Sen. Cano and Rep. Alzate’s legislation will expand Medicare income eligibility


            STATE HOUSE – Sen. Sandra Cano and Rep. Karen Alzate have introduced legislation (2024-S 2399, 2024-H 7333) that would expand income eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program, helping many lower income seniors and disabled residents to access the crucial health care that they need.

            “With health care costs rising at an alarming rate, it is imperative that we make sure that no one goes without the care they need due to unaffordability.  This bill adapts to the significant changes in our society and economy while also ensuring that our most vulnerable senior and disabled residents are able to access the care and medicine that is essential to their daily lives,” said Senator Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket).

            “Too many of our low-income seniors and disabled residents are falling through the cracks and foregoing crucial health care services due to rising copays and out of pocket costs.  This is unacceptable, but thankfully, we can do something about it.  By passing this legislation, thousands of more Rhode Islanders will be able to receive the care that they desperately need while also keeping more money in their pockets that’s needed for daily living expenses,” said Representative Alzate (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket, Central Falls).

            The bill would expand eligibility for the qualified Medicare beneficiary program by increasing the income limit from 100% to 138% of the federal poverty line and would expand eligibility for the qualified individual program by establishing an income limit of 138% to 186% of the federal poverty line.

            Currently, the income limit of $20,331 leaves thousands of senior and disabled low-income Rhode Islanders with significant gaps in coverage and hefty out of pocket costs.

            If the income limit is increased to $28,012, per the legislation, 17,000 more senior and disabled residents of Rhode Island would become eligible for the Medicare Savings Program, assisting them in affording necessary health care and prescription drug costs.

            Senator Cano’s bill has been heard by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and Representative Alzate’s bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee.


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