Medicare Part D Enrollment Underway Without Assistance Program
By Jeff Bossert
The elimination of the Illinois Cares RX program means a number of seniors are seeking alternative sources for discount prescription drugs.
Counselors with Provena Covenant Medical Center are holding one of many enrollment counseling sessions around the state, helping recipients find an affordable prescription plan within Medicare Part D.
Nick Quealy-Gainer with Champaign County Health Care Consumers says Monday's counseling session is the third such event it’s held.
He says many seniors are now lost, particularly those who don’t qualify for federal support programs through Social Security or Medicaid.
"Some are cutting their drugs that they're using, or they're skipping dosages, or they're telling their doctor don't give me that prescription, I can't use it, I can't pay for it, " he said. "I don't have the help that I had just a couple of months ago."
The consumer group is urging passage of a new prescription relief bill filed by Senator Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) and Representative Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana.) Quealy-Gainer says he’s disappointed it won’t help those under age 65, but says it will replace many of the benefits of Illinois Cares RX at half the cost.
"The people that this legislation will help the most are the ones who have no other options," he said. "It's the ones who have been left out of the extra help of Medicaid because their income is slightly higher."
The Cares RX program is among $1,6 billion dollars in cuts to Medicaid and related programs the state eliminated on July 1st.
The enrollment period for Medicare Part D started October 15, and ends December 7th.