— Statement by Fred Riccardi, President of the Medicare Rights Center —
New York, NY—The Medicare Rights Center commends New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for passing a budget that will improve health coverage and care for older New Yorkers and people with disabilities.
The New York FY23 budget expands income eligibility for Medicaid for older adults and people with disabilities, an urgently needed reform that will help more people better access and afford vital services—strengthening the health, well-being, and economic security of older adults, people with disabilities, and their families.
The budget also expands eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP), a long-overdue reform that that Medicare Rights championed alongside our partner organizations. MSP eligibility limits have not changed in four decades.
The MSP helps older adults and people with disabilities living on limited incomes, by paying their Medicare Part B premiums and automatically enrolling them in “Extra Help,” the federal prescription drug subsidy program. This financial assistance can be a lifeline, allowing enrollees to maintain their Medicare coverage; access needed care; and afford other necessities, like food and rent.
Raising the MSP income eligibility limits to 186% of the federal poverty level will help tens of thousands of older New Yorkers with modest incomes and those living with disabilities eligible for the benefits to pay for their Medicare Part B premiums and prescription drug costs, saving them on average over $7,000 annually based on the cost of the monthly premium and value of the Extra Help benefit.
Medicare Rights thanks Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, Senate Aging Committee Chair Rachel May, Senate Health Committee Chair Gustavo Rivera, and State Legislators for supporting these critical reforms; and advocates throughout New York for tirelessly championing these essential eligibility expansion policies. Medicare Rights looks forward to working together to implement and build upon these landmark advancements, including helping more New Yorkers access the lifesaving benefits they need.