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Bill Kadereit, pres

(click here for previous FORUM articles )

2020 Medicare Part B Premiums Will Eat Into Social Security COLA

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on November 8 that the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B will be $144.60 for 2020, an increase of $9.10 from $135.50 in 2019. This is a 7% increase for next year compared to the 1.6% Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2020 announced on October 10. The average increase for Social Security will be about $24 more each month.

CMS said the increase in the Part B premiums and deductible is largely due to rising spending on physician-administered drugs.

Since 2007, a beneficiary’s Part B monthly premium has been based on an individual’s or couple’s tax return income. These income-related monthly adjustment amounts (IRMAA) affect roughly 7% of people with Medicare Part B. Click here to view the 2020 Part B total premiums for high income beneficiaries.

CMS also announced Medicare Part A premiums and deductibles on November 8. Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital, skilled nursing facility and some home health care services. About 99% of Medicare beneficiaries do not have a Part A premium since they have at least 40 quarters of Medicare-covered employment.

The Medicare Part A inpatient hospital deductible that the other 1% of beneficiaries will pay when admitted to the hospital will be $1,408 in 2020, an increase of $44 from $1,364 in 2019. Click here if you want to review additional information on Medicare Part A.

A majority of the lobbying efforts of attendees at the NRLN’s September Fly-In to Washington, DC were for bills to lower the price of prescription drugs, including those that impact Medicare Part B and D, and for Social Security, including the small COLA increases.

Our continuing efforts to gain passage of bills to lower the price of prescription drugs addresses allowing Medicare to do competitive bidding, end pay-for-delay and other brand name drugmakers’ tactics that keep generic drugs off the market, and allow importation of safe and less expensive drugs from Canada.

We are supporting passage of H.R. 860 / S. 269, the Social Security 2100 Act which would ensure the solvency of the program for the next 75 years. In addition, it would change the annual COLA from the current CPI-W index pegged to urban wage earners’ living expenses to CPI-E (Elderly) based on older Americans’ spending patterns, including high medical costs.

If you did not respond to the NRLN’s Action Alerts on prescription drug prices and the Social Security 2100 Act when they were issued earlier this year, you can still email your letters to your U.S. Representative and Senators. Click here to access the NRLN’s Action Alert webpage and scroll down to these two specific Action Alert notices and click on the “TAKE ACTION” button.

Bill Kadereit, President
National Retiree Legislative Network


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money How much did your U.S. Representatives and Senators take as campaign contributions from the Pharmaceutical and Health Products Industry for their recent election campaigns and the current 2019-20 one? Could this be a reason why bills to reduce the price of prescription drugs are not being passed? Click here to see data what the NRLN has compiled from OpenSecrets.Org, Center for Responsive Politics


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.




Tell Congress to Extend Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC)

Since 2002, the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) has helped retirees who lost their health care coverage — in addition to their pensions and other benefits — when their employers either went bankrupt or laid off workers due to foreign trade. Among those using HCTC are members of the NRLN Avaya Retirees Chapter due to Avaya’s bankruptcy. Please click here to email the NRLN’s sample letter to urge your members of Congress to again extend HCTC that is scheduled expire at the end of 2019.



A Wonderful Day to Share Our Blessings

While doing some reading for this Thanksgiving message, I came across a quote by Johnny Carson about Thanksgiving. Most Americans of my generation remember Johnny Carson as the comedian host of television’s The Tonight Show. When I was growing up in Omaha, Johnny’s first job after graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1949 was on an Omaha radio station.

Johnny is quoted, “Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover that once a year is way too often.”

That’s an example of Johnny’s humor. However, most of us observe Thanksgiving as a wonderful day to be with family and/or friends to share our blessings.

Rose and I are fortunate that our son, daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren live near us in the Dallas area. If you will be traveling to be with members of your family, may your journey be a safe one.

Because much of my time is devoted to dealing with Congress on retirement issues you might doubt that I can be thankful about the work I do in Washington, DC. While the extreme party politics is disturbing, there are many bills in the House and Senate we can be thankful for on retirement income security and healthcare that the NRLN has been advocating. The challenge is getting the bills enacted into law.

I’m also thankful for the dedicated staff and volunteers I work with who know the importance of gaining legislation to help make retirement years better.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and/or friends or spend the holiday quietly on our own, let us be thankful for our men and women in the uniforms of our military, law officers and first responders. May our Thanksgiving prayers seek to heal the division in our nation. Pray for the Americans who have recently lost their homes to wildfires in California and other states and to the floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes earlier this year.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Bill Kadereit, President
National Retiree Legislative Network

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report card

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

Do your Senators or Representative support bills that help retirees? Check it out here!


The articles and opinion pieces below are for information and are not necessarily a reflection of the NRLN’s position on issues. The NRLN is nonpartisan and its positions on retirement issues are presented in its Legislative Agenda and white papers that can be accessed from the Legislative Agenda tab.

Powerful House panel to hold 'Medicare for All' hearing next week
By Peter Sullivan - 12/03/19 10:04 PM EST

Opinion: American health care has a new third rail
From Dr. David Blumenthal; The Hill ~ Dec 04, 2019

Low-Profile Pharma Group Taps Into Fears That Pelosi’s Drug Pricing Bill Will Threaten ‘Thousands Of Good-Paying Jobs’
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Dec 04, 2019

Hospital groups file lawsuit to stop Trump price transparency rule
By Justine Coleman; The Hill ~ Dec 04, 2019

Proposed bill would expand access to retirement plans to part-time workers
By Brian Croce; Pensions & Investments ~ Dec 03, 2019

Opinion: Healthcare Consumers Lack Knowledge Of Basic Health Insurance Terms
From Joshua Cohen; Forbes ~ Dec 03, 2019

DHS may require US citizens be photographed at airports
By David Koenig; The Associated Press ~ Dec 03, 2019

White House claims Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug-pricing bill would result in 100 fewer drugs over a decade
By Berkeley Lovelace Jr. ; CNBC ~ Dec 03, 2019

Medicare open enrollment ends soon. What to do if you picked the wrong coverage
By Sarah O’Brien; CNBC ~ Dec 03, 2019

3 Ways You Can Lose Your Social Security Benefits
By Maurie Backman; The Motley Fool ~ Dec 03, 2019

Desperate Patients Encouraged To Take Out Loans, Borrow Money To Pay For Unproven, Risky Stem Cell Treatments
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Dec 02, 2019

U.S. government sides with plaintiff in Putnam ERISA case
By Robert Steyer; Pensions & Investments ~ Dec 02, 2019

Concerned with health costs? Take this 5-day health challenge
From Dr. Naomi Parrella; The Hill ~ Dec 01, 2019

For banks, data on your spending habits could be a gold mine
By Anick Jesdanun; The Associated Press ~ Dec 02, 2019

The $11 Million Dollar Medicare Tool That Gives Seniors the Wrong Insurance Information
By Akilah Johnson; ProPublica ~ Nov 25, 2019

‘Tax Cuts 2.0’ could include a rate reduction for the middle class. Here’s who would benefit most
By Sarah O’Brien; CNBC ~ Nov 30, 2019

Central States Pension Fund recipients would see 19% benefit cuts under Senate GOP proposal
By Jim Spencer; Star Tribune ~ Nov 30, 2019

4 Ways to Manage Your Required Minimum Distributions When You Don’t Need the Money
By Nick Fortuna; Barron’s ~ Nov 30, 2019

A Change in Medicare Has Therapists Alarmed
By Paula Span; The New York Times ~ Nov 29, 2019

Money Matters: Social Security
From Marc Hebert; WMUR9 ~ Nov 28, 2019

Women Suffer Most, But All Americans Are ‘Woefully Unprepared’ For Costs And Burdens Of Caregiving, National Survey Finds.
From Robin Seaton Jefferson; Forbes ~ Nov 27, 2019

Increasingly Bitter Personal Rivalry Between Azar And Verma Threatens To Derail Administration’s Health Goals
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 27, 2019

Lawmakers Optimistic About Breaking Stalemate On Stalled Surprise Billing Negotiations
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 26, 2019

Finally: A Push To Help Americans Save For Emergencies
From Richard Eisenberg; Forbes ~ Nov 26, 2019

The Shocking Rise of Prescription Drug Prices
By Lisa L. Gill; Consumer Reports ~ Nov 26, 2019

CMS Spent Millions On Tool To Help Medicare Beneficiaries, But It’s Giving Seniors Wrong Info On Plans
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 26, 2019

Family caregivers are financially penalized for providing care
From Ellen Carbonell, Angela Moss & Barbara Shaw; The Hill ~ Nov 26, 2019

Opinion: This hidden Obamacare feature could save your family
From “Mr. Groovy”; MarketWatch ~ Nov 25, 2019

Pharma execs: Thirst for profit drives high drug prices
By Fedor Zarkhin; The Oregonian ~ Nov 25, 2019

The Secure Act makes critical reforms to our retirement system — let's pass it this year
From Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) ; The Hill ~ Nov 25, 2019

How The Democrats Hope To Fix Social Security
From Orion Jones; Forbes ~ Nov 25, 2019

Trump draws ire after retreat on drug prices pledge
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Nov 24, 2019

Policymakers Still Are Not Paying Attention To The Needs Of Frail Elders And Their Families
From Howard Gleckman; Forbes ~ Nov 22, 2019

Trump says drug importation plan coming 'soon'
By Nathaniel Weixel ; The Hill ~ Nov 22, 2019

No Safety Switch: How Lax Oversight Of Electronic Health Records Puts Patients At Risk
By Fred Schulte & Erika Fry, Fortune; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 21, 2019

FDA nominee commits to addressing drug prices, shortages
By Rachel Cohrs; Modern Healthcare ~ Nov 20, 2019

Americans With Employer-Sponsored Plans Are Still Finding Coverage Unaffordable As Out-Of-Pocket Expenses Rise
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 21, 2019

Trump Administration Urging ACA Customers To Use Private Brokers Who Profit More From Selling ‘Junk’ Plans
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 21, 2019

Leveling the playing field for the costs of life-sustaining prescription drugs
From Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) ; The Hill ~ Nov 21, 2019

It's time for Congress to protect patients from surprise medical bills
From Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) & Greg Walden (R-Ore.) ; The Hill ~ Nov 21, 2019

Opinion: Life Insurance After Your Kids Are Grown
From Michael F. Kay; Forbes ~ Nov 21, 2019

Senate GOP proposes multiemployer reform bill
By Hazel Bradford; Pensions & Investments ~ Nov 20, 2019

The Case Of The ACA’s Disappearing Taxes
By Julie Rovner; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 20, 2019

Mental Health Coverage Continues to Fall Short, Study Shows
By Cynthia Koons; Bloomberg Businessweek ~ Nov 20, 2019

Use Open Enrollment To Take Stock Of Chronic Health Needs
From Kristen Gerencher; Forbes ~ Nov 20, 2019

Opinion: Will Your Retirement Income Stand Up to the Rising Cost of Long-Term Care?
From Ron Carson; Forbes ~ Nov 20, 2019

How These Aging Experts Decided Where They’d Live In Later Life
From Richard Eisenberg; Forbes ~ Nov 19, 2019

House passes bill to reverse Supreme Court decision on SEC disgorgement
By Hazel Bradford; Pensions & Investments ~ Nov 19, 2019

Top GOP senator: Drug pricing action unlikely before end of year
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Nov 19, 2019

Washington needs to drain the swamp of costly tax extenders
From Adam Michel; The Hill ~ Nov 19, 2019

How to talk to your doctor about a serious condition
By Austa Somvichian-Clausen; The Hill ~ Nov 18, 2019

White House Puts Heft Behind Bipartisan Compromise Drug Bill In Senate
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 18, 2019

New benefits under Medicare Advantage could include meal delivery, air cleaners
From Fred Riccardi, NA; MarketWatch ~ Nov 18, 2019

Drug cost legislation gets a push from White House
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Nov 18, 2019

FDA Approves Crizanlizumab: Here Is A New Drug For Sickle Cell Disease
From Bruce Y. Lee; Forbes ~ Nov 17, 2019

Democrats seize on report of FedEx's $0 tax bill to slam Trump's tax plan
By Aris Folley; The Hill ~ Nov 17, 2019

White House urgently ramps up push for drug cost legislation
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Nov 17, 2019

Surgery for Blocked Arteries Is Often Unwarranted, Researchers Find
By Gina Kolata; The New York Times ~ Nov 16, 2019

Watch Out For This Combo Scam
From John F. Wasik; Forbes ~ Nov 16, 2019

How To Lower Taxes When Tapping Retirement Funds
From Larry Light; Forbes ~ Nov 15, 2019

Trump promises 'major middle-income tax cut' with GOP majority
By Nihal Krishan; The Washington Examiner ~ Nov 15, 2019

Nobel Prize-Winning Economist on How to Solve the ‘Nastiest, Hardest Problem’ in Retirement
By Sarah Max; Barron’s ~ Nov 15, 2019

Amazon rolls out 'Amazon Pharmacy' branding to PillPack
By Ahiza Garcia; CNN Business ~ Nov 15, 2019

White House Unveils Finalized Health Care Price Transparency Rule
By Julie Appleby; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 15, 2019

Americans to Companies: We Don’t Trust You With Our Personal Data
By Danielle Abril; Fortune ~ Nov 15, 2019

Health Law Sign-Ups Drop 20% As Constitutionality Decision Looms, But Experts Point To Marketplace’s Past Resiliency
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 14, 2019

Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families
By Naomi Jagoda; The Hill ~ Nov 14, 2019

Trump Wants To Demand U.S. Pays Lowest Price For Drugs Out Of Developed Countries, Azar Says
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 14, 2019

Opinion: What Happens If Your Parents Outlive Their Resources?
From Liz Frazier; Forbes ~ Nov 14, 2019

Early sign-ups trail last year
By Shelby Livingston; Modern Healthcare ~ Nov 13, 2019

Congress can either vote with the people or with the pharmaceutical corporations
From Alex Lawson & Sean McElwee; The Hill ~ Nov 13, 2019

Apple Watch detects irregular heartbeats in U.S. study
By Julie Steenhuysen; Reuters ~ Nov 13, 2019

Schumer blocks drug pricing measure during Senate fight, seeking larger action
By Peter Sullivan ; The Hill ~ Nov 13, 2019

Pelosi aide hopeful White House will support drug-pricing bill despite criticism
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Nov 13, 2019

Surprise billing fight highlights hurdles for bolder health care changes
By Mary Ellen McIntire; Roll Call ~ Nov 13, 2019

Trump advisers consider cutting middle-class taxes by this much: Report
By Brittany De Lea; Fox Business ~ Nov 12, 2019

Poll: 1 in 5 US adults report trouble affording prescription drugs
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Nov 12, 2019

Rising Medicare prices will shrink Social Security inflation adjustment next year
From Mark Miller; Reuters ~ Nov 12, 2019

Why Retirees Are Afraid To Spend Their Kitty
From John F. Wasik; Forbes ~ Nov 11, 2019

Google has collected health data on millions of Americans through new partnership: report
By Justine Coleman; The Hill ~ Nov 11, 2019

Voters Say Congress Needs To Curb Drug Prices, But Are Lawmakers Listening?
By Emmarie Huetteman; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 11, 2019

SECURE Act passage hopes fade as Congress hesitates
By Brian Croce; Pensions & Investments ~ Nov 11, 2019

Déjà vu all over again: Health-care spending back on the rise
From Carrie Colla & Jonathan Skinner; The Hill ~ Nov 10, 2019

The biggest bull market ever — yet disaster looms for millions of retirees
From Paul Brandus; MarketWatch ~ Nov 09, 2019

Retirement in Brief: The Latest News and Research
By Brian Hershberg; Barron’s ~ Nov 09, 2019

Employers Call on Congress to Take Action on Drug Prices as the Cost of Providing Coverage Grows
By “Staff”; The Center for Biosimilars ~ Nov 08, 2019

White House says Pelosi plan to lower drug prices 'unworkable'
By Jessie Hellmann; The Hill ~ Nov 08, 2019

Progressive House Democrat unveils bill to allow state-based 'Medicare for All'
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Nov 08, 2019

Medicare’s outpatient ‘Part B’ premium going up to $144.60
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Nov 08, 2019

A Retirement Community That Comes to You
By Paula Span; The New York Times ~ Nov 08, 2019

GM sells Lordstown complex to electric-vehicle start-up Lordstown Motors
By Kalea Hall; The Detroit News ~ Nov 07, 2019

Doctors not talking enough about cancer genetic testing costs
By Carolyn Crist; Reuters ~ Nov 07, 2019

Scams heat up during Medicare open enrollment
By Susan Tompor; Detroit Free Press ~ Nov 07, 2019

Retirement bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments
By Naomi Jagoda; The Hill ~ Nov 07, 2019

Latest Senate attempt to move on SECURE Act fails
By Brian Croce; Pensions & Investments ~ Nov 07, 2019

4 Ways To Improve Your Estate Plan
From Jamie Hopkins; Forbes ~ Nov 06, 2019

Tips to Ease Family Inheritance Tensions
By Kerry Hannon; The New York Times ~ Nov 06, 2019

IRS Announces Higher Estate And Gift Tax Limits For 2020
By Ashlea Ebeling; Forbes ~ Nov 06, 2019

How to Make Sure Your Assets Don’t Go Unclaimed. Careful documentation and communication with loved ones are key.
By Mark A. Stein; The New York Times ~ Nov 06, 2019

Here are your new income tax brackets for 2020
By Alicia Adamczyk; CNBC ~ Nov 06, 2019

Analysis/Opinion: What to do about prescription drug prices
From Matthew Kandrach; The Washington Times ~ Nov 06, 2019

Prescription Drug Costs A Main Culprit In Medicare Beneficiaries’ Financial Hardships, Report Finds
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 05, 2019

Insurance companies, groups urge quick Senate action on House-passed retirement bill
By Naomi Jagoda; The Hill ~ Nov 05, 2019

Will The Maximum Social Security Benefit Increase In 2020?
From David Rae; Forbes ~ Nov 05, 2019

Retirees should say 'no thanks' to Romney's Social Security plan
From Max Richtman; The Hill ~ Nov 05, 2019

White House and Pelosi part ways on relief for drug prices
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Nov 05, 2019

Many on Medicare Face Crippling Medical Bills
By Amy Norton, HealthDay; WebMD ~ Nov 04, 2019

PBGC fund could be tapped for multiemployer bailout
By Julie Tatge; Pensions & Investments ~ Nov 05, 2019

Canadian ambassador tells White House drug import plan unworkable, not enough supplies
By Robert King; FierceHealthcare ~ Nov 04, 2019

Health Law Site May Be Sleeker Than Ever, But Signing Up For Coverage Can Still Overwhelm. Here Are Some Tips.
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 04, 2019

1 in 2 seriously ill Medicare enrollees struggles with bills
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Nov 04, 2019

Be on high alert for scams during Medicare open enrollment
By Sarah O’Brien; CNBC ~ Nov 04, 2019

U.S. Sponsors Of Health Insurance Lack Evidence-Based Transparency In Formulary Decisions
From Joshua Cohen; Forbes ~ Nov 03, 2019

Sell a house? Cash in an IRA? You may be hit with a surcharge on Medicare premiums
Kathleen Pender, San Francisco Chronicle – Nov 2, 2019

4 Costly Tax Mistakes to Avoid
By Christy Bieber; The Motley Fool ~ Nov 03, 2019

Retiree Taxes: Pitfalls, Overlooked Deductions, Social Security Withholding
By Daisy Maxey; Barron’s ~ Nov 02, 2019

Opinion: Innovative Drugs Save Lives Only if People Can Afford Them
From The Editorial Board; The New York Times ~ Nov 02, 2019

Opinion: An easy way to reduce wealth inequality — but Democrats won't like it
From Merrill Matthews; The Hill ~ Nov 01, 2019

Power Cutoffs And Protecting Aging Parents Living Alone
From Carolyn Rosenblatt; Forbes ~ Nov 01, 2019

Don’t Let Medicare’s Complexity Scare You Off From Updating Your Coverage. Here Are Some Tips To Navigate System.
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Nov 01, 2019


amazon smile AmazonSmile Program to Benefit the American Retirees Education Program (AREF)

The NRLN board created the American Retiree Education Foundation (AREF) in 2014 as a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible, nonprofit education foundation to expand the research and educational reach of the NRLN and to enable NRLN to sharpen its focus as an organization lobbying for the passage of federal legislation and regulations that benefit retirees.

For example, the white paper on Protecting Pension Assets which is used to educate members of Congress on the need for legislation to prevent pension plan sponsors from using plan assets for non-pension expenses was funded by AREF.. Access the white paper here.

You can help fund the AREF without costing you anything extra when you make a purchase online from Amazon through its AmazonSmile program. Click here to learn more about AmazonSmile.