AARP staff, volunteers and grassroots advocates in Connecticut won several significant victories for residents aged 50-plus during the most recent legislative session.
See Also: Hold your elected officials accountable
The 2011 Legislative Session, which ended on June 8, saw the passage of numerous bills that will benefit AARP members and all older adults in Connecticut, including bills that protect older adults ability to receive care in their homes and communities as they age; lower electric rates and provide consumer protections for residents purchasing electricity through a retail supplier; require criminal background checks for home health care professionals, expand patient-access to their own medical records, and ensure access to affordable, quality health insurance for the uninsured.
AARP’s top priority again this year was the reduction of a proposed 15% cost-share on clients in the state-funded Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders. After AARP successfully fought to reduce the 15% cost-share to 6% in 2010, Governor Malloy proposed increasing the cost-share to 15% in 2011. The final budget passed by the House and Senate reduced this cost-share to 7%, saving the average person on the program over $70 per month. This reduction will not only enable thousands of frail seniors to stay independent and continue to receive care services in their homes, but by helping seniors delay or avoid costly nursing home care, it actually saves the state money in the long-term. In addition, AARP and our community partners were able to convince the Legislature to keep Level One of the program open to new clients.
AARP also fought to lower your electricity costs by supporting passage of comprehensive energy legislation that will change the way Connecticut buys power and aims to bring our rates more into line with surrounding states, whose rates average about 15% less than Connecticut. The AARP-backed bill on home energy affordability received final legislative approval on June 7, passing both chambers with strong bipartisan votes. The bill is expected to be signed by the Governor. The bill will:
- Reform the electricity procurement process in Connecticut to include more flexibility, so that the state can purchase electricity at more competitive rates and save consumers money on standard electric service
- Give consumers tools to shop competitively for electric suppliers and protect themselves against aggressive or fraudulent marketing practices
- Help residential customers finance the installation of energy efficient burners, boilers, and furnaces
- Provide extra support for low-income families and seniors struggling with electric and natural gas costs