Medicare Releases Official 2016 Part B Premiums

After months of speculation, Medicare’s standard Part B premiums for 2016 have been officially announced. About 70 percent of beneficiaries will continue to pay the same amount that has been charged for the past three years: $104.90 a month. Others will pay $121.80 a month, or more for higher-income beneficiaries who already pay higher premiums. As previously reported, the double standard arises from a quirk in the law that occurs only when there is no Social Security cost of living …

It Pays to Compare Your Medicare Plan Options

It’s that time of year again: Medicare Open Enrollment. Open enrollment is the one time of year when you can re-evaluate your Medicare health and prescription drug plans and switch to ones that offer better coverage or save you money. By now you should have received your Annual Notice of Change packet of information in the mail. It’s very important to take the time to sit down and review this information to see if you want to make any changes …

With No COLA Increase, Congress Should Pass Medicare Fix

AARP sent the following letter to Congress on Oct. 14. AARP has deep concern that for only the third time in over 40 years, there will be no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2016. To make matters worse, as a result, 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will see their monthly Medicare Part B premium dramatically increase, and all Medicare beneficiaries will experience an increase in their Part B deductible. Congress should protect the 16.5 million Medicare beneficiaries — which includes new …

Celebrating Social Security’s 80th Anniversary

En español | On the morning of Aug. 14, 1935, Americans awoke in a country vastly different from the one we know today. The Great Depression had brought us to the point where, in the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “one-third of the nation [was] ill-housed, ill-clad [and] ill-nourished.” Suffering the most were America’s elderly. Nearly half of our older population in 1935 lived in poverty! At approximately 3:30 on that August afternoon, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security …

Congress Approves Bill Bolstering Medicare Patients’ Hospital Rights

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but have not been admitted to the hospital. It’s a distinction that’s easy to miss until patients are hit with big medical bills after a short stay. The vote follows overwhelming approval in the U. S. House of Representatives in March. The legislation is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama, said its House sponsor, …

Medicare Itemizes Its $103 Billion Drug Bill

The federal government popped the cap off drug spending on April 30, detailing doctor-by-doctor and drug-by-drug how Medicare and its beneficiaries spent $103 billion on pharmaceuticals in 2013. The data show that 14 drugs cost the federal government and Medicare beneficiaries more than $1 billion each, accounting for nearly a quarter of Medicare prescription drug spending in 2013. Most of those drugs are used to treat chronic conditions that plague the elderly, including diabetes, depression, high cholesterol and blood pressure, …