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Governor Rendell Proposes Offering Prescription Help to 30,000 More Older Adults as Part of Plan to Save $60 Million
Date:6/2/2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced his proposal to raise the income limit for the Lottery-funded PACENET prescription drug benefit for older Pennsylvanians, providing help to an additional 30,000 people who have little or no drug coverage now.

"As older adults struggle to make ends meet in these challenging economic times, providing comprehensive prescription medication coverage is more important than ever. It is my goal for everyone in Pennsylvania to have sufficient drug coverage and this is another step in making that happen," Governor Rendell said. "I urge the General Assembly to quickly approve this proposal and help our older citizens."

The Governor proposes to boost the PACENET income limits from $23,500 to $30,000 for an individual and from $31,500 to $40,000 for a couple. The changes in PACENET will be especially beneficial for people who have a lapse in coverage in Medicare Part D because they can not afford their medication when it is not covered by the federal program.

Another change will be an increase in dispensing fees paid to pharmacies when they fill prescriptions. The increase will be from $4 to $7 for brand-name drugs and from $4 to $12 for generic medications. The PACE (Pharmaceutical Contract for the Elderly) provider reimbursement formula will also change to eliminate Average Wholesale Price (AWP) and pay pharmacists on the actual acquisition price of the medication.

The PACE program currently receives a rebate from pharmaceutical manufacturers that is lower than what those manufacturers pay to Medicaid. The Governor's proposal will require manufacturers to reimburse PACE the same amount they pay to Medicaid.

The cost of the PACENET enrollment expansion and the increased dispensing fees will be more than offset by the overall savings from these proposed changes. There will be a net saving to the state lottery fund of $60.4 million created by the higher reimbursement paid by the drug companies.

Since PACE began in July 1984, it has provided prescription medications for more than 1.2 million state residents. PACENET was created in 1996 to assist older adults whose incomes fall just above PACE limits but who still may need assistance paying for prescription drugs.

Both programs are funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery, the only lottery in the United States to dedicate all of its net revenue to support programs for older residents.

For information about PACE and PACENET, visit the Department of Aging at www.aging.state.pa.us or call, toll-free, 1-800-225-7223.

The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his newsletter, visit www.governor.state.pa.us.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following individuals who would be eligible for the proposed PACENET expansion spoke at the Governor's event:

  • Walter Villegas, 73, Enola.
  • Marion Fennell, 72, Carlisle.
  • Marlin Rummel, 78, and Jean Rummel, 72, Harrisburg.

    CONTACT: Chuck Ardo
    717-783-1116

    Jane Crawford, Dept. of Aging
    717-783-1549


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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