By Nora Duncan
AARP CT focuses on helping state residents aged 50+ be the very best they can be! Through our legislative advocacy, we focus on critical issues such as Social Security, financial security (retirement), protection against utility rate increases and caregiving services and support.
ENHANCING RETIREMENT SECURITY
AARP is advocating for passage of a new and easier way for residents to build their own private retirement savings when a workplace retirement opportunity doesn’t exist for them. House Bill #5591, An Act Creating the Connecticut Retirement Security Program, is based on the work of the Connecticut Retirement Security Board. Employees would choose retirement savings accounts facilitated by the state, but operated by a third party. These plans can travel with workers who switch jobs so that workers can continue to accumulate savings. The plans would be no cost to the state and low cost to employees, and employers would not be required to contribute to them.
FIGHTING FOR CONSUMER SAVINGS
Many third-party electric suppliers are imposing costly and deceptive enrollment fees on contracts as a tool to get around many recently passed reforms approved by the Legislature, which were supported by AARP. These fees can be as high as $250 and are not reflected in the Energize CT estimated savings calculation that consumers rely on to make informed decisions. AARP is working to enact a ban on enrollment fees. Additionally, we are working to ban cancellation fees on default renewal supply contracts. These are contracts that take effect automatically without affirmative consent of the customer. There is no limit on the rate a supplier can charge for these contracts, and AARP firmly believes that customers should not be subjected to a cancellation fee if they switch to a lower cost supplier or the standard offer through United Illuminating and Eversource. AARP is working to ensure that the standard offer remains a viable and stable option for customers choosing not to enter the third-party electric supply market.
SUPPORTING FAMILY CAREGIVERS
Today, more than 42 million family caregivers nationwide provide unpaid care valued at approximately $450 billion a year. This care involves helping older loved ones remain at home and out of costly institutional care often paid for by Medicaid. This amount is more than the cost of the entire Medicaid program. Connecticut caregivers provide 427 million hours of unpaid family care valued at $5.9 billion annually.
That’s why AARP advocated for the C.A.R.E. Act (Public Act 15-32), a new law that supports unpaid family caregivers when their loved ones transition back home from the hospital, by ensuring that family caregivers are trained to handle medical tasks in the discharge plan and are appropriately designated in the patient’s medical record.
AARP is calling on state leaders to help family caregivers by enacting laws and program changes that will protect the statewide Alzheimer’s Respite Care Program, and support workplace flexibility and protections like Senate Bill # 221, An Act Concerning Paid Family and Medical Leave. This bill would ensure that family caregivers are not asked to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for their loved ones.
HELPING PEOPLE LIVE INDEPENDENTLY IN THEIR OWN HOMES AND COMMUNITIES
Surveys show the vast majority of individuals want to stay in their homes for as long as possible as they age. That’s why AARP believes no one should be forced into costly institutions when they can receive care in their homes. In fact, providing care to an older person at home is one-third of the cost of nursing home care. Specifically, AARP is advocating for:
- Full-funding of the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders, which allows thousands of frail seniors to access affordable, high quality services at home and maintain their independence.
- Strategic initiatives that increase the number of older people who receive home- and community-based services by streamlining eligibility, expanding Connecticut’s long-term services infrastructure and securing additional federal reimbursements for home-care services.
For more information, or to provide us with feedback, please contact us toll-free at 866-295-7279 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nora Duncan is the state director for AARP Connecticut.