Budget Changes to Affect Medicare Savings Programs

Dollarphotoclub_88177383-300x300By Colleen E. Masse

As everyone knows, Connecticut had quite a year with its budget.

If you qualify for one of the Medicare Savings Programs – Qualified Medicare Beneficiary, Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary, or Additional Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary – this budget will affect you.

The eligibility limits have changed for all of the MSP programs. All have been drastically reduced, and the income limit for QMB is now less than half what it was.

The new limits were originally to go into effect on January 1, 2018. Due to the concerns raised by the public, the implementation of these changes has been postponed for two months. During that time the Department of Social Services will be reviewing the change and exploring possible coverage alternatives.

Now is the time to call your legislator and make your voice heard!

What does this mean for you? If you are already utilizing one of these programs, you should have received a letter from DSS alerting you to the change, more specific letters are scheduled to go out on December 15, 2017.

What can you do? If you are at risk of losing access to a Medicare Savings Program there are a few possibilities.

Your income may move you to a different benefit level. If that’s the case, you need to understand your new benefits.

If your income disqualifies you from all of the Medicare Savings Programs, you can look into setting up a Special Needs Trust to allow you to requalify, or you can buy a gap coverage privately, or you can choose to go without some coverages.

What next?

It is important to read any correspondence you receive from DSS very carefully. Additionally you can contact your local Area Agency on Aging to learn about private insurance programs and contact an attorney to learn whether a Special Needs Trust will help you to continue to qualify for these programs.

Perhaps most important: CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR and share your concerns over these changes!


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