I want to update you with what I know about the status of the Medicare Savings Program. This is the program that you or your parents or your friends have that:
1. Pay the Medicare Part B ($100), 2. Caps most prescriptions at $3/month and 3. acts like a supplement so you don’t pay co-pays at docs and hospitals. The program is scheduled to be severely cut on January 1. They are lowering the income level for eligibility. Right now it is about 2300/month or 3200/month for a couple. In January those numbers fall to about 1,000 and 1,300.
Right now, I still don’t know how this will effect you. I had dinner with my parents last night and don’t know what to tell them. I don’t want to trouble you, but I think you need to have some time to plan for what might happen. So this is a worst case:
-The $100 will come out of your January check, or worse, it won’t. By that I mean it may take the federal government a few months to get word from the state government, so in March the would take $300!
-You may immediately be exposed to the maximum out of pocket (this didn’t apply if you were in this program). That would mean you could be exposed to $6,700/ a year or more.
-To avoid that, you might want to get a supplement. That would be about $200/month. (I don’t work with supplements, but I will look into what would need to be done.)
A middle of the road scenario might look like this:
– They keep the $100 benefit in there (for Medicare Part B)
– The prescription drug benefit remains for 1 year
All of the above is speculation, but again, I just want you to know what I know so you can prepare as you see fit.
I’ve been very upset and active to trying to get some answers before I come to you with a dazed look. There is a group that is meeting this week (lawyer types) that are trying to get this overturned, or at least changed a little. I was invited to the meeting and will update you.
In the meantime, they need you to write and call your legislators and tell them how important the program is to you and people you care about. If you could get the people you care about to call as well, that would be great.
I’m updating my website with links to legislative contacts, the letter I sent to the state (with their response) and various communications from the lawyers that have been working to stop it. You will be able to find them at http://www.hartfordguy.com/medicare, along with a link to the state’s site that has the information about the new levels.
Finally, you should be getting a letter from the state very soon with a vague description of what is going to happen. Truth be told, they may not know it all yet themselves.
I’m sorry to be the bearer of such bad news. I know personally how important this program is, and I hope over the next few weeks we can stop the cut from happening. I will talk to you soon. Feel free to share with anyone.