Inflation data through April suggests that the annual cost-of-living adjustment for 2020 could be very low, perhaps 1.2%. Even though Social Security recipients received the highest COLA since 2012 this year - 2.8% - COLAs have averaged a meager 1.4% over the past decade. That's an unprecedented low rate of growth in Social Security benefits for an unprecedented period of time. From 1999 to 2009, COLAs averaged more than twice that rate of increase, at 3% per year..Extremely low Social Security cost of living adjustments have significantly impacted the retirement income of almost two-thirds of all older Americans, according to a new analysis by The Senior Citizens League. "People who have been receiving Social Security benefits since 2009 - an estimated 64 percent of all beneficiaries - have been hit with the full brunt of extremely low COLAs over the past nine years," says The Senior Citizens League's Social Security policy analyst Mary Johnson. "Nine years is about one third the length of a typical retirement," Johnson points out. "Younger retirees since 2009 are also feeling the pain," she notes..This week, The Senior Citizens League's Board of Trustees and legislative team held meetings with several Members of Congress and their top staff to discuss key issues affecting seniors. In addition, one new cosponsor signed on to the CPI-E Act, and negotiations between the House-Senate Conference Committee continued.."Medicaid plays an essential role for both low - income older Americans and middle -income seniors made poor by their health care costs," Johnson notes. Medicaid benefits can include paying premiums and out - of - pocket costs for Part B coverage. It is also the primary payer of costs not covered by Medicare, including nursing home care..For more progress updates or for more information about these issues, and other bills that would strengthen the Social Security program and make improvements to Medicare, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website or follow TSCL on Twitter..I remain committed to determining the causes of rising drug prices and identifying potential solutions to reduce costs for American families. Everyone deserves access to health care that will improve their lives. Health care is a right, not a privilege, and I pledge to do all I can to protect this right..In April, the Medicare Trustees estimated that the standard monthly Medicare Part B premium, which covers doctors and outpatient services, would rise .70 - from 4.60 in 2020, to 3.30 in 202The April forecast, however, was made prior to the coronavirus, and did not factor in the impact of COVID-19 on expected medical costs or inflation..In 2014, your ,200 in earnings was slightly higher than the amount you are allowed to earn without reduction, which was ,480. Under the Social Security earnings test, if you are under your full retirement age the Social Security Administration will withhold in benefits for every in earnings in excess of the annual exempt amount. In your case ,200 is ,720 more than ,480 - the exempt amount. That means Social Security should only withhold ,360, not ,000..Like Senators Klobuchar, McCain, and Grassley, TSCL enthusiastically supports efforts by the administration to reduce prescription drug costs, and we hope to see the White House move forward on executive actions that would allow for prescription drug importation. In the meantime, we will continue to advocate on Capitol Hill for legislation like the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act and the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act, both of which would go a long way in reducing prescription drug costs for older Americans.

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Hospitals have prioritized rescheduling patients who do not have COVID-19 but have conditions that may deteriorate if they do not get regular care. Patients receiving cancer treatment need to go to regularly scheduled appointments. Doctors are particularly concerned that patients who have heart or lung disease, hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic conditions get back on a routine care schedule..Another major piece of legislation that Congress is working on, one which has been passed and been signed into law by whomever has been President for the past 59 years, is the National Defense Authorization Act. As we explained last week, that's the annual bill that authorizes the pay for members of the U.S. military as well as other important issues dealing with the Department of Defense..On Monday, President Obama released his .066 trillion budget blueprint for fiscal 201His plan puts an end to the so-called "sequester" and increases spending for defense and discretionary programs by 7 percent. Upon releasing the blueprint, he said, "I'm not going to accept a budget that locks in sequestration going forward. It would be bad for our security and bad for our growth. I want to work with Congress to replace mindless austerity with smart investments." … Continued

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Call your drug plan to ask about the coverage of the new generic and the expected co-pay. Be forewarned: according to Consumer Reports magazine, some Medicare drug plans charge lower co-payments for the branded version than for its generic counterpart. That has to do with agreements between insurers and pharmaceutical companies that make it seem like the name brand is the better deal..Tightening eligibility requirements. Currently, DI applicants must have worked 5 of the past 10 years to be eligible for benefits. Increasing this requirement to 6 of the past 10 years would reduce the number of eligible beneficiaries only slightly and would save up to billion..Prevention of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Eliminating inefficiencies within Social Security and Medicare. … Continued

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