The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to strive for social and economic justice, and civil rights for all citizens to enjoy lives with dignity, personal and family fulfillment, and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Medicare Open Enrollment Starts Today, October 15

Don't forget that the Medicare open enrollment period starts October 15, and runs through December 7.
October 15 to December 7 is when ALL people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plan and prescription drug coverage for 2014. Information on 2014 plans will be available beginning in October. People with Medicare can call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit for plan information. If a person is satisfied that their current plan will meet their needs for next year, they don’t need to do anything.
You can also contact ServiceLink at 1-866-634-9412 or call one of their local offices listed on their website for one-on-one help with Medicare sign-ups.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Our op ed on voting

New Hampshire senior citizens, their families, and neighbors should do their homework and vote in self-defense on November 4th!  Some candidates running for federal office are on record as supporting cuts to our Social Security and Medicare. They say our safety net is going broke. Some want these programs to go away completely, being replaced by vouchers and Wall Street accounts. Others propose cuts using the Chained Consumer Price Index, and repeal of the Affordable Care Act, including the prescription drug donut hole fix and no co-pay preventative care additions.
But Social Security is not going broke, and a few changes that would be good for all of us would be good for the Social Security Trust Fund as well: raise the minimum wage, enact paycheck equity laws at the federal level (thank you NH for doing this for women here), create more and better paying jobs, and raising or getting rid of the cap on the income that is subject to the FICA tax, now set at $117,000.  Each of these means not only more money for retiree earned benefits, but also more money in the trust fund today.
Medicare’s cost curve is bending down due in part to the changes in the Affordable Care Act. Costs for healthcare for everyone are not rising anywhere near as quickly, and as healthcare providers work for quality care rather than quantity care, costs will continue to ease. We can provide great preventative care and make sure that we aren’t getting procedures and prescriptions that we don’t need, and stay healthier longer.
One in five New Hampshire residents got Social Security benefits in 2013, bringing $4.1 billion dollars in income into our state.  Over 231,000 of us receive Medicare benefits, allowing us to remain healthy and contribute to our communities.
These earned benefits mean that families and communities do not have to worry about carrying the full cost of housing, food and healthcare for those who are retired or disabled. Before we had Social Security and Medicare, half the seniors in our country lived in poverty, and many died what we would consider today premature deaths. Families struggled to support those who could no longer work.
Today the income from these benefits is spent in our communities, supporting the businesses here. Without the income from Social Security and the healthcare savings from Medicare, how will our economy replace the customers with money to spend that provide the “demand” side of supply and demand?  Replacing the $4.1 billion dollars that comes from those 1 in every 5 New Hampshire residents isn’t going to be easy, and our state is growing older every year. Do we really want to do that to our economy?
Healthy and secure seniors provide many hours of volunteer time, the unpaid work that we depend on to run our municipalities, among other efforts. Our school boards, selectboards, planning boards, conservation commissions, and others are either paid a small stipend or serve for free.  Retirees volunteer in schools, at churches, and even as $100 a year legislators! Sometimes it seems that New Hampshire runs on volunteer power!
The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans has joined our national Alliance in endorsing Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster for re-election this November.  All three were endorsed for their work to preserve and protect our senior safety net for all New Hampshire citizens, retirees of today and our children and grandchildren.
Be sure you check out the candidates before you vote!  Look at voting records, if they have served before (  See what they have said in this and past campaigns. Make sure you know who is really on our side and vote in self-defense!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Alliance for Retired Americans endorsement letter for Carol Shea-Porter

 October 3, 2014

Ms. Carol Shea-Porter
Carol Shea-Porter for Congress
P.O. Box 453
Rochester, NH  03866

Dear Ms. Shea-Porter,

        The Alliance for Retired Americans, representing more than 4.3 million retirees, older Americans, and community activists including more than 13,135 members in New Hampshire endorses your candidacy for the United States House of Representatives from District 1 of New Hampshire.

Your positions demonstrate a strong commitment to improve the quality of life for older Americans.  Your leadership on issues such as preserving and protecting Social Security and Medicare from privatization and benefit cuts ensures these programs will be around for current and future generations.  In addition, our members support your candidacy because of your belief in the need to provide more affordable health care for older Americans, as well as the need for stronger retirement and pension security, and quality long term care.

The Alliance for Retired Americans believes that your election to the House of Representatives will enhance the quality of life for older Americans.  If we can be of assistance, please contact Eva Dominguez, Government and Political Affairs Department, at the Alliance.  We congratulate you on earning our endorsement.


Barbara Easterling Ruben Burks                                       Richard J. Fiesta
President             Secretary-Treasurer          Executive Director

Friday, October 3, 2014

Much too much fun for an endorsement!

From L-R, Steve Kloppenburg, Congresswoman Shea-Porter, Lucy Edwards, Jerry Connor, Ronna Hamelin, Terry Lochhead and Jon "Bowser" Bauman

We had such a great time at this endorsement!  Take a look at our Facebook Page for more pictures and video. 

Alliance for Retired Americans and Senior Votes Count! endorse Carol Shea-Porter for Congress!

Remarks from New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans President Lucy Edwards:
NHARA President Lucy Edwards reads the letter of endorsement - with Congresswoman Shea-Porter 
I first met Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter when she had just decided to run for Congress.   I remember how amazed I was that a middle class woman much like me might be my Congresswoman, and thinking that if there were more people like me and my family and my friends and neighbors in Congress things might go better for us.  She has not disappointed me, despite the challenges of our current Congress!  Those two years when she was out of office made it so clear to so many of us that there really is a difference!
As a volunteer for my town’s planning board, I have been learning about the demographic changes going on in New Hampshire.  In 2013 we were the 3rd oldest state in the country, and we are getting older. As we plan for the future of our small town, we have to ask ourselves, how are we going to deal with this aging population?
One thing I am very sure of is that we will need Social Security and Medicare to be flourishing programs, so that we all can retire with dignity and security. Social Security brought $4.1 billion in income into our New Hampshire economy in 2013.  Medicare allows retirees to manage their healthcare without bankrupting themselves or their children.  Cuts to either of these programs will hurt seniors, but cuts will also hurt our economy.  Social Security dollars typically are spent locally, not saved.  The money that might have been spent on healthcare if we didn’t have Medicare can go to the local supermarket, auto repair, or hardware store.
If Medicare and Social Security are cut, where will the customers with money to spend come from to replace the buying power of the 1 in 5 New Hampshire residents who receive these earned benefits?  How will our local businesses make ends meet?  I’m not hearing anything about the demand side of “supply and demand” from those who think cutting our earned benefits would be a good idea.
I might add that my household has saved several thousand dollars over the past 4 years since the Congresswoman’s fix to Medicare D’s donut hole has started working.  We are very, very grateful for that, believe me!
I know that Congresswoman Shea-Porter understands this, she saw her parents depend on these senior safety net programs. She works very hard, and very thoughtfully, for the people of our state, and our country.  The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans enthusiastically joins our national Alliance in endorsing Carol Shea-Porter for another term representing New Hampshire’s First District in the United States House of Representatives.
It’s very important that all New Hampshire’s seniors do their homework, mark their ballots from the bottom up, and vote in self-defense on November 4th!  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Medicare D Prescription Drug Plans in 2015

The Kaiser Family Foundation has published their Medicare D fact sheet for 2015.  If you are new to this prescription drug coverage here's a brief primer:
The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) established a voluntary outpatient prescription drug benefit for people on Medicare known as Part D, which went into effect in 2006.  All 54 million people on Medicare, including those ages 65 and older and those under age 65 with permanent disabilities, have access to the Medicare drug benefit through private plans approved by the federal government.  Beneficiaries with low incomes and modest assets are eligible for assistance with Part D plan premiums and cost sharing.  The Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) made some important changes to Part D—in particular, phasing out the coverage gap by 2020.
If you have more questions here in New Hampshire, ServiceLink provides help in understanding and choosing a Medicare D plan.  There is also lots of information available on the Medicare website.

Friday, September 12, 2014

This morning, the Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) announced its endorsement of Congresswoman Annie Kuster for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives this November. The endorsement was made at the Senior Activity Center in Nashua.

“I’m so pleased to receive the endorsement of the Alliance for Retired Americans, an organization that is looking out for the best interests of Granite State seniors,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “Since day one in office, I pledged to always stand up for the programs our seniors rely on, like Medicare and Social Security, and I’ll will never stop fighting against the reckless cuts proposed by extreme Tea Party candidates like my opponent. Our seniors have paid into these programs their whole lives, and we must protect the benefits they’ve earned and deserve.”

The Alliance for Retired Americans has endorsed Congresswoman Kuster because of her commitment to improving the lives of Granite State seniors. She has a clear record of standing up for seniors in the state, and she’s worked to protect Medicare and Social Security from harmful cuts. She also recently helped introduce the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act, which would help ease the financial burden on individuals who are serving as caregivers for their elderly relatives more than 80 hours per month.

“New Hampshire retirees need to make sure we elect representatives to Congress who support our essential senior programs like Social Security and Medicare. Without those programs the $4 billion plus in Social Security income we receive and spend locally, and the volunteer work we are able to do as we stay healthy with Medicare would not be possible. Congresswoman Kuster works very hard to keep our economy growing, and she understands the contributions Granite State seniors make. That’s why the Alliance for Retired Americans, a nation-wide group of over 4.2 million members, and our New Hampshire Alliance, with 14,000 members, endorse Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster for Congress in New Hampshire’s 2nd District.  We know retirees and their families can count on her!” said Lucy Edwards, President of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans.

Congresswoman Kuster represents New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District, and is up for reelection this fall. Her Republican opponent is a Tea Party candidate who supports privatizing Social Security and slashing other programs that Granite State seniors and their families rely on.