Getting Extra Help and More in Illinois
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Getting Extra Help and More in Illinois

January 22, 2013

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Read more about the closure of the Illinois Cares Rx program, and how NCOA partnered with local agencies in the state to help those affected.

In July 2012, Illinois Cares Rx, the state's pharmaceutical assistance program, was terminated, leaving thousands of IL seniors at risk of being unable to afford their medications.

Thanks to a coordinated effort by NCOA and local partners, those seniors were able to access other forms of assistance to help them save on prescriptions. Here are the stories of two seniors helped by this initiative.

Splitting medications to make them last

Mrs. C lost her Illinois Cares Rx benefits when the program ended in July. She told the AgeOptions counselor that she did not know how she would be able to continue paying for her medications. Her medication costs are quite high and she admitted that she would continue to split her medications in half. 

The counselor found Mrs. C’s income is $918 per month and therefore she is eligible for the full LIS subsidy. She was also found eligible for the Medicare Savings Program which will give her an extra $100 each month once her Medicare Part B premium is picked up by the Illinois Department of Human Services.  By switching her Medicare Part D plan to one that coordinates with the LIS program, Mrs. C will save an additional $840 per year.  Mrs. C was thrilled with all of the help she got and was optimistic about her ability to afford her medications.

Covering more medications for less

Ms. G is a widow in Chicago. Her income from Social Security and pension benefits is just above the Extra Help eligibility threshold. When first contacted, Ms. G said that she was struggling to pay for her medication after Illinois Cares Rx was eliminated, but that she did not think she was eligible for any other public benefits.

After a benefits screening, the City of Chicago and its local partner helped Ms. G change her Medicare Part D plan to the one that covers more of her medications. They also helped her apply for Medicaid spend-down. Because she is paying her Medicare Part B premium each month, every four months she would have enough medical expenses that easily adds up to her spend-down amount of about $400. If she meets her spend-down on time, Ms. G will be automatically eligible for Extra Help. Ms. G was very grateful for the information and assistance, and will get follow-up assistance once she gets responses regarding her Medicaid spend-down application.



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