SeniorCare, which helps about 85,000 Wisconsinites age 65-plus with their prescription drug costs, will not face any of the major changes that Governor Walker had proposed in his 2015-17 state budget. These changes would have resulted in much higher costs for participants.
“This is a great day for Wisconsin,” said AARP Wisconsin State Advocacy Director Helen Marks Dicks. “Our members and volunteers have spent the past few months working to get the message across loud and clear to lawmakers that SeniorCare needs to remain exactly as is. We are thrilled that members of the JFC heard our voices.”
As a result of the JFC’s decision Thursday night, SeniorCare enrollees will not need to first enroll in Medicare Part D in order to be eligible, as the governor had proposed. Also, the program will not be capped or limited to those who are currently enrolled, and there will be no increases in premiums, deductibles or enrollment fees.
“SeniorCare is literally a lifeline for thousands of Wisconsinites on fixed incomes who struggle to make ends meet. This decision means they won’t have to choose between paying for food, rent or prescription medications,” Dicks said.
By any measure, SeniorCare is a win-win program for Wisconsin and beneficiaries. The costs of the program are controlled by the state’s ability to negotiate drug prices and utilize prior authorization with preferred formularies. Enrollees pay an annual $30 fee and deductibles are based on their average income. After the deductible, SeniorCare has a co-pay of $5 for generic drugs and $15 for name-brand drugs.
“It’s an incredibly popular program that’s easy to understand and enroll in,” Dicks said. “We all know Wisconsin lawmakers rarely agree on anything. But this is one state-run program receives praise and support from both sides of the political aisle year after year. We thank the JFC for seeing the value and importance of keeping it going, as is, for the present and future good of Wisconsin.”