MEDICARE RETIREE GUIDE

I strongly urge seniors interested in Medicare policies to review this guide, and distribute it to their friends.  I also recommend David Key and DoubleHealth USA as an agent for purchase of such policies.  Call 866-600-7083

 
If any of you are interested in a small group presentation, let me know.

RETIIREE GUIDE MEDICARE 2014 EDITION – DOUBLEhEALTH USA

Chuck
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NRLN MATERIAL FOR ELECTIONS – CANDIDATES AND NEWSPAPERS

I urge you to click on the draft letters to newspapers and use the NRLN website to transmit letters to local papers.

Chuck
Below are 3 version of draft letters to newspapers:

<600 word version

Forgotten Retirees

Congress, particularly the House, has shown little regards for senior retirees and scant regard for the many issues confronting retirees these days. Companies continue to provide golden parachutes for a few executives out of pension funds, get extensions in funding their pension funds even while running record profits, sell off their pension funds to whoever without restriction stripping their retirees and employees of Federal /ERISA law protections, provide out of date information concerning their pension funds and don’t disclose interest rate assumptions and other important information.   This is just for starters of what congress has been asked to address without much success over the last five or so years.

Even when the Senate sent back to the House an alternative taking out an additional five years of funding relief for companies endangering pension plans , giving more time for them to sell off the plans (Motorola since then sold their for 30,000 employees to Prudential ) and endangering the PBGC, a government agency, the House led by Boehner rejected it. Why? Because they didn’t want to stay around to debate it, or fund it properly with a gasoline tax increase (last raised in 1993).   They were in a hurry to go home to run for reelection, so throw the retirees under the bus again.   (They did this a few years ago too.)   Compounding this is that this gimmick only funded the Highway program for 10 months so they’ll have to face this problem again next summer, but conveniently after the election. One could conclude, retirees who worked their whole lives for their pensions were just victims of election year politics for a few months of political convenience.   – Or was it big corporation political contributions or both?

Retirees and other Seniors have more Medical bills and prescription drug bills than others yet congress seems to incapable to lower costs and fix obvious problems even when addressing them would save the government billions of dollars over the next 10 years. Why? – Likely because of the Health insurance and drug lobbies.   These issues include;

Prescription Drug issues; Medicare should put out its drugs for bid as the VA does. Why does one agency do it and another doesn’t? Banning Pay for Delay – Prescription Drug companies have been routinely paying generic drug companies not to produce a generic equivalent. – Importation of Drugs from approved sources. Why are we paying double or more for often the same drug- same company than our neighbors in Canada are paying? One might look at campaign contributions for an answer .

Three Day In patient care required for Skilled Nursing Facility Care coverage by Medicare.   This runs up the bill on Medicare. Often the hospitals classify this as for observation status and then the patient is billed for the services.   Medicare should not require a three day hospital stay to be covered for SNF .

Medicare prevents those who were on Medicare Advantage from obtaining a Medigap policy under Medicare. The is area of the Affordable Care Act needs modification to allow those over 65 to do so on an equitable basis and require insurers to pay at least 80% in benefits similar to the requirement of MA insurers 85%

Why does congress even talk about cutting Medicare when there are billions of savings on the table ?

These and other issues can be reviewed on the National Retiree Legislative Network http://www.nrln.org/index.html under the Legislation Tab. To see how ones congressman or senator is doing relative to related issues , they should put in their zip code in the upper right “Take Action” box and follow the links to him/her .

<300 Word Version

Forgotten Retirees

Congress, particularly the House, has shown little regards for senior retirees and scant regard for the many issues confronting all retirees these days. Companies continue to provide golden parachutes for a few executives out of pension funds, get extensions in funding their pension funds even while running record profits, sell off their pension funds to whoever without restriction stripping their retirees and employees of Federal /ERISA law protections, provide out of date information concerning their pension funds and don’t disclose interest rate assumptions and other important information.   This is just for starters of what congress has been asked to address without much success over the last five or so years.

These are just a few issues in regard to pensions and senior income.

Medical related issues are also critical to seniors but what is congress doing about in this area besides protecting the Health Insurance companies and the prescription drug manufacturers? Shouldn’t Medicare put drugs covered out for bid like the VA? , Shouldn’t we be allowed to import drugs from FDA approved sources? Shouldn’t drug companies be prohibited from paying off generic drug manufacturers to delay or not produce low cost generic equivalents? Why does congress even talk about cutting Medicare when there are billions of savings over the next 10 years on the table?

These and other issues can be reviewed in more on the National Retiree Legislative Network http://www.nrln.org/index.html under the Legislation tab. Retirees should be more active in protecting their benefits. To see how ones congressman or senator is doing relative to related   pending congressional bills, they should put in their zip code in the upper right “Take Action” box and follow the links to him/her . If they aren’t supporting the bills listed maybe they are not supporting seniors and retirees.

<150 Word Version

Forgotten Retirees

Congress, particularly the House, has shown little regards for retirees for the many issues confronting them. Companies continue to provide golden parachutes for a few executives out of pension funds, get extensions in funding their pension funds while running record profits, sell off their pension funds to whoever without restriction stripping their retirees and employees of Federal /ERISA law protections, provide out of date information concerning their pension funds and don’t disclose interest rate assumptions and other important information.   Medical related issues are critical for seniors. Shouldn’t Medicare put drugs covered out for bid like the VA? Shouldn’t we be allowed to import drugs from FDA approved sources? Shouldn’t drug companies be prohibited from paying off generic drug manufacturers to delay or not produce low cost generic equivalents? Seniors should talk these issues up whenever interfacing with candidates in the next month and after the election with the winner.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Bob Martina, NRLN Vice President – Grassroots <contact@nrln.org>
Date: Tue, Sep 30, 2014 at 12:02 AM
Subject: To: NRLN CD Leaders – Choose your election month initiative(s)
To: chuckaustin2@gmail.com

To: NRLN Congressional District Leaders

Choose your election month initiative(s)

We are extending our August initiative through Election Day. Many of you have already taken action in the last two months.  As the primary items remain the same through October, much of the material used for August remains the same in terms of handouts and talking points.  Attached are the website addresses for our current priority item handouts.

Town Hall Meetings – Congress will be home the whole month campaigning. It is a good time to hit them in a meeting. A list of questions you might ask are attached. Call his/her local office and find where the meetings are to be held. Take along some handouts.

Letters to the editor, particularly now remains a great leverage tool. An updated set of varying length letters is attached. Feel free to modify and personalize.
http://www.congressweb.com/nrln/media provides contact info for newspapers.

Report Cards as a handout or in a letter to the editor tell people how supportive a Congressional Representative appears to be in terms of co-sponsoring bills we support .These can be generated for individuals or groups by copying and pasting data relative to the bills we support on each Congressman’s or Congresswoman’s webpage on our NRLN website. Go to this NRLN http://www.congressweb.com/nrln/legislators?zipcode=71106 and follow the links to his/her contact and co-sponsor info. A report card on our issues is at the bottom of each Congressman’s or Congresswoman’s page. A composite one for all of Louisiana Congressional people is attached.

     Facebook page of your Representative and Senators.  Virtually all have Facebook pages now. Get their Facebook address at http://govsm.com/w/House or http://govsm.com/w/Senate . Facebook allows website addresses in your text so even a Congressman’s or Congresswoman’s report card or an issue executive summary can be linked to. Ask a question, make a statement or both. Hold them accountable when they are most likely to pay attention, at the lead up to an election. You can also post his report card page on your own Facebook page with an appropriate comment.

Of course letters, faxes, and local office visits (particularly if you’ve haven’t done so in the last 6 months.) can also be made. AND if you get an Action Alert from the NRLN be sure to respond to it. For more detail in using any of these techniques go tohttp://www.nrln.org/documents/NRLN%20Choose%20Your%20Method%20to%20Influence%20Congress.pdf

Whatever you do, do something and let your state and regional leader know. .

Bob Martina
NRLN VP- Grassroots
318-797-5419
rfjm9870@aol.com

ELECTION REFORM, GETTING OUR COUNTRY BACK FROM BIG MONEY

This is worth watching, every minute.  If citizens do not fight to reform the election process first, most other needed reforms will never happen.

 
Bob, I’ll join you once you get more information on election reform in other states.  We can then set up a meeting with Sen. Marleau and Rep. Jacobsen and urge them to champion such laws in Michigan.
 
 
 
Chuck

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Robert Emick <robert.emick@sbcglobal.net>
Chuck Austin <chuckaustin2@gmail.com>

I saw this at the Detroit Opera House this morning at the TEDx Conference. It is a bit of a long video (18 minutes +) but well worth the time.
Whatever your political persuasion, I think you will agree that this is the biggest and most challenging problem facing our nation. Get informed and get involved!!
I intend to start looking onto those states that have passed “small donation” rules and start lobbying to have them passed here.
Bob Emick

CANDIDATE QUESTIONS FROM NATIONAL COUNCIL ON AGING AND NRLN

These questions from the Council On Aging are essential for protecting poorer seniors.  I added one question at the top to cover retired seniors losing benefits.  NRLN (www.nrln.org) has extensive support material at this link:        http://www.nrln.org/talking.exec.sums.html
 
To contact your senator or representative, follow this link:
To contact new candidates, do a Google search for his/her election committee.  For example, the Representative candidate for Michigan up- north, running against the incumbent Dan Benishek, is Jerry Cannon.  A search gave me this site, which has a contact phone number,  http://www.jerrycannon.com/.  Michigan senate candidates are Terri Lynn Land and Gary Peters at:  http://terrilynnland.com/ and http://www.petersformichigan.com/landing/e140207/?subsource=splash
For advise on meeting with your congress person, see this link:
Please take the time to contact all your candidates and incumbents.  This is the time of the political cycle when they are most open to voter input.  It takes only a bit of time to call the contact phone number, send the material above to their email address, and to request a meeting with the candidate or a member of the candidate’s staff.
 
PLEASE SEND THIS MESSAGE TO ALL SENIORS ON YOUR DISTRIBUTION LISTS IF YOU AGREE.
 
 
Thanks,
 
 
 
 
Chuck
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Election 2014 Toolkit

Get More

Explore our full Advocacy Toolkit for more facts and resources.

It’s election season, and politicians are looking to connect with voters, particularly seniors.

Now is the perfect time to make your voice heard on protecting and strengthening the health and economic security of older adults in your community. Major decisions on the federal budget and deficit reduction are looming soon after the election.

Use these tools to take action today.

7 Questions to Ask the Candidates

Find out where your members of Congress and political candidates stand on these critical issues facing seniors. Attend an event, host a meeting, or simply ask these questions via email, Facebook, or Twitter. Please tell us what responses you receive!

1 ADDED.  Medicare, Social Security, Pension Reform, and Senior Healthcare
 
After working 30 to 45 years, Seniors retired expecting to receive benefits promised by their employers and the Federal government.  But employers have cancelled healthcare and life insurance and offloaded retirement plans to insurance companies.  Federal rules do not adequately protect retirees, especially during bankruptcy.  Also the Federal government is discussing cuts to senior Medicare and Social Security.  What are your plans to protect these retirees from potential personal financial bankruptcy?  Will you take a proactive leadership role in legislation to protect retirees?
 
NRLN (www.nrln.org) has extensive support material at this link:        http://www.nrln.org/talking.exec.sums.html

1. Federal Funding for Seniors Programs

Services for vulnerable seniors have been drastically underfunded, and recent cuts plus another round of sequestration looming next year are putting all nondefense discretionary funding on a path toward historic lows. What will you do to eliminate the sequester and make overdue investments in programs that support seniors’ health and economic security, including those of the Older Americans Act, elder falls prevention, and elder justice?

2. Medicare

Half of Medicare beneficiaries have incomes below only $23,500.  What are your plans to ensure that seniors with low and modest incomes who are struggling to make ends meet can afford needed health care?

3. Senior Hunger

Nearly 9 million older adults are facing the threat of hunger, yet 3 out of 5 seniors eligible for SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) miss out on benefits, while other face fewer Meals on Wheels deliveries or waiting lists. What are your plans to improve vulnerable seniors’ access to the nutritious meals necessary for maintaining their health and independence?

4. Long-Term Services & Supports

The number of Americans needing long-term care will more than double, from 12 million to 27 million by 2050. Medicare does not cover long-term care and the current system requires seniors to impoverish themselves to get assistance from Medicaid. With the aging of the U.S. population, how would you recommend the country address its current and growing needs for long-term services and supports?

5. Medicaid

While states are required to provide nursing home and other institutional care in Medicaid, home and community-based services are optional. This results in long-waiting lists, burdens for family caregivers, and individuals being forced prematurely into more costly institutional settings. What improvements should be made within the Medicaid program to provide choices for seniors and people with disabilities to receive services at home?

6. Older Americans Act Reauthorization

Older Americans Act reauthorization is almost four years overdue. The Act desperately needs updating to serve our nations seniors. How will you work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure that the OAA is reauthorized this year?

– See more at: http://www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/advocacy-toolkit/election-2014-toolkit.html?print=t#sthash.vSNXc0fe.dpuf

You can contact Congress in many ways – Do it your way any time

From the National Retiree Legislative Newtork website,

http://www.nrln.org/documents/NRLN%20Choose%20Your%20Method%20to%20Influence%20Congress.pdf

You can contact Congress in many ways

Do it your way any time

The array of “weapons” to choose from:
 Responding to NRLN Action Alerts
 Composing your own message
 Letter-to-the-Editor
 Calling the local or Washington, D.C. office
 Sending an e-mail with or without attachments to his office
 Fax a message or mail a hard copy
 Local office visits
 Town Hall /Phone Town Hall Meetings
 Facebook
 Twitter

Respond to Action Alerts. These are sent out by the NRLN on issues that are of
immediate priority. You will receive a request to respond to them occasionally. On the NRLN web site at http://www.nrln.org and clicking on the Take Action Now! icon. This will take you to the latest Action Alert. You can edit the message to personalize it. You can contact the President, both of your U.S. Senators, and your U.S. Representative in less than 5 minutes.

Composing your own message. You can also use this link to write your own message on any topic you wish. If you want to write on NRLN issues you can find plenty of background material under the Legislation tab on the NRLN home page.
Note: To check up if your Representative or Senators are co-sponsors of bills we
support or oppose, just plug in your zip code in the window next to the photo of the U.S. Capitol Building on the right side of the home page, click the GO!, and you’ll see a USA map. Click on your state and follow the links to your Senators or
Representative. There you’ll find contact information about him/her, what committees he/she is on, and if he/she co-sponsors bills we support, or oppose. Also on these sites are links to his/her official website, Twitter and Facebook accounts, if available.

Letter-to-the-Editor. You can send a Letter-to-the-Editor about NRLN Legislative
Agenda issues by going to http://www.congressweb.com/nrln/media . A map of the USA will appear, click on your home state to access a list of newspapers in your state. Or, enter your zip code, click on GO and a list of newspapers in your area will appear. Check the box next to the newspaper you want to send your letter to and then click on “Send a Message.”

Calling the local or Washington, D.C. office. From the contact information obtained above you can call an office and talk to a staffer and talk about an issue and or obtain an e-mail address for an appropriate staffer. It is good to get the e-mail address of a staffer so you can send him/her an e-mail with attachments if needed.Sending an e-mail with or without attachments to his/her office. Once you get the e-mail you can send him a copy of the Action Alert sample letter or our position papers (executive summaries or whole documents) obtained from our Legislative Agenda tab on our home page at http://www.nrln.org . Or, you can send him/her the link to the document on the NRLN website.

Fax a message or mail a hard copy. U.S. Postal Service mail has to go through a
toxic screening so it takes about two weeks to reach the congressional offices, but it allows bulky documents to get to him/her. If a fax is sent, it cannot be screened out for district where it originated. Don’t send more than five pages unless requested. When sending an executive summary say, if you wish, here is the link to the full document.

Local office visits. These are normally handled by the NRLN Grassroots
Congressional District Leader. Names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers of these individuals are posted on the NRLN website under the Grassroots tab at:
http://www.nrln.org/directory.html . Contact your Congressional District Leader if you want to meet with your Representative or Senators. These meetings normally cover a specific issue or a small number of them. These meetings can be requested by a phone call or message sent via his/her official website.

Town Hall Meetings/Phone Town Hall. Contact the local office to find out when and where they will be conducted. Be prepared to ask questions on a few issues by looking at our Legislative Agenda and executive summaries on http://www.nrln.org . You can get on the phone meeting list by calling the local office.

Facebook. Almost all members of Congress now have Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can post an item on Facebook and even attach a link to a document such as an executive summary of an NRLN white paper from the Legislative Agenda tab by copying in the link to it. Get his Facebook and Twitter accounts as outlined in the prior Note or on this site http://govsm.com/w/House which provides links to all Representatives’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. For Senators, go to http://govsm.com/w/Senate

Twitter. Similar to Facebook but messages are restricted to very short length. Good for short “reminders”.You’ll need Facebook or Twitter accounts to use these channels but they are free. Ask your grandkids for help if needed.

SENIOR ADVOCACY VIDEO

I was interviewed yesterday on the Lake Orion Public TV channel by my good friend and fellow concerned senior, George Sinnott. The video is 30 minutes long.

The pre-existing condition topic is around the 9 to 12 minute point.

The most important message is that seniors need to pay attention to daily news and especially the campaign issues. They should avoid the TV ads and look at news reports from several sources.

Seniors then need to communicate the key issues to their family members and all need to VOTE.

The country is dominated by to power groups and lobbyists. But we are voters. Voters need to fight for family and senior issues. And voters need to demand action from government, at the local, state, and federal levels.

If you agree with this video, please pass it on to your senior friends and family members.

SENIOR LIFE, a chance to grow in new and rewarding ways, to live the American dream, to make the world a better place.

This is an outstanding piece on the opportunities that exist for current retirees.

 

“Since the 1950s, retirement has changed from a focus less about leisure and more about freedom — freedom to pursue interests and hobbies, freedom to spend time with family, freedom to finally become the person they always wanted to be.  They see their 50-plus years as a chance to grow in new and rewarding ways, to unleash their passions, to live the American dream, to make the world a better place.”

 

As we strive to make the world better for our families and grandchildren, I contend that we need to become involved in politics to insure our leaders take actions for society rather than bend to the influence of businesses, lobbyists, big business and the rich.

 

 

 

Chuck

 

 

http://www.aarp.org/politics-society/advocacy/info-2014/our-age-of-possibilities.html

 

Our Age of Possibilities

by A. Barry Rand, CEO AARP, AARP Bulletin, July/August 2014

 

Ethel Percy Andrus founded AARP in 1958, when a new stage of life called retirement was emerging. In 2014 it’s the age of possibilities, a life reimagined.

 

When Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, a 73-year-old retired high school principal from California, founded AARP in 1958, a new life stage called “retirement” was emerging in America.

 

As the country’s perception of aging shifted from a dreaded period of decline to one of dignity, individual lives and social expectations were fundamentally transformed. New programs and laws such as Medicare and the Older Americans Act created a new life experience for millions of older Americans. Thriving new industries, such as leisure travel, emerged that catered to the needs, interests and pocketbooks of this first-ever generation of genuine retirees.

 

A leisured retirement became the reward for a life well spent. Moreover, the sooner you got there, the better. To be able to retire was the ultimate symbol of success — and for many people, it still is.

 

Today, America is in the midst of a second aging revolution as many of the children of that first-ever retirement generation — boomers — hold new and very different aspirations. They are realizing that their life experience has tremendous value. While many aspire to retire from work, they have no desire to retire from life.

 

Given the gifts of longer life, better health, greater engagement and more possibilities, they see their traditional retirement years as less about leisure and more about freedom — freedom to pursue interests and hobbies, freedom to spend time with family, freedom to finally become the person they always wanted to be.

 

The first aging revolution was about freedom from work. The second one is about freedom to do something different. Instead of accepting decline, it celebrates discovery — a Life Reimagined.

 

Just as the first aging revolution brought society a new life stage called retirement, this second aging revolution brings with it a new life stage we at AARP call the Age of Possibilities.

 

Boomers created the Age of Possibilities because they reject the notion that their possibilities are shrinking as they get older. They see their 50-plus years as a chance to grow in new and rewarding ways, to unleash their passions, to live the American dream, to make the world a better place.

 

The second aging revolution reflects the spirit of a generation that has lived life on its own terms and that is now determined to keep doing so, but is challenged to find a way forward.

This was Dr. Andrus’ vision when she started AARP 56 years ago, and it’s still our vision today. The goal, after all, is not just to add more years to our lives but to add more life to our years.

This column is adapted from a chapter A. Barry Rand wrote for The Upside of Aging: How Long Life Is Changing the World of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy and Purpose.