• The Growing Cost Of Illegal Immigration To Social Security Feed

    Each year, the "taxable maximum" increases according to growth in the national average wage index. However, the percentage of earnings subject to the payroll tax has decreased over time, since earnings by the wealthiest have grown faster than earnings by the rest of the population. Increasing the "taxable maximum" to cover a larger portion of income could responsibly cover the cost of the Notch Fairness Act. Third, Congress could allow the temporary Social Security payroll tax holiday to expire. For nearly two years, employees have enjoyed a two - percent payroll tax cut, but it has done little to stimulate the economy and it has undermined the self-sustaining nature of Social Security. .Offsets Complicate SGR Talks .Doing this can be worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in savings in a single year, and it's surprisingly simple. Free one-on-one counseling is available from local Medicare benefits counselors like me in every area of the country, through State Health Insurance Programs (SHIP). Many of these programs operate through local area agencies on aging, senior centers, and community health centers. … Continued

  • Legislative Update For Week Ending September 25 2015

    Editor's note: While I have a pretty reliable track record on estimating the COLA, this year's inflation is far different than at any previous time in the past 26+ years. Inflation has been so volatile that I worry my probability models may not work as well as they typically do. In most years I'm pretty certain about my September estimate of the COLA for the following year. But this time all bets are off. Be patient — I'm no psychic, and stay tuned to the news! .Senate Drug-pricing Bill to get Renewed Push .In September, federal agents announced the arrests of 35 people linked to a huge genetic testing scam. Individuals charged are accused of billing Medicare for more than .1 billion worth of phony genetic tests. The crackdown included telemedicine companies, doctors, and labs which worked in an elaborate scheme that preyed on people's fears of having genetic markers for cancer. … Continued

Sources: "Humana Inc. Overcharged Medicare Nearly 0 Million, Federal Audit Finds," Fred Schulte, NPR, April 20, 202"Insurers Running Medicare Advantage Plans Overbill Taxpayers By Billions As Feds Struggle to Stop It," Fred Schulte and Lauren Weber, Kaiser Health News, July 16, 201"Reducing Medicare Advantage Overpayments," Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, February, 23, 2021. .Two Provisions That Can Reduce Or Eliminate Social Security Benefits .The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on nursing homes, leading to large numbers of residents and staff becoming become ill or dying. We hope that such catastrophes may help focus attention on long-term problems that plague these facilities. .Because of the coronavirus, however, the BLS has been unable to gather much of the information from those two categories. Therefore, although they do not use the word, they are going to guess at those costs. It may be an educated guess, but it is still a guess, nonetheless. .Graves can't understand why the pricing is going unchecked by the federal government. "This needs to be investigated," she says. "People who don't have good Part D coverage or the money to pay for their drugs would be forced to go without," she protests. "It's GREED, GREED, GREED!" .At Thursday's hearing, Mr. Mathur updated the subcommittee members on the progress the administration is making to modernize the program's information technology. The administration is in the process of implementing a five-year plan that will result in improved service, stronger cyber security, and lower operating costs. Mr. Mathur reported that SSA's IT modernization efforts are currently on schedule and on budget, and that the outdated system should be fully replaced by 2022. .I believe it is imperative that we fully support programs that protect the nation's most vulnerable, and ensure that they can easily access them in their time of need. The SNAP Simplification for the Elderly Act will make great strides in that direction. . Find out which drug store has the lowest cost-sharing before you fill. Your cost sharing can be dramatically higher depending on where and how you fill your prescription (retail versus mail order). Make sure you are using a preferred vs. standard network pharmacy and compare the prices of retail pharmacies with getting a 90-day supply from your drug plan's mail order pharmacy. For example, if you are enrolled in the Wellcare Wellness Rx plan and get your Eliquis from a standard in-network pharmacy, your copay for Eliquis after the 5 deductible would be during the initial coverage phase, and 7.38 in the Part D coverage gap. However, if you get your Eliquis from a preferred in-network pharmacy the co-pay is .00 during the initial coverage phase and 3.36 in the coverage gap. Depending on where you live, and your drug plan's mail order pharmacy, sometimes you may save a little more using mail order. .My mom was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. What benefits does Medicare cover for this condition?