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BUSINESS
Eileen Ambrose | October 30, 2013
Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 1.5 percent raise next year, the Social Security Administration announced today. Also, the agency announced that the amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax is going up next year from $113,700 to $117,000. According to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, the typical beneficiary will receive a $19 per month raise. “Seniors know all too well, their living costs often outpace the COLA increase and a 1.5% increase is anything but too generous,” said Max Richtman, president and CEO of the group.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | May 9, 2014
— The federal agency best known for paying retirement benefits is shutting down a curious side business it began nearly 70 years ago: helping people connect with long-lost relatives. Since the end of World War II, the Social Security Administration has offered a letter-forwarding service to genealogists, investigators and people who lost track of family members as addresses and phone numbers changed or were forgotten. Sometimes the missing are owed money from retirement plans and wills.
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BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | April 30, 2012
Regulators nationwide are pushing life insurers to do a better job of tracking when policyholders die and locating the beneficiaries — an effort that could reap billions of dollars for consumers. Insurers regularly monitor Social Security's Death Master File to verify the death of a customer receiving annuity payments so they can cut off checks. But an ongoing, multistate investigation has found that life insurers haven't been using this information to identify policyholders who died and to pay beneficiaries.
BUSINESS
Eileen Ambrose | October 30, 2013
Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 1.5 percent raise next year, the Social Security Administration announced today. Also, the agency announced that the amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax is going up next year from $113,700 to $117,000. According to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, the typical beneficiary will receive a $19 per month raise. “Seniors know all too well, their living costs often outpace the COLA increase and a 1.5% increase is anything but too generous,” said Max Richtman, president and CEO of the group.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | May 31, 2011
After two years without seeing an increase in their Social Security checks, more than 59 million retirees and other beneficiaries can expect a bump up in benefits next year. The Social Security trustees' annual report released this month estimates that the cost-of-living adjustment in next year's checks will be 0.7 percent. The increase, which will be announced in October, could be higher, depending on where prices head in the coming months. Still, experts say, retirees could see all or some of that raise eaten up by higher Medicare premiums.
BUSINESS
By EILEEN AMBROSE | January 28, 2001
Buy a life insurance policy, invest in an individual retirement account or participate in your employer's pension plan and you'll be asked to name a beneficiary. If you think the name you scribble down doesn't matter much, think again. Or, think of this case: A woman with three daughters bought a life insurance policy that had only two lines on which to jot down beneficiaries, said Jim Thompson, director of shareholder education with AARP Investment Program from Scudder in Boston. Rather than add an attachment to the policy to include the third child, the mother listed two daughters as beneficiaries and periodically rotated the names, he said.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | December 24, 2004
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration said yesterday that Medicare would soon pay for counseling to help beneficiaries stop smoking, a major expansion of the services covered by the program. Medicare provides health insurance for 41 million people. Gary R. Karr, a spokesman for the federal Medicare agency, estimated that 4 million of them would be eligible for the new coverage and that 440,000 would take advantage of it next year. Dr. Mark B. McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said: "Millions of our beneficiaries have smoked for many years and are now experiencing heart problems, lung problems and other diseases that smoking can cause.
NEWS
By Douglas Peddicord | November 1, 1998
Just a year ago, Washington policy-makers looked to managed care as one of the best solutions to the rising costs of Medicare.Even as it reduced Medicare spending by $115 billion over the next five years, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 envisioned that the number of beneficiaries enrolled in managed care would nearly double during the same period, to around 27 percent of all seniors.Today, there are signs that the government's goal of quickly increasing the number of health plans available to seniors was overly ambitious.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | April 24, 2005
WASHINGTON - A new federal policy will make it significantly more difficult for Medicare beneficiaries to obtain hearings in person before a judge when the government denies their claims for home care, nursing home services, prescription drugs and other treatments. For years, hearings have been held at more than 140 Social Security offices around the country. In July, the Department of Health and Human Services will take over the responsibility, and department officials said all judges would then be located at just four sites - in Cleveland; Miami; Irvine, Calif.
NEWS
June 6, 1997
MEDICARE LEGISLATION crafted in a rare show of bipartisan amity on Capitol Hill will not solve the long-range financial problems expected when 76 million baby boomers start to hit retirement age in 2011. But as a short-term solution to the political paralysis that has afflicted federal health care for the elderly, it is a remarkable bit of statecraft deserving of swift passage.It will save $115 billion in projected Medicare costs over a five year period, a sum crucial to the achievement of a balanced budget in 2002.
NEWS
By Scott Calvert, The Baltimore Sun | February 25, 2013
If you want to know who in Baltimore benefits most from the homestead property tax credit, look north. Of the 100 biggest discounts in the city this tax year, more than 75 went to homeowners in and around the wealthy North Baltimore neighborhoods of Guilford, Roland Park and Homeland, tax records show. Another 15 or so recipients ring the waterfront. The average break for these homeowners is $10,430, or 10 times the citywide average. As a group, they've avoided paying a combined $1 million this year.
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | October 13, 2012
With widespread budget cuts on the horizon, Social Security beneficiaries will soon get a preview of how customer service can be affected by a more austere federal government. Though the agency made no public announcement, the Woodlawn-based Social Security Administration told employees this month it will cut hours of operation at its 1,233 field offices for the second time in as many years. Nearly 180,000 people visit the offices every day to apply for Social Security cards as well as retirement and disability benefits.
SPORTS
By Edward Lee | August 2, 2012
With tight end Dennis Pitta nursing a broken bone in his right hand that is expected to sideline him until the Ravens' regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 10, the burden has been on Ed Dickson , who started all 18 games (regular season and playoffs) last year, to perform well. But Dickson is not alone. Davon Drew has been getting his share of reps that would have normally gone to Pitta, and with two rookies (Matt Balasavage and Bruce Figgins)
HEALTH
By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | June 20, 2012
UnitedHealthcare will announce Wednesday that it plans to hire 335 people in the Baltimore area as it enhances services to Medicare beneficiaries. The jobs will support the insurers' recently acquired XLHealth division, which provides Medicare health plans to underserved and chronically ill patients. The insurer, which employs about 2,700 at UnitedHealthcare and 556 at XLHealth, will increase its Maryland workforce by about 10 percent. UnitedHealthcare, the second largest insurer in Maryland, closed on an acquisition of Baltimore-based XLHealth in an all-cash deal in February.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | April 30, 2012
Regulators nationwide are pushing life insurers to do a better job of tracking when policyholders die and locating the beneficiaries — an effort that could reap billions of dollars for consumers. Insurers regularly monitor Social Security's Death Master File to verify the death of a customer receiving annuity payments so they can cut off checks. But an ongoing, multistate investigation has found that life insurers haven't been using this information to identify policyholders who died and to pay beneficiaries.
BUSINESS
Eileen Ambrose | October 19, 2011
After two consecutive years of no cost-of-living increase, Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 3.6 percent raise next year. That will effect nearly 55 million Social Security beneficiaries starting in January. The increase in benefits is tied to the inflation rate for the third quarter, compared with the third quarter of 2008 - the last time an increase was announced. Back then, gas prices shot up temporarily, and beneficiaries recieved a 5.8 percent increase in 2009.
BUSINESS
Eileen Ambrose | October 19, 2011
After two consecutive years of no cost-of-living increase, Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 3.6 percent raise next year. That will effect nearly 55 million Social Security beneficiaries starting in January. The increase in benefits is tied to the inflation rate for the third quarter, compared with the third quarter of 2008 - the last time an increase was announced. Back then, gas prices shot up temporarily, and beneficiaries recieved a 5.8 percent increase in 2009.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service | March 1, 1992
WASHINGTON -- Despite a federal law intended to protect Medicare patients against excessive doctors' bills, many patients have been overcharged and have been unable to get refunds or assistance from the government, say state insurance commissioners and the beneficiaries themselves.Part of the problem is that, for more than a year, Medicare officials have used inaccurate, misleading language on forms sent to beneficiaries who filed claims. After a reporter made inquiries, the officials promised late last week to correct these forms and to be more diligent in monitoring the billing practices of doctors.
NEWS
June 8, 2011
Let's take another look at the idea promoted by conservatives that Medicare is responsible for the national debt. Prescription drugs would have cost a lot less if Congress had been more concerned with minimum expense to Medicare than with maximum profit for drug companies. Increases in monthly premiums for higher-income beneficiaries are negligible, and their needs are similar to everyone else's. It is possible that healthy lower-income seniors are subsidizing their care. General fund "subsidies" are actually repayment of loans from the Medicare Trust Fund.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | May 31, 2011
After two years without seeing an increase in their Social Security checks, more than 59 million retirees and other beneficiaries can expect a bump up in benefits next year. The Social Security trustees' annual report released this month estimates that the cost-of-living adjustment in next year's checks will be 0.7 percent. The increase, which will be announced in October, could be higher, depending on where prices head in the coming months. Still, experts say, retirees could see all or some of that raise eaten up by higher Medicare premiums.
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