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Last week, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and the State Legislature passed a budget that will improve health coverage and care for older adults and people with disabilities in the state. The New York fiscal year 2022-2023 budget expands eligibility for Medicaid and the Medicare Savings Program (MSP), two urgently needed reforms that will help hundreds of thousands of people better access and afford vital services—strengthening health, well-being, and economic security.
Medicaid expansion equalizes Medicaid income eligibility for New Yorkers by increasing the income limit for seniors and people with disabilities from 87% to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL)—the same limit used for individuals eligible for Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) Medicaid through the Marketplace. This income increase ensures that fewer people face a “Medicaid cliff” when they reach Medicare eligibility, which helps to eliminate racial disparities in health care access and remedy a Medicaid eligibility disparity which penalized older adults and individuals with disabilities.
New York’s FY23 budget also expands eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program, a long-overdue reform that Medicare Rights championed alongside partner organizations. The MSP helps older adults and people with disabilities living on low incomes, by paying their Medicare Part B premiums and 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 eligibility limits from at or below 135% to 186% of the federal poverty level will make tens of thousands of low-income New Yorkers eligible for the benefit and will save them $170.10 each month in Part B premiums. Additionally, the Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that Extra Help is worth about $5,100 per year.
At Medicare Rights, we send our profound thanks to Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature—including Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried and Senate Aging Committee Chair Rachel May, who sponsored MSP expansion bills—for supporting these critical reforms. We also thank our partners and advocates throughout New York for tirelessly championing these essential eligibility expansion policies. We look forward to working together to implement and build upon these landmark advancements, including helping more New Yorkers access MSPs to get the lifesaving benefits they need.
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