Governor Malloy signed into law the State’s budget this week, but with significant cuts in Medicaid benefits.
The most troubling cut affect low-income seniors who need financial assistance with Medicare co-pays.
Specifically, under the Medicare Savings Programs (MSP), low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities can obtain eligibility for coverage with Medicare coverage under the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) programs. This program covers:
- The Medicare Part B premium
- All Medicare deductibles
- All co-insurance payments
It is a very valuable benefit to those seniors who cannot afford the rising cost of traditional Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage plans.
What are the cuts?
Under the current law, an individual with annual fixed income of no more than $25,447 qualifies for QMB.
Under the new legislation—effective January 1, 2018—the income cap drops to $12,060.
This is a reduction of more than 100%! It is estimated that 68,000 MSP beneficiaries will lose coverage in January.
Additional cuts to Connecticut’s Medicaid recipients affected low-income families on HUSKY medical benefits. A family of four with income of more than $2,830/month is now ineligible. The result is that an estimated 10,000 families with children will lose medical insurance.
Of note, less than 5% of Connecticut residents polled on this issue support a reduction in Medicaid benefits, yet the Connecticut legislature did just that, cutting $15 million in Medicaid expenditures over the next two years.