Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bills Considered in U.S. Congress to Support Elder Economic Security

Two pieces of legislation are moving through Congress that have the potential to affect the economic security of America’s elders. The Medicare Premium Fairness Act of 2009 (H.R. 3631) passed the House last week and is now in the hands of the Senate. The bill would stop the upcoming 2010 increase in Medicare Part B premiums for 11 million seniors. Given the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) freeze for the next two years, the House decided it unfair to raise medical out-of-pocket costs for seniors whose Social Security benefits will not increase. The Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index) shows that health care costs, including the Medicare Part B premium and other coverage expenses, are the number two out-of-pocket cost for seniors. Holding the Medicare Part B Premium steady will support elders living on limited incomes, many of whom already make difficult choices among basic needs, like prescription drugs and home energy costs.

The Emergency Citizens Relief Act of 2009 (H.R. 3597 and S. 1685) is now being debated in the House. This bill would give elders a $250 payment in 2010 to partly compensate for the COLA freeze. The Elder Index demonstrates that elders living on Social Security alone are unable to meet their basic needs. A boost in Social Security payments would assist elders who are barely making ends meet.

Both bills would somewhat alleviate the financial struggle that many elders face today.

1 comment:

Kristen Arnold said...

I agree, both pieces of legislation are a step in the right direction! They acknowledge the gap between resources that elders have and the costs they are faced with today and in the near future