An estimated 43,000 residents of Illinois will find it more difficult, if not impossible, to afford their prescription medication due to heavy budget cuts, according to the Chicago Tribune. Specifically, funding for the Illinois Cares Rx program, which subsidizes the cost of medicine and payments associated with Medicare drug benefits, will be cut in half, from $107.4 million to $53.7 million. Illinois Cares Rx includes people with a Medicare drug plan and others who have no drug benefits at all.
With the cuts in place beginning September 1st, 2011, the Illinois Cares Rx program will only be available to those residents earning 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level – or $21,780 annually, down from a higher threshold of 240%, or $27,610. Even the 173,500 remaining in the program will “face higher co-payments for prescriptions — in some cases, double the amount they were previously paying.”
Officials from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services remind residents who are cut from the Illinois Cares Rx program to continue paying their Medicare drug plan premiums – since only financial assistance will change, not Medicare drug plan enrollment. Those affected, particularly those with no drug benefits, are encouraged to explore other options for affording their prescriptions, such as generic drug programs (like those at Target or Wal-mart) or discount drug cards. We also add that a potential 80% savings on prescription drugs can be found by shopping from online pharmacies verified in the PharmacyChecker Verification Program. For an overview of different savings options, consult the PharmacyChecker.com’s Consumer Guide.
Tagged with: Chicago Tribune, consumer guide, discount drug cards, enrollment, generic drug programs, generics, Illinois, Illinois Cares Rx, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Medicare, Medicare Drug Plans, PharmacyChecker Verification Program, prescriptions, Target, Wal-Mart