Build Back Better — what’s in it for seniors?

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The House-approved Build Back Better Plan will improve retirement security in more ways than one — that is, if those retirement-friendly provisions pass through the Senate.

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The $2 trillion spending bill, which recently passed the House and now awaits amendment or approval in the Senate, includes proposals related to climate change, universal preschool, Medicare expansion and tax credits. Experts say older Americans could benefit from the bill – if some provisions are left out – in areas such as healthcare, affordable housing and long-term care.

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There’s no doubt that one of the most important aspects of retirement planning is how much people save for their future — after all, how much they can invest in 401(k) or individual retirement accounts over their lifetime. decides how comfortable they will live. But Americans also need to consider what health care options are available to them, what type of coverage they’ll be able to get, and what they’ll do when they can’t afford the care they want.

Here are some ways to address Build Back Better Plan retirees:

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prescription drugs

The Build Back Better Act would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices for drugs available at a pharmacy or doctor’s office. The current process for setting drug prices varies for the type of drug and how long it has been on the market. The bill offers some changes, such as imposing penalty charges for drug companies that raise their prices faster than inflation and set the framework for price negotiations.

“Ultimately we will end the days where drug companies can raise their prices without any rebates,” the White House said. a statement Better provision on prescription drugs regarding its build back.

The plan would also reduce the cost of insulin — a common expense for retirees as well as young Americans, said Max Richtman, president and chief executive officer of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. This provision will begin in 2023, requiring no more than $35 of insulin per month. “I just talked to someone paying 10 times that for his insulin,” Richman said.

The White House said it was working to reduce health care costs for senior citizens, who currently have no limit on how much they pay for their medicines. The plan would limit these costs to $2,000 per year under Medicare Part D, the section that covers prescription drugs.

hearing aids

Medicare does not currently cover hearing, dental or vision, but the Build Back Better plan does address the costs of hearing. The changes won’t begin until 2023, but it will allow coverage for hearing aids—an expense that can range from as little as $1,000 to a few thousand dollars.

Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, said, “We want to see vision and dentistry under Medicare as well, but hearing care is a positive step forward.”

long term care

A $150 billion bill is earmarked for household and community services spending through Medicaid over the next decade.

Americans don’t always consider long-term care when planning their retirement, but they should. Already, a 65-year-old couple retiring can expect to pay $300,000 in retirement for health care alone, but that doesn’t include domestic support or nursing home costs, which can amount to thousands of dollars each month. .

A 6% annual increase in funding for these programs will help provide home and community service care to eligible individuals, as well as provide grants to states and community organizations, Richman said. The scheme will also extend protection against spousal impoverishment to those who are receiving at-home and community-based care.

paid family leave

If passed, the bill would allow four weeks of paid leave to family caregivers, benefiting Americans with children as well as older relatives. “The need for more long-term care is critical in an aging society, and so is the ability to maintain a stable workforce,” Fiesta said.

cheap NSousing

The Build Back Better plan includes $500 million in additional funding for HUD 202 Housing, a program that benefits low-income older individuals, said Lisa Sanders, director of media relations at LeadingAge, a professional network of organizations focused on aging he said. , Affordable housing for low-income older adults is an area that will continue to grow, Sanders said. “More people can’t afford to stay in their homes as they get older.”

Although many Americans want to age in place, such as living in their homes for the rest of their days, not everyone can. For some, it’s a matter of health and support – they need to be relocated to a place where they will have extra support in daily life, such as a bath or feeding. For others, it’s a matter of expenses, such as if one spouse dies and the other is unable to afford a household or if their retirement income, including Social Security and any savings, support their current housing budget. Not enough to do.

Many older Americans are already walking the poverty line. According to the Retirement Equity Lab at The New School, nearly 15 million people aged 62 and older in the United States in 2020 were living in poverty. That figure is expected to jump 67% – to 25 million Americans – over the next decade. Another analysis, from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, found that without Social Security, more than 40% of elderly individuals would be in poverty.

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