113,000 Connecticut seniors feeling state budget ax

HARTFORD & DERBY, Conn. (WTNH) — The new state budget ax is starting to come down hard on over 100,000 Connecticut senior citizens just in time for the holidays.

Thousands of letters from the Department of Social Services are informing seniors they no longer qualify for the “Medicare Savings Program” which is part of “Medicaid” in Connecticut.

About 750,000 Connecticut residents depend on some form of Medicaid. That’s one out of every five Connecticut residents.

Many Connecticut families are familiar with Medicaid because one or both of their elderly parents’ monthly nursing home bill is paid for by the program. In some nursing homes, Medicaid clients make up 60 to even 70-percent of the patients.

But there are thousands of other Connecticut seniors who live independently on a fixed income, like Social Security, and also are covered by Medicaid through the Medicare Savings Program.

“Were’ the victims, and then they want to exploit more from us,” said Yolanda Ortiz of Derby.  She lives at the Hallocks Landing senior housing complex.  Don Wheeler does too and says, “I’m going to lose $134 every month, which is almost $1,400 a year.”

The “Medicare Savings Program” pays for Medicare insurance premiums, $134 a month and deductibles and co-pays that can be much more. This is what’s being cut off now to thousands of Connecticut seniors under the new state budget.

At the Hallocks Landing senior housing complex, 31 of the 38 residents got a letter from the Department of Social Services that says in part “We have determined that your Medicare Savings Program coverage is likely to end or change effective January 1st.”

2017 11 28 dss letter 1 113,000 Connecticut seniors feeling state budget ax
Letter from the Department of Social Services to Connecticut Seniors (Contributed Document)

2017 11 28 dss letter 2 113,000 Connecticut seniors feeling state budget ax

Linda Heston, another resident said, “I gave up my cable, my internet, my home phone. I’ve got a little small cellphone now. I don’t know what else I can do.”

The Department of Social Services says this budget cut is affecting about 113,000 Connecticut residents in some way. News 8 has received many calls and e-mails about this, and so have many state lawmakers. We’ve been told that members of the Human Services committee are planning a meeting Wednesday to see if any changes can be made.

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