Congressional Corner Senator Tim Kaine Outlines Steps Improve Medicare Coverage Affordability Every Older American
TSCL was pleased to see four new cosponsors sign on to H.R. 711 this week, and in the months ahead, we will continue to advocate for its passage so that public servants receive the retirement security they have earned and deserve. For updates on the progress of H.R. 711, follow TSCL on Twitter, or visit the Legislation News section of our website. .Most Americans contribute 6.2 percent of every paycheck to Social Security, but due to the taxable maximum wage cap, people earning more than 8,500 pay nothing over that amount. Do you support increasing or eliminating the taxable maximum wage limit to make the program more solvent? .Contributing: Nathan Bomey and Robert Powell … Continued
Sanders Hopes To Fix Doctor Shortage
The U.S. depends on China for thousands of chemicals needed to make prescription drugs. That's because it turns out that pharmaceutical companies have outsourced our generic medicine manufacturing to China. .The Part D initial coverage limit is ,960 this year. "That includes what both the beneficiary and the drug plan must pay, " explains TSCL's Chairman Ed Cates. Once in the doughnut hole, beneficiaries are on the hook for 65% of the cost of generic drugs, or 45% of the cost of brand name drugs. Medicare beneficiaries must spend a total of ,700 out of pocket in drug costs for the year, before catastrophic coverage kicks in. "Even then there's still some additional smaller co-insurance payments," Cates adds. .The Senior Citizens League enthusiastically supports the Social Security 2100 Act and we look forward to working with Congressman Larson in the 116th Congress to help build additional support for his critically important bill. For progress updates, follow The Senior Citizens League on Twitter or visit the Bill Tracking section of our website. … Continued
The annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period starts January 1 –March 3During this time, you will be allowed to switch to another MA plan or return to Medicare and a stand alone plan. However, if you give up your MA plan in favor of returning to original Medicare, that does not necessarily mean you would be able to buy a Medigap supplement. Medicare supplement insurers are not required by law to cover pre-existing conditions, other than during certain periods (when you first sign up for Part B or if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.) .The number of employees at your company determines whether you must enroll at age 65, or whether you can delay, and keep your employer insurance. Because you work for a company with fewer than 20 employees, Medicare pays first once you turn 6That means, if you miss your initial enrollment deadline, you would not be able to use your former employer coverage, even if you and your employer continued to pay the premiums. People who work for companies with more than 20 employees may delay enrollment and keep their current coverage as long as they meet certain rules. .A 2.8 percent COLA would be the largest since 2012, but according to The Senior Citizens League's Social Security Policy Analyst Mary Johnson, "Retirees may be disappointed when they learn what the cost of their Medicare premiums and prescription drugs will be for 2019." .Some Members of Congress question whether the federal government would replace borrowing for Defense with borrowing for Medicare. Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA-13) said the savings from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would "offer a unique and limited opportunity to resolve this problem that grows every month." Other legislators warn, however, that it is misleading to think that these savings could be used as a "doc fix" offset. .This week, Senate Budget Chair Kent Conrad (ND) released his Fiscal Commission Budget Plan, which would overhaul the tax code and make major changes to both Social Security and Medicare. In addition, TSCL saw support grow for the Social Security Fairness Act. .Prevention of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse – Ensure that scarce Medicare and Social Security dollars are spent properly. .SGR Talks Stall as Deadline Looms .This week, Members of Congress remained in their home states and districts to prepare for the upcoming election, and The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) saw support grow for one key bill. .The government negotiates prescription drug prices for veterans and Medicaid beneficiaries, but it is barred from negotiating lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, seniors enrolled in Part D often pay much higher prices than other Americans for their prescription drugs. What are you doing to correct this unfair policy?