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AARP Alert: Seniors’ Prescriptions; MassHealth Dental Benefits at Risk

AARP Alert: Seniors’ Prescriptions; MassHealth Dental Benefits at Risk

May 26, 2010

Deborah Banda, State Director of AARP Massachusetts sent over their latest alert, which we fully endorse:

As the Massachusetts Senate begins its debate on the Fiscal Year 2011 state budget, Senators need to hear from you. At risk: Funding that helps seniors afford their prescriptions, and dental health benefits for adults with low-incomes. Whether you rely on these benefits, know someone who does, or feel compelled to speak out for those who most need our help, please call 1-888-259-9789 today. Ask your Senator to restore funding to Prescription Advantage, the state’s pharmacy assistance program that works in tandem with Medicare, and reinstate dental services to adults in MassHealth.

Right now, 60,000 Bay State seniors count on Prescription Advantage to help pay for the medication that keeps them healthy and out of more expensive care. But, the program now operates at a bare-bones level, having sustained cut after cut; most enrollees have already lost premium and initial copayment assistance.

As part of the Fiscal Year 2011 state budget deliberations, Sen. Mark Montigny has filed an amendment that would redirect some of the tax credits for the biotech industry to Prescription Advantage. This action would bring the program’s funding back up to the Fiscal Year 2010 level. AARP strongly supports the Montigny amendment.

AARP also supports the amendment filed by Senator Harriet Chandler to restore dental health benefits for adults in MassHealth. Let me be frank: Proper dental care, including dentures, is not a luxury. For older persons, in particular, they are key to getting proper nutrition and staying healthy. If the Chandler amendment does not pass, more than 700,000 adults, including 130,000 seniors, in Massachusetts will lose access to regular dental services.

I urge you to voice your support for these important amendments, and call your State Senator today. Please call 1-888-259-9789. Ask your Senator to:

  1. SUPPORT: Restore Funding to Prescription Advantage – Amendment would redirect some of the tax credits for the biotech industry to Prescription Advantage. This would bring the funding level back to the FY10 level. This amendment was filed by Senator Mark Montigny.
  2. SUPPORT: Preserve Dental Services to Adults in MassHealth – Amendment would allow for current level of dental benefits for adults in MassHealth. If this is not passed, only emergency dental services (does not include dentures) will be available for MassHealth beneficiaries. This amendment was filed by Senator Harriett Chandler.

For more information, or to read my editorial, “Stop the Cuts,” about the impact of state budget cuts on older Massachusetts residents, recently published by The Fifty Plus Advocate, visit AARP Massachusetts online.