On Dec. 29, President Joe Biden signed off on a $1.7 trillion federal spending bill that will also help fund health, housing and retirement for older adults.
The omnibus appropriations bill will run through September and will benefit older adults by preventing Medicare cuts, extending telehealth service and more.
“Specifically, we are pleased that this bill prevents significant 4% Medicare PAYGO [pay as you go] cuts to providers, extends two key programs for two years that help rural hospitals keep their doors open, and extends for two years critical waivers for telehealth and hospital-at-home programs that have led to improvements in care and made medical treatment more convenient and accessible for patients,” American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack said in a statement.
The bill will also extend the Money Follows the Person Program, which provides support for older adults aging in place.
Spousal Impoverishment Rules will also be extended, which ensures income for healthy adults with a spouse who is institutionalized. The institutionalized spouse will also maintain Medicaid eligibility.
Some programs for seniors will also see major boosts in funding:
- The Older Adult Home Modification Program will receive a $15 million increase in funding to cover low-cost home modifications, like railings and wheelchair ramps.
- The Housing for the Elderly Program, which helps limited-income seniors secure housing and provides them with cooking and cleaning services, will receive a billion-dollar funding increase.
Older adults will also have more flexibility when it comes to retirement savings.
Starting in 2025, the omnibus bill will allow taxpayers ages 60 to 63 to add an extra $10,000 into their 401(k). Under some circumstances, the bill also eliminates the 10% penalty fee for withdrawing from your 401(k) before the age of 59½.
At the end of 2023, older adults will not receive a penalty to withdraw up to $1,000 a year from their 401(k) for emergencies. It is now also acceptable to hold off until age 73 – as opposed to the previous maximum of 72 – before beginning to withdraw money from a retirement plan account.
For more key highlights of the omnibus bill, reference the AHA’s special bulletin.