Social Security and Medicare Cuts Eyed

Social Security and Medicare Cuts Eyed

Take The TSCL Senior Survey!

How much will the New Year's 1.5% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase your Social Security benefits? How much did your household budget increase over the past 12 months? Your response is important because the only thing standing between seniors and COLA cuts right now is public pressure on Congress and the White House. Major budget negotiations are underway as the nation faces another government shut-down on January 15th, hitting the debt limit again the first week in February.  Members of Congress need to hear how their actions would impact real people like you.

What are budget cutters looking at? Here are a few key proposals under discussion. After reviewing these, tell us what you think by taking our survey.

  • COLA cuts: The White House proposes switching to the more slowly - growing measure of inflation, the chained consumer price index, to calculate annual COLAs. The proposal has bipartisan support in Congress. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it would cut spending on Social Security about $127 billion over the next ten years and bring in roughly $124 billion in higher taxes (since tax brackets and personal exemptions would rise more slowly as well). To learn how the proposal would impact your benefits, try TSCL's Chained COLA calculator.
  • Higher Medigap costs: Experts say that beneficiaries with Medigap supplements tend to use more services than those without such coverage. Currently the plans often cover part or most of the deductibles and the co-insurance. Lawmakers from both parties propose requiring beneficiaries enrolled in Medigap plans to pay more through higher deductibles and co-payments. President Obama's 2014 budget plan called for imposing a new surcharge on beneficiaries who buy Medigap plans in 2017.
  • More Means Testing For Medicare: Higher income seniors with incomes of more than $85,000 (individuals) already pay more for their Medicare Part B and Part D premiums. More seniors will pay the higher costs in the future because the income threshold is not adjusted for inflation. President Obama has proposed raising the amounts that higher-income seniors would pay, and proposes new income thresholds that would push seniors into higher premium brackets more quickly.

Your answers to TSCL's Annual Senior Survey makes a difference! TSCL shares the results with Members of Congress and the media.