Categorized | Technology

Local seniors voice fears of health care slashes to legislators

GRISWOLD – Kathleen Coletti is trying to figure out how she will pay for her 18 prescription medications if her Medicare is cut.

“That’s not including the vitamins I have to take and the dietary restrictions,” Coletti, 53, of Jewett City, said. “If I didn’t have financial support, there would be no way I could afford all of that. It’s hard enough as it is.”

Coletti was one of the roughly 80 individuals sharing their stories, questions and concerns regarding massive cut backs in the Medicare Savings Program with state legislators at Griswold Senior Center on Friday. The new budget is slated to roll back eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program, or MSP, which helps low-income and disabled Medicare recipients through some benefits of the Medicaid program, a joint federal-state health plan for the poor, on Jan. 1.

The more than 68,000 individuals who are signed up for the program were notified about the cuts in a Nov. 19 letter from the State Department of Social Services.

“Right after that letter came out it was senior after senior after senior coming into my office. They all had gotten this letter. They were so confused and, frankly, afraid,” Director of the Griswold Senior Center Tina Falck said.

State Sen. Heather Somers, State Rep. Kevin Skulczyck and Voluntown First Selectman Tracey Hanson offered their ears to the audience, comprised of residents from Griswold and surrounding towns, for the 90-minute session. Most questions centered on why the two legislators would vote to approve a budget that slashes benefits to seniors and people with disabilities.

“It is a 3,000 page budget. We were told this would bring Connecticut’s health care to the national average. We didn’t hear any concerns from the public about it,” Somers said. “But now, I can guarantee that every legislator across the state is getting calls about this. We understand this is a matter of life or death.”

The Nov. 19 letter details new income limits as well as the reduced eligibility for the program.

Currently, 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, according to the CT Mirror. The new state budget would cap eligibility at 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or $11,880.

“I was completely shocked. I immediatley began sweating, my blood pressure went through the roof and I couldn’t sleep,” Lewis Stanley, 72, of Taftville, said about receiving the letter.

Stanley lives in the Wequonnac Village Apartments, but is heavily considering moving to a different state to seek better health care benefits.

“It’s so expensive to live in this state. I worked my whole life to have excellent credit and pay into taxes. Now when I’m supposed to be benefitting from all that hard work, I feel like I’m being ripped off,” he said.

Stanley was hospitalized three times this year – for kidney stones in April, for a miniature stroke in July and for pneumonia in September. If those hospitalizations were to come after the Jan. 1 rollbacks, he said he has no idea how he would pay for them.

“I would probably go bankrupt,” he said.

The legislators said they will return to the capital city before Christmas and are hoping to involve more seniors and people with disabilities in the conversations. To streamline communication, Somers said Falck would be sent all updates regarding MSP and Falck would distribute the information to the senior center members.

Skulczyck also said he hopes to work with Falck on arranging a shuttle that would transport people to Hartford during MSP sessions so they can “flood the capital.”

“If they give me a ride, I’ll be there,” Coletti said.

Article source: http://www.norwichbulletin.com/news/20171201/local-seniors-voice-fears-of-health-care-slashes-to-legislators

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Categorized | Technology

Local seniors voice fears of health care slashes to legislators

GRISWOLD – Kathleen Coletti is trying to figure out how she will pay for her 18 prescription medications if her Medicare is cut.

“That’s not including the vitamins I have to take and the dietary restrictions,” Coletti, 53, of Jewett City, said. “If I didn’t have financial support, there would be no way I could afford all of that. It’s hard enough as it is.”

Coletti was one of the roughly 80 individuals sharing their stories, questions and concerns regarding massive cut backs in the Medicare Savings Program with state legislators at Griswold Senior Center on Friday. The new budget is slated to roll back eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program, or MSP, which helps low-income and disabled Medicare recipients through some benefits of the Medicaid program, a joint federal-state health plan for the poor, on Jan. 1.

The more than 68,000 individuals who are signed up for the program were notified about the cuts in a Nov. 19 letter from the State Department of Social Services.

“Right after that letter came out it was senior after senior after senior coming into my office. They all had gotten this letter. They were so confused and, frankly, afraid,” Director of the Griswold Senior Center Tina Falck said.

State Sen. Heather Somers, State Rep. Kevin Skulczyck and Voluntown First Selectman Tracey Hanson offered their ears to the audience, comprised of residents from Griswold and surrounding towns, for the 90-minute session. Most questions centered on why the two legislators would vote to approve a budget that slashes benefits to seniors and people with disabilities.

“It is a 3,000 page budget. We were told this would bring Connecticut’s health care to the national average. We didn’t hear any concerns from the public about it,” Somers said. “But now, I can guarantee that every legislator across the state is getting calls about this. We understand this is a matter of life or death.”

The Nov. 19 letter details new income limits as well as the reduced eligibility for the program.

Currently, 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, according to the CT Mirror. The new state budget would cap eligibility at 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or $11,880.

“I was completely shocked. I immediatley began sweating, my blood pressure went through the roof and I couldn’t sleep,” Lewis Stanley, 72, of Taftville, said about receiving the letter.

Stanley lives in the Wequonnac Village Apartments, but is heavily considering moving to a different state to seek better health care benefits.

“It’s so expensive to live in this state. I worked my whole life to have excellent credit and pay into taxes. Now when I’m supposed to be benefitting from all that hard work, I feel like I’m being ripped off,” he said.

Stanley was hospitalized three times this year – for kidney stones in April, for a miniature stroke in July and for pneumonia in September. If those hospitalizations were to come after the Jan. 1 rollbacks, he said he has no idea how he would pay for them.

“I would probably go bankrupt,” he said.

The legislators said they will return to the capital city before Christmas and are hoping to involve more seniors and people with disabilities in the conversations. To streamline communication, Somers said Falck would be sent all updates regarding MSP and Falck would distribute the information to the senior center members.

Skulczyck also said he hopes to work with Falck on arranging a shuttle that would transport people to Hartford during MSP sessions so they can “flood the capital.”

“If they give me a ride, I’ll be there,” Coletti said.

Article source: http://www.norwichbulletin.com/news/20171201/local-seniors-voice-fears-of-health-care-slashes-to-legislators

Comments are closed.

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