When One Door Closes, Another Opens
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When One Door Closes, Another Opens

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January 22, 2013

Last year, the state of Illinois eliminated its State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program, Illinois Cares Rx. As a result, thousands of low-income seniors faced a sharp increase in their prescription drug costs—and the negative health consequences that go with not being able to afford medication. 

In response, NCOA, AgeOptions, and the City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services-Senior Services mobilized quickly to respond and help those affected.

The Illinois Department on Aging provided AgeOptions and the City of Chicago a list of all of the affected program participants. Following strict confidentiality and privacy procedures, NCOA assisted AgeOptions and the City of Chicago to identify individuals who were potentially eligible but not receiving other benefits. The agencies then helped these individuals apply for the Part D Low Income Subsidy (LIS/Extra Help), reassess their Part D plan to find a more affordable one, or apply for other benefits, to potentially offset the loss of their Illinois Cares Rx benefits.

Putting money back in their pockets

NCOA and its local partners were able to screen 9,930 Illinois Cares Rx participants between October and December 2012. Through a network of local partners that included councils on aging, senior centers, and other community-based organizations, AgeOptions and the City of Chicago were able to help:

  • 226 seniors apply for the Part D Extra Help.
  • 417 seniors reassess their Part D plans.
  • 997 seniors apply for other benefits, including the Medicaid Spend-down program.

Thanks to the generous support from the Washington Square Health Foundation, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, the Chicago Community Trust, the Michael Reese Health Trust, and the Community Memorial Foundation, these efforts helped to put $2.6 million in benefits the pockets of seniors and their local economies.

Read stories of two seniors helped by this initiative.

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