Betts, Petit want Assembly to reconvene to address Medicare Savings Plan cuts

State Representatives Whit Betts (R-78) and William A. Petit, Jr. (R-22) have joined their Republican legislative colleagues in the House of Representatives in calling for an immediate convening of the Connecticut General Assembly to restore funding to the Medicare Savings Plan, a press release from House Republicans announced. Betts and Petit yesterday, Dec. 12, signed a petition to call the legislature into session to find a solution to this issue.

“I am committed to doing whatever is necessary to have a special session prior to Jan. 1 with the specific goal of helping low income seniors and disabled individuals who are at risk of losing MSP assistance because of new eligibility requirements,” said Betts in the press release. “The new eligibility criteria will severely jeopardize the life and health care of these folks, and this consequence is totally unacceptable to me.”

MSP is an income-based program, which provides supplemental financial assistance to seniors and the disabled to cover items such as Medicare co-insurance, deductibles, and premiums. The funding for the program was cut in the recently passed state budget. If no change is implemented, almost 100,000 individuals statewide will lose their current coverage, said the Republican press release.

Petit said, according to the release, “I am happy to return to session to reconsider the MSP eligibility issue as well as other overall budget issues. We may need to consider a means or asset test as MSP as currently administered will cost taxpayers about $83 million over two years. Thus to fund it means that we need to make cuts in other places in the budget or consider the option of raising taxes which most people, including me, have opposed.”

State Department of Social Services Commissioner Roderick Bremby last week issued a release stating that DSS will be delaying the implementation of the cuts until March 1. The legislators stated that they hoped the legislature would act quickly to restore funding prior to the start of the 2018 Legislative Session, which convenes Feb. 7.

Anyone affected by the MSP cuts may contact the following resources for information on replacement benefits:

CHOICES (1-800-994-9422): Information related to Medicare and alternate benefits

Department of Social Services (1-800-842-1508): Information related to Medicaid (i.e. Husky C) and MED-Connect

Connecticut Insurance Department (1-800-203-3447): Information related to Medigap products

While legislative leaders continue to meet on this matter, no official date for session has been set.