Gov. Tom Wolf was recently joined by state and local officials, including state Rep. Wendi Thomas (R-Bucks), and older Pennsylvanians to celebrate recently-signed legislation to expand eligibility in the Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly (PACE) and the Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly Needs Enhancement Tier (PACENET) programs.
“Ensuring that older Pennsylvanians have access to necessary services, including quality healthcare and affordable prescription drugs, is a priority of my administration,” said Wolf. “I commend the legislature, especially bill sponsors Reps. Wendi Thomas and Steve Samuelson, for working with my administration on this critical issue and passing this legislation. Programs like PACE and PACENET serve as a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of older adults who need assistance with paying for their prescription medications and provide critical support to older Pennsylvanians.”
On Dec. 22, Wolf signed into law Act 92 of 2021 and Act 94 of 2021, both priorities for the Pennsylvania Department of Aging.
Act 92 of 2021 extends the moratorium until Dec. 31, 2023, allowing enrollees to maintain their PACE benefits despite disqualifying increases in their overall income due to Social Security cost-of-living adjustments. The original moratorium was set to expire Dec. 31, 2021.
Act 94 of 2021 expands the income eligibility limits for PACENET by $6,000 and removes the PACENET premium clawback, which will result in premium cost savings for some enrollees. The clawback will only apply to those individuals enrolled in the program’s Part D partner plans. This will reduce the premium obligation for about 28,000 individuals.
PACE and PACENET currently enroll more than 250,000 older Pennsylvanians. The income limit expansions mean that an additional 100,000 older adults are now eligible with an expected 20,000 older adults slated to enroll in 2022. Enrollment begins in February.
The governor was joined by Aging Secretary Robert Torres, PACE director Tom Snedden, and the bill sponsors Thomas and Samuelson at the PACE Call Center in Harrisburg.
“As the prime sponsor of this legislation, I was honored to work with chairman Samuelson in getting this legislation to the governor,” said Thomas. “More residents will receive help paying for their prescriptions, it will be easier for our seniors to get that help, and the federal government will pay for it. This is a win-win for Pennsylvania.”
“Access to affordable medications is essential for our seniors,” said Samuelson. “The higher income limits in this new law will ensure that thousands of seniors will gain and maintain eligibility for the proven PACENET program.”
“No Pennsylvania senior should have to choose between life-saving medications and paying the bills,” said state Sen. Maria Collett. “As a prime sponsor of the Senate version of this legislation, and as the Democratic chair of the Aging & Youth Committee, I was thrilled to see the PACENET expansion become law, enabling tens of thousands of additional seniors to benefit.”
“The PACE program plays an important role in supporting our growing older adult population by helping them pay for their prescription medications at significant savings. Thanks to the sponsorship and leadership that guided the passage of this important legislation, more older Pennsylvanians will be able to get life-sustaining medications and keep money in their pocket, which helps them be able to keep living independently in their own homes with a better quality of life,” said Torres. “The PACE program is a true example of government that works.”
“My administration is committed to ensuring that older adults have access to all of the resources and programs they need, and we will continue to invest in the programs that give older adults the freedom to live their life how they choose as they age,” said Wolf.