New London

Seniors say loss of Medicare Savings Program is a matter of life or death

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) -- Most seniors who gathered at New London's Senior Center Wednesday weren't even aware the state was considering cuts to the Medicare Savings Program until they received a letter outlining the income eligibility changes.

Dana Parandes of New London got that letter letting him know he is no longer eligible for the program because his income is more than a $1,025 a month. State lawmakers cut the qualifying income limit in half when they passed the budget.

"When they made this decision were they just looking at numbers or were they looking at lives?" asked Parandes.

Related Content: Republican lawmakers push for special session to address Medicare Savings Program 

He says other insurance coverage would cost him another $125 a month, and he doesn't have it. But he does have cancer.

"It's not like we're just cutting a program," said Parandes. "We're affecting whether someone gets cancer treatment."

"Do you know how many people are going to die from this?" asked Linda Langua of New London. "If this bill isn't signed you know how many people are actually going to get hurt and die?"

Seniors came to the Senior Center with concerns and they wanted to leave with some hope. They say there is some relief knowing the January first effective date has been pushed back a couple of months.

"It gives them a little more time leeway to look it over and hopefully get this signed and stopped," said Langua.

Related Content: State agency to slow down implementation of Medicare Savings Program cuts

"It sounds like a best case scenario that they would be called back but what happens if they don't," said Parandes. "Hence the delay and that delay means everything for people like me."

"We have a solution," said Sen. Paul Formica (R) of East Lyme. "We can fix it. We just need to get into session to do so."

Both Senator Paul Formica and Representative Chris Soto (D) of New London signed a petition for a special session.

"My concern is that taking a second look right now just means that we're going to cut another program," said Rep. Soto.

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