November 30, 2015

Medicare Part B premiums for 2016


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced that the standard monthly Part B premium will be $121.80 in 2016. However, most Medicare beneficiaries will not see an increase in their monthly Part B premiums because of a “hold harmless” provision in the law. Under that provision, Part B premiums cannot increase for current [...]

Former associate DLC John Naughton dies

John J. Naughton, former associate designated legal counsel of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and United Transportation Union, died Oct. 29, 2015. Naughton fought for the rights of railroad and other transportation workers as an employee of the former firm of Henslee, Monek & Henslee. As a part of the firm, Naughton argued before the [...]

Honoring our Vets: a history of Veterans Day


World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations [...]

Railroad Retirement Board releases actuarial report


Chicago – The railroad retirement system will experience no cash-flow problems during the next 32 years; barring a sudden, unanticipated, large drop in railroad employment or substantial investment losses, according to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) in its report to the President and Congress. The news gets better. This 32-year estimate is based on [...]

SMART TD introduces hearing discount program

Amplifon HHC_Burst_hires

The SMART Transportation Division is proud to announce a hearing discount program with Amplifon Hearing Health Care. As a SMART Transportation Division member, you and your family members are eligible to receive discounts on hearing exams as well as the purchase of hearing aids. You may also have a funded benefit which will help your [...]

No Railroad Retirement benefit increase in 2016


Railroad retirement annuities, like social security benefits, will not increase in January 2016 as there was no increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the third quarter of last year to the corresponding period of the current year. Also, because there is no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), social security law prohibits an increase in the [...]

Saving ruins of railroad era in Cleveland


CLEVELAND – Buried under the rust, the decades of peeling paint jobs, the thousands of miles, the dirt and the gunk is a golden era.  It was a time when today’s industrial wastelands employed most of America, and the railroad was the country’s lifeline.  “Look, it’s like you just walked into the 1950s,” said Steve [...]

Palmetto GBA: when a doctor’s notes are not readable


We all know the joke: if you have poor penmanship, you should become a doctor.  Unfortunately, poor penmanship on patient notes and records can lead to claim denials, because if Medicare can’t read what the doctor wrote, we can’t know if the services were reasonable and necessary and meet all guidelines for coverage. Medicare requires [...]

Rail pensions may reduce supplemental annuities


Railroad retirement beneficiaries are reminded that receipt of a private railroad pension may reduce the amount of a supplemental annuity payable by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). The following questions and answers provide information on this subject, as well as how distributions from a 401(k) plan affect supplemental annuities, and whether railroad employee contributions to [...]

Medicare’s program integrity initiatives


For many years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) has funded programs to reduce claims payment errors (either paying too much, paying too little or payments being made when none should be).  Some of these programs are handled through systematic checks that look for anomalies and mismatched services, and some are handled through clinical [...]