WI Participation in Drug Program Lagging

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The state's prescription drug discount program for seniors has attracted thousands fewer people than expected. That's created a projected $21million surplus, and leaves the program ripe for cuts as lawmakers grapple with the state's budget deficit.

Senior citizen groups fear weak participation could make it easy for Gov. Doyle to scale back SeniorCare as he tries to solve the state's projected $2.6 billion deficit.

The groups maintain SeniorCare projections were grossly exaggerated and many seniors still don't know about the discount program. Only about 73,000 seniors had signed up for the program by the end of the year.

State analysts predicted about 88,000 would have enrolled by then. SeniorCare offers discounts on prescription drugs on a sliding income scale.

Here's some facts about SeniorCare, Wisconsin's prescription drug discount program for state residents over 65.

  • Each member must pay a $20 fee.

  • Anyone making more than $21,265 pays full price for prescription drugs until they spend the difference between their income and that level within 12 months; then they must pay a $500 deductible and a co-payment of $5 for each generic prescription or $15 for each brand-name prescription.

  • Residents who make between $14,177 and $21,265 pay the deductible and the co-pays only.

  • Seniors who make less than $14,177 pay only the $5 or $15 payments with each prescription.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services.