Medicare Changes to Come In the New Year?
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
The newly passed CT State budget will cut Medicaid help for many Connecticut seniors and disabled individuals. In an effort to save more than $70 million, as of Jan. 1, the State will roll back eligibility for the “Medicare Savings Program.” This program helps low income and disabled Medicare recipients by giving them some benefits of the Medicaid program. Come Jan. 1st, roughly 86,000 enrollees will no longer be eligible for the program because the income eligibility limits were lowered with the passage of the $41.3 billion state budget in October. Currently, elderly and disabled Medicare beneficiaries whose incomes are below 246 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $29,225, are eligible for Medicaid subsidies for Medicare’s Part B premiums, which cover doctor visits, outpatient hospital care and lab tests. Those earning less than 211 percent of the federal poverty level, or $25,067 this year, also receive help in paying Medicare’s co-payments, deductibles and prescription drug costs. The new state budget will cap eligibility for those who receive all benefits at 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or $11,880. Others will lose all other Medicaid help, but continue to receive a subsidy to pay for their Medicare Part B premium. To maintain this benefit an individual’s annual income cannot exceed 135 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $16,000. It is estimated that roughly 27,000 additional enrollees will move from one level of the program to another — meaning they will still get premiums paid, but not out-of-pocket costs, as of Jan. 1. Final numbers may depend on federal funding allocations that are not yet determined. In the meantime, state legislators are scheduled to meet with Governor Malloy this week in an effort to re-think and discuss the impact of these changes. Stay tuned for more to come on this issue!
UPDATE: Implementation of the Medicare changes have been postponed two months while the legislature continues discussion on this issue and the resulting impact.
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