Sen. Welch: Measure Ensures that Greater Bristol Seniors and People with Disabilities Will Not Lose Benefits [New Britain Herald]

February 28, 2012

Article as it appeared in the New Britain Herald

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 10:52 PM EST

NEW BRITAIN — A bill introduced by a Democratic state legislator from New Britain and designed to benefit seniors in the state has a good chance of passing, according to a Republican lawmaker. State Rep. Peter Tercyak of New Britain, house chairman of the legislature’s human services committee, says legislation (HB 5301) adjusting the income limit for the state’s Medicare Savings Program passed the state House of Representatives unanimously. It is now headed to the Senate.

“This [measure] will prevent seniors and people with disabilities from losing their benefits,’’ said Tercyak, who led debate on the House floor.

“A welcome increase in Social Security benefits threatened to make thousands of Connecticut residents ineligible for certain Medicare benefits, but now we have rectified that.”

Tercyak said that with so many seniors struggling to make ends meet, “this modification will be a real lifesaver and allow them to continue receiving medical care. I urge my colleagues in the state Senate to approve this change as soon as possible.”
The bill, which now moves to the Senate, takes effect on Thursday. It would raise the income limit for the Medicare Savings Program in order to accommodate an anticipated 3.6 percent Social Security income cost of living increase (COLA).

Tercyak said there was an income adjustment for Medicare Savings Program enrollees scheduled for Oct. 1.

However, the COLA taking effect on Thursday would have put some beneficiaries over the program’s income limits, causing them to lose some or all of their coverage.

The program helps seniors and people with disabilities pay for their Medicare co-pays and deductibles.

Republican state Sen. Jason Welch of Bristol welcomed the bill.

“This measure ensures that greater Bristol seniors and people with disabilities will not lose their benefits,” Welch said. “In addition, this bill comes with no price tag for taxpayers. This is a good bill.”

Welch said he expects the bill to pass the state Senate by a wide margin today.