans with additional gap coverage. But if your main expense is an expensive brand name prescription, gap coverage may not save enough to make up for the higher cost of premiums. Most only cover some generics. Get unbiased help comparing your coverage by calling your Area Agency on Aging and asking for the help of a State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counselor, or visit online at: … Continued

  • Category Legislative News Page 47

    How much would your Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) be worth if it was more accurately based on your spending patterns as a retiree? Social Security legislation under debate in the U.S. House would tie the annual boost for inflation to the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). Had that index been used to calculate the COLA for 2020, your annual boost would be 1.9%, versus the 1.6% that Social Security recipients are actually getting. .Depending on the size of COLAs and the amount of the Medicare Part B premium increase in following years, it may well take Sally another year, possibly even longer, to see any increase in her net benefit. Meanwhile Sally's other household costs have made big jumps. .Home delivery is best suited for "maintenance" drugs, the type you take every day over the long term. You will still need to continue to use your drug plan's "preferred" retail pharmacies if you need a short-term or one-time prescription like an antibiotic. … Continued

Transportation (new vehicles, airline fares, gasoline, motor vehicle insurance) .Rep. Paul Ryan said this week that he would also like to consider reforms to the Medicare program at that time. At an event on Monday, he stated, "There are other issues, like Medicare reform-based issues, that we'd like to enter into this to try and help pay for this … Sometimes you find if you have a problem that's small and intractable, if you make it a little bigger it's actually easier to solve, and that's kind of the way we're looking at the full-time doc fix." .I read that the Medicare Part D doughnut hole is closing. What does that mean? I recently started on Lantus insulin, which my drug plan covers, but with the other drugs I take, I expect to hit the doughnut hole with my April refill. .On its website the BLS explains that it calculates the COLA this way: .William told TSCL this week: "Senior citizens have the most to lose because they are by far the largest population of people who find themselves in need of costly in-home or nursing home care. For Congress not to be concerned with the catastrophic effect this would cause is cruel and unusual indifference to elderly and disabled Americans." .This week, the Senate Finance Committee met with a representative from the Obama administration to discuss alternatives to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. In addition, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) saw five key bills gain new cosponsors. .There are three factors that affect your final benefit amount: .The Hard Times Guide to Retirement Security .In addition, the bill would help finance Part D benefits. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will save Medicare billion over a decade and save beneficiaries billion in out-of-pocket costs over the same period.