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NRLN Works to Protect Your Retirement Security

The National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN) works to enact federal legislation to protect employer-sponsored pensions, health care benefits and keep Social Security and Medicare strong.

With support from more than 2 million members and Washington, D.C. staff, the NRLN identifies and rallies support for federal legislation that will guarantee fair and equitable treatment of retirees from the private and public sectors. Learn more about the NRLN and legislation important to retirees by clicking on the "About Us" and "Legislative" links above.

The NRLN recently created the American Retirees Education Foundation (AREF) with a mission is to research, educate and inform retirees, future retirees and the general public on how best to protect and promote retirement income security and retiree health care. Contributions to AREF are tax deductible.

To learn more about the AREF, go to www.SeniorsAREF.org .

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click here to read the NRLN's current Action Alert and send the sample letter to your elected representatives.

enter your 5-digit zip code in the box to identify your U.S. Senators and Representative and compose your own personal message to them.

The NRLN's power to affect legislation comes from thousands of retirees like you making your voice heard in our nation's capital. Write to your representatives now.

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       BILL KADEREIT


PRESIDENT'S
 FORUM

 

Treasury/IRS Bans Lump Sum Buyout Offers

You have consistently told the NRLN in our surveys that threats to your income security are your number one fear. This is why the NRLN has advocated for the protection of pension plan participants when pension plan sponsors take a de-risking action through a lump sum pension buyout offer and/or the purchase of a third-party annuity to replace pension plan payments.

With regard to voluntary lump sum pension buyout offers, the NRLN has advocated making complete and plain English disclosures concerning the financial trade-offs, including tax consequences and the higher cost of purchasing an individual annuity contract. We have presented our proposals in meetings with officials at the U.S. Department of Treasury, at the Employee Benefits Security Administration in the Department of Labor and at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. I’ve made the case for the NRLN’s proposals to the ERISA Advisory Council in my testimony in August 2013 and again in May 2015. In addition, the NRLN has led the way protecting retirees’ pensions from de-risking within a coalition of advocates that includes the Pension Rights Center, AARP and the AFL-CIO.

On July 9, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced that it will amend its ERISA regulations to no longer allow sponsors of defined benefit pension plans to offer lump sum payments to replace pension annuity payments to pension plan participants who are in “pay status” (already receiving a monthly pension check). This policy, effective July 9, 2015, will not be to everyone’s liking; however, it is evidence that federal government officials understand what we have been saying, for instance,

”…the NRLN urges you to consider our proposals in order to provide pension plan participants the security of knowing that the framework within which they made their retirement financial plans and lifestyle elections will not be unfairly altered without reasonable protections.”

This IRS Notice does not apply to retirees or former employees not yet collecting a pension. It has been permissible for companies to offer lump sums to active employees and those who have retired but are not yet eligible for vested benefit payments.

The amendment to Section 401(a)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code does not prevent pension plan sponsors from taking de-risking action through the purchase of a third party annuity (i.e. an insurance company) to replace a defined benefit pension plan. Nor does the amended regulation prevent a pension plan sponsor from doing a voluntary pension plan termination through a voluntary lump sum offer and/or annuity purchase.

Pension plan sponsors that have already received Treasury/IRS approval to offer a voluntary lump sum pension buyout—such as Alcatel-Lucent’s recent announcement—are allowed to go forward.

While some individuals may have desired a lump sum offer to replace their monthly pension check, the federal agency’s action is to protect the interests of the vast majority of retirees in “pay status.” In addition, pension plans will be stronger because lump sum payments come from the pension trust fund and may dilute the status of the fund.

We will continue to pursue legislative changes that would minimize de-risking and protect your income security.

Bill Kadereit, President
National Retiree Legislative Network


NRLN IS WORKING FOR YOU

The NRLN regularly informs members by email about important information. If you did not receive an email with the NRLN President’s Forum message or an Action Alert posted on this home page, possibly you mistakenly “unsubscribed” on one of our emails or you have a new email address that is not in the NRLN’s database. You will no longer hear from us unless you “re-subscribe”. To “re-subscribe”, click here.


action alert

Don’t Let Pharma Hijack TPP

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have voted to give “Fast-Track” approval to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being negotiated by the Obama Administration. Passage of “Fast-Track”, means that when the 12-nation trade pact is submitted to the U.S. Senate for review Senators can only have an up or down vote and not filibuster. Please email the NRLN’s sample letter to President Obama to urge him to not allow the pharmaceutical industry (pharma) to hijack TPP through provisions that only help the prescription drug makers and increase cost to Americans, especially retirees who need affordable medicine.


focusmast

Click here to read the spring 2015 issue of the NRLN FOCUS Newsletter


Positive News for Medicare Beneficiaries

The NRLN and our grassroots advocates have been lobbying members of Congress for legislative action to eliminate Medicare’s requirement that beneficiaries must be in a hospital as an “inpatient” for three-days to be eligible for skilled nursing facility (SNF) services. Beneficiaries are often unaware that a hospital has admitted them as an “outpatient under observation” status rather than as an “inpatient”. Those admitted as an “outpatient under observation” who later receive SNF services are often surprised when they are billed for the services that Medicare will not cover.

We have some positive news. The powerful House Ways and Means committee has passed H.R. 876 the “Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility Act” or known as the “Notice Act”. The bill still needs to be passed by the entire House, then the Senate and signed into law by the President. Read more...


report card

NRLN Provides New “Report Card” Feature on Members of Congress

NRLN has introduced a “report card” for each state that shows whether the U.S. Representatives and Senators have supported bills in Congress advocated by the NRLN. Read all about it here.


For recent mail from our members, click here.

IN THE NEWS...

My Wife's Losing Her Obamacare Coverage Because The Insurer Lost $400 Million
From Merrill Matthews; Forbes ~ Aug 03, 2015

Obama’s Top Health Care Nominee Was Once Embroiled in Medical Fraud Case
By Richard Pollock; The Daily Caller ~ Aug 02, 2015

GOP senators press Labor to issue new rules for financial advisers
By Kevin Cirilli; The Hill ~ Aug 03, 2015

Social Security cost-of-living adjustment unlikely for 2016
By Mary Beth Franklin; InvestmentNews ~ Aug 03, 2015

How to plug Social Security tax drain and keep more money
From Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic ; USA TODAY ~ Aug 01, 2015

Medicare is part of the solution, not the problem
By Mark Miller; Reuters ~ Jul 30, 2015

HHS: More competition on insurance exchanges curbed premium rise
By Lena H. Sun; The Washington Post ~ Jul 30, 2015

Government-Sponsored Programs Make Up 52% Of What We Spend On Healthcare
From Everette James & Meredith Hughes; Forbes ~ Jul 30, 2015

Health law's nonprofit insurance co-ops awash in red ink
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Jul 30, 2015

Highway bill gives overfunded DB plans some options
By Hazel Bradford; Pensions & Investments ~ Jul 30, 2015

As Medicare and Medicaid Turn 50, Use of Private Health Plans Surges
By Robert Pear; The New York Times ~ Jul 29, 2015

Medicare drug premiums expected to remain flat
By Robert King; Washington Examiner ~ Jul 29, 2015

U.S. Health-Spending Growth Jumped to 5.5% in 2014
By Louise Radnofsky; The Wall Street Journal ~ Jul 28, 2015

Healthcare improving for older Americans
By Andrew M. Seaman; Reuters ~ Jul 28, 2015

Four Things That Will Change Healthcare As We Know It
By Bryan Borzykowski; Forbes ~ Jul 28, 2015

PBGC proposes limiting filing waivers for underfunded plans
By Nick Thornton; BenefitsPro ~ Jul 28, 2015

IRS deepens focus on lifetime income with lump-sum ban
By Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments – July 27, 2015

GOP senator offers deal on ObamaCare
By Jordain Carney; The Hill ~ Jul 27, 2015

Medical bills sometimes contain errors. Here’s how to handle them.
By Consumer Reports; The Washington Post ~ Jul 27, 2015

DOL fiduciary proposal elicits torrent of comments
By Hazel Bradford; Pensions & Investments ~ Jul 27, 2015

Senate's ObamaCare repeal effort falls short
By Sarah Ferris ; The Hill ~ Jul 26, 2015

State health insurance markets struggle with cost challenges
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Jul 26, 2015

Help Your Grandkids Prosper With These 3 Techniques
From Rob Russell; Forbes ~ Jul 26, 2015

7 steps to a financially secure retirement
By Nanci Hellmich; USA TODAY ~ Jul 25, 2015

U.S. health insurer mergers to speed industry deals: experts
By Deena Beasley & Kylie Gumpert; Reuters ~ Jul 24, 2015

Week ahead: Senate sets up ObamaCare vote
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Jul 24, 2015

Why Is ObamaCare Punishing Companies That Try To Make Health Care Affordable?
Investor’s Business Daily ~ Jul 24, 2015

Seniors Are Receiving Far More In Medicare Benefits Than They Pay In Taxes
From Grace-Marie Turner; Forbes ~ Jul 24, 2015

Retirement Plans: Would Proposed New Rules Soak You?
By Paul Katzeff; Investor’s Business Daily ~ Jul 24, 2015

Alcatel-Lucent CEO Says Nokia Deal Could Close Earlier Than Planned
By Ina Fried; Re/code ~ Jul 24, 2015

EU clears Nokia's acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent
By Philip Blenkinsop; Reuters ~ Jul 24, 2015

Doctors Object to High Cancer-Drug Prices
By Jeanne Whalen, Wall Street Journal – July 23, 2015

Will Health Insurer Mega-mergers Cost You More?
By Suelain Moy; The Fiscal Times ~ Jul 23, 2015

Opinion: Drug importation is still a dangerous idea
By Sally C. Pipes; The Hill ~ Jul 23, 2015

Separating fiction and facts in the conflicted-advice debate
By Joseph C. Peiffer; The Hill ~ Jul 23, 2015

Economists want you to stop borrowing from your 401(k)
By Beth Pinsker; Reuters ~ Jul 23, 2015

5 things from annual check-up for Social Security, Medicare
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar & Stephen Ohlemacher; The Associated Press ~ Jul 23, 2015

How Uncle Sam plans to cheat Granny out of health care
By Betsy McCaughey, New York Post, July 22, 2015

Main fund for Medicare program to run out of money in 2030: trustees
By Jason Lange; Reuters ~ Jul 22, 2015

What Happens If the Social Security Trust Fund Runs Out in 2O34?
By Pat Regnier; Money ~ Jul 22, 2015

Report: Social Security disability fund to run dry next year
By Stephen Ohlemacher & Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Jul 22, 2015

House Democrats back DOL on fiduciary rule
By Hazel Bradford; Pensions & Investments ~ Jul 22, 2015

McCarthy: No rush to repeal ObamaCare by reconciliation deadline
By Sarah Ferris; The Hill ~ Jul 21, 2015

Washington’s big bet on value-based care
By Clay Richards; The Hill ~ Jul 21, 2015

Why you shouldn't Google your symptoms
By Dan Cook; BenefitsPro ~ Jul 21, 2015

Feds Say 7.5M Paid An Average Penalty Of $200 For Not Having Health Insurance
By Phil Galewitz; Kaiser Health News ~ Jul 21, 2015

Surprise! That Urgent Care Center May Send You A Big Bill (Just Like The ER)
By Julie Appleby; Kaiser Health News ~ Jul 20, 2015

Obama pushes to extend gun background checks to Social Security
By Alan Zarembo; Los Angeles Times ~ Jul 18, 2015

Spotlight falls on O-Care fraud
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Jul 19, 2015

Justice Roberts' ObamaCare ruling could be boon for congressional Republicans
By Chad Pergram; Fox News ~ Jul 19, 2015

Americans want Medicare to help negotiate down drug prices -poll
By Kylie Gumpert; Reuters ~ Jul 17, 2015

Obama’s Secretive Gun Ban for Social Security Beneficiaries
By AWR Hawkins; Breitbart ~ Jul 18, 2015

Medicare's Biggest Flaw Could Have a Simple Solution
By Dan Caplinger, TMF; Fox Business ~ Jul 18, 2015

Should you have gold in your IRA?
By Bill Bischoff; MarketWatch ~ Jul 18, 2015

WSJ: ObamaCare sticker shock will get worse in years to come, too
By Ed Morrissey; Hot Air ~ Jul 17, 2015

Americans deserve better ObamaCare oversight
By Hadley Heath Manning; The Hill ~ Jul 17, 2015

Many Americans Do Not Get Recommended Preventive Services
By Laurie Barclay, MD; Medscape Medical; News ~ Jul 17, 2015

House Dems: White House pushing Big Pharma agenda in trade deal
By Sarah Ferris; The Hill ~ Jul 17, 2015 - 07/17/15 12:05 PM EDT

ObamaCare's Mandate Penalty Tax Brings In 40% Less Than Expected
By John Merline; Investor’s Business Daily ~ Jul 16, 2015

This Is How Easy It Is to Scam Obamacare
Federal auditors duped healthcare.gov 11 out of 12 times

By John Tozzi; Bloomberg ~ Jul 16, 2015

Democrats decry undercover probe of HealthCare.gov
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Jul 16, 2015

More Democrats are getting health insurance, thanks to Obamacare. Why are Republicans staying away?
By Michael Tesler; The Washington Post ~ Jul 16, 2015

What Are the Chances You'll Need Long-Term Care And How Much Will It Cost?
By Howard Gleckman; Forbes ~ Jul 16, 2015

Former Medicare chief to head health insurance lobby AHIP
By Anna Palmer & Paul Demko; Politico ~ Jul 15, 2015

Probe: Bogus enrollees kept getting 'Obamacare'
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Jul 15, 2015

Fewer choices of doctors under ObamaCare, study finds
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Jul 15, 2015

Taxpayer service hits new low at IRS as 'Obamacare' kicks in
By Stephen Ohlemacher; The Associated Press ~ Jul 15, 2015

The IRS’s Ill-Gotten Gains
From “Review & Outlook”; The Wall Street Journal ~ Jul 15, 2015

Mitch McConnell hints at fast-track procedure for Obamacare repeal
By Seung Min Kim &d Jennifer Haberkorn; Politico ~ Jul 14, 2015

AlcaLu Deal Makes Us 'More Complete' Than Ericsson, Says Nokia CTO
By Iain Morris; Light Reading ~ Jul 14, 2015

Mitch McConnell hints at fast-track procedure for Obamacare repeal
By Seung Min Kim &d Jennifer Haberkorn; Politico ~ Jul 14, 2015

The Supreme Court Has Made Obamacare The Defining Issue Of 2016
From Sally Pipes; Forbes ~ Jul 13, 2015

Overnight Healthcare: K Street launches push against 'Cadillac Tax'
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Jul 13, 2015

Obamacare Chief Nominee Pounded On Conflicts Of Interest
By Richard Pollock; The Daily Caller ~ Jul 12, 2015

Obama Wants More State Laws to Make Retirement Saving Easier
By Gardiner Harris; The New York Times ~ Jul 13, 2015

Democrats Call for Major Change in Social Security
By Rob Garver; The Fiscal Times ~ Jul 13, 2015

IRS Changes Rules on Lump Sum Window Programs
By B. David Joffe; JDSupra ~ Jul 13, 2015

White House Conference on Aging: Focus on the value of research
By Susan Peschin; The Hill ~ Jul 12, 2015

Retirees: A growing economic force in the West
By Megan Lawson, Ph.D. ; The Hill ~ Jul 12, 2015

IRS Shuts the Door on Lump Sum Windows for Retirees
Groom Law Group, July 10, 2015

Poll: ObamaCare support ticks up
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Jul 10, 2015

Modern doctors' house call: Skype chat and fast diagnosis
From New York Times; Houston Chronicle ~ Jul 11, 2015

Making Decisions on Elder Housing May Take a Team Effort
By John F. Wasik; The New York Times ~ Jul 10, 2015

House approves medical cures bill in 344-77 vote
By Peter Sullivan & Sarah Ferris; The Hill ~ Jul 10, 2015

Ryan: GOP planning to use reconciliation ‘to go after ObamaCare’
By Sarah Ferris; The Hill ~ Jul 10, 2015

Obama nominates new Medicare chief, sparking ObamaCare fight
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Jul 09, 2015

U.S. proposes bundling some Medicare knee, hip replacement payments
By Deena Beasley; Reuters ~ Jul 09, 2015

Poll: Sandwich generation worried about own long-term care
By Lauran Neergaard; The Associated Press ~ Jul 09, 2015

New ways to pay for long-term healthcare
By Elizabeth O'Brien; MarketWatch ~ Jul 09, 2015

It’s follow the leader for corporate health strategies
By Dan Cook; BenefitsPro ~ Jul 09, 2015

How Liberals and Conservatives Are Working Together To Improve Long-Term Care
From Howard Gleckman; Forbes ~ Jul 09, 2015

Creating a new paradigm in pain care for the elderly
By Kenneth Thorpe, PhD; The Hill ~ Jul 09, 2015

US: More than 21 million affected by government data breach
By Jack Gillum & Josh Lederman; The Associated Press ~ Jul 09, 2015

Medicare to cover end-of-life counseling
By Matt Sedensky & Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Jul 08, 2015

6 best part-time jobs for retirees
By Catey Hill; MarketWatch ~ Jul 08, 2015

The Coming Shock in Health-Care Cost Increases
By Ezekiel Emanuel & Topher Spiro; The Wall Street Journal ~ Jul 07, 2015

Study: Out-of-pocket health costs rose slightly last year
By Sarah Ferris; The Hill ~ Jul 07, 2015

Overnight Healthcare: GOP pounces on healthcare mergers
By Sarah Ferris & Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Jul 07, 2015

An overlooked fact about Social Security claiming strategies
By Brenton Smith, LifeHealthPro – July 6, 2015

Q&A: As Obama health law survives, GOP split over next move
By Alan Fram; The Associated Press ~ Jul 06, 2015

More Evidence Of Death Spirals Ahead
By John C. Goodman; Forbes ~ Jul 06, 2015

With Merging of Insurers, Questions for Patients About Costs and Innovation
By Reed Abelson; The New York Times ~ Jul 06, 2015

Audit: Doctors are overprescribing drugs to get Medicare cash
By Sarah Ferris; The Hill ~ Jul 06, 2015

How new drugs helping millions of Americans live longer are also making them go broke
By Ana Swanson; The Washington Post ~ Jul 04, 2015

Health Insurers Seek 54 Percent Obamacare Rate Hikes
By Sandy Fitzgerald; Newsmax ~ Jul 04, 2015

What the Supreme Court can’t change about the Affordable Care Act
By Nathan Nascimento; The Hill ~ Jul 04, 2015

Obamacare Prices Could Rise If Blue Cross Plans Face More Competition
From Bruce Japsen; Forbes ~ Jul 03, 2015

McConnell: ObamaCare to blame for health care consolidation
By Ben Kamisar; The Hill ~ Jul 03, 2015

Three Challenges Impacting the Future of Obamacare
From Bill Frist; Forbes ~ Jul 03, 2015

Clash over ObamaCare, use of executive power intensifies
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Jul 02, 2015

After Court Victory, Obama Asks GOP To Work With Him To Improve Health Care
By Mary Agnes Carey; Kaiser Health News ~ Jul 01, 2015

IRS To Allow Do-Overs For Some Estates
By Ashlea Ebeling; Forbes ~ Jul 02, 2015

ObamaCare ruling paves the way for lobbying blitz
By Sarah Ferris ; The Hill ~ Jul 01, 2015

54 Changes To Obamacare: Latest Additions
From Grace-Marie Turner; Forbes ~ Jul 01, 2015

Medicare proposes coverage change on short hospital stays
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Jul 01, 2015


NRLN members are saving big with the Free Health Savings Rx Card℠

The NRLN has arranged to offer you a Health Savings Rx Card™, at NO COST, that offers you and your family savings on prescription drugs, plus vision and hearing services and products.Click here to access the Rx Savings Card℠ website.If you do not already have a Health Savings Rx Card℠ you will need to create your personal login and then printout your free card. Savings information for prescription drugs, vision and hearing services and products is available through the links under the Savings Plus tab.


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