Social Issues - Aging - Who Does Best By Older Workes?

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posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 10:51 PM
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If you were born after 1960, your full benefits retirement age with Social Security is age 67. Benefits are based on your life-time earnings record. You receive interest on all the OASI money you and your employer pay in to the Trust Fund. Old Age and Survivors Insurance. OASI also provides benefits to surviving children up to age 18 or 22 if in school. It also pays about 65% of average wages if totally disabled. This fund, along with the Medicare insurance payment, is collected under FICA. Federal Insurance Contributions Act. Currently the SS tax is 6.2% of wages capped at $80,000 per year.

The Medicare tax is 1.45% of wages but there is no cap. FICA is 7.65%, and matched by employers. Self-employed persons pay both for a total of 15.3% of taxable income. The Medicare insurance is a paid-up Part A plan. You pay premiums all during your working life and when you retire, Part A is furnished to you at no further cost.

Part B, OTOH, which covers doctors, labs, therapy, etc., charges a monthly premium deducted from your monthly SS payment, adjusted annually, and currently $88.00 a month. (It was $45 in 2001). The law provides that any excess in Part A, after setting aside actuarial reserves, is paid over into Part B. Up to now, there has been a substantial pay-over which has kept the rise in Part B premiums down.

Part D is new and is not paid in advance. You are billed for the private plan you select. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services oversees the private firms that handle disbursement of both Medicare and Medicaid funds. Medicaid is wholly paid out of the General Fund and has no connection to social Security or Medicare. The SSA administers only for Medicaid.

Because Medicare pays 80% of the approved fees, the patient is liable for the other 20%. The private insurance industry jumped in quickly. In the case of Medicare, as opposed to the 2004 fiasco of Plan D, the 1965 Federal law provided any company could sell a medicare supplement, but they had to offer Plan A and one other plan they could choose from 10 government written plans. Companies could offer their own plans but none have chosen to do so. Because the coverage is the same for all companies, it is possible for consumers to pick and choose the cheapest plan. 1965 was done by Democrats. 2004 was done by Republicans. You don’t even have to be smart to see which was best for old people.

Because of much improved longevity since the enactment of the Social Security Act in 1935, the life expectancy of retirees today is close to 15 years. This poses special problems in the 2010 to 2040 time frame. This is the Baby Boomers retiring. By 2040, the number of workers will again put the Trust Fund in the black. There are various estimates how much will be needed to make up the shortfall, but it will be made up. No Congress would dare not to. This means many more workers will stay on the job past age 67.

Persons working full time after age 65, in 1995, 16% men, and 8% women but in 2005, those numbers were 19.8% for men, and 11.5% for women. So, where to work?

Here is a partial list of the 50 employers who are given accolades for being "friendly" to older workers as rated by the employees.
1. Mercy Health System (WI); 2. Lee Mem. Health Sys. (FL); 3. Bon Secours HS Richmond (VA); 4. LRMC/TVRH (FL); 5. VW of America (MI); 7. MIT (MA); 8. Oakwood HS (MI); 9. First Horizon Corp (TN); 10. Hoffman-LaRoche (NJ); 14. Brevard Public Schools (FL); 16. Principal Financial Group (IA); 17. Aerospace Corp (CA); 21. SC Johnson Co (IA); 24. Va Commonwealth U. (VA); 30. Univ. of Kentucky; 32. Cornell U. (NY); West Va U Hosp )WVA); 43. L. L. Bean (ME); 48. UT Cancer Center (TX);
and 50. John Deers (IL). To see the full list go to www.aarp.org.


[edit on 9/8/2006 by donwhite]




posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 10:48 AM
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Part A covers hospitalization. It is a paid-up plan for all Medicare beneficiaries. Part B is somewhat optional. When you first enroll in Medicare, you can elect not to take Part B for up to five years. At that time, you will be placed on Part B. Like it or not. Also, you will be penalized 5% per year, for the remainder of your life. So if you refuse to take Part B for 5 years, the current $88.00 a month Part B premium I pay, you would pay $110 a month. Not too smart a move. OTOH, if you have other insurance that “qualifies” as a Part B replacement, i.e., pays approximately what Part B pays, then the penalties do not apply.

Part D is the first privatization of Medicare. Insurance companies are your direct contact and they write the polices, decide what to cover and how to treat you as a customer, within some very loose parameters. A new word for old people is “formulary.” This is the list of medicines the company you are dealing with covers. That’s bad enough, to have to find out if your medicines are covered, but the worse part is that the companies have the right to change the formulary during your policy period. You may buy a policy by Hartford, only because it covers your particular medicines. Should Hartford decide later on that they don’t want to cover that medicine they can drop it but you can’t drop Hartford. Not until the next enrollment period.

The taxpayers are only involved in one way. They get to pay the premise. If there are 30 million people on Plan D, why not ask the companies for a discount, since it is such a large bloc of customers? We know that sales volume equals cost reduction. Well, that’s what Wal-Mart says. To guard against that event, someone had a provision written into the Part D law that says the taxpayers cannot ask for quantity discounts. In fact, the same law says the taxpayers cannot buy from foreign sources, either. No drugs from Canada for the taxpayers.

Anecdote. In 1999, I was prescribed Torbadex Ophthalmic Ointment in 3.5 gm tubes. My local pharmacy charged me $45 each. I used 6 or 8 tubes a year. I found a Canadian mail order pharmacy that sent me the same tubes at $20 each. Now, under Part D, the US government - say taxpayers - are paying $65 per tube. I know this because the Medicare Summary Notice I receive says that. That is called privatizing the government, but the government is denied the advantages of he much ballyhooed “free market.”

Who did that to the taxpayers? And why? Nothing falls out of the sky. Hmm? The Republicans control the presidency. The Republicans control the Supreme Court. The Republicans control the Congress. Do you think the gouging of American taxpayers was done by the Republicans? Thank you Bush43.



posted on Sep, 10 2006 @ 07:17 PM
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Medicare Part B is partly paid by the beneficiary and partly by the US Government, as mentioned in a post above. The individual pays 25% and the Government pays 75%. Current 2006 individual payment is $88.00. To avoid collection problems, this is deducted in advance from the monthly benefit payment.

Health care costs continue to rise at a rate 2 or 3 times the general cost of living index. I don’t know why that should be. Every doctor I go to says hi is working more and making less. Although I take that griping with a big grain of salt, there must be some fire where there is all that smoke. The Administration has a quick and simple way to deal with a vexing problem. It comes as no surprise since we are now operating under a Commander in Chief who rules by decree without consulting Congress or the people. “Trust me” is his mantra.

Beginning with the adjustment for 2007, which is usually done in December. to notify recipients of the new monthly charge before receiving the January check, there are serous changes in how the individual rate will be computed. Seniors who earn $80,000-$100,000 a year will have their monthly rate increased from the current 25% to 30% by 2009 in three nearly equal steps. Those earning from $150,000 to $200,000 will see their rate rise to 35% over the same 3 years, and those earning more than $200,000 a year will see their premium rise to 38.75%. Well, even the poor will see the $88 a month go to $98 for 2007.

The reason I brought this up is there has been no public notice, no public discussion and no Congressional oversight. Geez. As in Rome, is this the end of the Republic? Is this the final answer to Benjamin Franklin when asked what the Philadelphia Convention had given the people replied, “A republic if you can keep it?” Is Bush43 our Caesar?





 
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