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Maryland Seniors Won This Legislative Session

Two bills signed into law this month in Maryland are geared toward helping people after they retired. (Brenda Massei)
Two bills signed into law this month in Maryland are geared toward helping people after they retired. (Brenda Massei)
May 19, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – AARP in Maryland is celebrating legislative wins for Marylanders and their families after Gov. Larry Hogan signed two bills into law this month that will affect retirement savings and support for family caregivers.

What's called the Care Act requires hospitals to ask patients who their caregiver is, then keep those patients informed about medical issues that come up.

Tammy Bresnahan, director of advocacy for AARP Maryland, says it also requires a meeting between hospital staff and that caregiver. She says that's crucial because there can be a lot of complicated medical information to absorb.

"There's lots of examples where just given a sheet of paper isn't enough to say this is what the patient needs, and we know that they do need some help understanding what is the expectation of the caregiver. "

Bresnahan says there are more than 771,000 caregivers in Maryland. Across the nation, nearly 40 million Americans provided unpaid care to an adult in the past year.

The other bill AARP worked hard to get through the General Assembly is known as Work and Save. It requires private companies with at least five employees to provide a retirement savings plan through payroll deduction.

Bresnahan says about 1 million Maryland workers who aren't offered that option can now participate. She says it means fewer people will be teetering on the edge of poverty once they stop working.

"Currently, people over 50 have less than $1,000 worth of savings toward retirement, and we know what the cost is,” Bresnahan states. “We also know that Social Security isn't a place where, if it's not updated, you know, that three-legged stool can go away very quickly."

AARP is praising Hogan, who is the first Republican governor in the country to sign such a bill. AARP is asking residents to send a letter of thanks to Maryland's lawmakers for passing the bills at action.aarp.org/MDThankYou16.


Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD