Hospital Spending Down Now That Medicare Foots Prescription Drug Bill

by Staff | July 27th, 2011

Medicare has been paying for its beneficiaries’ prescription drugs since January 2006, and a new study finds that this change has had a large fiscal effect on nursing homes and hospitals.

The study–published in The Journal of the American Medical Association by researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston–determined that spending on hospital and nursing home stays is down now that Medicare Part D has made it easier for seniors to manage health problems on their own.

“It seems to have helped keep seniors out of the hospitals, which has helped reduce spending,” said Dr. J. Michael McWilliams of Harvard Medical School in an interview with Reuters. “It’s highly suggestive that Part D improves the cost-effectiveness of the Medicare program.”

Medicare Part D was proposed in 2003 and put into effect in 2006. Reuters points out that the legislation has been controversial—with some arguing that it’s only added to the national debt and others saying that the program lacks funding.

The Harvard study also found that Medicare beneficiaries appear to have saved approximately $1,200 annually following Part D.

Four-and-a-half million Americans were enrolled in Part D plans last year, receiving an average of $1,789 in benefits.

Read more.

Do you believe Medicare Part D was a worthwhile addition to the Medicare program?

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

New Social Security Trustees Report Forecasts Sooner-Than-Expected Shortfalls

by Staff | May 16th, 2011

On Friday, the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees released their annual report on the status of the two largest federal programs.

The 2011 Trustees Report warns that “projected long-run program costs for both Medicare and Social Security are not sustainable under currently scheduled financing, and will require legislative modifications if disruptive consequences for beneficiaries and taxpayers are to be avoided.”

Recommending that the government acts sooner rather than later to correct the speedy erosion of Social Security and Medicare funds, the Board of Trustees said that as much time as possible is needed to negotiate change and minimize the potential negative impact on low-income and aging citizens.

If the programs continue as is, Social Security will experience a shortage in 2036, while Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund will run out of money in 2024–five years earlier than the 2010 report foretold.

The report attributes the gloomy forecast to the recession but also to a bit of positive news: Americans are living longer. Men who turn 65 in 2010 are now expected to live another 18.6 years–up an extra half-year compared to last year’s report. Likewise, life expectancy for women who turn 65 in 2010 is projected at 20.7 years–up .3 years from 2010.

“Americans are living longer, and health care costs are continuing to rise,” said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. “And if we do not do more to contain health care costs, our commitments will become unsustainable.”

Read a summary of the full report here.

Are you concerned about Social Security and Medicare funds drying up?

If you need help with your Social Security benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Improvements to Social Security benefits, Medicare may ensure future for retirees

by Staff | May 3rd, 2011

May 3, 2011

The potential changes being presented to Social Security benefits have caused anxiety for many Americans, especially those with plans to retire soon.

Janet Witt, grassroots manager for a committee to preserve Security Benefits and Medicare, says there’s a surplus, according to

But other changes would need to be made to Medicare, not just social security benefits.

The Affordable Care Act passed in March will reduce costs for age and gender rating, end the pre-existing conditions clause, cover children on their parents’ policies until they turn 26, ban caps on lifetime coverage, ban dropping coverage when a policyholder is sick, and help small businesses with tax credits.

Read more.

Do you think changes to Social Security benefits and Medicare go hand in hand? How do you think reforms to the systems will improve lives of future retirees?

If you need help getting the Social Security benefits you deserve to get your life back on track, the Social Security lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin can help.

Social Security beneficiaries will receive checks in event of government shutdown

by Staff | March 1st, 2011

March 1, 2011

As the possibility of government shutdown increases, more people are becoming concerned about their Social Security benefits being cut off.

However, an article from assures Social Security recipients that Social Security checks will come, mail will be delivered, and Medicare payments will still be processed.

The Social Security Administration will likely continue to take applications.

Do you need help filling out a Social Security application?  What questions do you have about Social Security benefits?

If you need help getting Social Security benefits you deserve to get your put your life back on track, the Social Security lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin can help.