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- Find Answers to Your TRICARE Cost Questionsby Soldier For Life » Retirement on July 26, 2021 at 6:33 pm
- American Medical Debt Twice as High as Previously Thought,
Concentrated in States Without Medicaid Expansionby Retired Americans on July 26, 2021 at 6:32 pm
New research published Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association finds that collection agencies held $140 billion in unpaid medical bills last year – a number that has grown rapidly in just a few years. An earlier study examining debts in 2016 estimated that Americans had $81 billion in medical debt. The new paper also found that almost 18% of all Americans had medical debt in collections, making medical debt the largest source of American debt owed to collection agencies. The $140 billion figure is not all-inclusive, since it only includes debt sold to collection agencies. The paper used data from before the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical debt was primarily held in states that have yet to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the amount of medical debt held in states that did not accept federal funding to expand Medicaid is now around 20% more than in states that did expand it. In 2020, Americans living in states that did not expand Medicaid owed an average of $375 more than those in states that participated in the expansion. Medical debts are different than other debts: Failing to pay your utility bills could result in shut-offs, and failing to pay your auto loan could cause your car to be repossessed. Medical debts, in contrast, tend mostly to harm people’s credit reports and peace of mind. “These numbers are astounding. No person should choose between financial ruin and their health,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “This paper makes it clear that Medicaid expansion can really help people, and we need the twelve remaining holdout states to end their opposition to it.” The post American Medical Debt Twice as High as Previously Thought, Concentrated in States Without Medicaid Expansion appeared first on Retired Americans.
- Senate Holds Hearing on PRO Act, Proponents Drum Up
Supportby Retired Americans on July 26, 2021 at 6:32 pm
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee held a hearing Thursday morning on H.R. 842, the PRO Act. This bill would protect the rights of workers to unionize in several ways. In her opening statement, Sen. Patty Murray (WA), Committee Chairwoman, railed against the inaction on union protections, saying “[t]he National Labor Relations Act hasn’t been significantly updated since 1947, and the failure to do so has led to serious problems for workers trying to have a voice in their workplaces.” The legislation will remove barriers that keep workers from forming a union and enable them to bargain for better wages, benefits, and safer workplaces. Workers who form or join a union have greater retirement security. Union workers earn more and can negotiate for benefits such as health care, pensions and employer contributions to retirement plans, which leads to higher income and increased Social Security benefits in retirement. Further, unions often come with negotiated defined benefit pensions, which provide lifelong retirement income. The hearing fell during the AFL-CIO’s PRO Act Week of Action, with Americans across the country sharing their story and making a case for the bill. Alliance members in several states joined AFL-CIO members at events outside all 100 senators’ offices. The Illinois, Nebraska and Pennsylvania Alliance chapters were among those playing a key role in the events. “The Senate’s PRO Act hearing made it even more clear that this legislation needs to be passed today,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “Rebuilding our economy has to include ensuring that every worker has the right to join or form a union and negotiate for higher wages, better benefits, and safer working conditions.” The post Senate Holds Hearing on PRO Act, Proponents Drum Up Support appeared first on Retired Americans.
- 56th Anniversary of Medicare Brings Fight to Lower Drug
Prices into High Gearby Retired Americans on July 26, 2021 at 6:32 pm
Americans continue to pay the highest prices in the industrialized world for prescription drugs, and as Medicare’s 56th anniversary approaches on July 30, the pharmaceutical industry is spending millions to protect their sky-high profits. More than 54 million seniors rely on Medicare for guaranteed, quality health coverage, and while the program is highly regarded, seniors are still struggling to afford their prescription drugs. A new analysis found that women on Medicare spent an average of $6,175 a year on out-of-pocket health care costs while men spent $5,375, much of it on prescription medications. “Lower drug prices are an essential part of retirement security, and there is no reason for them to be this high. We know that if Medicare were allowed to negotiate lower prices, the way that the Veterans Administration does today, it would save $450 billion over the next ten years,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance. “Seniors are bearing the brunt of these costs and they cannot afford to continue paying these exorbitant prices.” The Nevada, Ohio and Oregon Alliance chapters have already held Medicare birthday events. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto joined the Nevada Alliance’s event that included the Women of Washoe earlier this month. Additional Alliance anniversary events are planned during the next week in Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Vermont and Wisconsin, and several more will follow in August and September. Social Security’s 86th anniversary is August 14. Action Needed: As Medicare’s anniversary approaches, the Alliance is doubling down on our advocacy in support of lower drug prices. Please help by signing our petition to Congress demanding that they pass legislation requiring Medicare to negotiate lower prices. The post 56th Anniversary of Medicare Brings Fight to Lower Drug Prices into High Gear appeared first on Retired Americans.