Assemblyman Braunstein Announces Vital EPIC Co-Payment Assistance Restored in State Budget

March 30, 2012

“While the economy is starting to rebound, many New Yorkers are still struggling, particularly the most vulnerable among us,” said Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside). “Seniors especially need our help in these tough economic times. That’s why I helped pass a restoration of co-payment assistance for EPIC enrollees in the 2012-13 budget (A.9056-D).

“From the first day I took office, my elderly constituents have informed me about the importance of the EPIC program. This is why I fought to restore the funding that was cut due to last year’s $10 billion budget deficit. Elderly New Yorkers living on a fixed income should never have to worry about being able to afford the medication they need to survive and I will continue fighting to make sure they get their fair share of services.

“The budget provides $30.6 million to support the restoration of co-payment assistance that was eliminated on Jan. 1, 2012. This allows EPIC enrollees to pay no more than $20 as a co-pay when filling a prescription. Currently, seniors may have to make co-payments as high as 25 percent of the cost of the drug, a huge burden.

“EPIC helps low-and moderate-income seniors pay for medication costs that are not covered by Medicare. Seniors will see a savings starting in January 2013 when they once again pay between $3 and $20 for each prescription.

“We were also able to restore drug co-payment assistance for the many unfortunate seniors with very high prescription costs, more than $6,600 per year. These seniors are currently required to pay 5 percent of their drug costs, which can be a substantial burden for individuals on a fixed income. The budget also caps co-payments for these seniors at $20.”