Congressional Corner Medicare 50 Years Strong
Eleven new cosponsors signed on to the Preventing and Reducing Improper Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures (PRIME) Act (S. 1123 and H.R. 2305) this week, bringing the total up to twenty in the Senate and thirty in the House. If signed into law, the comprehensive bill would take a number of steps to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse within the two programs – a problem that TSCL believes must be addressed in order to ensure that scarce program dollars are being spent properly. The new cosponsors are: Sen. John Boozman (AR), and Reps. Duncan Hunter (CA-50), Steve Stivers (OH-15), Dan Benishek (MI-1), Martha Roby (AL-2), Dennis Ross (FL-15), Thomas Rooney (FL-17), Shelley Moore Capito (WV-2), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Allyson Schwartz (PA-13), Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), and Edward Royce (CA-39). .TSCL is hopeful that the bill will fail to win passage in the House since it would negatively impact older Americans if adopted. The AHCA would restructure the Medicaid program, which helps fund health care for 11 million – or around 1 in 5 – Medicare beneficiaries. It would also base premium subsidies on age instead of income, and allow private health insurers to charge older Americans more than they charge younger folks for their coverage. In addition, it would deplete Medicare's Hospital Insurance Trust Fund by eliminating a key revenue source, and the program would face an immediate funding crisis. .To learn more about your Enrollment Periods check your 2016 Medicare & You handbook, call 1-800—MEDICARE ( 7) or visit www.Medicare.gov. You can get free unbiased one-on-one counseling to help you sign up for Medicare and select the best way to receive coverage through your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Many of the programs operate through local senior centers or area agencies on aging. … Continued
Legislative Update Week Ending December 21 2018
In 2015, after a national coalition of senior advocacy groups (including TSCL) demanded action, Congress reduced the increase in Part B premiums from 9.30 per month to 1.80 per month, which was still a very high increase of 16.1 percent. The premium included a "repayment" amount that was added to monthly premiums of all beneficiaries in future years to recover the cost of the reduced premium rate in 2016 over time. .Meanwhile, TSCL continues to work for passage of Notch Fairness Act, legislation that would provide ,000 payable in four annual installments, or an improved monthly benefit. The bill has been re-introduced in both the House and the Senate and has 22 co-sponsors. TSCL remains committed to Notch Reform and we continue to meet with Members of Congress to build support for this needed remedy. .If the Social Security COLA were based on a more accurate measure of inflation for senior citizens, next year's increase would not be 0.3 percent – it would be 2.1 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Do you support legislation that would base the COLA on a more accurate inflation index like the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly? … Continued
I turn 61 this year and I'm still employed. I've read about waiting until my full retirement age before starting Social Security benefits. Is that 66? Do I enroll in Medicare at the same time I start Social Security? .Social Security Notch Legislation Introduced .Passage of legislation in Congress is more complicated than most people realize. The Constitution allows each chamber of Congress to set its own rules for getting it done. .Use BenefitsCheckup.org to screen for programs in your area. If you don't have a computer, ask a friend or family member to help you do an online Benefits Checkup. The service asks you a series of questions about where you live, your income, and a number of other qualifications, and matches you up with programs that can provide help with medications among a menu of other valuable benefits. .Which Medigap plan is best for you? To learn about Medigap plans and the coverage they offer you can find a chart comparing the coverage of plans A through N in the "2016 Medicare & You" publication on page 10You can download a copy online at www.Medicare.gov or call 1-800-Medicare ( 7) to request a copy. .Florida's contact tracing program has been mired in controversy over reports that it is understaffed and ineffective. For instance, CNN called 27 Floridians who tested positive for COVID-19 and found that only five had been contacted by health authorities. (The Florida Department of Health did not respond to requests for an interview.) .Provide dog or cat boarding. If experienced and good at handling dogs and cats, consider giving vouchers for pet sitting services to family or friends who may be traveling. Choose the pets that you know and get along with, consider where the animals will stay, and how well the visiting dog or cat will get along with your animals. .What Could A COLA of No Less Than 3 Percent Mean For You? .One widely-discussed proposal would limit the drop in benefits when a spouse dies to 75% of the couple's combined benefit. In the example above that would boost the widow's benefit by 0 per month to ,800.