New State Budget Helps CT's Older Residents Age at Home
Friday, May 6, 2022
The Connecticut General Assembly has passed a $24 billion state budget this week, which now awaits Gov. Ned Lamont's signature.
It includes multiple investments to benefit the state's senior population, including funding to lower the copay for people in the state's Home Care Program for Elders, from 4.5% to 3%. It provides daily assistance at home with things like bathing, dressing, eating and taking medication.
Anna Doroghazi, policy and outreach director for AARP Connecticut, said efforts by the state to make long-term care more affordable are critical.
"What we know is that in the absence of the care that's provided through programs like the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders, people end up going into nursing homes," Doroghazi observed. "Which is a very expensive type of care and a care that's predominantly covered by taxpayers."
The approved budget plan coincides with the end of the legislative session. Doroghazi noted she was disappointed lawmakers did not advance any bills to lower prescription drug prices.
The budget will also create a Community Ombudsman program for home care. Modeled off an existing Long-term Care Ombudsman program, it will support more than 30,000 Connecticut residents who receive home and community-based services through Medicaid.
"If there are issues that come up around the quality of care, if there are concerns with a particular home-care provider, there's not any one particular contact that they can go to," Doroghazi stressed. "And this program will set up that contact."
The budget plan also includes $600 million in tax cuts for Connecticut residents, which Doroghazi added will be helpful for many older people on fixed incomes. It also accelerates the phase-in of the pension and annuity income-tax exemption, by allowing some taxpayers to deduct 100% of their eligible income starting this year.
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