TSCL believes that the Medicare prescription drug benefit law is flawed, and will be carefully monitoring the effects of both the short-term Medicare drug cards, and the Medicare Drug Benefit plan in Medicare Part D as it traverses through the donut hole for many seniors. TSCL considers it necessary to compile feedback on the measure of success or failure of the program and its donut hole phase..Senate Aging Committee Discusses Alzheimer's Disease.Included is the issue of surprise billing, in which patients are charged out-of-network prices for services they thought were in-network. This issue has gained great urgency because so many people are ending up with bills for thousands of dollars even though they have health insurance which they thought would cover the expenses for which they are being billed..If signed into law, S. 2023 would take a number of steps to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, including requiring the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate Part D drug prices, allowing the re-importation of drugs from Canada, closing the "doughnut hole" three years earlier than current law, and prohibiting "pay-for-delay" deals between drug manufacturers..Does your anesthesiologist have your correct Medicare number and your health plan or supplement information? Patients often meet the anesthesiologist just minutes before surgery, but it's better to learn ahead of time whether the anesthesiologist who will provide your care accepts Medicare and is in your plan's network. Hopefully your anesthesiologist has the paperwork correct, but before they knock you out the next time, make sure..Even if you stay in the hospital overnight, Medicare still considers observation services as outpatient care and requires you to pay a bigger share of the costs. Your inpatient status is also important to determining whether Medicare will cover care you receive if you are later released to a skilled nursing the facility..Members of the Maryland Congressional delegation recently sent a letter to the Postmaster General complaining of the poor service. They stated in part:.But we all must face the reality that unless we continue the safety measures of masks and handwashing, this will get worse..TSCL is pleased that lawmakers in Congress are finally making progress on a solution that would give public servants the retirement security they have earned and deserve. The bill currently has more than sixty cosponsors, with support on both sides of the aisle. Following the hearing, TSCL sent a letter to the subcommittee in support of it. In the months ahead, we will encourage lawmakers to sign on to the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act as cosponsors, and we hope to see it signed into law before the end of this year.

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TSCL believes stronger protections are needed and supports legislation that would prohibit using earnings from illegal work to determine Social Security benefits. What do you think? Take TSCL's 2015 Senior Survey now..If you have not been offered affordable insurance through your employer, you are not receiving Medicare, and you purchase your own health insurance coverage, you may be among those who have the most to gain from shopping for health insurance on the new health insurance exchanges. Depending on your income, you may be eligible for new premium subsides that would cover part of the cost of your health insurance premiums. The exchanges are now open for comparing health insurance coverage that becomes effective January 1, 2014..While that part is good news for consumers, TSCL is closely watching to see how these changes may impact Medicare Advantage premiums and emergency room co-insurance costs. And unfortunately, drug costs are likely to continue to shock us unless Congress takes action to address that next! … Continued

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These questions were prepared as a public service by The Senior Citizens League, 1001 N. Fairfax St. #101, Alexandria, VA 22314, 703-548-556With over 1 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups. TSCL consists of vocally active senior citizens concerned about the protection of their Social Security, Medicare and veteran or military retiree benefits..About one quarter of all Medicare beneficiaries are covered by Medigap polices. Out-of-pocket costs under Medicare are considerable, and most beneficiaries supplement their coverage either by purchasing a Medigap policy or joining a Medicare Advantage plan. Unlike Medicare Advantage, however, Medigap enrollees in most states are not able to switch to another Medigap policy during fall open enrollment, because insurers are not required to cover pre-existing conditions outside of the individual's initial enrollment period. Seventy-two percent of survey participants support extending guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions to Medigap, allowing Medigap enrollees greater freedom to switch to other, less costly, Medigap plans..By Jessie Gibbons, Senior Policy Analyst … Continued

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