Last week, the Massachusetts legislature passed a $52.7 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23). Here are some of the items that support older adults and healthy aging:
The Boston Business Journal reports that roughly 60,000 low-income Massachusetts older adults can anticipate more than $300 million in cost relief through an expansion of the state’s Medicare Savings Program, which was included in the new state budget.
The BBJ cites Mass Senior Action Council’s estimate that raising the income eligibility from 165 percent of the federal poverty level to 225 percent will open the door for 15,000 seniors to access enhanced program benefits. The Journal added the budget item will also grant 45,000 people first-time access to the Medicare Savings Program, which covers Medicare premiums and lowers prescription costs.
Other items include:
- $230 million for Chapter 257 rates for health and human service workers, $40 million to continue higher rate add-ons and ensure a smaller wage cliff between FY22 and FY23 for home health aides and homemakers, and $1 million for the Nursing and Allied Health Workforce Development program.
- Support for Elder Mental Health Outreach Teams (EMHOTs), nine Elder Supportive Housing Sites, and the SHINE Program.
- $20 million in Healthy Incentives Programs to maintain access to healthy food options for households in need
- $219.4 million for Emergency Assistance Family Shelters, more than $200 million for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), $175 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) and $92 million for assistance to local housing authorities.
More information and detail are available on the legislature’s website.