Legislative Update For Week Ending July 24 2015
Senate Finance Committee Discusses Drug Demonstration .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. .If signed into law, the Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act would repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for physician reimbursements, and it would set up a five-year trial period during which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would test and evaluate new payment and delivery models. TSCL strongly believes that the SGR formula breeds uncertainty in the Medicare program for both physicians and beneficiaries. Many doctors have stopped accepting Medicare patients, and many more are threatening to do so if a permanent solution is not established soon. We believe that Rep. Schwartz's bill would bring increased stability to the Medicare program, and we were pleased to see four new cosponsors announce their support for it this week. … Continued
Comparing Drug Plans Saves Senior More Than 3000
The first new rule affects Medicare Part B drug costs, which are typically infused or injected drugs used mainly in the treatment of cancer. The intent is to cap the cost of those drugs at the lowest price that drug manufacturers receive in other countries and to pay doctors a flat fee for each dose of a drug, instead of a percentage of each drug's cost. .The "offset" rules for unemployment affected large numbers of seniors during the recent period of high unemployment. In Virginia, for example, the state unemployment insurance reserves dropped so low that a state law was triggered requiring cuts to the unemployment benefit payments of Social Security recipients in January 20By October, 30,000 jobless seniors in Virginia had been affected, and the offset completely wiped out the unemployment benefit of an additional 4,000. .According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), for an age 65 retiree with average wages, a maximum benefit disparity of 10% would have arisen between the highest benefit under the old rules and the lowest benefit under the new rules if the 1977 assumptions had materialized. Under the economic conditions that actually arose, the disparity was 25%-two and one half times greater. … Continued
How have you been affected by COVID-19? Share your story with us at . .TSCL supports several bills in the House that would strengthen your Social Security benefits by indexing the COLA using the CPI-E. Visit us at www.SeniorsLeague to learn the latest on this legislation and what you can do to help move this legislation in Congress! .As opposed to previous years, the Senate leaders want any legislation they have to pass out of the way by the end of May. That means any bill has to pass the Senate, then the Senate and House would have to negotiate and reach agreement on one bill before it could be sent to the President for his signature. .Where this leaves the President's policy at this point is not clear, but it is highly unlikely the program will be able to move forward while Trump is still in office. Whether President Biden will withdraw the plan or seek to modify it through negotiations with Canada remains to be seen. .Mary: Who tends to use anchors to influence our decisions, and when should we be wary? .It's also important to note that airplanes' high-powered filtration systems aren't sufficient on their own to prevent outbreaks. If an airline isn't keeping middle seats open or vigilantly enforcing mask use, flying can actually be rather dangerous. Currently, the domestic airlines keeping middle seats open include Delta, Hawaiian, Southwest and JetBlue. .Thus the new formula went into effect almost immediately for most people and is one reason why retirees born over the ten-year period of 1917 through 1926 were affected, not only those covered by the five-year phase-in. In addition, the economy did not perform the way Congress and the Social Security Administration assumed it would under the new benefit formula. Slower than anticipated wage growth, and higher than expected price inflation, resulted in even greater benefit reductions than under original assumptions. These economic conditions persisted for a decade, thus affecting those born over a ten-year period. ."That combination elevates the risk of disruptions to care, and unexpected, uncovered costs — two problems that could plague seniors shifted to new managed-care plans," Hyland says. Most states are expected to "passively enroll" beneficiaries into the plans requiring beneficiaries to take the initiative to opt out. "It is too early to know what type of choices those wishing to opt out will have," Hyland notes. "Without a strong notification and education process, many of the affected dual eligibles may not be aware, or understand, that they have new health coverage, " he says. "A new health plan can mean a change of doctor if their former providers don't participate," Hyland explains. .Your required minimum distribution (RMD) is the minimum amount that you must withdraw from retirement accounts each year. Failure to do so by your deadline can result in a penalty equal to 50% of the required amount not withdrawn.