Ryan Urges Illinois Seniors to Take Advantage of Expanded Prescription Drug Coverage
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2000
RYAN URGES ILLINOIS SENIORS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EXPANDED PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE
SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today encouraged senior citizens and disabled adults who already participate in the Circuit Breaker program to take advantage of the opportunity to apply early to add prescription medication coverage.
"I urge Circuit Breaker recipients to review the mailing they have received from the Department of Revenue to see whether they want to add prescription medicine coverage," Ryan said.
"With the burden of rising drug costs on those with fixed incomes, the reconfigured and expanded Pharmaceutical Assistance program was one of the most important bills I signed this year."
Nearly 190,000 Circuit Breaker recipients, who chose not to participate in the Pharmaceutical Assistance program last year, have been mailed applications to add that coverage effective January 1. As of today, 17,017 current Circuit Breaker recipients have signed up for Pharmaceutical Assistance.
Ryan said that with the changes, individuals who had chosen last year not to participate in the Pharmaceutical Assistance program may now wish to participate.
Revenue Director Glen L. Bower said the expedited application process is feasible for this group which has already qualified under the lower income limits.
Another 53,000 Circuit Breaker recipients who already participate in the Pharmaceutical Assistance program have been mailed a notice informing them that their benefits will be automatically expanded and costs reduced effective January 1.
Individuals who do not participate in the Circuit Breaker program and those made eligible by the higher income limits in the new law can apply in January, after they receive the necessary financial information.
"Everybody wins with this early enrollment," Bower said. "Already qualified individuals get coverage on January 1, and in January, February, and March we can concentrate on processing new applicants."
Changes effective January 1 include:
- Expansion of covered medication to include prescriptions for Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, glaucoma, Parkinson's Disease, and lung disease and smoking related illness. The current program covers arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Reduction in the annual cost of coverage from $40 to $5 for those below the poverty level and from $80 to $25 for those above the poverty level, and
- Elimination of the $15 monthly deductible for those below the poverty level and conversion of the $25 monthly deductible to a $3 per prescription co-payment for those above the poverty level.
Gov. Ryan said that the implementation would be a cooperative effort between the Department of Revenue, which will expedite the issuance of Pharmaceutical Assistance cards, and the Department on Aging, which will provide forms and assistance to seniors through the statewide network of local Area Agencies on Aging.