Expanding the Medicare Savings Program: A Potential Lifeline for Rhode Island’s Low-Income Older Adults

The high cost of healthcare can be a significant burden for many older adults, particularly those on fixed incomes. Medicare, the federal health insurance program for individuals aged 65 and older, helps cover some medical expenses, but it’s not always enough. Medicare Part B premiums, co-pays, and deductibles can create financial hardship, forcing tough choices between vital medications and basic necessities. The Medicare Savings Program (MSP) is a federal program designed to assist low-income older adults and people with disabilities enrolled in Medicare. It helps cover the costs associated with Medicare Part B premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. However, eligibility for MSP is based on income and asset limits, leaving many who could benefit excluded from the program.


The Case for Expansion in Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, thousands of older adults on Medicare struggle to afford the out-of-pocket costs associated with the program. The current income eligibility threshold for the state’s MSP may not adequately reflect the economic realities faced by many older adults. This can lead to situations where individuals are forced to forgo necessary medical care or medications due to financial constraints.

To address this issue, legislators in Rhode Island have proposed expanding the state’s MSP program. Senate Bill S. 2399 and House Bill H. 7333 aim to increase the income eligibility threshold for MSP participation. Additionally, these bills propose eliminating strict asset limits, further broadening the program’s reach. While the proposed MSP expansion legislation has garnered significant support from advocacy groups and healthcare professionals, its passage remains uncertain. The bills are currently under review by legislative committees, and the Governor’s budget has not yet allocated funding for the program’s expansion. Read more…



Expanding the Medicare Savings Program in Rhode Island has the potential to significantly improve access to affordable healthcare for low-income older adults. By providing financial assistance for Medicare costs, this program could improve health outcomes, alleviate financial strain, and benefit the state’s economy. As the legislative process unfolds, it will be crucial to monitor developments and advocate for the well-being of Rhode Island’s most vulnerable populations. Read more…


Review the bills here: