Legislative Update For Week Ending July 17 2015
Prohibits benefits for disability beneficiaries found guilty of fraudulently concealing work. .On Wednesday, the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee met to discuss fraud, waste, and abuse within the Disability Insurance (DI) program. Subcommittee members heard from two expert witnesses – Sean Brune of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Seto Bagdoyan of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) – on recent progress the administration has made in detecting and preventing fraud. .Locate the booklet of information about your drug plan for 2020. Your drug plan is required to send you "Evidence of Coverage" for 2020, a booklet that outlines your plan's coverage for your prescription drugs, and what you pay in general. If you don't have that information from your drug plan, or if you don't see answers to your specific questions, you can call the customer service representative of your drug plan directly, or you may find information about your drug plan online by searching drug plans at www.Medicare.gov. … Continued
Strange Medicare Cases
(Washington, DC) – A budget proposal to switch to an alternate consumer price index, for calculating the annual Social Security cost – of - living - adjustment (COLA) is a bad deal for older and disabled Americans, says The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). The proposed "chained" consumer price index (CPI) would grow even more slowly than the conventional one that is currently used to determine the annual COLA. .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. .Some Members of Congress are calling for Congress to strike a deficit reduction deal of their own. Although gridlock may occur and would hardly be surprising, TSCL remains adamantly opposed to a key proposal that would change the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) calculation. The proposal, which would affect not only future retirees but ALL retirees, would switch to a more slowly-growing consumer price index known as the "chained" CPI to calculate the annual COLA. This proposal that would reduce the lifetime Social Security income of seniors by potentially tens of thousands of dollars is one of the few areas of agreement between both Democrat and Republican negotiators. TSCL also strongly opposes proposals that would increase what seniors have to pay for the Medicare benefits. … Continued
The explosive cost of specialty drugs, that offer major treatment advances for people with life-threatening diseases, is not only threatening access to these treatments, but threatens to drain retirement savings, and leave widows and widowers in poverty after the death of a spouse. Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, and health insurance plans covering working-age adults, Medicare Part D has no annual out-of-pocket maximum to protect people with the highest drug costs. .Senate Aging Committee Holds Hearing .A couple of weeks ago we told you about a recent study that made it clear that we are on the right track as we carry on the fight for lower prescription drug prices. When prices are so high, not only does it affect the financial well-being of individuals, but it also affects their physical well-being and can even have fatal consequences. .This is a much longer legislative update than usual but there is a lot of information about the pricing of prescription drugs that we believe is important for you to know and that you might be interested in. .While others want to privatize and dismantle Social Security, I'm fighting to honor our commitments to retirees and fix a broken system. .Recently we received the following from one of our readers: .The lack of growth in Social Security benefits, together with the inexorable rise in healthcare costs, is causing financial dilemmas for Medicare beneficiaries that may be jeopardizing their health. The situation is leaving both seniors and disabled adults who are living longer lives without adequate financial resources for their retirement, survey participants say. .We need to focus on putting the "Security" back into Social Security, and providing real relief from rising Medicare costs, by avoiding double digit premium increases to begin with. Congress can accomplish both by providing an emergency COLA in 202That one action would negate the need for any Medicare Part B premium cost shifting and double-digit premium increases. Providing a benefit boost would also reduce the need to adjust Part B premiums for those with the lowest benefits in the future. .Direct federally funded community health centers to pass discounts they now get for insulin and EpiPens directly to low-income patients.