My wife and I are in our late 80s. Recently, we made the trip to Augusta to testify against the governor’s proposed budget cuts to the MSP and DEL programs that help cover Medicare expenses and prescription drugs for seniors and people with disabilities.

He also wants to eliminate the MaineCare “ineligible spouse disregard” rule that prevented me from losing help from these programs earlier this year.

In January, we were told that we’d lose help because we are $7 over the income guidelines. We were very worried because I have lots of serious medical conditions.

With these changes, we had to start paying for my wife’s Medicare costs, including the Part B Premium of $104.50/month, and all Medicare deductibles, co-insurance and co-payments. Fortunately, though, thanks to the “ineligible spouse disregard” rule, I was able to continue to get help. This is so important to us since I have frequent hospital and doctor visits.

Just recently, we did challenge the way our income was calculated so my wife’s assistance has been restored. But if it had not, we both would have been sick with worry about how we could afford to pay for her Medicare expenses.

Now legislators are deciding whether or not to accept the governor’s proposal to eliminate the “ineligible spouse disregard” rule.

If they go along with his proposal, many elderly couples will face financial ruin and likely will not be able to afford the health care they need.

Robert Fennell


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