• Judge Rules Hospitals Must Disclose Prices

    On Wednesday the Pentagon sent a "rightsizing plan" to Congress which, if fully agreed to by Congress, would result in approximately 200,000 military family members and retirees losing their ability to get health care at military hospitals and clinics. .Can You Tell Me How Recent Law Changes Affect RMDs From My 401(k)? .Does Medicare provide coverage for eye care services or eyeglasses? … Continued

  • Benefit Bulletin April 2019

    By delaying the start of your benefit until your full retirement age of 66, your benefit will be 25% higher. Delay until age 70, and your Social Security payment will be 65% higher than if you start it at age 6This can make a huge difference in the monthly income you receive. For example, if entitled to a monthly benefit of ,000 at age 66, you would receive only 0 per month at age 6And if you can delay until age 70 you could take a retirement benefit of ,320. .All costs cited include premiums and prescription out-of-pocket. .But critics say the failure to make in-person checks prevented states from identifying lapses at a crucial time. The fact that family members were blocked from visiting their relatives — a policy intended to prevent the virus from entering the facility — removed another source of accountability in homes, some of which ended up having more than half of their residents stricken with the coronavirus. … Continued

Our next issue of interest this week is Surprise Billing. Surprise billing does not affect seniors on Medicare as much as it affects seniors under age 65 who still have health insurance through their employer or who are paying for their own health insurance. Surprise billing usually refers to expensive, unexpected medical bills that patients receive from hospitals and doctors' offices even when they have health insurance that they expect will cover the majority of treatments cost. Congress has been getting an earful from voters who are very upset about this situation and there seemed to be a fair amount of optimism that legislation dealing with surprise billing may be able to pass. If it does, there could be an effort to attach legislation dealing with drug prices to that bill. .What Kind Of Health Insurance Do Members of Congress Get? .According to Medicare, no single organization was behind the 35 people charged in the genetic testing scam, which included 9 doctors. All of this comes at a time when Medicare and Medicare Advantage are expanding the use of telemedicine, which allows doctors and nurses to connect with patients over the internet or by cell phone for consultations and to check symptoms remotely. .TSCL Meets with Members of Congress ."Addressing our fiscal challenges will require many tough choices and policy changes—but switching to the chained CPI represents neither. Such a change offers policy makers the rare opportunity to achieve significant savings spread across the entire budget by making a technical improvement to existing policies. As such, across-the-board adoption of the chained CPI should be at the top of the list for any deficit reduction plan or down payment." .Surprisingly, there was no discussion of slowing the growth of cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) by switching to the more slowly-growing "chained" CPI. The proposal is getting increasing attention (mostly favorable) in media editorials. Switching to the more slowly-growing chained CPI would reduce cost-of-living-adjustments, and many policy experts view the option as a front-runner for reducing the deficit. .If you take one or more prescriptions, you may be shocked to learn how much you can save by comparing plans based on the prescriptions you use and switching drug plans, when you find a better match. This is an important financial habit to get into EVERY year. Drug plans routinely raise premiums and co-pays, and invariably what your best choice was in 2006 no longer holds true today. Although everyone's savings experience will be different based on the particular prescriptions they take, consider these cases from my files**: .Why You Should Beware When The Doctor Wants To Hold You For "Observation" ."If you want to save money on health and prescription drug plans, it's more important than ever to compare and switch now during the fall Medicare Open Enrollment period which ends December 7th," Cates says. Free, unbiased, one – on – one counseling is available through State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIP), many of which operate through local agencies on aging.