• Legislative Update Week Ending March 2 2018

    Assuming you might need 9 (100/ml of Lantus) every 90 days, here's how the Medicare Drug Plan Finder shows typical costs: Please note this example is from the state of Virginia, and costs vary somewhat depending on where you may live. .I applied for Social Security benefits in March 2007 when I was 62 years old. After a month I found a job. On September of 2007, I called Social Security to stop payment of my benefits because I was earning over the limits. I was told that the following year it would be automatically processed. From then on every year I got a few months payment. Now Social Security has informed me that I received too much and my overpayment is ,704. .Does Medicare provide coverage for eye care services or eyeglasses? … Continued

  • Public Opinion Can Sway Votes In Congress 2

    The study, which examined price changes from January of 2019 to January of this year found that, since 2000, the buying power of Social Security benefits improved 3 percentage points— from a loss of 33 percent as of 2019 to 30 percent in 2020. Between January of 2000 and January of 2020, Social Security COLAs increased Social Security benefits by 53 percent, but the costs of goods and services purchased by typical retirees rose almost twice as much — 99.3 percent. Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket costs, housing, and homeowner's insurance were among the most rapidly - rising costs over the past year. .The Affordable Care Act made changes that slowly close the doughnut hole, but it's a lot like trying to fill a bathtub when the drain is still open. In 2017, those who fall into the coverage gap will have lower coinsurance, paying 40% of brand-name prices and 51% of generic prices. In 2018, those numbers will fall to 35% and 44%, respectively. And in 2020, they will be responsible for the standard 25% of the costs of both brand-name and generic drugs. However, beneficiaries will continue to be saddled with an ever-growing out-of-pocket maximum that must be paid before catastrophic coverage begins. Over the next eight years, that maximum will grow from this year's ,850 to ,300 in 2024. .Today TSCL is calling on every Member of Congress to provide emergency COLA and Medicare relief for 2016, saying that Congress should: … Continued

In the Senate, Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (IA) has also prioritized this critical issue. His first hearing as chairman was titled "Drug Pricing in AmericA Prescription for Change" and, in his opening statement, he vowed to get to the bottom of the growing problem. Following that hearing in January, Chairman Grassley called upon seven of the most profitable pharmaceutical companies to testify before the committee, saying: "Patients and taxpayers deserve to hear from leaders in the industry about what's behind this unsustainable trend." .What is it going to cost? Is there a less expensive alternative? .Finally, the Social Security Fairness Act of 2017 (H.R.1205) gained two new cosponsors in Representative Walter Jones (NC-3) and Representative Tony Cardenas (CA-29), bringing the cosponsor total to 17If signed into law, H.R. 1205 would repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) – two Social Security provisions that unfairly reduce the earned benefits of millions of teachers, police officers, and other public servants each year. .Furthermore, this hurricane season is predicted to be a very bad one and money taken from FEMA for unemployment payments may be needed to deal with the destruction caused by the storms. What is more, the California fire season appears to be underway and federal funds are often used for relief efforts with those. .The changes closed two claiming tactics known as "file and suspend" and "restricted application for spousal benefits." The claiming strategies have made it possible for both members of a couple who are 66 or older to delay claiming Social Security based on their own earnings records, in order to increase payments, while at the same time one spouse receives a spousal benefit. Alicia Munnell of The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College estimates the changes would save .5 billion per year — a potential cost that would grow over time. .The poll results released this week show clearly that older voters want Congress to improve coverage of these essential services. The Senior Citizens League has endorsed legislation called the Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act (H.R. 508), a bipartisan bill introduced by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and 130 cosponsors in the House of Representatives. If adopted, it would expand Medicare coverage to include vision, dental, and hearing services. .But achieving bipartisan consensus on the next packages appears more difficult. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.) says her starting point is up to trillion in aid that cash-strapped states and local governments need to prevent layoffs of first responders and other workers, and to help make up for lost revenues amid business closures. She also wants an infusion of funds for the postal system, which President Trump previously blocked. Also, on her list are provisions to expand voting by mail. .To learn more, please visit . .Based on projections in the Trustees Report, Social Security beneficiaries should expect to see a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) between 2.4 percent and 3.0 percent in 201Medicare Part B premiums will likely increase by around .50 next year, so the typical beneficiary will pay 5.50 per month. If the estimates from the Trustees are correct, most Social Security beneficiaries will see modest increases in their net Social Security benefits next year after Part B premiums are deducted.