2014 Legislative Update For Week Ending February 21 2014
To learn more about benefits, Notch Babies or a family member helping on their behalf can get personalized assistance to screen and apply for benefits. If you have accesses to the internet use the BenefitsCheckUp screening tool by visiting www.benefitscheckup.org. If you don't have computer access call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1166. .When the Great Recession hit eight-plus years ago, the focus was on the double-digit unemployment rates and the devastating impact on recent college and high school graduates. Largely ignored in the discussion were mature workers who were hit equally as hard. .With the impeachment drama out of the way Congress really got down to business this week. Health care is the number one issue on the minds of voters as we head toward the November elections and Congress knows it. … Continued
Legislative Update Retirement Age Feed
Last year, my office received reports of people coming up to the doors of our elders, posing as census takers or COVID testers, and requesting sensitive information like Social Security numbers and other forms of identification -- something that real census takers or health workers would never do. .I take a brand name drug that costs more than 0 per month in 2019 and I have a co-pay of In 2019, I hit the Part D coverage gap. Can you tell me how much I would have to pay in the Part D doughnut hole next year? .Drug companies and some patient groups have long criticized proposals like this last rule, saying it would reduce innovation and access to certain medications. In addition, drug makers are particularly leery of the approach since Democrats want to use it more broadly to allow Medicare to directly negotiate prices. … Continued
Instead they learned they received observation care, which is considered an outpatient service, and is billed under Medicare Part B. With that designation, patients can have higher out-of-pocket costs even though they may have the very same health problems as people admitted as inpatients. .TSCL is hopeful that SSA will add additional options for authentication quickly so that Social Security beneficiaries without cellphones can regain access to their online accounts. Congressman Sam Johnson (TX-3) – Chairman of the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee – sent a letter to SSA's Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin on Tuesday requesting swift action. He wrote, "I urge you to take a hard look at this new policy and make the changes necessary to ensure that mySocialSecurity has the right balance between security and access." .Capping the Part D out-of-pocket spending requirement is a key provision of the bi-partisan Senate drug bill, "Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019" (S.2543). "Several of the provisions of this bill appear to have broad support with Medicare beneficiaries," notes Mary Johnson, a Medicare and Social Security policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. The new survey found widespread support among survey participants for capping Medicare Part D out-of-pocket requirements at no more than 0 per month (,000) per year. About 36 percent of survey participants reported spending up to 0 per month on prescriptions in 2019, and another 21 percent spent more than that. .TSCL supports legislation that would lift or eliminate the Social Security taxable maximum. Such a change is estimated by Social Security Trustees to eliminate 67% of Social Security's long-term shortfall over 75 years while improving retirement security. .No change to 401(k)s or IRAs: Prior to enactment, concerns were high that tax reform would restrict the amount of pretax contributions working people could make to workplace retirement accounts. Congress did not do this, and the tax rules affecting these accounts, for the most part, remain the same. .TSCL recently submitted comments on the draft FDA regulations, stating "classifying CAM products as drugs, the cost of access would increase, as consumers may have to visit and pay a doctor for a prescription, instead of being able to choose their own vitamins, minerals and dietary supplement intake." TSCL is further concerned about the impact such regulation would have upon Medicare beneficiaries. Currently, Medicare reimburses few CAM therapies and products and seniors must pay out of pocket. Most Part D drug plans, for example, don't cover vitamins and supplements. TSCL called on the FDA to withdraw the regulations. .That estimate is based on consumer price index (CPI) data through August, but it could significantly change with the September CPI data. Estimating the COLA this year has been far more challenging than in previous years due to the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which are affecting the prices of gasoline, food, housing and other costs. "We've got a hurricane wild card this year," Johnson says. "When the COLA is announced in October 13th, my 1.8 percent estimate could be off the mark," she says. "This is especially so when you take a look at what happened after Hurricane Katrina in 2005," Johnson notes. .TSCL Goal of new Drug Pricing Legislation Left out of new House Bill .Federal prosecutors recently announced the biggest-ever one-day takedown of a phony Medicare billing scheme. One hundred seven people were charged, including doctors and nurses in seven U.S. cities, with taking part in a scheme to steal 2 million from Medicare. About the same time, the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services reported that federal investigators have uncovered questionable billings at 2,600 drugstores nationwide. A pharmacy in Kansas billed Medicare for more than 1,000 prescriptions each for just two patients. Medicare paid .6 billion to the drugstores whose billings are now being questioned. While those announcements generated great election year headlines, the fact is that seniors and taxpayers can only hope to see a tiny fraction of Medicare's money recovered.