BETHLEHEM (Oct 13) – State Senator Lisa Boscola today assured area PACE/PACENET cardholders that their benefits are secure and will NOT change as a result of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit that begins in January of 2006.

“PACE/PACENET cardholders should carefully review any information they receive about the new Medicare prescription drug benefit,” Boscola said.  “However, they should know that PACE/PACENET will continue to offer the same coverage as they have in the past – no changes.”

The PACE/PACENET programs are funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery and administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging.  These programs offer comprehensive prescription coverage to older Pennsylvanians and cover most medications that require prescriptions, including insulin, syringes and insulin needles.  These programs do not cover over-the-counter medicines, medical equipment or doctor, hospital, dental or vision services.  There are no premiums or monthly fees charged to people who enroll in these programs. 

As long as the PACE/PACENET cardholder remains enrolled in the PACE/PACENET program, they will not be subject to any premium penalties if they do not enroll and select a Medicare drug plan by May 15, 2006. 

Boscola said that area senior citizens should expect to receive “mountains of information” about the new Medicare prescription drug benefit in the months ahead. 

“All of this information may be overwhelming for some people.  But, they need to understand that if they are happy with their current benefit, they don’t have to enroll in the Medicare drug plan,” Boscola said.  “This misconception is being promoted by some of the Medicare drug plan providers and needs to be clarified for our residents.” 

Over the next few months, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging will be working with selected Medicare prescription drug plans to offer a combined benefit that will enable PACE/PACENET to continue to offer prescription benefits to eligible Pennsylvanians.  Details on these plans will be announced later this year, Boscola said.    

For information on the PACE/PACENET program, or for questions or concerns, please feel free to contact one of Senator Boscola’s offices in Bethlehem (610) 868-8667, Stroudsburg (570) 420-2938 or Whitehall (610) 266-2117.