– The House of Representatives today voted unanimously to approve legislation, authored by Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks), which would increase the income eligibility guidelines for the PACENET program, extending prescription drug coverage to more than 17,000 older Pennsylvanians.
The PACE and PACENET programs provide low-cost prescription drugs to nearly 282,000 Pennsylvanians age 65 and older. Both programs are funded from proceeds of the Pennsylvania Lottery.
“Every day many seniors on fixed incomes have to choose between medication and other necessities, and that’s a choice no one should have to make,” Farry said. “An expansion of the PACENET program would allow them to better afford the prescriptions they need to maintain healthy lives.”
House Bill 270
would increase the annual maximum income limits in the PACENET program to $27,500 for a single person and to $35,500 for a married couple. Current maximum income requirements for the PACENET program, which covers those individuals with incomes exceeding PACE maximums, are $23,500 for a single individual and $31,500 for a married couple annually.
This would be the first increase in the program since 2004.
“The income limits haven’t changed in 14 years. That’s quite a long time both for seniors who are currently in the program and risk disqualification due to a change in income and for seniors who are trying to enroll in the program for the first time,” Farry said. “Expanding this program is the right thing to do.”
Additionally, the bill would allow two new pharmacy-based programs to be developed under the PACE program to assist seniors in monitoring their prescription drug usage.
“This expansion would be a long overdue enhancement of what already is regarded as one of the nation’s best prescription drug assistance programs,” Farry said.
Savings achieved in other areas allow the program expansion to occur without additional costs on enrollees or additional funds from the Pennsylvania Lottery or taxpayers.
House Bill 270 is supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association, Pennsylvania Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Philadelphia Association of Retail Druggist and Value Drug Company.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Frank Farry
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abbey Haslam