Benefit Bulletin September 2011 Advisor
MedPAC also recommended increased financial assistance for low-income Medicare beneficiaries in its report. Currently, those with incomes up to 135 percent of the federal poverty level qualify for Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs), which help beneficiaries cover the cost of Part B premiums. The Commissioners recommended extending the subsidy to those with incomes up to 150 percent of the poverty level. This would save those who qualify approximately ,300 a year in Part B premium costs, and the Commissioners believe it would "free up resources" for beneficiaries who are currently struggling to pay out-of-pocket costs. .In the meantime, TSCL will be keeping a close eye on the budget negotiations since they will impact the funding of the Social Security and Medicare programs. We will post updates here in the Legislative News section of our website, and on our Twitter page. .Drug Executives Refuse to meet with Trump … Continued
3 Ways To Lower Your Medicare Spending In 2011 Feed
"UnitedHealth Culls Doctors from Medicare Advantage Plans," Melinda Beck, Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2013. .For more than three decades the government has quietly made numerous changes to how the cost of living is defined and measured — asserting that the changes make the CPI more accurate. The general public for the most part is unaware of the changes, and more importantly the financial impact on benefits has never been publically disclosed. .Surveys by The Senior Citizens League find that older voters are strongly opposed to proposals that would cut benefits. For example, 73 percent support raising the amount of wages subject to Social Security payroll taxes by applying the full 12.4% payroll tax to wages above the taxable maximum —8,700 in 201Currently the highest earners — some 18 percent of all workers, pay no Social Security taxes on wages over the 8,700 maximum — that includes Members of Congress who receive an annual salary 4,000. Surveys have also found 90 percent strongly support allowing Medicare to negotiate drug costs. … Continued
TSCL will continue to keep the pressure up on Congress to get this problem solved as soon as possible. .Healthcare researchers are questioning the surge in medical testing, particularly the aggressive use of advanced radiology tests like CTs, MRIs and ultrasounds. Their use has become routine, but doctors are not necessarily diagnosing more diseases and the tests can expose patients to high levels of radiation that can cause cancer. Some critics blame "defensive medicine" to avoid malpractice suits, but that's only part of the problem. Some critics say that the tests are becoming a crutch as doctors have less and less time to spend with patients. And all say that the profit motives give doctors incentives to over prescribe the tests. .If the bill doesn't pass into law one way or the other it would be the first time in 60 years the legislation has failed to be enacted. .Try going back to work or getting a second job. — Reducing costs is often the harder choice, because costs tend to grow with age. You may want to consider getting a job that could provide extra income and perhaps help with health benefits. Even if you must stay at home as a caregiver, you may want to consider providing adult day care to another individual if your home is set up for that, or to find a job that allows you to work online from home. .Due to record-low growth in health care costs, the board hasn't been triggered to begin making recommendations to Congress yet, and it currently has no appointed members. Nonetheless, many lawmakers feel that such critical policy-making decisions should be left solely in the hands of elected representatives, and they hope to repeal it long before it is needed. .Before recommending the zero premiums, I helped Paula estimate potential costs. New managed care Medicare Advantage plans differ from traditional Medicare supplements by charging co-payments that can be substantial for each hospitalization, visit to the doctor, or other service received. Supplements tend to charge high premiums, but cover most, or all, of the co-insurance costs, leaving beneficiaries to pay little or nothing when they receive a service. If Paula had to be hospitalized or developed a serious illness, the co-payments charged by the Medicare Advantage plan could quickly add up to be just as much, possibly more, than what she would pay in premiums for her state retiree Medicare supplement. .The Senior Citizens League believes the inflation index that is currently used to calculate the COLA – the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W) – underestimates the inflation that Social Security beneficiaries experience largely because it fails to account for rising Medicare costs. .Medicare supplemental or Medigap policies tend to charge higher premiums, but cover most or all of the co-insurance costs for brief hospitalizations or doctor visits and other Medicare covered services. Medicare Advantage plans generally work in just the opposite fashion. Currently premiums are very low, but there could be considerable out-of-pocket co-payment costs should you require health care services. .Sources: "Feds Announce Biggest-Ever Medicare Fraud, Totaling 0 Million," Scott Cohn, CNBC, May 4, 201"Report: Suspect Billings At 2,600 Drugstores," Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, The Associated Press, May 13, 201"Obstacles To Collection Of Millions In Medicare Overpayments, Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services, May 2012.