Approximately 85,000 Wisconsin residents over the age of 65 depend on SeniorCare. The program was enacted in 2002 to ensure that low-income seniors would not have to choose between paying for prescription drugs and paying for other life essentials like food and housing. The proposed changes to SeniorCare put Wisconsin seniors at risk as many may not be able to afford the increased costs of purchasing insurance through Medicare Part D on their limited budgets.
Governor Walker proposed similar changes to SeniorCare in 2011, but they were removed by the Joint Finance Committee after 15,000 signatures were collected in opposition to the proposal. A similar petition was started this week by several state legislators.
Women make up 56% of all older Medicare beneficiaries and two-thirds of beneficiaries ages 85 or older. The proposed SeniorCare changes would disproportionately affect elderly women, as women live longer than men, on average, and experience a greater share of health and functional problems in their old age. Additionally, older women often have less income and receive lower Social Security and pension benefits than older men, due to lower-paying jobs and less time spent in the workforce during their working years.
Stay tuned for more updates and further information on how these proposed changes could affect Wisconsin women!