The Medicare Savings Program, known as the Buy-in program, and the Low Cost Drugs for the Elderly Program’s income guidelines were cut by 10 percent as of March 1 for state budgetary reasons. The consumers who lost these benefits were informed in February and had less than 30 days to adjust for the impact.
Before March 1, a senior who was eligible for the Low Income Subsidy Program, low cost drugs and the QI program that pays for Part B coverage spent $16.50 per month for coverage and medications. With the loss of those programs, that same senior will now pay $104.90 for Part B and $360 a month for medications, or $464.90 monthly.
Needless to say he will not be able to afford and will go without.
When I started seeing the impact these cuts had on our most vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities, it truly broke my heart. Now I hear this was just the beginning.
At a recent legislative meeting, DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew announced future cuts under the new budget.
In addition to cutting the income guidelines by 10 percent, they want to cut another 40 percent. Those proposed cuts could impact as many as 80,000 seniors.
So far, I haven’t heard anything about bringing back the asset test which was eliminated in 2007. Why should a senior who managed to save more than $6,000 or so in their lifetime be allowed on these programs?
It’s time people pay attention. Those programs are significant for the most needy and do so much for such a little cost to the state.
Roland Bussiere, New Gloucester