Action alert: Medicare Savings Program (Updated)
Legislators will hold a special session between Dec. 24-29th to restore $54 Million to the Medicare Savings Program for this fiscal year!
Thanks to the many who called and emailed about this planned cut, and to the more than 100 advocates and many legislators who attended yesterday's rally at the Legislative Office Building (LOB) in Hartford. Advocates had 3 messages:
Fully restore the funding cuts to MSP & Husky A
Don't cut other social services programs to families, seniors, or the disabled to do it
Look at revenue generating options
The state budget that was recently passed has a significant impact on the Medicare Savings Program (MSP), which serves approximately 1 in 30 Connecticut residents. About 82,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities will lose *all* their benefits, and about 27,000 will have their benefits reduced, as of January 1st, 2018.
As legislators are learning of the real-life impact of these budget cuts, a number of them are looking to see what can be done to fix this. There is growing momentum to delay the cut until February so that the legislators can come back into session with a solution to reduce the impact of these cuts, including possibly reversing the cut altogether.
Please contact your legislators to urge them to restore the cut or delay it in order to come up with alternative solutions. If the cut will affect you directly, please help your legislator understand what this will mean to you in terms of your ability to receive medical or psych care!
Currently, people can qualify for MSP with incomes up to $2,472.30/ month for a single individual and $3,328.38/ month for married couples. The new, lower income limits will cap eligibility for the program at $1,377/ month for an individual and $1,847 / month for a married couple.
Everyone over the new income limits will lose their MSP benefits as of January 1, 2018. This means that they will receive $134 less in their Social Security benefits each month since the Part B premium will no longer be paid for by the state.
The monthly income limits for QMB are going to decrease from $2,120 to $1,025 for a single individual and from $2,854 to $1,374 for a married couple. Anyone over these income amounts will be responsible for paying their Medicare premiums, deductibles and co-insurance, which can add up to thousands in increased healthcare costs.
Those who lose their MSP benefits on January 1st will still keep the Low Income Subsidy (LIS) that helps pay the Medicare Part D premium and prescription co-pays through the end of 2018. At that time, many will also lose the LIS coverage.
People who are losing QMB coverage may want to consider purchasing a Medicare Supplement Policy or going to a Medicare Advantage Plan to reduce their out of pocket exposure and help cover the deductibles and co-insurance amounts.
Affected people should have received a letter from DSS by now and will receive a second letter around Dec. 15 to tell them if their coverage will be ended or reduced.
The time to act is NOW! Please click here for an info sheet (courtesy of NAMI) to help you call your legislators.