Thousands of seniors throughout the state rely on the Medicare Savings Program to afford healthcare. But due a to change in State law, some elderly people will have those benefits terminated. News Source 8’s Angela Christoforos reports…
A notice of termination was mailed by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to some of the County’s elders receiving help through the Medicare Savings Program.
Executive Director of the Aroostook Agency on Aging Steve Farnham said, “What’s happened is the Maine legislature passed a law in the last session that put into effect an asset limit on the Medicare Savings Program.”
The limit cap in savings and investments is $57,000 for a single elder and $86,000 for an elderly couple. And those that exceed that cap are being cut off from the program.
“For people that are close to those amounts what we’re recommending that they do is to double check make sure that their balances are correct,” said Farnham.
Eight thousand seniors in Aroostook County receive the Medicare Savings Program benefits, and the Executive Director of the Aroostook Agency on Aging estimates about 10% of them will receive the letter of termination.
“The concern that we have is that people especially that have this QMB benefit, if they’ve received this notice of termination they need to take action very quickly,” said Farnham.
That’s because elders that lose their medical coverage will be responsible for costly things like hospital deductibles, medical deductibles, and a 20% co-insurance. If someone feels an error has been made in calculating assets, there’s a 30 day window from the date the letter was received to file an appeal, and in many cases that 30 days is up at the end of December.
Under Maine law, elders have a 90 day window to enroll in supplemental insurance coverage or Medigap policies. It’s important to take action within that time frame because after the 90 days elders are no longer guaranteed entry to any plan.