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Law Expands Prescription Assistance in PA

The new law makes an additional 17,000 Pennsylvania seniors eligible for PACENET benefits. (pxhere)
The new law makes an additional 17,000 Pennsylvania seniors eligible for PACENET benefits. (pxhere)
November 23, 2018

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania is helping more low-income seniors afford the prescription medications they need.

In the final days of this year's legislative session, lawmakers unanimously approved House Bill 270, raising the maximum income limits of the PACENET program for the first time in 15 years.

According to Bill Johnston-Walsh, state director of AARP Pennsylvania, the law means individuals 65 and older with annual incomes up to $27,500 and couples up to $35,500 now qualify for the program.

"It's great news for older Pennsylvanians who need help paying for prescription drugs, and we all know how hard that is these days,” Johnston-Walsh states. “A lot of people are choosing between paying for their prescription drugs or putting food on the table or paying for their utilities."

The raised limit means an additional 17,000 Pennsylvanians now qualify for PACENET's low-cost prescription program.

Together, PACENET and PACE, the program for seniors with incomes well below the federal poverty level, currently provide benefits to more than 280,000 seniors in the state.

And as Johnston-Walsh points out, raising the maximum income will not raise taxes.

"PACE and PACENET pharmaceutical programs are funded with Pennsylvania Lottery proceeds and do not cost taxpayers any dollars whatsoever, which is a great benefit to all Pennsylvanians," he states.

The program is administered by Pennsylvania's Department of Aging.

Johnston-Walsh adds that seniors can enroll even if they already have supplemental insurance coverage such as a Medicare wraparound plan.

"They can still have that and then have PACE or PACENET if they are eligible for it to really pay for those additional dollars that are not covered by your other insurance or by Medicare," he states.

Additional information is available from the Department of Aging by calling 1-800-225-7223.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA