BOSTON (WWLP) – A 2019 study found that Massachusetts ranks last in the country for elder economic insecurity with just over 60% of elderly people not having enough income to cover basic expenses.
22News learned what Mass Senior Action Council is advocating for to help those in need.
Mass Senior Action Council has already made strides in the House, Senate, and Governor’s office, but with this year’s legislative session winding down, they are making a final push. Last week, the Senate dramatically expanded funding and income eligibility for the state’s Medicare Savings Program in its budget.
Medicare Savings programs are for people 65 and older with limited income and resources to help pay for some or all of their medicare healthcare costs. The group’s goal is to lift the income eligibility to 250% of the federal poverty level, which would make Massachusetts the state with the highest eligibility threshold in the nation.
Seniors also face an asset limit. Which is currently approximately $16,000 for an individual and $25,000 for a couple. On top of their budget push, there is a bill in the house and senate to expand the income level and completely eliminate the assets limit.
Mass Senior Action points to drug prices increasing, premiums rising, and overall inflation as reasons why they need more assistance than ever before.
“It’s very common for us to hear of seniors who don’t fill their full prescription or don’t take all of their prescriptions because when they show up at the pharmacy they simply can’t afford the co-payment,” said Carolyn Villers, Executive Director of Massachusetts Senior Action Council.
The group said seniors who were able to save for retirement are dealing with their savings being drained and lower-income seniors are seeing their financial aid failing to cover the full cost of care.
If the expansion is passed and the asset limit is eliminated, an additional 100,000 seniors could be eligible for assistance here in the Commonwealth.