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By Chris Orestis

As we enter the 22nd year of the 21st century, the United States is confronting the realities of shifting patterns in employment and an aging population like never before.

The second session of the 117th Congress has several measures under consideration that would improve the lives of workers planning for retirement, seniors, and their families as well. Issues impacting Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, drug prices, saving for retirement, and better preparing for the expensive realities of long-term care are all on the table.

Chris Orestis, CSA, president of Retirement Genius (www.retirementgenius.com), is a retirement and long-term care planning expert, senior issues advocate, and author. Orestis, who has over 25 years’ experience in the insurance and long-term care industries, also created the use of life settlements for long-term care purposes. 
Known as a political insider and senior issues advocate, Orestis is a former Washington, D.C., lobbyist who has worked in both the White House and for the Senate Majority Leader on Capitol Hill. In 2007 he founded Life Care Funding, and in 2017 he founded the LifeCare Xchange. 
Chris Orestis is author of the books Help on the Way and A Survival Guide to Aging. A third book, Retire Like a Genius, is in the works. He has been speaking for two-decades across the country about senior finance and the secrets to aging with financial and physical health and dignity. 
In 2019, Chris was named one of the 20 most innovative people in the life insurance industry by the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA). He has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, NBC News, Fox News, USA Today, Kiplinger’s, Investor’s Business Daily, AARP, PBS, and numerous other media outlets, is a frequent columnist for NewsMax Finance, Broker World, ThinkAdvisor, IRIS, and has been a guest expert on over 100 radio programs, podcasts and TV appearances.

Chris Orestis

Here is a list of 10 priorities Congress can act on this year to make a huge impact on the lives of millions of voters in 2022.

  1. Give Medicare the authority found in the Build Back Better Act to negotiate prices with drug companies, tie drug price increase limits to the rate of inflation, and cap annual Medicare out-of-pocket drug costs at $2,000. 
  2. Give Medicaid expanded funds for in-home care services and recognize family caregivers’ personal and financial sacrifices as proposed in the Build Back Better Act. 
  3. Pass the Social Security 2100 Act, increasing the minimum monthly benefit for low-income retirees, revising how the cost-of-living-adjustment formula is calculated to reflect the realities of the cost of living for seniors, and providing caregiver credits for people who must leave the workforce to care for loved ones. 
  4. Raise the payroll tax cap for workers earning over $400,000 as drafted in the Social Security 2100 Act. 
  5. Pass the Strong Retirement Act of 2021 (SECURE Act 2.0) and the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement (RISE) Act, providing more incentives and opportunities for Americans to better prepare for retirement with a mandatory automatic enrollment provision for new retirement plans and increased tax credits for small business owners to offer retirement plans to employees. 
  6. Pass the Senior Health Planning Account (SHPA), allowing seniors who need funds for health and long-term care expenses to use tax-free proceeds by selling their life insurance policy through a life settlement, instead of lapsing or surrendering it, and then placing those funds in an HSA style account dedicated to covering qualified health and long-term care related expenses. 
  7. Pass the WISH Act (Well-Being Insurance for Seniors to be at Home Act) to help more people access long-term care insurance coverage by creating a new federal long-term care insurance trust fund through a payroll tax of 0.3% on both workers and employers. This would give seniors flexibility around how they spend these funds on their care and would incentivize insurance companies to provide more affordable coverage options. 
  8. Reconsider the 14.5% Medicare Part B premium increase from $148.50 in 2021 to $170.10 in 2022 related to the underlying intent of using the increase to pay for the costs of the new Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, which is estimated to cost $56,000 a year per patient. It is still unknown if and how Medicare will cover this new drug and it doesn’t make sense to charge Medicare recipients today for something that may not even happen tomorrow. 
  9. Enact the Americans Giving Care to Elders (AGE) Act to provide financial relief for family members acting as caregivers. The act would create a tax credit for the loss of income and out-of-pocket costs these people experience when providing care for an aging relative. 
  10. Enact the Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act to help fight financial scams targeting seniors by better informing consumers about scams, assisting victims in understanding their options for remediation and recovery, and ensuring that seniors are protected from financial exploitation during the pandemic and other times of disaster and emergencies.

Another pandemic that has impacted Americans for years is not being adequately prepared for the costs of retirement and long-term care in their futures. These 10 Congressional election-year priorities would go a long way towards helping people overcome these challenges in their retirement and senior years.

About Chris Orestis, CSA

Chris Orestis, CSA, president of Retirement Genius (www.retirementgenius.com), is a retirement and long-term care planning expert, senior issues advocate, and author. Orestis, who has over 25 years’ experience in the insurance and long-term care industries, also created the use of life settlements for long-term care purposes.

Chris Orestis is author of the books Help on the Way and A Survival Guide to Aging. A third book, Retire Like a Genius, is in the works. He has been speaking for two-decades across the country about senior finance and the secrets to aging with financial and physical health and dignity.