2002-10-16 / Seniors

Save Money On Prescriptions—Join EPIC

By John Toscano

While efforts to provide prescription drug relief to seniors are still stalled in Congress, the state’s drug discount program for seniors over 65 continues to grow, now reaching close to 300,000 members throughout the state.

But there’s room for more, and state Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello came to the Elmhurst Senior Center last week to urge anyone not yet enrolled in the EPIC program to get on board.

EPIC, which stands for Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage, now saves the average participant nearly $1,975 or 80 percent of annual drug purchases, it was noted.

Seniors pay a quarterly fee or meet an annual deductible to get in the EPIC program.

The Fee plan is available only to seniors in the lower income bracket. Fees range from $2 to $75 per quarter, based on a senior’s income.

The Deductible Plan is available only to seniors at the upper income level. Under this plan, seniors pay the full cost of prescriptions until they reach their annual deductible, which ranges from $520 to $1,715 per year, based upon the senior’s income. Once seniors in this group reach their deductible, they pay only a small copayment on prescriptions for the rest of the year.

Income eligibility ranges from $18,500 to $35,000 for single enrollees and from $24,000 to $50,000 for married couples. Novello said, "There is no cap or limit on benefits and almost all prescription medicines are covered, as well as insulin and insulin syringes for diabetics. There is a limit on the amount of co-payments that seniors pay, which is extremely helpful to seniors with many prescriptions. After reaching this limit, which is based on the senior’s income level, seniors receive their prescriptions free for the remainder of the coverage year."

Applications are available at pharmacies, doctors’ offices, senior centers and city and state offices for the aging. Seniors also can call the EPIC Helpline at 1-800-332-3742 to request an application. More information, and a copy of the application, is also available by clicking on the EPIC link on the state Department of Health Web site, http://www.health.state.ny.us.

METRO CARD VAN IN WHITESTONE, BELLEROSE: The MetroCard van will be visiting Padavan’s district offices next Tuesday, October 22, to assist seniors 65 and over and disabled persons to secure reduced fare cards or add to existing cards.

From 10 a.m. to noon, the mobile van will be at Padavan’s office in Whitestone at 150-26 14th Ave., (718) 746-2550 and from 1 to 3 p.m. at his office at 89-39 Gettysburg St., Bellerose, (718) 343-0255.

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