Seniors Get Coal in their Stocking

Seniors on Social Security and Medicare are about to find out there will be coal in their stocking this Christmas . . . for the second year in a row. Yahoo News is reporting that Washington will announce this week there will be no increase in Social Security checks in 2011. This is twice in a row the Social Security Administration has cut benefits to seniors.

This means 58 million seniors who rely on Social Security checks will have to get by on the same amount they received in 2009.

The cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, are automatically set each year by an inflation measure that was adopted by Congress back in the 1970s. Based on inflation so far this year, the trustees who oversee Social Security project there will be no COLA for 2011.

This comes on top of cuts in Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans that are due to kick in starting in 2011 as part of Obamacare.

This week's announcement about Social Security benefits raises more immediate concerns for older Americans whose savings and home values still haven't recovered from the financial collapse: Many haven't had a raise since January 2009, and they won't be getting one until at least January 2012.

Social Security was the primary source of income for 64 percent of retirees who got benefits in 2008, according to the Social Security Administration. A third relied on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their income.

While it is true that overall inflation has been kept in check for the most part over the last few years, some basic necessities in life continue to rise faster than the CPI.

Gasoline prices are down and food is mostly holding the line. The cost of housing is also relatively stable due to the mortgage crisis that is entering a fourth year of increasing foreclosure activity. Bankruptcy filings are still climbing and hitting new records each quarter but the overall cost of health care is rising unchecked in spite of campaign promises to bring down the cost of health care and health insurance.

Changes in the way Medicare Advantage plans are funded under Obamacrap mean there will be fewer choices next year. Roughly 1 in 4 Medicare beneficiaries opted for the popular Medicare Advantage plans over traditional Medicare and many of those have already been notified their plan will not be available next year due to cuts in funding.

Reduced funding means fewer doctors will be willing to treat patients on Medicare Advantage plans. Most seniors losing the MAP's will find it advantageous to return to traditional Medicare and purchase a Medigap plan to cover the out of pocket costs not paid for by Medicare.

This means a higher monthly out of pocket cost on top of no increase in their Social Security checks.

Popular prescription drug plans (PDP's) will also cease to exist next year under Obamacrap and premiums for PDP's will rise as a result in mandated increased prescription benefits.

So far, 2011 is not looking good for seniors on a fixed income.

The good news is we have access to many low cost, affordable Medigap plans for seniors in Georgia. Several of our Medigap plans have lower premiums than AARP or Blue Cross. This means Georgia seniors can potentially save hundreds or even a thousand dollars a year or more vs. their current Medigap plan.

You have problems, we have solutions. Ask about a competitive rates for Georgia Medigap plans.

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