Letter: More than 200 neighbors desperately need your help

To the Editor:

Back at the end of October, the legislature passed and the governor signed a budget that put into place some drastic cuts that are going to devastate some seniors here in Ridgefield and across the state.

Estimates suggest there will be over 200 seniors with low income here in Ridgefield who are going to have their state covered medical benefits either reduced dramatically or cut off entirely.  

Warning letters have already gone out from the state to current recipients, and scared seniors are calling and coming in to Social Services for advice.

The program that is being impacted is called the Medicare Savings Program (MSP).

It was designed to help seniors or those with disabilities with a low income (earning less than $29K) to access some extra help for medical and prescription coverage, keeping their costs low and manageable.

Many seniors here in town feel they can only afford to remain independent and in their homes because of this program.

The new budget cut the eligibility requirements in half for many already accessing this necessary program.

The expectation is that almost all of the 68,000-plus seniors in Connecticut who receive this help will lose much of their assistance on Jan. 1.

These seniors will be forced to make decisions about selling their homes, not going to see their doctors, not taking their medications, making decisions about whether to buy food or heat, or if they do need to be hospitalized, they may face huge bills.

Advocates should be encouraged to call their legislators and ask them to restore the MSP cut, talking about the harm done by this cut — the more specific the better — as well as the number of people affected and who these people are. Calls are best, but emails are fine for people not comfortable doing calls.

You can reach your legislators by going to cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp or by calling

860-240-0100.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Debra Franceschini-Gatje

Ridgefield, Dec. 3

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