Category Issues Medicare Part B
It remains to be seen whether or not Congress will adopt the recommendations made by MedPAC in its most recent report. The Commission is an independent Congressional agency, but its policy recommendations are non-binding and Congress rarely takes immediate action on them. Nonetheless, TSCL will keep a close eye on the recommendations that were made this week, since they could positively affect millions of Medicare beneficiaries if enacted. .According to the report, CMS has not expanded the recovery audit program to Medicare Advantage by the end of 2010 as was required by the Patient Protection Act. Recovery audits have been used for years in other Medicare programs to recover improper payments. TSCL believes Congress must provide stronger oversight to ensure that scarce Medicare dollars are spent appropriately and to prevent private insurers from boosting profits by gauging both taxpayers and older Americans. .We will get through this. … Continued
Congress Still Cant Get Its Work Done
The fall recess continued this week, and Members of the House and Senate remained in their home states and districts to prepare for the upcoming elections, which will occur on Tuesday, November 4th. They are expected to return to Washington following the elections for a "lame duck" session. .For tips on which questions you should ask your Member of Congress at your next town hall meeting, click HERE. To find contact information for your Members of Congress, to learn about important issues affecting seniors, or to sign a petition to Congress, visit the ACTION CENTER of our website. .House Committee Advances IPAB Repeal … Continued
Now, with the massive amounts of money being spent by Congress to deal with the coronavirus, which is all borrowed money, we cannot help but wonder what Congress will do when the trust funds for Social Security and Medicare become insolvent. There is still time to fix the programs if the trust funds remain as they are now but cutting the payroll would be devastating and would create a new crisis for seniors that we do not need and should not have to face. .Both chambers of Congress adjourned for the President's Day Holiday this week and are expected to return to Capitol Hill on Monday, February 25th. Meanwhile, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, former co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, released a new proposal that would avert the looming sequester and trim .4 trillion from the deficit. In addition, two Members of Congress re-introduced a critical bill that would extend the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund without cutting benefits. .To learn more about proposals that would affect your Medicare and Social Security benefits, to get tips on reducing your Medicare costs, and to sign up for TSCL's free online newsletter, The Social Security & Medicare Advisor, visit TSCL at . .Source: "2019 Changes to Medicare Advantage and Part D," The National Council on Aging, accessed on October 4, 2018. . The Senior Citizens League is currently conducting its new 2020 Survey of Senior Costs. To learn more and participate visit . .The opinions expressed in "Congressional Corner" reflect the views of the writer and are not necessarily those of The Senior Citizens League. .Instead, locality pay increases are intended to keep the salaries of current federal workers competitive with private sector jobs in the same locality pay area. The Bureau of Labor Statistics measures non-federal compensation in a particular market and compares it to federal pay for federal employees who perform similar work in the same region. The gap between the two helps determine the locality pay adjustment for a specific area in a given year. .The other big variable in health care is insuring against the risk of a big tab for long-term care. This is an area where we just don't have very good options right now. The market for private long-term care insurance doesn't function very well -- the cost of coverage has been soaring, and the number of insurance companies in the market has been shrinking. Medicaid is the country's biggest payer for nursing home bills, but you need to spend down to poverty levels to qualify and most often your care choices are limited. The other options are "self-insuring" paying out of pocket if you're very affluent, or if like many older senior Americans, you rely on family members for help. .The number of Medicare patients in observation stays has jumped 69% in the past five years, according to federal records. They are also staying in the hospital longer. Even though Medicare recommends that hospitals decide within 24 to 48 hours whether to admit or discharge patients, the number of observation stays exceeding 24 hours have nearly doubled.