Medicare Rights Center Endorses Congressman Kim’s
Helping Seniors Afford Health Care Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Medicare Rights Center, a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults, announced their endorsement of the Helping Seniors Afford Health Care Act, H.R. 4671. The bill, introduced by Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03), Congressman Dwight Evans (PA-03) and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), would increase access to affordable health care for senior citizens.
“Medicare Savings Programs can be a lifeline, helping beneficiaries with limited incomes and savings pay Medicare costs they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford,” said Fred Riccardi, President, Medicare Rights Center. “But strict eligibility requirements mean many who need this assistance aren’t able to get it. On our National Consumer Helpline, we frequently hear from older adults and people with disabilities who are struggling to afford their health coverage and prescription drugs but unable to qualify for help. As a result, they may be forced to choose between paying for Medicare and other basic needs, like food and rent. By expanding MSP eligibility, simplifying enrollment in the programs, and improving retroactivity, the Helping Seniors Afford Health Care Act will mean fewer impossible choices and more access to high quality care.”
“Lowering the cost of health care for seniors is a top priority for me and people in Burlington and Ocean Counties,” said Congressman Kim. “I want to thank the Medicare Rights Center for their support of this critical legislation. I look forward to working with my colleagues and community groups across the country to get the job done for seniors and help make a real impact in their lives.”
The Helping Seniors Afford Health Care Act would expand access to affordable care by increasing the income eligibility levels for Medicare recipients to qualify for the Medicare Savings Program. The Medicare Savings Program provides financial assistance to help seniors who qualify based on income level, pay for Medicare premiums, copayments, prescription drug costs and other health expenses.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently more than 6.8 million Americans with Medicare coverage that fall within the current income requirements for the Medicare Savings Program. By increasing income eligibility, the bill would make the Medicare Savings Program available to an additional 4.6 million people, or a 68 percent growth in the number of people who would see access to health care savings.
The bill would also provide funding for states to cover the cost of additional seniors added to the program, as well as grants to help states conduct outreach to inform seniors about their eligibility of this program.