How the PA Lottery Helps Lower-Income Se

December 21 [Fri], 2012, 8:31

Do you play the Pennsylvania Lottery? If so, you've likely heard that the lottery helps senior citizens -- and you may not know much more than that. While the Pennsylvania Lottery(funding senior centers, reduced-fare transportation, property tax and rent rebates, for example), one very important outcome is the funding of the Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly (PACE) and PACENET programs. These programs assist thousands of lower-income senior citizens in affording prescription medications. And in 2013, there are some changes coming to the PACENET program.

Historically, thehave been the maximum qualifying income limit and the co-pays assigned to generic and single-source brand drugs. PACE participants have a lower income than PACENET participants and pay slightly lower co-pays for each prescription: $6 for generic, $9 for brand. PACENET requires a co-pay of $8 for generic and $15 for brand.

In 2013, a new differentiator comes into play: PACENET participants must enroll in athat has a signed agreement with PACENET in order to avoid a monthly premium of $36.57 to be paid at the pharmacy each month. If the selected Part D plan's premium is less than $36.57, PACENET essentially pays that amount, so that the PACENET participant does not have to pay for Medicare Part premium at the pharmacy. If the Part D plan's premium exceeds $36.57, the participant is responsible for the difference. It's important if you are selecting a Part D program to ensure that the plan has an agreement with PACE -- otherwise, PACE will not help pay any part of the premium.

How much does the program impact senior citizens? Significantly. Consider that the average PACE participant had an income of just ; the average PACE expenditure per participant in 2011 was $2,627. If the PACE program did not exist, those lower-income senior citizens would either have gone without their needed prescriptions or would have sacrificed other necessities -- $2,627 was 21 percent of the average PACE participant's income in 2011.

Imagine trying to survive on just $1,000 a month, then imagine that your prescription cost each month is $210. You will begin to understand just how critical the PACE and PACENET programs are for Pennsylvania seniors.

Sharon Annette McCuddy has over 25 years of experience in information technology and an eclectic background, including stints as a vet's helper, bookseller, retail sales clerk, flute tutor, and other odd positions. She taught Yang-style tai chi for over two decades and is an experienced martial arts tournament judge. Additionally, she has volunteered with various nonprofit organizations.