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HARRISBURG, Pa. | The state Senate approved Senator Judy Ward’s plan to expand senior access to prescription drugs on Tuesday.

“As prescription drug costs continue to rise, many older Pennsylvanians who live on fixed incomes or rely solely on Social Security find themselves unable to afford their medications,” Senator Ward said.

“Making these changes will provide more seniors with a sense of security that comes with knowing that they will not have to choose between life-saving medications and paying the bills,” she noted.

Senate Bill 668 makes several changes to the PACENET program according to state officials, such as expanding the income eligibility of the program by $6,000, removing the requirement that a PACENET cardholder pay a monthly premium, and providing the department with discretion to have cardholders enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan that meets their prescription needs.

The anticipated savings from enrolling eligible PACENET individuals in Medicare Part D plans will provide enough savings to cover the cost of the income expansion, experts say.

PACENET was established in 1996 to provide additional prescription drug benefits to Pennsylvanians age 65 and older. Eligibility for the program is based on income.

Senator Ward’s bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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