We are all aware of the catastrophic physical toll of the COVID19assault. Over 560,000 American lives have been snuffed out to date. But often overlooked is the impact of the virus on our mental health that may linger long after the extended uncertainty and disruption fade into history. It is difficult to understand what long term effects will remain to further add to the prolonged stress we are living through. Sadly, the associated effects of the pandemic are felt primarily by younger people who are suffering ever increasing severe mental illness. Our already badly strained healthcare system is currently receiving increased service requests. Calls to physicians and other mental health providers along with more requests for telehealth conferencing are on the uptick. Unfortunately , this will be the “long haulers” version of mental health.
A group of Democratic lawmakers, led by State Assembly member Ash Kalra has recently proposed AB1400, also known as CalCare, that would provide a government monopoly on health care services in California. If passed, it would eliminate4 ALL private insurance including Medicare, Medi-Cal, Long-Term care, Covered California and more. Did I hear someone say “higher taxes” to try and pay for this questionable legislation? In addition to the monstrous cost, many consider this as an unworkable program. Expect to see intense opposition from health industry groups including insurers, doctors, nurses, and hospitals. In addition, Governor Newsome who already faces political pressure and a possible recall vote will feel more heat as the battle over this unwieldy proposal ensues. According to Ned Wigglesworth, a spokesman for the Californians against this costly “disruption of health care”, shifting to a single payer option would at this time be particularly harmful as we are still dealing with the harmful effects of the Pandemic. I totally agree and urge you to reject this proposal.
When the Pandemic Aid package passed, in addition to the provisions for economic stimulus, the ACA (also known as Obamacare) was immediately strengthened, but with a caveat. Before Congress approved the almost two Trillion dollar rescue package it was an economic strain for many middle class individuals and families who were eligible for a small or no subsidy to afford health insurance coverage. For example, a family of four could subscribe to a Silver plan for about $18,000 annually with large deductibles. However, the newly approved bill has a clause that limits the cost of premiums to 8.5% of annual income, thus reducing the economic load by about half. Based on an income of 100K a family would now pay no more for premiums than $8500 annually. It is expected many more people will now be to afford coverage. But here’s the rub-since this is a temporary stimulus bill the new cap would expire in 2022, and revert back to the original program in 2023. I wonder, since 2022 is an election year, will we be seeing political fireworks on this issue?
The idea of Medicare for All continues to be floated out to Americans today. While we continue to fight the COVID19 virus and we haven’t seen this in recent headlines you can rest assured it will be proposed again. It is still a bad idea for healthcare and here are some of the reasons: If we eliminate private healthcare, or damage it rather than working on improving the current system that has covered over 180 million of us we could experience an estimated 32 trillion in higher taxes in the decade to come, while seeing a 100% increase in our already soaring national debt. Nothing is free and to pay for Medicare for all could produce large increases in payroll taxes, estimated at close to 5%. A government run system could force thousands off coverage they would rather have, estimated at 130,000 beneficiaries in the first year alone. Dealing with government agencies can be difficult and slow response times to medical needs with longer waiting periods for needed procedures. And citizens residing in rural areas who are already holding the short end of the stick could find themselves at greater risk of seeing even more hospital closures.
Medicare for All is still a bad idea, and not the answer to improving our healthcare.
Today’s burgeoning senior population is made up of a diverse population consisting of the Baby Boomers (born 1946-64), the Traditionalists (born 1925-1945) and the rapidly disappearing Greatest Generation born before 1925. Seniors comprise about 16% of the population today, but are expecting to become a much larger segment in the future. There were 51 million seniors in 2017 and that is expected to nearly double to about 95 million by 2060. The group under the most pressure today are the “Boomers”. Also referred to as the “sandwich generation”. Many are caught between taking care of grown children who need financial assistance, especially those carrying the burden of student loans, while simultaneously tending to the needs of aging parents.Thus, the incredibly difficult “sandwich” that can be filled with weddings, funerals, and retirement planning. To complicate problems for this segment is the fact that less than 60% have planned for the “golden years” that oftentimes turn to brass. 70% of these folks mistakenly believe they can rely only on Social Security for a bright future. Sadly, that benefit is woefully underfunded and may not bring to life the dreams of an untroubled and secure retirement. Surely, a sandwich is no baloney at all. * Lou Reinitz LJR Insurance Solutions
Yesterday, I went into our local supermarket to pick upa few items and I became instantly “sticker shocked”. It seemed like it was hard to find any item for less than five dollars. My money didn’t seem like it was buying nearly as much as it had in the past.
That unfortunately is true.
Our COLA ( cost of living adjustment) issued annually was adjusted to 1.35% this year. But recent government data showed the cost of living actually rose 2.3% faster than previously forecasted. Higher prices for gas, rent, healthcare (and groceries) mean we will fall nearly 1% behind inflation this year. Regarding healthcare, greedy big pharma hiked drug prices nearly 6%! Now the fact our COLA is lagging may not seem too important until you realize that 21% of married couples and 45% of singles rely on the program for more than 90% of their income. More Americans are falling into poverty and having trouble just getting food on the table every day. Add to that high unemployment and our COLA is not only flat, but too many citizens are being crushed by the burden.
Throughout the day they assault your senses, ad nauseum. Call today to get all the wonderful Medicare benefits you are missing, and get money back every month too! Dental! Vision! free meals! free! free! Medicare ads on TV are relentless. But do they deliver what they promise. Before you dive in and start calling what is a national call center read the small print that appears on your screen. What? YOU SAY YOU CAN’T? BECAUSE IT JUST FLASHES BY TOO QUICKLY TO READ?
Well….here it is. I have capitalized the wording that is really important to make it easier to understand that in many cases this could be just another ” bait and switch ” presentation:
….IS NOT CONNECTED WITH OR ENDORSED BY ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY OR THE FEDERAL MEDICARE PROGRAM. Members can enroll in a plan ONLY IF THEY MEETCERTAINCRITERIA. Free eyeglasses, meals, Hearing aids HAVE LIMITATIONS. COPAYMENTS AND RESTRICTIONS MAY APPLY. Free Transportation LIMITATIONS ON MILAGE AND NUMBER OF TRIPS. Requires coordination with the carrier for approval…..PLANS NOT AVAILABLE IN ALL AREAS…..BENEFITS SUBJECT TO LIMITATIONS…THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE LISTING OF PLANS AVAILABLE IN YOUR SERVICE AREA….
You are much better off working with a local broker who has your best interest in mind, who knows the local marketplace. Also, an experienced broker like LJR Insurance Solutions will make sure your doctor takes the plan you are interested in, without pressure, and all the B.S. you might run into when looking at all the “free” stuff online that is subject to so many limitations and restrictions. Beware! There are Medicare beneficiaries who have called who find themselves enrolled in a plan that they didn’t even know they were being enrolled in.
Lou Reinitz LJR Insurance Solutions “Medicare made stress free“
The cost item that is raising the cost of health insurance is not prescription drugs. Rather, it is the cost of hospitalization that is straining our healthcare budgets. Over 59% of Americans have had debt collectors contacting them due to past due bills. We are currently carrying well over 80 billion dollars in medical debt. Some hospital systems have become monopolies and have continued to raise prices albeit without improving services. With others, trying to read and figure out hospital billings seems veiled in foggy understanding when we try to decipher the complicated bills. It is a continuing and growing problem that Medicare plans to address in January.
Starting in 2021 CMS will begin to audit hospitals for price transparency, according to a recent statement. The new Hospital Price Transparency rule takes effect next month and will require hospitals to post their standard charges online. They must also define them in over 300 services that can you can compare nationwide. Medicare has agreed to investigate overcharge complaints. Hospitals not in compliancewill be subject to civil penalties. After a warning, should the institution not correct their deficiency they could be subject to fines up to $300 daily. The American Hospital Association has requested a delay of implementation of this new rule because of the additional burden of the pandemic. It is our feeling that we need relief from hospital’s questionable and often unfair and complicated billing practices, and that the new rule should continue to be in effect.