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AARP Colorado Volunteers Avoid Cuts to Senior Services

At the beginning of the legislative session in January, AARP Colorado informed our volunteers that food-insecure seniors needed their help and our local AARP volunteers came to the rescue.

See Also: AARP Colorado Legislative Volunteers Hit the Statehouse

AARP Colorado’s volunteers responded by calling their representatives because they know older Coloradans need our help immediately.

“This is why I say AARP Colorado has the best volunteers in the country,” said AARP Colorado advocacy director Kelli Fritts. “They always come through for our most vulnerable senior population.”

Colorado currently funds only 10 percent of the total need for senior services, including home-delivered meals, meals at nutrition centers, transportation, in-home services and ombudsman services for nursing home facilities. The “cut” threat was real. There was an action that would have eliminated the general fund portion of State Funded Senior Services. Granted, Colorado’s most vulnerable seniors do need to see an increase in funds, but in an extremely tight budget year, the members of the budget committee heard AARP loud and clear, and thanks to our dedicated volunteers, senior services will not experience any cuts in this budget go-around.

However, we at AARP Colorado are disappointed that our opposition to SB-213 didn’t result in a defeat. The legislature is working out the details, but unfortunately the bill passed both houses and since it was a part of the budget deal, it will soon be headed for the Gov. John Hickenlooper for his signature.

“This bill is a direct attack on working families, as it imposes unnecessary premiums on children enrolled in the CHP+ program,” said AARP Colorado’s senior state director Morie Smile. “It will hurt kids because working families will not be able to afford the monthly premiums.

Between 205 percent and 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Line will be included in the program, but premiums of $20 per month for the first enrolled child and $10 per month for each additional child up to a cap of $50 a month will be added to such families within the above FPL.

The fiscal note estimates that 20 percent of children – a number totaling almost 2,400 kids – will drop coverage as a result of the bill passing.

“AARP’s staff and volunteers understand the Legislature does the best job it can with limited resources, and we thank our volunteers for their advocacy efforts, which staved off cuts to senior services,” Fritts said. “But it is hard to celebrate when we know that health coverage for some of Colorado’s children is falling by the wayside.”