Our Programs

C.H.O.I.C.E.S.

CHOICES Training

The CHOICES Program (Connecticut's programs for Health insurance, Outreach, Information and Eligibility Screening) is designated as the official State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) for Connecticut. It is funded in large part by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. It provides unbiased information and counseling, on Medicare, Medigap, Medicare Managed Care, Medicaid, Medicare Savings Program, Long Term Care Insurance and other related state & federal programs. The CHOICES program works in cooperation with the CT Department of Social Services, Elderly Services Division and the Center for Medicare Advocacy and is administered by the five Area Agencies on Aging in Connecticut. Area Agencies on Aging are private, not-for-profit organizations which serve the needs of older adults or individuals with disabilities. The CHOICES program is a focal point for information, program development and advocacy.

Each Area Agency on Aging is staffed by counselors who have received extensive training in health insurance issues. They can provide written and verbal information and can refer interested persons to trained counselors in local communities for one-on-one, in-person assistance as needed. CHOICES counselors are able to meet with seniors, persons with a disability and other Medicare beneficiaries or their families at various community sites. Counselors do not sell insurance. They provide the information and assistance necessary for consumers to understand their rights, receive benefits to which they are entitled and make informed choices about health insurance concerns.

If you would like to become a CHOICES certified counselor, or if you need help, please call WCAAA at 800-994-9422 or 203-757-5449.

Long Term Options Support

Long Term Options Support encompasses a variety of services that include medical and non-medical care to consumers. The program empowers individuals, older adults, people with disabilities and caregivers to plan and prepare for the future. The program is a free, confidential, unbiased "One-Stop-Shop" source to provide information on Medicare, Medicaid, long term care insurance, prescription drug assistance, Veteran's benefits and services available for seniors. Long Term Options Support can be provided at home, in the community, in assisted living or in nursing homes. It is important to remember that you may need support at any age. Our CHOICES counselors provide consumers with clear, impartial information regarding Long Term Options Support and the need to plan for the future.
For more information please call the WCAAA at 203-757-5449 or 800-994-9422.


State of CT Partnership for Long Term Care 1-800-547-3443

Medicare
What is Medicare?

  • Medicare is a National Health Insurance Program for people 65 years of age and older

  • Certain persons with disabilities under the age of 65

  • People with end stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant)

Medicare is not an entitlement program and should not be confused with Medicaid. The income and assets of a Medicare applicant are not a consideration in determining eligibility or benefit payment.

Medicare has four components, Part A, Part B Part C and Part D:

Part A covers inpatient hospital care, hospice care, inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility, and home health care services. Individuals have either paid into Medicare over the course of their employment and automatically become enrolled at age 65, or, if they have been a legal resident for five years or more, they can buy into Medicare.

Part B covers medical care and services provided by doctors and other medical practitioners, durable medical equipment, some outpatient care and home health care services. Individuals choose to become enrolled in Part B when they become eligible for Medicare and pay a monthly premium for that enrollment. If you don't sign up for part b when you are first eligible, you may have to pay a late penalty.

Part C or Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are health plan options that are part of the Medicare program. If you join one of these plans, you generally get all your Medicare-covered health care through that plan which can include prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans include: Health Maintenance Organization (HMOs), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), Private fee-for-service plans and special needs plans.

Part D covers some prescription drug expenses. Part D is available to any Medicare beneficiary who has Medicare Part A or Part B or both. Part D drug plans are sold by private companies. There is a monthly premium, an annual deductible & co-payments for each prescription and costs vary from plan to plan. Enrollment in Part D is optional. But if you do not sign up when you are first eligible & change your mind later on, you may have to pay a penalty of a higher premium. However, there are some exceptions to the penalty.
"Extra Help" for Medicare beneficiaries may be available for those with limited income & assets to help pay part or all of the costs.

There is a Medicare Annual Enrollment period however, there are exceptions. If you first become eligible for Medicare, you can enroll into a Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Plan) the first day you become eligible for Part A or Part B. You can also enroll in a Medicare D when you first become eligible for low income subsidy.

Medicare

State of CT Department on Aging

Medicare Savings Programs (QMB, SLMB, and QI Programs)

The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary program (QMB), Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary program (SLMB), and Qualified Individual program (QI), help Medicare beneficiaries of modest means pay all or some of Medicare's cost sharing amounts (ie. premiums, deductibles and co-payments). To qualify an individual must be eligible for Medicare and must meet certain income guidelines which change annually. The income guidelines change April 1st of each year. These programs are administered by the State Department of Social Services (DSS).

All three levels pay the Medicare part B premium ($109 or $134, for most) and it eliminates any premium penalty. It also enrolls you automatically in Extra Help for your prescription coverage, which pays some or all of the Medicare part D premium costs and your co-pays are reduced to no more than $8.25 for each medication. Only QMB acts like a Medicare supplement and pays the out of pocket expenses for Medicare Part A and B.

Medicare Savings Program Monthly Income Limits
Single Couple
QMB $2,120.55 $2,854.83
SLMB $2,321.55 $3,125.43
ALMB $2,472.30 $3,328.38

Medicare Savings Program Application

2017 Benchmark Plans (CT Approved Zero Premium for People on Extra-Help)

Original Medicare
Medicare will pay for care that is medically "reasonable and necessary" for the treatment of an illness or injury. Medicare does not pay for services that are "routine or custodial" or inpatient care that can be provided by persons without professional skills/training.

Original Medicare is a fee-for-service plan managed by the Federal Government:

  • Use your red, white, and blue Medicare card when you receive health care

  • Go to any doctor or supplier that accepts Medicare and is accepting new Medicare patients, or to any hospital or other facility

  • Pay a set amount for your health care, a deductible, before Medicare pays its part. Then, Medicare pays its share and you pay your share, your coinsurance or copayment, for covered services and supplies.

  • You may have a Medigap policy or other supplemental coverage that may pay deductibles, coinsurance, or other costs that aren't covered by Original Medicare.

Medicare

Medigap (Medicare Supplemental Plans)

A Medigap policy is health insurance sold by private insurance companies to fill the "gaps" in Original Medicare Plan coverage. Medigap policies help pay some of the health care costs that the Original Medicare Plan doesn't cover. If you are in the Original Medicare Plan and have a Medigap policy, then Medicare and your Medigap policy will pay both their shares of covered health care costs.

Insurance companies can only sell you a "standardized" Medigap policy. These Medigap policies must all have specific benefits so you can compare them easily. You may be able to choose up to 10 different standardized Medigap policies (Medigap Plans A through N). Medigap policies must follow Federal and State laws. These laws protect you. A Medigap policy must be clearly identified on the cover as "Medicare Supplement Insurance." Each plan, A through N, has a different set of basic and extra benefits. It's important to compare Medigap policies because costs can vary. The core benefits in any Medigap Plan A through N are the same for any insurance company. Each insurance company decides which Medigap policies it wants to sell.

Generally, when you buy a Medigap policy you must have Medicare Part A and Part B. You will have to pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium. In addition, you will have to pay a premium to the Medigap insurance company.

You and your spouse must each buy separate Medigap policies. Your Medigap policy won't cover any health care costs for your spouse.

Medigap (Medicare Supplemental Plans) Rate Chart

Medicaid (Title 19)

Medicaid is a needs-based program which was created by Congress to help pay for medical care for those aged and disabled persons as well as indigent children and their caregiver relatives who meet strict eligibility criteria. It is jointly financed by the federal and state government and administered through the CT Department of Social Services. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid applicants must satisfy both the financial and non-financial eligibility requirements and the rules for establishing eligibility for Medicaid vary for a person living at home vs. a person residing in a nursing home.

Persons who meet all of the Medicaid eligibility rules, but whose income is too high are permitted to "spend down" their income to establish Medicaid eligibility for 6 month period of time. The "spend down" is similar in concept to a deductible amount in health insurance. After the person's "spend down" has been accomplished and proven, Medicaid will cover the individual's Medicaid-covered medical care for the rest of the 6 month period.

The biggest change is "Medicaid expansion" for adults without dependent children.  With new federal funding, Connecticut is expanding Medicaid eligibility for adults aged 19 up to 65, effective January 1, 2014.  The maximum income level to qualify for this part of Medicaid (HUSKY D) is rising from about 56% to 138% of the federal poverty level.

The Affordable Care Act is also changing how children and families qualify for other parts of Medicaid/HUSKY Health.  A new way in calculating income eligibility took effect January 1, 2014.

This change affects HUSKY A (Medicaid for children, parents, relative caregivers and pregnant women); and HUSKY B (non-Medicaid Children's Health Insurance Program for children and teens under age 19).  For example:

  • The maximum income level to qualify for HUSKY A for children and parents/relative caregivers is rising from 185% to 201% of the federal poverty level.

  • The maximum income level to qualify for HUSKY A for pregnant women is rising from 250% to 263% of the federal poverty level.

  • The maximum income level to qualify for a child to qualify for subsidized coverage in HUSKY B is rising from 300% to 323% of the federal poverty level.

HUSKY C (Medicaid for the Aged/Blind/Disabled, including long-term care) is not affected by these changes.

The Department of Social Services, administering agency for Medicaid/HUSKY Health, is working with Access Health CT, the state's new health insurance marketplace, to coordinate the application process for health coverage.

Connecticut residents may apply for Medicaid/HUSKY Health at any time of the year.

Applications for Medicaid may be obtained from most nursing WCAAA facilities or from the CT Department of Social Services (DSS) regional offices. In addition, each town in Connecticut has a Municipal Agent for the Elderly, who can assist with Medicaid information and application assistance.

State of CT Department of Social Services

WCAAA COUNSELING SITES FOR MEDICARE - additional sites are open during special enrollment periods and be announced on this website.

Danbury Senior Center
10 Elmwood Place, Danbury
203-797-4684
By appointment only

Waterbury Senior Center
1981 E. Main Street, Waterbury
203-574-6746

Torrington Senior Center
88 East Albert Street, Torrington
860-489-2211
By appointment only

Winsted Senior Center
80 Holabird Avenue, Winsted
3rd Thursday of each month, 9am-12noon

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Income Assistance Programs and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI provides monthly cash assistance to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits are also available to people over the age of 65 who meet financial eligibility. SSI provides cash benefits to meet basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. To be eligible, a beneficiary has to meet both the income and asset guidelines.

Social Security Administration

Connecticut Supplemental Income Program

A program administered by the Department of Social Services (DSS) in Connecticut. It provides additional cash assistance beyond the Federal SSI amount. However, the actual receipt of SSI is not required. For example, if a person receives a low monthly Social Security benefit, private pension, veteran's benefits, or limited income from other source, he/she may still qualify for the State Supplement Program. To qualify, the person must be 65 years of age or older, blind or disabled. In addition, he/she has to meet both the income and assets guidelines. For more information, please contact your local Department of Social Services office:

249 Thomaston Avenue, Waterbury, CT 06702-1397, 203-597-4000
Towns served: Beacon Falls, Cheshire, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Oxford, Prospect, Southbury, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott

342 Main Street, Danbury, CT 06810, 203-207-8900
Towns served: Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Sherman

62 Commercial Boulevard, Suite 1, Torrington, CT 06790-9983, 860-496-6900
Towns served: Barkhamsted, Bethlehem, Canaan, Colebrook, Cornwall, Goshen, Hartland, Harwinton, Kent, Litchfield, Morris, New Hartford, Norfolk, North Canaan, Roxbury, Salisbury, Sharon, Thomaston, Torrington, Warren, Washington, Winchester, Woodbury

Property Tax Assistance for Homeowners
Circuit Breaker is a statewide property tax relief program providing property tax credits to elderly homeowners. To qualify a person must:

  • be 65 years of age or older or

  • have a spouse who is 65 or older or

  • Be at least 50 years old and the surviving spouse of someone who was eligible for the program at the time of their death

  • occupy the property for which they are applying for a tax credit

  • have lived in CT for at least one year prior to applying for the program

  • annual income limits, contact your city or town tax assessor

  • filing period is from February 1st to May 15th of each year

Most cities and towns have their own property tax relief or tax deferral programs in addition to the state Circuit Breaker program. For more information on your town's program or to apply for either of the programs, please contact your city or town's tax assessor's office.

UTILITY & HOUSING ASSISTANCE

Frontier Lifeline Discounted Phone Service
Lifeline is the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) mandated program for telephone customers on state or federal assistance programs that will reduce their recurring monthly fees.  Lifeline customers may receive an additional credit for a portion of the federal subscriber line charge, and may be exempt from the local number portability charges and universal service fund. All providers of local telephone service are required to provide the Lifeline credit to all of their qualifying customers who request it.

CT Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)

CEAP is a federally funded program managed by Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS). Applications are taken and fuel deliveries ordered through local Community Action Agencies. CEAP provides financial assistance for payment of primary heat bill for households at or below 200% Federal Poverty Levels (FPL). (Households with income between 200% FPL and 60% State Median should apply for CHAP; Households with income up to 100% State Median may apply for Operation Fuel). Amount of assistance depends upon household income, and whether heat is included in rent. Assistance is paid for the client directly to the energy vendor, except in the case of renters whose heat is included in rent. This group receives a direct payment.

CEAP

Contingency Heating Assistance Program (CHAP)

One time Basic Benefit is to primary source-of-heat vendor for households between 150% Federal Poverty (FPL) and 60% of the State Median Income. (Households with income at or below 200% FPL should apply for CEAP; Households with income up to 100% State Median may apply for Operation Fuel) In addition, CHAP eligible households that heat with a deliverable fuel (oil, propane, wood, coal, kerosene) and have exhausted their Basic Benefit may qualify for a one time Crisis Benefit of deliverable fuel. Program is administered by the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS). Applications are taken and fuel deliveries are ordered through local Community Action Agencies.

CHAP

Operation Fuel

Operation Fuel partners with communities, businesses, government and individuals to ensure people in need have access to year-round energy assistance. Operation Fuel awards a grant to be used for heating expenses only. Amount of assistance depends upon income level and is up to the discretion of the local fuel bank. Payments are made directly to fuel or utility vendors. This is a private program and towns sometimes opt not to participate. For elderly, age 65 or older, or for extreme emergencies, Operation Fuel may pay an additional benefit amount.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • household income at or below 100% State Median Income

  • must apply for state energy assistance first.

  • asset limit

  • household must be in a financial crisis situation: A "financial crisis" is considered to be a situation in which a family must choose between paying for their energy needs, buying food, paying the rent or mortgage, or paying medical bills as a result of unemployment, illness, death, or other emergencies.

Operation Fuel, Inc.
One Regency Drive, Suite 200, Bloomfield, CT 06002
860-243-2345 or 800-354-7199

Weatherization Assistance Program

The Weatherization Assistance Program is administered by the State of Connecticut, Department of Social Services (DSS). Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. In Connecticut, the State contracts with the community action agency (CAA) network to operate the program, which shares a single application process with the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP). The purpose of the program is to assist low-income families with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty guidelines reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.

Reverse Mortgages for Seniors

A Reverse Annuity Mortgage is a special type of home loan that allows a senior homeowner to convert part or all of their home equity into cash to meet monthly expenses, pay unexpected medical expenses, make home improvements or other needs. You can receive monthly payments, a lump sum, or a line of credit or a combination of both. Most reverse mortgages do not require any payment of principal, interest or other servicing fees for as long as you live in your home. Three different reverse mortgage plans are available: FHA-insured; lender-insured; and uninsured. It is important to find out the benefits and drawbacks of each plan. Reverse Mortgages are complicated processes and you might want to consult a lawyer or financial advisor before you apply. If you are interested in a reverse mortgage, beware of scam artists that charge thousands of dollars for information that is free.

VETERAN'S SERVICES

Veterans Advocacy & Assistance program provides information and assistance to the state's veterans and their dependents in obtaining rights, benefits and privileges to which they may be entitled to under law. Veterans Homes & Hospitals provide comprehensive services for veterans ranging from inpatient hospital care to residential rehabilitation services.

Advocacy and Assistance

CT Department of Veteran Affairs
75 Middle Street, Bridgeport, CT 06604
203-336-2570

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
950 Campbell Avenue, West Haven CT 06516
203-931-0460

Soldiers, Sailors & Marines Fund
350 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604
203-331-8876
A state agency to assist veterans and their families in financial & medical issues

TRICARE for Life (TFL)
888-363-5433
Provides expanded medical coverage for Medicare eligible retirees, including retired guard members and reservists, Medicare eligible family members and widows or widowers

Clinics, Homes & Hospitals

VA Outpatient Clinic
1275 Summer Street, Suite 102, Stamford, CT 06902
203-325-0649

CT Department of Veterans Home/Hospital
287 West Street, Rocky Hill, CT 06067
860-529-2571

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
555 Willard Avenue, Newington, CT 06111
860-666-6951

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center
950 Campbell Avenue, West Haven, CT 06516
203-932-5711

Waterbury Outpatient Clinic
95 Scovill Street, Waterbury, CT 06706
203-465-5292

VA Outpatient Clinic
7 Germantown Rd. Suite 28, Danbury, CT 06810
203-798-8422

VA Outpatient Clinic
115 Spenser Street, Winsted, CT 06098
860-738-6985