Assemblywoman Jacobs Says Final Budget Restores EPIC Premium Assistance
Ensures lower-income enrollees have access to needed medication
March 31, 2011
"For 25 years, the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program has helped New York seniors on fixed incomes afford their prescription drugs. Charged with closing a $10 billion budget gap, we had to make a lot of tough choices. But protecting seniors’ access to affordable, quality health care has always been a top priority for me, and it will continue to be a priority, regardless of the economic circumstances. The Assembly helped ensure that the 2011-12 state budget restored $22.3 million – a 65 percent restoration – for lower-income EPIC participants’ Medicare Part D premiums. Participants who were formerly in the comprehensive coverage portion of EPIC, with an annual income less than or equal to $20,000 for individuals and an income less than $26,000 for married participants – will continue to receive assistance in paying their Medicare Part D premiums. For participants who were formerly in the lower-income range of the catastrophic coverage portion of EPIC – individuals with annual income less than or equal to $23,000 and married participants with income less than $29,000 – premium assistance is enhanced with the removal of the deductible to be on par with the coverage offered to comprehensive enrollees. Even in periods of economic strength, it is difficult for older New Yorkers on fixed incomes to make ends meet. In the aftermath of the economic downturn, it is especially important to make sure that seniors can afford to put food on the table and get the medicine they need. Providing premium assistance for lower-income seniors preserves this vital lifeline for the thousands who depend on it."