There is no good news in the New Jersey state budget for those on low or fixed-incomes. The current budget proposal includes increasing the brand name drug co-pays from $7 to $15 for the state’s PAAD beneficiaries. Let’s remember, individuals participate in PAAD because they meet certain income limit guidelines. These are not the people to turn to when looking for ways to balance a strained budget. In addition, PAAD beneficiaries are facing a large deductible of $310. Until now, there has been no deductible. That’s an increase that most people will not be able to absorb.

AARP is concerned that this will prevent PAAD beneficiaries from purchasing the drugs they need when they need them. It should be noted that low-income seniors will be confronted with these new costs in January of 2011 at the same time they are required to pay their Medicare Part B premiums. This could impact more than 100,000 of our most vulnerable seniors in PAAD. It can be expected that many caught in this triple-whammy will simply be unable to able to afford the increased costs. They could very well cut back on their prescriptions and endanger their lives.

 

Patricia Kelmar

Associate State Director

AARP New Jersey