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Act 12 of 2014

Making it easier for Seniors to Qualify for

Senior citizens who are on a limited income should take notice of Pennsylvania's recently enacted Act 12 of 2014. More seniors, and many seniors who may otherwise have lost their prescription assistance program eligibility due to Cost of Living Increases in Social Security, can now keep their PACE and PACENET benefits.

PACE and PACENET are lottery funded programs that provide prescription drug coverage to individuals age 65 and older, who meet the programs’ requirements.

Eligibility requirements for PACE include Pennsylvania residents age 65 and over, a single person's income less than $14,500, a married couple's combined income limit of $17,700 and not having coverage through Medicaid. The requirements for PACENET include Pennsylvania residents age 65 and over, a single person's income limit between $14,500 - $23,500, a married couple's income limit between $17,700 - $31,500, and not having Medicaid coverage. Eligibility is determined based on the applicant's previous calendar year income.

This new law, Act 12 of 2014, allows seniors to stay on PACE and PACENET programs who would otherwise lose their prior eligibility due to Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLA). December 31, 2015 is when the Act 12 COLA moratorium is set to expire, which is a continuation of a prior law that had previously expired last December 31, 2013.

Because of Act 12 now removing Medicare Part B premiums from countable income, thousands of additional seniors should be able to qualify for PACE and PACENET.

Since the Medicare Part B benefit is deducted directly from seniors Social Security checks, they never really receive the "income," notes Representative Seth Grove, the legislation's primary sponsor. The new law raises the PACE and PACENET income limits in 2014 by $104.90 each month in Part B premiums, which amounts to over $1, 250 per year for an unmarried person and even more for couples who both pay Part B premiums.

With the passage of the new law, it is estimated that an additional 8,200 seniors would be provided with prescription drug coverage according to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. 


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