Expect this in 2020

Feb 6th, 2020 | By | Category: News

From medical-related issues (the cost of prescription drugs, changes in Medicare) to local social and public services, here are six things that are coming down the pipe in 2020.

  1. PRESCRIPTION PRICES

AARP Washington’s lobbying of the 2020 session of the Legislature will include emphasis on curbing the prices of prescription drugs. AARP is calling for legislation to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $100 per month, establish a board that would review prescription drug prices to see if maximum price caps are needed, and allow the state to import prescription drugs from Canada under a federal waiver. AARP urges citizens to encourage lawmakers to take such steps.

2. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Metro plans to expand bus service in several south King County areas starting in September in preparation for a new RapidRide Line in 2023. The King County Council is scheduled to vote in the spring on the plan that would add connections between Covington, Kent, Seatac, Burien, Renton, Auburn, Maple Valley and Federal Way. Metro is proposing the additional service in response to input from the public, businesses and local officials.

3. MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY

The cost to consumers for Medicare Part B is going up in 2020. The Part B premium will increase from $135.50 a month to $144.60, and the annual deductible will rise from last year’s $185 to $198 in 2020.

The increases, which took effect Jan. 1, were revealed last November by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — the federal agency that administers the national healthcare programs – and came on the heels of an announcement of a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits. In 2020, individuals’ Social Security benefits will increase 1.6 percent, or about $24 per month.

4. DEMENTIA-FRIENDLY

The Tacoma-based South Puget Sound region of Lutheran Community Services Northwest (LCSNW), through a federal grant as part of the nationwide Alzheimer’s Disease Program Initiative, will begin offering three new dementia-friendly services in 2020:

  • Dementia Friends will focus on community education, with a goal is to increase awareness for dementia and reduce the stigma associated with it.
  • Memory Ensemble. Partnering with community theaters and volunteers, people with dementia will use improvisation techniques to draw upon their remaining strengths and use imagination rather than memory.
  • Opening Minds through Art. People with dementia will be matched with volunteers to create works of art in this 12-week program.

The new programs will join LCSNW’s other social engagement programs for those experiencing dementia–the Early Stage Memory Loss Zoo Walk, Memory Café, and Music Mends Minds.

“Alzheimer’s affects everybody in one way or another. Our programs will raise public awareness of what dementia is and how it affects people, and help remove the stigma that people with dementia and their care partners face, as well as provide opportunities for support and interaction, with the ultimate goal of making our communities more inclusive for people with dementia,” said Maria Holt, director of dementia services for LCSNW.

More information is available at 253-272-8433 and dementiaservices@lcsnw.org.

5. SENIOR SERVICES HUB

Lutheran Community Services Northwest plans to open a new senior services “hub” in Tacoma, providing more space for senior-focused programs serving the South Puget Sound region of the social services agency.

The new location on Sixth Avenue is on a bus line located near medical and other community services. It will replace the current LCSNW office in the nearby Stadium District.

Regional director Trudy Sorensen said the move is prompted by growth in dementia-friendly services and other senior-focused programs. The latter include caregiver services, homecare, meals on wheels, dementia services, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, Santa for Seniors, Senior Companion and Senior Friends, and Senior Media Services.

“Our new hub will help us serve more people,” Sorensen said.

6. SPENDING ON SENIORS

2020 is the start of a four-year period in which King County will spend $20 million on senior centers and communities to provide resources for older adults and their caregivers, expand outreach to isolated seniors, and increase cultural services for the county’s older residents. 

The money comes from the voter-approved Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy.

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