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News Release

 
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   May 6, 2002

 

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Dennis McGowan
(609) 984-7160


Governor McGreevey Protects Prescription Drug Benefits
for Seniors and Disabled
   

Demonstrating his commitment to protecting one of the things that matter most to those in need, Governor James E. McGreevey has proposed a $75 million increase in the next fiscal year budget for the PAAD program to address increases in costs for the program and to potentially allow 15,000 more low-income seniors and persons with disabilities to purchase needed medications at discount prices.

"The increase in funding for PAAD will help more seniors pay for medications," said Governor McGreevey. "Seniors should not be forced to choose between buying expensive medication and paying for food or other vital needs. Even in these tough fiscal times, we are committed to protecting this program, which is essential to the economic well-being of our seniors and disabled citizens."

Meanwhile middle-income seniors and persons with disabilities can also continue to be enrolled in the Senior Gold prescription drug benefit program, said the Governor. Senior Gold can be funded with $12.8 million less in this upcoming fiscal year than in the previous year because of the program's slow but steady enrollment experience. While currently 27,500 beneficiaries are enrolled in Senior Gold, there are nearly 200,000 PAAD recipients.

"Together, these programs establish New Jersey as a national leader in providing pharmaceutical assistance to low income seniors and people with disabilities," said Commissioner of Health and Senior Services Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. "The Governor's proposed budget will allow more state residents to benefit from these two programs, enabling New Jersey's older adults to live healthy and independent lives without spending their retirement savings on costly medications."

Governor McGreevey's proposed budget targets shifts some PAAD costs to Medicaid and will save the State $148 million. But the transition of PAAD beneficiaries to the Medicaid "Pharmacy Plus" waiver would be seamless to beneficiaries and the pharmacy community.

To qualify for PAAD, eligible seniors and disabled residents must have an annual income that is less than $19,739 if single, or $24,203 if married. PAAD cardholders pay $5 for each covered prescription.

Senior Gold cardholders have incomes up to $10,000 above the PAAD limits and pay $15 plus 50 percent of the remaining cost for each covered prescription. Once Senior Gold cardholders reach annual out-of-pocket expenses exceeding $2,000 for single persons and $3,000 for married couples, they only pay $15 per prescription.

Besides prescription drugs, PAAD and Senior Gold help eligible New Jersey residents pay for insulin, insulin needles, certain diabetic testing materials and syringes and needles for injectable medicines used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Only drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration are covered.

For more information on PAAD and Senior Gold, visit the Department web site at www.state.nj.us/health.


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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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