© 2021 All Rights reserved WUSF
News, Jazz, NPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Health News Florida

Florida’s Seniors Not Immune To Proposed Medicaid Cuts

With everyone age 65 and older eligible for Medicare, seniors may be the last group that comes to mind when there's talk of Medicaid spending reductions.

But the oldest and most vulnerable in Florida could be hit hard by the Senate's health care bill.

While Medicare pays for hospital and physician care, Medicaid helps low-income seniors with nursing home care, home-based care, eyeglasses, hearing aids and dentures.

More than half a million seniors in Florida rely on Medicaid coverage, including many in rural areas, said Anne Swerlick, an analyst with the Florida Policy Institute.

"We need to keep in mind, this includes the most frail, medically complex and vulnerable residents of these areas," Swerlick said

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports that Florida would lose 34 percent, or $8 billion, of its projected federal health care funding in 2022 under the Senate's proposal.

The state is facing significant growth among its oldest residents, who have the costliest and most intense health care needs, Swerlick said.

Many of the seniors are very poor. To access Medicaid benefits, they can’t have income above 88 percent of poverty or $885 per month for a single person, she said.

Medicaid covers 61 percent of all nursing home days in Florida, she said. The program also helps seniors pay for their Medicare premiums, deductibles, co-pays and prescription drugs.

“These are all necessary in order for low-income Medicare beneficiaries to be able to access the coverage that is offered under Medicare,” Swerlick said. 

Copyright 2017 Health News Florida

WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.