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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

ME health advocates tout benefits of expanded Medicare Savings Plans

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Monday, June 10, 2024   

Maine lawmakers have approved a full expansion of the state's Medicare Savings Plans, ensuring continued eligibility for some 45,000 low-income seniors.

The plans are included in the state's supplemental budget, which Gov. Janet Mills is expected to sign despite her efforts to rein in spending.

Kate Ende, policy director with Consumers for Affordable Healthcare, said beneficiaries can save a minimum of $2,000 a year.

"That can make a huge difference, never mind if somebody's getting help with their deductibles, and copays, and coinsurance as well," said Ende. "So, it can be really life-changing for people."

Ende said Maine's Medicare Savings Plans are considered one of the most expansive in the country - and that eligible residents aged sixty-five and older can already reap the benefits, and retain more of their Social Security earnings by avoiding out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

Maine has one of the oldest populations in the nation, and older adults now represent the fastest growing homeless population.

It's estimated some 45,000 seniors in Maine experience food insecurity and struggle to meet other basic needs.

Ende said reducing healthcare costs for seniors not only improves their overall well-being, but can create positive outcomes for both families and the state's economy.

"You know when somebody can afford their prescription drugs to stay healthy," said Ende, "they might be able to stay in the workforce or help care for a grandchild. So, it's going to have, I think, a much broader impact."

Ende said legislative changes now ensure older individuals earning up to 250% of the federal poverty level, or roughly $34,000 a year, are eligible for the Medicare Savings Plans.

There is new information on eligibility requirements on the Consumers for Affordable Healthcare's hotline at 1-800-965-7476.




Disclosure: Consumers for Affordable Healthcare contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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