Ask Advisor November 2018
Members of Congress receive their benefits through the District of Columbia's small business health options program (SHOP) exchange that was established under the 2010 health law. Effective January 1, 2014, Members of Congress had to give up their previous health benefits received through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) and get their insurance through the exchange. However, they remain eligible for employer contributions from the federal government (i.e., U.S. taxpayers) toward coverage, just as they previously received for their FEHB coverage. .Legislation was introduced in the last Congress to remedy the new benefit reductions affecting people born in 1960— "The Social Security COVID Correction and Equity Act," introduced by Representative John Larson (CT-1), and the "Protecting Benefits for Retirees Act," introduced by Senators Tim Kaine (VA) and Bill Cassidy (LA). The Senior Citizens League strongly endorses legislation that would fix not only this notch but also provide permanent protection from this sort of recessionary reduction for past and future retirees as well. .Individuals with incomes below ,000, and whose Part B premiums are automatically deducted from their Social Security benefits, are protected from a reduction in their Social Security benefits when Part B premiums increase more than their Social Security benefits. The provision was triggered twice in recent years, in 2016 when there was no COLA, and in 2017 when the COLA was just 0.3%. … Continued
Legislative Update Week Ending May 18 2018
Let's be clear about this, this is the responsibility of the Ways and Means Committee, and specifically this subcommittee. .Expanding Medicare coverage to include dental care. Millions of seniors are afflicted with age-related oral health issues. Yet under current law, the Medicare program is prohibited from covering most routine and emergency dental procedures, including fillings, root canals, extractions, and cleanings. The Medicare Dental Benefit Act (S. 22) would expand Medicare Part B coverage to include basic dental services and ensure that older Americans have access to the primary and preventive care that is needed to ensure good health in retirement. .What is TSCL? … Continued
Officials in Canada said at that time that this would not be an effective approach to reducing drug prices in the U.S. since the Canadian market is small, representing only 2% of global pharmaceutical sales, compared to 44% south of the border. .Enrollees in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans should take a careful look at changes in their health plan for 201These Medicare health plans have new leeway to offer new supplemental benefits. While some of the new benefits may be valuable to some families, other changes, which give plans greater leeway to "tier" the co-pay structure for healthcare providers, may mean higher out-of-pocket costs when non-preferred or out-of-network providers are used. .Although it hasn't been introduced as legislation yet, some specifics were outlined in a fact sheet released by the group. Under the plan, the government would pay for three-quarters of the cost of the average plan, and for the most expensive enrollees, it would pay ninety percent of the cost. Wealthy seniors would pay a larger share of the cost, and low-income seniors would receive assistance from Medicaid. In addition, the age of eligibility would increase by three months each year, until it hits seventy in 2034. .Support for the IPAB at both hearings was scarce. Some Members, including the Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, Chris Van Hollen (MD), called the IPAB a necessary "failsafe" measure that will stabilize healthcare costs. He stressed the fact that the experts on the IPAB will make recommendations, but Congress will ultimately have the final say in whether or not they become law. ., Editor .This week, lawmakers in the House and Senate remained in their home states and districts for a week-long holiday recess. They are expected to return to Washington on Monday, June 3rd. .But bigger deficit reduction would be possible if Social Security taxes were made more equitable. Under current law, high-income earners — people with earnings higher than Social Security's taxable maximum of 7,000— pay nothing on earnings over that amount. In other words, someone earning ,117,000 pays no Social Security taxes on the one million above 7,000. Yet workers earning less than 7,000 pay Social Security taxes on every dime of their wages. The CBO estimates that simply raising the taxable maximum to 7,500 would bring in 0 billion in new Social Security revenues through 202Taxing all earnings would eliminate up to 90 percent of Social Security's funding problems. .In our meetings on Capitol Hill, we're frequently told that Notch reform would more likely be addressed when Congress takes action on comprehensive Social Security reform, as it appears to be interested in doing now. TSCL is meeting with Members of Congress to ensure that Notch Reform is considered. .While retirees won't be getting as much of an increase in their Social Security checks in 2020, the Part B premium, is expected to go up considerably more than it did this year. In 2019, most beneficiaries paid .50 per month more than in 201In 2020, however, the Medicare Trustees have forecast that Part B premiums will increase from 5.50 to 4.30 per month — .80 per month more—an increase of 6.5%. That's four times faster than the COLA.