Seniors to get SeniorCare benefits

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Senior citizens caught in the backlog of renewal forms for the state’s SeniorCare program will have their benefits extended while the Illinois Department of Public Aid works to reduce the backlog, according to State Sen. Brad Burzynski (R-Sycamore).

Burzynski calls the move by DPA good news for the many senior citizens who would otherwise go without prescription drug coverage in the meantime.

“I have had several inquiries in my office about delayed renewals and I am deeply troubled by the inconvenience this backlog is causing,” said Burzynski. “Pharmacies would not honor the old cards because they had been told they would not be reimbursed and the senior citizens had no choice but to pay higher prices or go without their medicine. I am glad that something has finally been done to rectify this situation.”

Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson had notified Governor Rod Blagojevich and DPA about the problems on July 17. By July 19, DPA confirmed benefits would be extended until September (retroactive to July 1) for those seniors who have not yet received their new SeniorCare cards. The extension will ensure seniors continue to receive medicine.

Senior citizens with questions can call toll-free at 1-800-226-0768.

Senior Care helps low-income seniors pay for prescription drugs and many over-the-counter drugs prescribed by their doctor. The free program requires participants to reapply for benefits each year. The program is open to single residents age 65 years or older with an income of no more than $17,960 a year or married couples with income of no more than $24,240 per year. Participants must use their SeniorCare card when purchasing prescriptions.

SeniorCare pays up to $1,750 per person per year for prescriptions—with no co-payment or a low co-payment—depending upon income. After $1,750, participants pay 20 percent of each prescription’s cost.

For more information on SeniorCare, visit

In January 2004, the state will also offer senior citizens a new drug discount club that will be open to all senior citizens, regardless of income. The discount club will pool the state’s purchasing power to offer drug discounts to participants who pay $25 per year.

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