Protect Low-Income People with Medicare Urged by
Aging, Disability, Faith-Based Groups
organizations call for Congress to make Medicare QI Program permanent
9, 2013 – The National Council on Aging
(NCOA) and 59 other diverse national organizations are urging Congress
to make the low-income Medicare Qualified Individual (QI) program
permanent as part of the Medicare physician payment (SGR) bill,
scheduled to be considered by the Senate Finance
and House Ways and Means
Committees this week.
QI program pays Part B premiums for Medicare beneficiaries with incomes
of between 120-135% of poverty (about $14,000-$15,500 a year) and less
than $7,080 in assets. Without the QI benefit, these vulnerable seniors
could be forced to drop their Part B benefit and lose access to their
doctors—or pay over $1,200 in new, additional premiums.
December 2002, QI funding has been extended on a year-to-year basis—as
part of “extenders” packages, crafted primarily to ensure that Medicare
physician payments are not drastically cut. Once again, current QI
funding will end Dec. 31, 2013 unless Congress acts.
than half of Medicare QI beneficiaries already spend over a quarter of
their meager incomes on health care. Without QI assistance, this would
rise to about 40% of their income.
Congress fails to make the QI program permanent, a senior with just a
$14,000 income could only have $9,000 left for all their other living
NCOA Vice President of Public Policy & Advocacy. “Congress should not
leave low-income Medicare beneficiaries out in the cold.”
Congress can provide protection and stability for half a million
vulnerable, low-income beneficiaries by making the QI program permanent
as part of a broader, bipartisan package to reform Medicare physician
payments. NCOA and the other leading national organizations are asking
Congress to fix both problems at the same time, ensuring that all people
with Medicare have access to physicians and quality, affordable health
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the
nation’s leading nonprofit service and advocacy organization
representing older adults and the community organizations that serve
them. Our goal is to improve the health and economic security of 10
million older adults by 2020. For more than 60 years, NCOA has been a
trusted voice and innovative problem-solver helping seniors navigate the
challenges of aging in America. We work with local and national partners
to give older adults tools and information to stay healthy and secure,
and we advocate for programs and policies to improve the lives of all
seniors, especially the most vulnerable. For more information, please
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