Saturday, December 31, 2011

Old Age and End of Life

By age 85, the average remaining life expectancy for Americans is six years. An 85-year-old has a 75 percent chance of living another three years, but only a one in four chance of surviving for 10. Which category a particular old person falls into has much to do with the medical problems he or she has, or doesn’t have, and with his or her ability to function.

When the odds are that they have only a few remaining years, should doctors discuss that with them? These issues were discussed in a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Smith, a palliative care specialist at the University of California, San Francisco suggested offering to discuss “overall prognosis,” doctorspeak for probable life expectancy and the likelihood of death, with patients who don’t have terminal illnesses. The researchers favor broaching the subject with anyone who has a life expectancy of less than 10 years or has reached age 85.  Dr. Smith and his co-authors, Dr. Brie Williams and Dr. Bernard Lo — a geriatrician and an internist, said “This is about empowering patients to make informed choices and encouraging individual decision-making,”

“Advanced age itself is the greatest predictor of poor prognosis,” said, Dr. Smith and when patients they do think about it, Dr. Smith continued, “they want to get their finances in order, plan for long-term care, spend time with children and friends.” They may be able to take fewer medications and undergo fewer procedures, with the emphasis on quality of life, or otherwise shift priorities.

Read about this  in the New York Times at  http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/the-unspoken-diagnosis-old-age/?partner=rss&emc=rss
 
William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www..wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Drugs Raise Hope for Patients With M.S.

After decades of basic research on M.S., the last five years have brought a rapid rollout of new and sophisticated drugs that are changing how this disease is managed and offering patients new hope.“We have a disease that’s gone from having no treatments 20 years ago to having multiple treatment options,” said Dr. Timothy Coetzee, the chief research officer at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “There is a growing recognition that M.S. is becoming a manageable disease.” 

There have also been advances in treating specific symptoms of M.S. Within the past two years, three medications have been approved specifically for M.S. symptoms: Ampyra to improve walking, Nuedexta for uncontrollable laughing or crying, and Botox for urinary incontinence and spasticity in upper limbs. 

Just last year, the first oral drug for M.S., Gilenya, gained approval with data showing it cut the relapse rate by 55 percent. Gilenya causes inflammatory cells called lymphocytes to get trapped in lymph nodes so they don’t travel to the brain, where they would damage neurons.Patients need to be monitored for several potentially serious side effects, including a slowed heart rate and liver and vision problems. One patient recently died 24 hours after starting on Gilenya; the Food and Drug Administration is investigating the cause of the death.

The most potent drug, Tysabri, reduces the relapse rate by about 70 percent, but it comes with a small risk of a fatal brain infection caused by a common virus. Patients may be screened for antibodies to the virus; the risk of infection is considered quite low in those with no sign of the antibodies, and they are given the drug.
At least four other drugs with different mechanisms are in Phase 3 clinical trials and could win approval within the next year, experts say. Some work by protecting nerves from damage.

Read about this in Laurie Tarkan's article in the New York Times at  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/health/new-drugs-raise-hope-for-patients-with-ms.html?partner=rss&emc=rss
 
William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www..wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.
  


  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lawmakers Offer Bipartisan Plan to Overhaul Medicare

A Democratic senator, Ron Wyden of Oregon, and a Republican member of the House, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, unveiled a bipartisan plan on Wednesday to revamp Medicare and make a fixed federal contribution to the cost of coverage for each beneficiary. 
 
Under the proposal, known as premium support, Medicare would subsidize premiums charged by private insurers that care for beneficiaries under contract with the government. Congress would establish an insurance exchange for Medicare beneficiaries. Private plans would compete with the traditional Medicare program and would have to provide benefits of the same or greater value. The federal contribution in each region would be based on the cost of the second-cheapest option, whether that was a private plan or traditional Medicare. 

Unlike the Ryan budget blueprint approved by the House in April, Mr. Ryan said, the new proposal would preserve the traditional fee-for-service Medicare program as an option for all beneficiaries. “Our proposal harnesses the power of competition to address the root cause of medical inflation,” said Mr. Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee.

This something to consider. Read about it in the NY Times at  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/15/us/politics/lawmakers-offer-bipartisan-plan-to-overhaul-medicare.html?_r=1
  
William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www..wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

SSA to study it's Judges

The Social Security Administration has commissioned an independent review of the federal disability system amid concerns it awards benefits to those who don't deserve them and denies benefits to those who do.
A focus of the study is expected to be the work of roughly 1,500 administrative-law judges, who hear appeals by applicants but whose award rates vary widely.

The administrative-law judges, who work for the Social Security Administration, are essentially appointed for life and have wide discretion to award or deny benefits based on their interpretation of each case.
One such judge, in Houston, awarded benefits in 13% of his cases last year, according to federal data, while another judge, in Kingsport, Tenn., awarded benefits in 99% of his decisions. The average approval rate is around 60%.

A draft of the study is due in August and the final recommendations are to be released in November. The recommendations won't be binding, but they could serve as a blueprint for changes by either the SSA or Congress.

Another focus of the study will be why federal courts are overturning many of the decisions that Social Security judges make when they deny benefits. In 2010, federal courts overturned or found errors in 51% of the roughly 12,000 Social Security appeals they decided, according to Robert Rains, a law professor at Penn State University. 
Read about this in Damian Paletta's article in the Wall Street Journal  at  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204844504577098810070396878.html?mod=rss_Health
Before a case can be appealed to Federal Court the Social Security internal appeal process to it's Appeals Council must be completed and the appeal rejected by the Appeals Council. My opinion about why the federal courts are overturning more cases appealed to the Courts is that the Appeals Council has been significantly expanded in an effort to decrease the the backlog of cases and .less qualified people are reviewing decisions. As a result, more cases at the Appeals Council with errors are coming through giving attorneys no alternative than appealing to the federal court poor decisions.   
 
 
William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www..wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.






Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Surprise! Surprise!----Mystery ALJ's

The "new policy" is that attorneys will no longer be notified of the identity of the Administrative Law Judge who will hear their clients' cases prior to the hearing. The only way you will find out the name of the ALJ is when you get to the ODAR and find out the name of the Judge to whom the case has been assigned. There was a story in the Wall Street Journal where an unnamed source indicated this was coming. This will discourage attorneys from taking certain claimant's cases just before the hearing. There are ALJ's that certainly have their bias in favor or against certain claimants based on the nature of their disabilities or past history. We all wish all of our clients were Mother Theresa but there are lot of nonfunctional people out there that have been victims of abuse, had criminal, mental health problems or have had substance abuse problems in their past. These claims are not settled as you must convince the ALJ that your client is disabled. Does knowing who the ALJ is make a difference as to whether you will take a case just before the hearing --of course.  What is going to be a tough case with a ALJ who has an allowance rate a little above average is going to be impossible with the toughest ALJ in the hearing office.  Nobody wants to bang their head against the wall.


William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www..wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Medicine is recognizing spiritual support is important

Chaplains are seeking bigger roles in hospitals and in some cases joining the medical-care team, as new research shows positive spiritual guidance and discussion can help improve a patient's medical outcome. Medical schools are adding courses on spirituality and health, and training residents to consider patients' spiritual needs. Some two-thirds of U.S. hospitals provide chaplaincy services; others rely on local clergy and lay volunteers.

 Studies indicate as many as 40% of patients with serious illnesses like cancer struggle with spiritual concerns, which can harm emotional and physical well-being, says George Fitchett, research director in the Department of Religion, Health and Human Values at Rush University Medical Center Chicago. 

Read more about this in an interesting article at Wall Street Journal at  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204826704577074462494881428.html?mod=rss_Health
 
William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www..wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.









Monday, December 5, 2011

Retirement Savings-Need to Catch Up?

The most effective way to build a retirement cushion after a late start is a combination of being aggressive about saving money, putting off retirement and taking Social Security as late as possible.The place to start is by being aggressive about saving. More is always better, but even relatively small amounts of money can make a difference. And with the kids out of college and hopefully out of the house, being disciplined about budgeting and potentially downsizing a home sooner rather than later could free up helpful amounts of money from each paycheck.


The other big boost can come from delaying retirement. Putting off retirement allows more time to save, more time for those savings to grow and fewer years of retirement to cover with savings.The benefit of delaying retirement can be magnified by holding off on taking Social Security benefits until age 70. 
"Even a few years can make a huge difference," says Yan Zilbering, an analyst in Vanguard's investment strategy department.Where the real leverage takes place, however, is the combination of increased savings and delayed retirement.Boosting that savings rate also provides a cushion should plans to retire later not pan out because of involuntary job loss or health changes. Read the article to learn.

Read about this in Tom Lauricella article in the Wall Street Journal Star at   http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204012004577070421181765932.html?mod=rss_Retirement_Planning

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www..wombacherlaw.com
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox in Central Illinois.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

42 Million Family Caregivers and Counting

Read an interesting story about the fact people we run into every day are being challenged as family caregivers for their elderly parents. You are not alone and hopefully there is some comfort in knowing that and that others are out there to talk to and vent.

newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/02/we-are-everywhere/?partner

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www..wombacherlaw.com

Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox in Central Illinois.




Sunday, November 27, 2011

Year end tax deduction

If you are thinking of donating to charity between now and year-end, consider giving away stock that you've owned for more than a year and that is worth more than you paid for it. That way, you can avoid capital-gains tax on the increased value—and you usually can deduct the stock's fair market value at the time you make your gift.
This can be especially smart if you have no idea what you originally paid for a stock years ago since you don't need that information to take advantage of this provision.
Don't donate stock that has decreased in value. Instead, sell it to nail down a tax loss and donate the proceeds.

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www..wombacherlaw.com

Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox in Central Illinois.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Social Security Disabilty-Doctor Reviews are Deficient

In targeting the doctors, the Social Security Administration says it is seeking to overhaul a part of the disability-review process that can be both expensive and slow.

But many doctors and former agency officials say the changes threaten the quality of decisions. Several doctors said medical opinions were now prone to inaccuracy since many specialists don't have the backgrounds to make decisions outside their areas of expertise. The new policy could make doctors more likely to award benefits to those who don't qualify and deny benefits to those who are entitled, these doctors said. But many of the doctors haven't practiced outside their specialty in decades, if at all, making the complexities of disability cases even harder to analyze, several doctors said. 

Doctors who specialize in nerve disorders "would be hard pressed to evaluate diabetes and heart disease and … leukemia," said James McPhillips, a doctor who left the program in April once he realized the changes that were coming.

The approach in Baltimore has drawn critics. William Bunn, 47 years old, a truck driver from Peoria, Ill., found his disability claim rejected, in part, on the recommendation of a retired pediatrician. Mr. Bunn was diagnosed with small-fiber neuropathy in 2009, a type of nerve disorder that primarily affects older people. Mr. Bunn, who began suffering from pain and numbness in his legs, said he couldn't drive a truck with his condition and quit his job. His application was supported by two private doctors. But it was rejected after two reviews by the Illinois Bureau of Disability Determination Services, one of which was performed by the pediatrician. His appeal took more than two years. During that time, the family of four had their two cars repossessed and had to rely on food stamps for groceries.

'William Wombacher, Mr. Bunn's Peoria attorney, objected to the pediatrician's review when the case was heard by an administrative law judge. The judge, in a rare move, awarded benefits on the spot.' according to the Wall Street Journal article.

Read about this in a story by Damian Paletta of the Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204621904577016221945984492.html

Thank you to Damian Paletta for calling me to contribute to his article and bringing to light some of practices of SSA and DDS.

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www..wombacherlaw.com

Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox in Central Illinois.



 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mental Illness--Medication Usage

The medicating of Americans for mental illnesses continued to grow over the past decade, with one in five adults now taking at least one psychiatric drug such as antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety medications, according to an analysis of pharmacy-claims data. Overall use of psychiatric medications among adults grew 22% from 2001 to 2010. The new figures, released Wednesday, are based on prescription-drug pharmacy claims of two million U.S. insured adults and children reported by Medco Health Solutions Inc., a pharmacy-benefit manager.

Psychiatric medications are among the most widely prescribed and biggest-selling class of drugs in the U.S. In 2010, Americans spent $16.1 billion on antipsychotics to treat depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, $11.6 billion on antidepressants and $7.2 billion on treatment for ADHD, according to IMS Health, which tracks prescription-drug sales.

In the elderly, the use of anti-anxiety drugs, particularly ones that stay in the body for a longer period of time like Valium, is a major worry, but there has been relatively little in the way of research on their use in this population, according to Dr. Olfson. This new data about the 44% decrease in use of these drugs in the elderly represent a major shift in usage patterns in the last decade and are an "encouraging development," he says.

 Read about this in Shirley Wang's article in the Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203503204577040431792673066.html?mod=rss_Health

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   www..wombacherlaw.com

Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties  in Central Illinois

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nursing Home Care --What will happen?

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, a part of the health-reform law, established a national, voluntary insurance program for purchasing community living services. It was designed to expand options for people who require long-term help. But in mid-October, the Obama administration shut down the program, saying it was not financially feasible.

According to the Urban Institute, relatives of the aging struggle to balance their elder-care duties with employment and other family responsibilities, and the care they provide equates to some $375 billion a year. At the moment, the options for paying for long-term care are limited. Medicare doesn't cover all that much and just 12% of adults age 65 or older have private insurance, according to the Urban Institute. As a result, many families pay out of pocket until they exhaust their resources and turn to Medicaid.


William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder law Attorney and Social Security Disability Specialist, I''ll help you!,    www..wombacherlaw.com

Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton and surrounding cites and counties  in Central Illinois

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

SSA Disability --Management by the numbers

Managers in the Social Security Administration, struggling to handle a skyrocketing number of disability cases, had an unusual request for their workers the end of September: slow down.

Social Security judges and employees in Florida, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and Arizona were among those instructed to set aside disability cases in late September, with the slowdown allowing managers to boost their performance numbers for the coming fiscal year, which started October 1.

On Monday, September 26, 2011, the Social Security Administration's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review closed out 230 cases nationally, compared with the roughly 3,000 it usually averages a day, a government official said. No cases were closed in the SSA's Boston and Denver regions that day and the Seattle region closed just one case.

It is believed that under political pressure to clear the growing backlog of applications, SSA leaders set numerical goals for judges and field offices in order to expedite cases. It was management's obsession with these goals that led to their directive to go slow the last week of September. 


Read all about his in Damien Paletta's article in the Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203405504576601243696313416.html?KEYWORDS=social+security+disability

William C. Wombacher, Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist.  www.wombacherlaw.com

Friday, November 4, 2011

Going after Medicare on "Observation" status game

(Reuters) - A group of Medicare patients and their families sued the Obama administration on Thursday, saying they were deprived of coverage by the government health plan because of a policy that allows hospitals to avoid admitting elderly people with chronic ailments as inpatients.
     The plaintiffs, who are seeking class-action status for the case, asked a U.S. District court in Hartford, Connecticut, to stop Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from authorizing doctors to place Medicare hospital patients on "observation" status rather than admitting them for inpatient care.
     The observation services policy, meant to apply mainly for hospital stays of no more than 48 hours, is instead being used to keep the elderly on outpatient status for longer stays including some lasting up to a week, according to court documents.
     The plaintiffs, aged 74 to 96, suffered multiple health problems including cancer, Parkinson's disease and arthritis. Each entered the hospital as an emergency patient, usually after a fall, but remained on observation status for days of full hospital service.
None received hospital coverage under Medicare Part A for their stays. Instead they were relegated to the Part B section of the federal program that covers visits to doctors' offices and other outpatient facilities.
     As a result, they and their families incurred medical charges as high as $30,000 for skilled nursing care, drugs and other costs that Medicare does not cover unless a patient has been admitted to a hospital for at least three days.
     The policy is meant to protect hospitals from Medicare penalties for admissions made in error. But the incidence of observation status has increased sharply in recent years with the advent of federal healthcare reform and heightened scrutiny of Medicare spending, according to Medicare patient advocates.
     The result can be tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs for beneficiaries, who do not qualify for Medicare hospital coverage while on observation status."This causes severe financial problems for beneficiaries and their families," said Judith Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy. She cited federal statistics showing that tens of thousands of Medicare beneficiaries are placed on observation status in U.S. hospitals each year.

Read about this at   
http://news.yahoo.com/medicare-beneficiaries-sue-u-over-hospital-stays-210406350.html

William C. Wombacher, Central Illinois' Certified Elder Law Attorney  (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist, serving Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford Counties including the communities of Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Morton, Metamora, Galesburg, Canton, Bloomington, Illinois. visit my website at www.wombacherlaw.com

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Medicare Part B deductible will decrease in 2012

Today the Obama Administration announced that, overall, Part B cost-sharing will be less than projected for all beneficiaries in 2012. The Part B deductible will decrease by $22 in 2012, from $162 per year in 2011 to $140 in 2012. Further, monthly Part B premiums will increase slightly for those beneficiaries who have not had an increase in the last two years. Because there will be a cost-of-living increase for Social Security recipients in 2012, the Part B premium will increase, but only by $3.50 – from $96.40 in 2011 to $99.90 in 2012.[1] For those individuals who did have Part B premium increases in 2010 and 2011, the premium will actually decrease by $15.10 in 2012, from $115 to $99.90.

The Part B premium reductions are a result of slower Part B growth due in part to health care reform. The Affordable Care Act’s lower payment rates, reduced payments to private Medicare plans, and increased efforts to fight fraud and abuse are some factors contributing to this good news for Medicare, beneficiaries, and taxpayers.  At the same time, health care reform has increased the value of Medicare – reducing beneficiary costs for prescription drugs, adding preventive care coverage, and eliminating cost-sharing for most preventive services.
In summary, between reduced Part B premiums and increased Social Security payments, the average Social Security recipient will have a net cost-of-living increase of $40 per month in 2012.  Good news indeed.

Support the good work of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.

For a complete breakdown of Medicare cost-sharing for 2012, see: http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/2011/10/2012-medicare-premiums-deductibles-and-co-pays/

William C. Wombacher, Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist
www. wombacherlaw.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

SSA-cost of living increase for 2012

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 60 million Americans will increase 3.6 percent in 2012.

The 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that nearly 55 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2012. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2011.

Eligible SSI individuals will receive $698 and an eligible couple will receive $1048 in 2012. 


William C. Wombacher, Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist  www.wombacherlaw.com

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Medicare-Observation status--Medicare's little trick

Observation status refers to this increasingly common hospital practice of putting patients in beds and providing them with medical and nursing care, diagnostic tests, treatments, services, food, and a wrist band – but calling them outpatients, not inpatients.
No harm, no foul?  Wrong!  It's simple – the difference in terminology makes all the difference in the world: Inpatients qualify for Medicare coverage of their nursing home care following a hospital stay; outpatients don't.


Congressman Joe Courtney (D. CT),  and the Center for Medicare Advocacy held a Congressional briefing on "observation status" to alert Congress about Medicare beneficiaries who are being denied Medicare coverage for care in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) when their prior stay in an acute care hospital is labeled "outpatient observation" rather than inpatient. Read about this at http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/777/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=8514

Central Illinois's Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA)  and Social Security Disability Specialist  

William C. Wombacher      
www.wombacherlaw.com

Friday, May 13, 2011

Medicare, Social Security finance outlook worsens

     Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is now expected to be exhausted in 2024 – five years sooner than projected last year. Upon exhaustion, dedicated revenue will be able to pay 90% of costs for the hospital-insurance program.
      For the first time since 1983, Social Security spending was greater than non-interest income in 2010. A $46 billion deficit is projected for 2011, compared with $49 billion in the prior year.
     On Friday the trustees urged prompt action from U.S. lawmakers, and noted that an aging population and spending growth in coming decades will ramp up costs for Social Security and Medicare, the two largest federal programs.

Read more about this on MarketWatch     
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/medicare-social-security-finance-outlook-worsens-2011-05-13-1223390

William Wombacher,  Central Illinois' Certified Elder Law Attorney and  Social Disability Specialist
www.wombacherlaw.com