Q October 2018
First, one new cosponsor – Representative Mike Bishop (MI-8) – signed on to the Audiology Patient Choice Act (H.R. 2276), bringing the total up to thirty-three. If adopted, H.R. 2276 would improve Medicare coverage for hearing services that are performed by licensed audiologists. Under current law, audiologists are not recognized as providers of health-related hearing services, and the Medicare program will only reimburse them for their services when patients are referred by physicians or nurse practitioners. .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. .When hold harmless is triggered program-wide as in 2016, however, there is no specific provision of law with which to finance the unpaid portion of Medicare Part B premium increases for the roughly 43 million who are protected by the provision. In the past, Congress has chosen to allow this cost burden to shift to the 30 percent of beneficiaries who are not held harmless. Because the cost is spread over far fewer people instead of all beneficiaries, they pay a far larger share of the costs, thus the Part B premium spikes. … Continued
Update For April 24 2021
To learn more, download "When To Start Receiving Benefits" from the Social Security Administration. .Can We Trust Congress After Surprise Social Security Cuts? .Most individual taxpayers will pay lower taxes, at least in the first few years, tax analysts say. But the tax cuts affecting middle-to-low-income people are temporary, and are set to expire in just eight years, by the end of 2025, while the tax cut for families in the very top income bracket is permanent. That's expected to leave the majority of taxpayers with higher tax bills down the road — something most people living on fixed income simply can't afford. TSCL is still assessing the expected impacts of the new legislation. … Continued
The TSCL Board of Trustees and staff are all dedicated to helping seniors. The following services provided by TSCL are considered primary and essential to the betterment of the quality of life of our nation's senior citizens: .The Senior Citizens League was pleased to see support grow for these three bills this week, and we thank the new cosponsors for their support. In the months ahead, The Senior Citizens League will continue to advocate for the passage of the Social Security Fairness Act, the Social Security 2100 Act, and the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act, and we urge Congress to enact them this year. .Recently Congressional Budget Office estimated in its September budget outlook, that Medicare outlays for 2020 would rise about 12 percent — roughly double the rate forecast by the Medicare Trustees in their April 2020 report. This suggests that the Medicare Part B premium increase for 2021 could be about .40 per month higher in 2021, rising from 4.60 to 2.00. But even this estimate does not include the full impact of cost shifting that occurs when people with low Social Security benefits are protected from reductions due to high Medicare Part B premium increases. Thus, the base monthly Part B premium increase for 2020 could be even higher than .40, and closer to the spike seen in 2016. .How much would your Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) be worth if it was more accurately based on your spending patterns as a retiree? Social Security legislation under debate in the U.S. House would tie the annual boost for inflation to the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). Had that index been used to calculate the COLA for 2020, your annual boost would be 1.9%, versus the 1.6% that Social Security recipients are actually getting. .Finally, two new cosponsors – Senator Cory Booker (NJ) and Senator Deb Fischer (NE) – signed on to the bipartisan CREATES Act (S. 974), bringing the total up to thirty in the Senate. If adopted, the bill would increase competition in the prescription drug industry by encouraging generic and biosimilar drug manufacturers to introduce their products to the market more quickly. .Source: Congressional Research Service May 24, 1999 .Consider the difference it would have made if Congress had provided an emergency COLA of 2.5% during the four years when there was no, or almost no, COLA in 2010, 2011, 2016, and 201The benefits of people retired since 2009 would be about 10% higher per month today! For someone receiving about ,200 in 2009 that would be an extra 0 per month. .Tax legislation enacted at the end of last year makes significant changes that touch virtually all taxpayers. While most of the new provisions have consequences for the 2018 tax year and thereafter, there are at least a few things that pertain to the 2017 tax returns of older taxpayers. (Remember, as always, nothing in this newsletter constitutes legal or tax advice. Please consult tax advisors with your tax questions and for assistance in making decisions.) .The absence of a Social Security cost-of living adjustment (COLA), or even an extremely low one, triggers a provision of law that, while a valuable protection of Social Security benefits, has led to several steep increases in the Medicare Part B premium over the past decade. The deep recession caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus and shortages have caused consumer prices to plunge, then rise like a roller coaster in 2020. If consumer prices remain low through September 2020, it is likely there will be an extremely low annual Social Security COLA for 2021, and this provision of law will be triggered to some extent again.