After a year without a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), Social Security beneficiaries are finally getting a boost in January. But the increase, if it can be called that, is so small that it’s the lowest ever paid — 0.3%. The COLA will raise every $1,000 in benefits by just $3.00 and, for retirees 65 and over, may be completely offset by increasing Medicare Part B premiums.
Very low, as well as no COLAs not only affect Social Security benefits; the amount of an individual’s COLA also affects the amount of the Medicare Part B premium that he or she pays. When the annual COLA is very low (or zero), a provision of law known as “hold harmless” is triggered. Under that provision, when an individual’s Social Security COLA is insufficient to cover the increase in the Medicare Part B premium, the Part B premium is adjusted so that one’s Social Security benefit isn’t reduced from one year to the next. The provision only applies to the people who have Medicare Part B premiums automatically deducted from their Social Security payments — about 70% of Medicare beneficiaries. Read more »
The EpiPen, the latest example in extreme drug price hikes, has not only led to Congressional hearings and outrage over price gouging, but is raising new questions as to why so many older adults are getting prescriptions for the drug in the first place. At the same time the cost of the EpiPen dramatically increased from $94 in January 2007 to $609 in May of 2016, the total number of Medicare beneficiaries to whom the pens were prescribed ballooned by 164%. As a result, Medicare spending on EpiPens rose by 1,151% through 2014, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Read more »
Raising the age at which people become eligible for Medicare has been proposed as a way of reducing future government spending on Medicare. The most widely - discussed option would gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. Proponents say the change would generate billions in net savings to the federal government, and that, since people now have coverage through the Affordable Care Act, no one would lose access to health insurance. Private insurers are required to provide coverage for adults younger than Medicare age without exclusions, everyone is required to have health insurance, and income-related subsidies are available to help reduce premiums if people don’t have an offer of health insurance coverage through an employer. Read more »
Issues important to you - Medicare, Prescription Drugs, Cost-of-living Adjustments - are making the news and TSCL is helping to make sure the media gets it right. In interview after interview, our team members are setting the record straight when it comes to these critical issues making headlines. Read some of the latest news articles »