Sept. 12, 2002 - O'Bannon delivers good news for seniors
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA 46204-2797
O’Bannon delivers good news for seniors about improvements in HoosierRx
Governor Frank O’Bannon today announced that low-income seniors can receive immediate help when they buy prescriptions, thanks to the new HoosierRx card.
HoosierRx, Indiana’s prescription drug program for low-income seniors, was created in 2000, but seniors have had to pay full price at the time of purchase, keep track of their prescription receipts and submit them quarterly to receive reimbursement.
Now the HoosierRx card will immediately tell a pharmacist that a senior is eligible for a discount – and the senior pays only the difference. Seniors who have the card automatically receive a better price provided by their pharmacists, and the state then pays half of that discounted price. Depending on their income, seniors may receive $1,000, $750 or $500 in state-paid discounts a year and, even after they reach that maximum, they remain eligible for the pharmacy discount.
"We’ve taken a good benefit, and made it even better," O’Bannon said.
Since 2000, when O’Bannon announced creation of HoosierRx from state proceeds of the national tobacco settlement, Indiana has paid $8.5 million in benefits for 16,268 eligible seniors.
"Just since Aug. 1, when the HoosierRx cards were officially activated, more than $34,000 in benefits have already been paid, and seniors are reporting they appreciate the ease of access this system provides," O’Bannon said.
O’Bannon said he hopes the new, easier access to HoosierRx will mean even more eligible seniors sign-up. When created, HoosierRx was designed to serve about 30,000 Hoosiers. So far, about half that many have participated. The average enrollee is a 75-year-old woman who earns $572 a month or less.
The governor inaugurated the new HoosierRx card at two Indiana pharmacies, the Tucker Pharmacy and Health Care in Indianapolis and the AP&S Clinic Pharmacy in Terre Haute. Joining O’Bannon for the announcement was Family and Social Services Administration Secretary John Hamilton.
Betty Shreve, 76, who has participated in HoosierRx for about a year, helped the governor make his announcement in Indianapolis.
"I got some information in the mail about HoosierRx, so I filled out the application and they told me I was accepted," said Shreve, who is eligible to receive a 50 percent reimbursement. "I use it every month," she said. "Every little bit helps."
Emma Jean Deal, 76, joined the governor in Terre Haute. She brought with her receipts that show her monthly prescription bill runs as high as $147 – but with HoosierRx she is paying only $52.
"I appreciate every bit of help I get," Deal said. "I was paying half of what I made in some months for medicine, and I have phone and electric bills and the same kind of bills everyone else has."
Deal also said she appreciates that the new HoosierRx cards provides the reimbursement immediately. "Before, I was having to wait on my money, so the card is a good idea," she said.
To be eligible for the HoosierRx program, a senior must:
- Be 65 or older
- Live in Indiana at least 90 days out of the last 12 months
- Not have prescription drug coverage through an insurance plan, Medicaid or Medicaid with a spend-down
- Have monthly income that does not exceed $997 for single people and $1,344 for a married couple.
To learn more about HoosierRx, Indiana residents can call toll free at 1-866-267-4679 or write to HoosierRx at P.O. Box 6224, Indianapolis IN 46206-6224. The HoosierRx web site is: www.IN.gov/HoosierRx.