From the New York State Assembly
Sheldon Silver, Speaker
State Budget Improves
Expanded EPIC Program Gives 80,000
Skyrocketing prescription costs place a heavy financial burden on seniors with fixed incomes. Thats why during budget negotiations the Assembly fought to ensure seniors can afford the prescriptions they need to stay healthy. No one should ever be forced to choose between buying their prescriptions or putting food on the table.
The final state budget provides $100.5 million in funding for vital health care programs, including a $55.4 million expansion of the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program that will significantly cut out-of-pocket prescription expenses for 80,000 more older adults.
The enhanced EPIC plan raises the income eligibility level to $35,000 for individuals and $50,000 for married couples. In addition to expanding eligibility, the budget reduces co-payments by 20% and simplifies the co-payment schedule from five tiers to four so seniors can rest easier when it comes to their health care costs.
Ongoing efforts to expand EPIC
The Assembly Majoritys original budget proposal went even further eliminating the complicated schedule of fees, deductibles, co-payments and co-payment thresholds, and lowering the co-payments to two $3 and $15, depending on the price of the drug. Unfortunately, these EPIC improvements were rejected by the Senate and the Executive.
The Assembly has a long history of fighting for EPIC. In 1996, we fought
successfully to make the EPIC program permanent.
EPIC has played an important role in ensuring continued good health for thousands of older New Yorkers. Now, were making a good program even better.
Other senior health initiatives
The final budget also includes:
The Assembly Majority is committed to making sure that all New Yorkers have the quality, affordable health care they need. Last December we enacted HCRA 2000, a landmark measure that provides health coverage to nearly one million uninsured New Yorkers, curbs youth smoking and wards off new Medicaid cuts for the next three years.
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