I’m responding on behalf of Commissioner Rod Bremby to your email about the Medicare Savings Programs. As you indicate, the statutory budget changes in MSP income eligibility are going to affect many older adults and individuals with disabilities who have been receiving Medicaid-funded assistance in paying Medicare Part B premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.
As administering agency of MSP, the Department of Social Services is responsible for implementing the statutory changes in eligibility. We have initial information posted atwww.ct.gov/dss/medicaresavingsprograms, including a chart on current eligibility criteria and the eligibility eligibility beginning January 1, 2018. We will be adding to this section as we mail notices to current beneficiaries in the coming weeks and expand posted and linked information.
We are also partnering with the state’s ‘CHOICES’ service (www.ct.gov/agingservices/cwp/view.asp?a=2513&q=313032) to help people with referral and decisions about next steps if one is losing MSP eligibility. CHOICES are the experts in helping with information about Medicare options. Our partners at 2-1-1 will also assist in information and referral, albeit not technical assistance with Medicare like CHOICES will.
Please also see initial responses below.
We hope this information is helpful to you.
Communications Director | CT Department of Social Services
Office of the Commissioner | 860.424.5024 | fx 860.424.5057
55 Farmington Avenue, 5th floor | Hartford, CT 06105
From: Chris Kelly [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 10:08 AM
To: Bremby, Roderick L.
Subject: Looking for information on Medicare Savings Program
November 15, 2017
Commissioner Roderick Bremby
Department of Social Services
55 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, CT 06105-3730
Dear Commissioner Bremby,
I am writing because I am concerned about the effects of the state budget and changes to the Medicare Savings Plan (MSP) will have on thousands of the state’s seniors who don’t even know that changes are coming. I am unable to find any information on how the changes will be rolled out.
Many of those enrolled in MSP will not be eligible at the new levels and as far as I can tell they have not been notified how this will affect them. Some specific concerns are the following:
- Will folks be cut off immediately in January 1, and therefore have that reflected in their Social Security check (Part B premium deducted), or will Social Security be informed on January 1, and then the folks will suffer a $200 deduction in February (or worse, a $300 deduction in March)? This is crucial as these amounts make up a large portion of a person’s monthly income and, without time to plan, may result in their inability to pay other expenses. Eligibility changes are effective January 1, 2018, per the state budget statute.
- Will their assets now count toward determining eligibility or will it remain an income-based criteria? No. Connecticut is one of the few states that does not use an asset-eligibility test, and the state budget legislation does not change that.
- Some folks may have dropped an expensive supplement when they became eligible for MSP. Is Medicaid considered creditable, and will they be able to obtain a supplement without hindrance; and does the timing have an impact on that? If someone finds out March 1 when they get their Social Security check that they no longer have MSP, will they be able to obtain a supplement or switch Medicare plans, or may they be exposed to large medical expenses for the rest of the year? Researching. Changes in MSP eligibility take effect January 1.
- How plainly will this be explained to people? Folks receive redetermination letters and they have no idea what it is. They find letters from the state intimidating and incomprehensible. This is obviously not a simple subject, but we will be working to make consumer information as clear and understandable as possible.
I am sure there are many other considerations that deserve mention. I am very concerned that many good people who worked their whole life, retired with only Social Security and have been depending on this program are about to have the rug pulled out from under them and stand to lose a great deal.
I am sure that these issues hold your concern as well, and I do appreciate your consideration.
555 Asylum Ave.
Hartford, CT 06105