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Seniors will get SeniorCare benefits during backlog

Monday, August 4, 2003 Posted 10:30 p.m.
Springfield - State Senator Dan Rutherford (R-Pontiac) announced that senior citizens will continue to receive SeniorCare benefits through September while the state eliminates a backlog of renewals and issues new cards to qualifying seniors.

Many senior citizens were caught without benefits on July 1 when the state fell roughly eight weeks behind in processing the program renewals. After Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson (R-Greenville) questioned the Governor about the lack of benefits and assistance for senior citizens, the state extended the deadline and allowed pharmacies to accept the current renewal cards.

-We had a situation where pharmacies were being told not to accept the old cards or forgo their own reimbursements and senior citizens were told their new cards were still being processed. After 18 days with no prescription drug benefits, this put many seniors in a precarious situation,- said Rutherford. -I am glad the state has finally taken steps to provide benefits while the backlog is reduced.-

On July 19, the Illinois Department of Public Aid extended coverage until September (retroactive to July 1) for those seniors who have not yet received their new SeniorCare cards. Temporary cards have already been issued to current SeniorCare enrollees. 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 seniors a new drug discount club which will be open to all seniors. The discount club will pool the state-s purchasing power to offer drug discounts to participants who pay $25 per year. More information on that program will be announced later this year.