• Legislative Update For Week Ending December 2 2011

    On Wednesday, TSCL's Board of Trustees, along with former Congressman David Funderburk and Mrs. Betty Funderburk, and legislative analyst Jessie Gibbons, held meetings on Capitol Hill in six Congressional offices. TSCL's dedicated, all-volunteer Board of Trustees consists of the following members: chairman Larry Hyland, vice-chairman Tom O'Connell, secretary Charlie Flowers, treasurer Ed Cates, political action committee (PAC) treasurer Michael Gales, and board liaison and president of The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) Arthur Cooper. .If you have questions about your coverage, Medicare beneficiaries can get free one-on-one counseling from State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) counselors by contacting your local Area Agency on Aging or senior center. The programs go by different names depending on your location, but SHIP contact info can be found at .TSCL plans to continue hosting town hall meetings in the future. If you are interested in helping us plan a meeting in your area, click HERE. … Continued

  • The President Introduces His Plan To Lower Drug Prices

    The report adds that, "The pharmaceutical industry has already shattered records this year, spending an unprecedented million to lobby the federal government in the first three months of this year, according to the CSP, including .7 million from PhRMA. Stephen Ubl, the CEO of PhRMA, criticized H.R. 3 last month, claiming it would ‘destroy an estimated one million American jobs.' The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest lobbying spender this year, has also come out against the bill, comparing it to ‘government price controls' and claiming it would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. .At Wednesday's hearing, Charles Jeszeck – Director of Education, Workforce, and Income Security at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) – unveiled the findings of a study requested by the Aging Committee's leaders back in March of 201The study examined the extent to which older Americans understand the rules that impact their future benefits when making claiming decisions, and the quality of the information provided by the agency and its field offices around the country. .Enrollees in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans should take a careful look at changes in their health plan for 201These Medicare health plans have new leeway to offer new supplemental benefits. While some of the new benefits may be valuable to some families, other changes, which give plans greater leeway to "tier" the co-pay structure for healthcare providers, may mean higher out-of-pocket costs when non-preferred or out-of-network providers are used. … Continued

The SEC chairman would appoint a director to lead the task force, which would include staff from several offices at the commission. Task force members would not receive additional compensation. .TSCL enthusiastically supports H.R. 2745, H.R. 3118, and H.R. 1795, and we were pleased to see support grow for each of them this week. .Many expected immigration reform to be a focal point of the President's speech, however, his remarks on the topic were vague and very brief. In one short paragraph, he said, "Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same … So let's get immigration reform done this year." TSCL has some serious concerns about comprehensive immigration reform, since it would further strain the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds. We strongly feel that any efforts to reform the system should include loophole-closing legislation that would prevent immigrants from receiving benefits based on a history of illegal work. ."Official" Poverty Measure Undercounts The Number Of Older Americans Living In Poverty .It sounds as though your daughter's father-in-law didn't sign up for Medicare Part B by his enrollment deadline and is now subject to a late enrollment penalty. For each 12-month period he delayed enrollment in Medicare Part B, he will have to pay a 10% Part B penalty. A penalty of as much as an extra 0 per month in addition to the current premium of 8.50 for 2021, suggests that he is being penalized for a 16-year period he did not have Medicare coverage. That suggests that he didn't enroll at age 6That would mean his base Medicare Part B premium could be 8.50 per month when he enrolls. .Just years before they were set to retire, these individuals learned that they would receive significantly lower benefits than originally anticipated. The problem has grown and compounded over time, and TSCL believes that in order to make the program more equitable, some compensation for the injustice should be provided. We enthusiastically support Rep. Meng's Notch Fairness Act, and we were pleased to see one new cosponsor sign on this week. .TSCL has received a growing volume of email from seniors who say their new Part D or Medicare Advantage plan isn't all it's cracked up to be. Many of you complain of higher-than-expected costs, and quite a few asked how you could drop your plan. Selecting the right Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage plan is highly complicated. The system has stymied almost everyone who works with it, Medicare advocates, pharmacists, insurers, and — especially — government employees. How can the average senior be expected to figure it out? .Social Security Administration data indicate that, since 2000, the ESF grew at an unprecedented pace. According to TSCL's new report since 2000, the SSA has received, on average, 8.8 million suspicious wage reports annually. Cumulative wages in the ESF since 1980 now total more than .2 trillion, unadjusted for inflation. Wages are of importance because Social Security benefits are based on an individual's earnings record, not the taxes paid in. .Last fall, as part of his deficit reduction plan, President Obama recommended charging a 30 percent surcharge on Part B premiums to new beneficiaries who purchase Medigap polices with "near first-dollar" coverage. But do Medigap supplements encourage the over use of services? According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 20% of Medicare beneficiaries have a Medigap policy and they paid an average of 8 per month for premiums in 2010 (premiums vary significantly). People purchase the policies specifically to protect against the considerable costs that Medicare does not cover, and to help keep budgets in retirement years more predictable. They have modest incomes, but don't qualify for Medicaid. About 66% have incomes below ,000 and nearly 31% have incomes below ,000.