2003-05-16 / Community

Smith Wants Affordable Senior Medications

Smith Wants Affordable Senior Medications

Faced with skyrocketing prescription drug costs, State Senator Malcolm A. Smith is urging the Senate to pass EPIC-COPE (Cap-Out-Of-Pocket-Expenses) legislation to help keep prescription drugs affordable for seniors.

"EPIC-COPE would cap the out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs for seniors enrolled in the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program to five percent of their income," said Senator Smith. "Under the current EPIC program many seniors in New York now pay over seven percent of their income on prescription drug costs."

"Unfortunately, too many seniors are being forced to make a decision between being able to afford their prescription medications and buying staples such as food, clothing, and housing," said Senator Smith.

Senator Smith noted that the State created the EPIC program to make sure seniors could afford their prescriptions medications. "New advances in drug research have helped to develop dozens of new prescriptions to treat what were once life-threatening illnesses and diseases," said Senator Smith. "But these new drugs and their co-payment and deductible costs are expensive. That’s why I support COPE, which will enhance the EPIC program and make sure New York seniors can afford their vital prescription drugs."

Senator Smith said under the EPIC-COPE program, an individual senior with an income of $30,000 could save as much as $900 a year on out-of-pocket costs. A couple with an income of $50,000 could save $4,930 a year.

"As it stands, seniors with a $30,000 income could spend as much as $2,400 in deductions and co-payments. Senior couples with an income of $50,000 may end up paying over $7,400 in out-of-pocket costs," said Senator Smith. "I believe that is an unacceptable costs for seniors to pay for basic prescription drugs."

"As good a program as EPIC is, the fact is, it’s no longer enough for many seniors," said Senator Smith. "Even in these hard economic times, one obligation we must keep is making sure our seniors have the vital medications they need to maintain their quality of life," said Senator Smith. "EPIC-COPE accomplishes that.

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