Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Promises about Retirement on The Obameter

Require automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans

Automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans for workers whose employers offer retirement plans.

Require automatic enrollment in IRA plans

Require employers who do not offer retirement plans to offer their workers access to automatic IRAs and contribute via payroll deduction.

Create a retirement savings tax credit for low incomes

A tax credit for retirement savings up to $500 (couples) or $250 (singles). Phases out when incomes exceed $65,000 (couples) or $32,500 (single). Indexed for inflation.

End income tax for seniors making less than $50,000

"Will eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year. This will eliminate taxes for 7 million seniors -- saving them an average of $1,400 a year-- and will also mean that 27 million seniors will not need to file an income tax return at all."

Lift the payroll tax cap on earnings above $250,000

"Barack Obama believes that the first place to look to strengthen Social Security is the payroll tax system. Obama believes that one strong option is increasing the maximum amount of earnings covered by Social Security by lifting the payroll tax cap on only earnings above $250,000."

Require full disclosure of company pension investments to employees

"When companies fund their pensions, many do not disclose their investments with the employee's pension dollars. This lack of transparency can make it easier for fund managers to make imprudent or even fraudulent investment decisions. Obama will ensure that all employees who have company pensions receive annual disclosures about their pension fund's investments, including full details about which projects have been invested in, the performance of those investments and appropriate details about probable future investments strategies."

Close the "doughnut hole" in Medicare prescription drug plan

"Barack Obama wants to close the 'doughnut hole' in the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program that limits benefits for seniors with more than $2,250 but less than $5,100 in annual drug costs. Approximately 4 million seniors hit the doughnut hole in 2006, paying full price for drugs while also paying drug plan premiums."

Provide easy-to-understand comparisons of the Medicare prescription drug plans

"An Obama administration will require companies to send Medicare Part D beneficiaries a complete list of the drugs the individual used the past year as well as the pertinent fees paid the previous year. Companies will also be required to provide seniors with online versions of this information, so that they can use it at a third-party comparison shopping site, similar to Priceline.com."

Expand the Senior Corps volunteer program

Expand "the Senior Corps program, which connects individuals over the age of 55 to local volunteer opportunities, and work to provide additional security, including assistance with retirement and family-related costs, to seniors who participate in public service."

Eliminate the higher subsidies to Medicare Advantage plans

"Eliminate the excessive subsidies to Medicare Advantage plans and pay them the same amount it would cost to treat the same patients under regular Medicare."

Allow Medicare to negotiate for cheaper drug prices

"Allow Medicare to negotiate for cheaper drug prices."

Amend the Medicare "homebound" rule to allow some travel without loss of benefits

Amend the Medicare 'homebound' rule, which requires severely disabled recipients to stay in their homes to retain benefits, so that they have the freedom to leave their homes without fear of having their home-health benefits taken away.

Allow penalty-free hardship withdrawals from retirement accounts in 2008 and 2009

"Obama and Biden are calling for legislation that would allow withdrawals of 15% up to $10,000 from retirement accounts without penalty (although subject to the normal taxes). This would apply to withdrawals in 2008 (including retroactively) and 2009."