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Posts Tagged ‘seniors’

Gridlock in Washington, change everywhere else: 2011 in health policy

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

The Washington Post, Wonkblog reports:

“It was the most gridlocked of times, it was the least gridlocked of times. In one sense, nothing much happened in health care this year: Congress and the White House proposed ambitious Medicare reform packages, only to take little action. But in another sense, everything changed–and it changed quickly– as 2011 saw insurance plans, hospitals and doctors frantically reorganize themselves around the health reform law.

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Can’t raise taxes? Hike Medicare premiums instead

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Benefits Pro Reports:

“Raising taxes on millionaires may be a non-starter for Republicans, but they seem to have no problem hiking Medicare premiums for retirees making a lot less.

The House is expected to vote Tuesday on a year-end economic package that includes a provision raising premiums for “high-income” Medicare beneficiaries, now defined as those making $85,000 and above for individuals, or $170,000 for families.

Some would pay as much as several hundred dollars a month additional for Medicare outpatient and prescription coverage. Millions who don’t consider themselves wealthy would also end up paying more.

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Medicare Part B 2012 Premiums Lower Than Projected

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Kaiser Health News reports:

“The Obama administration today announced that premiums for Medicare Part B coverage in 2012 will be $99.90 a month for most beneficiaries, a smaller-than-expected increase over the $96.40 paid this year by a majority of elderly and disabled beneficiaries. Part B pays for physician visits, hospital outpatient costs and certain other services. A 3.6 percent Social Security cost-of-living adjustment, the first in three years, will more than make up for the small increase, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Medicare costs to reduce Social Security increase

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Benifits Pro reports:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — That didn’t last long. About 55 million Social Security recipients will get their first increase in benefits next year since 2009 — a 3.6 percent raise. But higher Medicare premiums could erase part of it.

For some, higher Medicare Part B premiums could wipe out as much as a fourth of their raise from Social Security, according to projections by the trustees who oversee the programs.

Medicare is expected to announce 2012 Part B premiums as early as next week. The premiums, which cover doctor visits, are deducted automatically from monthly Social Security payments.

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Debt Deal May Hit Medicare

Monday, August 15th, 2011

The Wall Street Journal reports:

“Medicare beneficiaries escaped direct cuts in Washington’s debt deal, but the agreement could eventually hit seniors and disabled Americans who rely on the program for medical coverage.

Health-industry lobbyists and policy experts say Sunday’s deal between the White House and congressional leaders effectively opens the door to another round of talks in which lawmakers are likely to weigh increasing the Medicare eligibility age and setting up a means test that might require wealthier people to pay more for the program.

A provision in the deal that allows for payment cuts to health-care providers who treat Medicare recipients could lead hospitals …”

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Medicare prescription drug premiums to fall

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Reuters reports:

Medicare participants enrolled in the health insurance program’s prescription drug benefit should see their premium cost decline slightly next year.

The Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday the average monthly premium for Medicare Part D will be about $30 a month, down from $30.76 in 2011.

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Health care reform key to debt crisis

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Politico reports:

“The debate over raising the statutory debt ceiling has accomplished little but revealed much about the unwillingness of many in Washington to face up to our generation’s most pressing challenges.

At the heart of the gridlock is a deep disagreement over the role that out-of-control government spending plays in our current predicament — and nowhere is this disagreement more strongly expressed than in the debate over the government’s role in health care.

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Medicare Anniversary 45 Years With Changes

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

USA Today reports:

“Controversy over Medicare and Medicaid is back in the headlines. That’s not new. Friday is the 45th anniversary since Medicare went into effect in 1966. Since then, they have been changed many times.

Now, politicians are divided over changes called ObamaCare to RomneyCare and in between. Whatever it’s called, it promises to be a major issue in next year’s presidential campaign.

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Your family’s health care costs: $19,393

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

CNN Money reports:

“Health care costs for a family of four rose again in 2011, with employees paying a much larger share of the rising expenses, according to a new industry report Wednesday.

American families who are insured through their jobs average health care costs of $19,393 this year, up 7.3%, or $1,319 from last year, according to independent actuarial and health care consulting firm Milliman Inc.

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