How COLA Fails to Keep up with Medical Costs

Medical Costs
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Medical costs are significant for many older Americans. While medication prices continue to rise, Social Security benefits remain low. COLA is supposed to address inflation and help to meet the current cost of living. When the increase can’t even stay up to date with current med costs, it falls short of its purpose.

Recent COLA Increases

The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is announced toward the end of every calendar year. This process is intended to keep benefits in line with current costs. Of course, this sounds like a reasonable solution to address the issue of inflation. However, the increase is typically far too low to make a significant difference. For example, the COLA for 2021 is only 1.3 percent. This comes to an average of less than $20 a month for most recipients. Clearly, this is not going to make a huge difference for most people. The numbers are even worse when we factor in the cost of medical care for older Americans.

Statistics on Medical Costs

January each year generally brings higher prices for medication. For example, 2020 statistics revealed that in just the first month, 639 drugs increased by an average of 6%, 619 brand-name drugs increased by an average of 5.2%, and 20 generic drugs increased by an average of 29.4%. Medical Costs continue to climb in 2021. If the benefits increase fails to come close to even the lowest medication increase, this leaves many seniors with less than they had in previous years. This is not acceptable.

Clearly, COLA is Not Enough – We Can do Better

COLA does not actually help with the cost of living if it is not enough to cover necessary medical costs. The bill we call The Greatest Generation Benefits Act would give seniors aged 82 and older substantially more. This change would mean an additional $85 per month plus 4% every year moving forward. Let Congress know that you support our seniors by signing our petition.

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