By Sally M. Wagley, elder law attorney
As an attorney focusing on elder law, I am carefully watching the Maine Governor Paul LePage’s proposed cuts to MaineCare programs serving the elderly. My last blog post was about the proposed elimination of coverage for residential care (also known as “assisted living” or “boarding home” care).
The Governor’s budget proposal also includes cuts to prescription drug assistance to Maine’s elderly. According the Spectrum Generations, the proposed MaineCare cuts are as follows:
- Prescription Drug and Health Care Assistance for People over 65 and People with Disabilities: Approximately72,000 Maine elderly and people with disabilities would lose some or all assistance they currently receive to pay for Medicare and/or prescription drug costs. Of the 72,000, over 20,000 (with incomes between 135-185% FPL) will lose all assistance they currently receive through the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) to help pay for Medicare premiums, co-payments and deductibles, prescription drug costs, and coverage through the so-called “donut hole”. The remainder, approximately 52,000 people, will lose some assistance with Medicare and/or prescription drug costs.
- Prescription Drug Assistance for Certain People over 62 and People with Disabilities: Approximately 5,000-6,000 low-income older adults (over age 62) and people with disabilities who do not have Medicare will lose all assistance they currently receive to afford their prescription medications through the Drugs for the Elderly program (DEL). These are individuals with serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
These MaineCare cuts, of course, must have legislative approval in order to go into effect. Hearings are being held at the State House right now. More details will be coming.