Income expansion will allow additional 100,000 seniors to be eligible
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) announced that two bills signed into law by Governor Wolf will renew the Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly (PACE) program and the Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly Needs Enhancement Tier (PACENET) cost-of-living moratorium, expand income eligibility and eliminate the PACENET premium "clawback."
House Bill 1260, sponsored by Reps. Wendi Thomas and Steve Samuelson, and House Bill 291, sponsored by Rep. Shelby Labs, were both PDA legislative priorities for the 2021-22 legislative session.
H.B. 291 – now Act 92 of 2021 – extends the moratorium until December 31, 2023 to allow enrollees to maintain their PACE/PACENET benefits despite disqualifying increases in their overall income due to Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLA). The original moratorium was set to expire December 31, 2021.
H.B. 1260 – now Act 94 of 2021 – expands the income eligibility limits for PACENET and removes the PACENET premium clawback, which will result in premium cost savings for some enrollees. The clawback will only apply to those individuals enrolled in the program's Part D partner plans. This will reduce the premium obligation for about 28,000 individuals.
The law expands the PACENET income limits by $6,000:
- Singles: from $27,500 to $33,500
- Married: from $35,500 to $41,500
PACE and PACENET currently enroll more than 250,000 older Pennsylvanians. The income limit expansions mean that an additional 100,000 older adults are now eligible. An additional 20,000 older adults are expected to enroll in 2022. Enrollment begins in February.
"The PACE and PACENET programs serve as lifelines for hundreds of thousands of older adults who need assistance with paying for their prescription medications. These two new laws will continue to help older Pennsylvanians get the savings they need and deserve and allow even more seniors to take advantage of these programs," said Tom Snedden, PACE director. "I would like to thank the leadership in both chambers; Representatives Gary Day and Steve Samuelson, Senators Judy Ward and Maria Collett as Aging Committee chairpersons; and Representatives Thomas, Samuelson and Labs for their leadership in sponsoring these two pieces of legislation on behalf of seniors across the commonwealth."
"The growth of Pennsylvania's senior population heightens our responsibility to ensure that the safety net for vital services for older adults is intact and evolves to meet their needs. The PACE and PACENET programs play an important role in supporting seniors and offer tremendous savings by helping them pay for their prescription medications," said Secretary of Aging Robert Torres. "The benefits of these two laws will allow more older Pennsylvanians to keep money in their pocket. I encourage every eligible older Pennsylvanian to sign up for this lifesaving program."
The PACE program, funded with revenue from the Pennsylvania Lottery, began July 1, 1984 to provide comprehensive reimbursement coverage for prescription medications to qualified older Pennsylvanians. The program serves older Pennsylvanians 65 years of age and older, many of whom require multiple medications for several chronic conditions.
Learn more about the PACE/PACENET program along with other programs and services for older adults by visiting the Department of Aging's website here.
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