Bill ensuring prescription assistance eligibility for seniors heads to governor’s desk


Legislation that ensures thousands of older Pennsylvanians have access to medications regardless of the 5.9% cost-of-living increase in their Social Security benefits is on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf for enactment.


The state Senate on Tuesday voted 49-0 to approve a House-passed bill that provides for anyone enrolled in PACE and PACENET as of December 31, 2020, to remain eligible if their maximum income limit is exceeded due solely to a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment.



Without this change, some of the people enrolled in these prescription assistance programs would be deemed ineligible because they exceed its income limits. Bill sponsor Rep. Shelby Labs, R-Bucks County, said this could lead to some people’s medical needs going unfulfilled.



Her bill, which passed the House of Representatives by a 200-0 in October, is expected to benefit more than 17,000 PACE and PACENET cardholders.



An attempt late Tuesday afternoon to get a response from the governor’s office about whether Wolf will sign it into law was unsuccessful.



PACE and PACENET programs offer low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents age 65 or older. PACE has lower income eligibility limits than the PACENET program. The two program provides prescription assistance to more than 300,000 older Pennsylvanians and is paid for out of money from the state’s Lottery Fund.