Washington, DC: When planning retirement expenses, make sure to budget enough for the growth in healthcare costs over time, says The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “That can be hard to figure, but rapidly rising healthcare costs, declining health, and the need for increased medical services and prescription drugs as you age will take a growing portion of Social Security benefits,” says TSCL Chairman Ed. Cates.
According to a recent survey by TSCL, healthcare costs take a hefty portion of most retirees’ Social Security benefits. In a survey conducted last year, nearly one - half of survey participants reported spending from 11 percent to 33 percent of their Social Security benefits on Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket costs. One - quarter of survey participants said they paid from 34 percent to 50 percent of their Social Security benefits on healthcare.
The portion of Medicare recipients who reported spending more than 33 percent of their Social Security benefits on healthcare costs jumped 7 percent between 2014 in 2015. Steep cost increases in prescription drugs was frequently cited as a major cause by 61 percent who said their drug co-pay or coinsurance was higher than expected.
TSCL believes that the extreme cost increases could be putting some Medicare beneficiaries at risk, especially in a year like 2016, when retirees received no annual increase in cost-of- living adjustments (COLAS). In 2010, when retirees received no Social Security COLA, about one – third of Medicare households said they postponed filling their prescriptions or took less than the prescribed amount due to higher costs.
“Medicare must be given the authority to negotiate pharmaceutical prices with manufacturers for covered Part D drugs,” says Cates. TSCL recently submitted a statement on prescription drug costs to the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, saying “Lifesaving drugs for cancer, heart disease, arthritis, hepatitis and other life-threatening diseases carry such enormous price tags that older Americans worry their life savings will be drained if they are unlucky enough to get sick. They question why Congress hasn’t taken legislative action to improve the system and protect the American public from price gouging.”
TSCL supports the Prescription Drug Affordability Act (S. 2023, H.R. 3513) that would take important steps to reduce drug costs. Is this situation happening to you? Participate in TSCL’s 2016 Senior Survey at www.SeniorsLeague.org.
With about 1 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Located just outside Washington, D.C., its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of TREA The Enlisted Association. Please visit www.SeniorsLeague.org or call 1-800-333-8725 for more information.
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