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Below is a news release from the Governor’s office regarding the prescription drug program for retirees who are over 65 and Medicare eligible. The program is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2019. The MTA, FOP, and the MSPAA have been working together to try and get some relief for state retirees affected by this program. Although the Governor has been trying to deal with a law that was created in 2011, he cannot change it without the cooperation of the legislature. This effort by the Governor will assist us to some degree for the year 2019. We have suggested to you over the years that you should keep an eye on what the legislature is doing. Again, this was O’Malley’s program in 2011 and here we are in 2018 having to deal with the confusion and trauma it has caused to all state retirees. And those of you out there that haven’t reached 65, it’s coming for you too.
This is not an ideal fix for retirees, but it is a step in the right direction. We can hope that in the future we will be able to get back into the state program. The MTA Board of Directors along with all the other Fraternal Police Organizations encourage all state employees, retired and active, to contact their State Delegate and State Senator and demand to know what their position will be on the Governor’s proposal. After all it is an election year and everyone is campaigning for votes.
Governor Larry Hogan, General Assembly Provide Assistance to State Retirees Transitioning to Medicare Part D
Will Reimburse Out-of-Pocket Expenses; Provide Additional Aid for Low-Income Retirees
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan, together with Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller and Speaker of the House Michael E. Busch, today announced that the state will provide assistance to State of Maryland retirees who are transitioning to Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage on January 1, 2019.
As part of state pension reform legislation passed in 2011, retired state employees eligible for Medicare will be moving from the state’s prescription program to the federal Medicare Part D program on January 1, 2019.
To help alleviate the impact of the transition, the Hogan administration and presiding officers announced that the state will institute a one-year transition program that will reimburse all out-of-pocket pharmaceutical expenses for impacted retirees in excess of $1,500, which is the limit under the current state plan. This program will be open to all state retirees shifting to Medicare Part D prescription coverage on January 1, 2019. This announcement is the result of the Hogan administration and the presiding officers working in a collaborative, bipartisan manner to evaluate the best options in order to assist state retirees.
Additionally, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), with the support of the General Assembly, will provide further ongoing assistance for these retirees through the existing Senior Prescription Drug Assistance Program (SPDAP) in the Maryland Department of Health. SPDAP assists low- and middle-income Maryland residents with their Medicare Part D premium and coverage gap costs and applies to people whose income is 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level or below (less than $36,420 for one person and $49,380 for two people.)
Currently the program provides a maximum of $40 per month to assist eligible participants cover their Medicare Part D premiums and $1,000 toward the coverage gap subsidy.
“Our administration has consistently worked to make Maryland a better place to retire, including providing tax relief for retirees three out of four years in office,” said Governor Hogan. “This is another example of the bipartisan solutions we have been able to achieve here in Maryland by working together. I am glad that our administration was able to work with legislative leadership to provide this relief for state retirees who will be affected by this change.”
“We have the deepest respect for people who dedicated their careers to public service, and we have an obligation to help them make this transition as seamlessly as possible,” said Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller. “The solution we’re announcing today will honor our commitment to our retirees.”
“The actions taken in Congress left retirees in the untenable position of having to transition to Medicare Part D more quickly than originally planned,” said Speaker Michael E. Busch. “The Governor, President and Maryland House of Delegates have been working diligently to help ease this transition for our retirees and I am pleased that we have come up with a short-term solution that gives us more time to help those retirees with overwhelming prescription drug costs.”
The Maryland Department of Budget and Management will work with the State Retirement Agency to actively engage state retirees who might be eligible for the program and commits to fully funding the program as it currently exists and covering additional costs as the result of new enrollment from state retirees. Program details will be shared as they are finalized and will be posted on the DBM benefits website athttp://dbm.maryland.gov/benefi