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Vainieri Huttle, McKnight & Benson Bill Increasing Income Eligibility for PAAD & Senior Gold Prescription Discount Program Receives Final Legislative Approval

Legislation to increase the income eligibility limits that are established in the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) program passed the full Assembly Thursday, 75-0-0. The bill is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Angela McKnight and Daniel Benson. The measure was also approved by the full Senate, 40-0.

“Ensuring that our seniors and disabled residents have access to affordable prescription medications is critical to their health and quality of life,” said Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “By allowing more residents to be eligible for this invaluable discount program, we are positively impacting their overall well-being.”

The bill (A-5520) would increase income eligibility limits for the PAAD program to $38,769 for single individuals, and $45,270 combined incomes for married couples. The measure would increase income eligibility limits under the Senior Gold Prescription Discount program to $48,769 for single individuals and $55,270 combined incomes for married couples.

“This bill has the support of AARP New Jersey, NJ Advocates for Aging Well, and several other well-respected advocacy groups,” said Assemblywoman McKnight (D-Hudson). “We must make sure that seniors and disabled New Jerseyans are able to affordably obtain the medications they need to live active and productive lives. We owe it to them.”

The PAAD program is state-funded and devised to help eligible seniors and individuals with disabilities save money on prescription drug costs. PAAD beneficiaries who are eligible for Medicare are required to enroll in Medicare Part D, and PAAD will pay the monthly premium for some of the basic Part D plans at or below the regional benchmark. The combination of these plans pays any costs above the PAAD copay of $5 for generic drugs and $7 for covered brand name drugs.

“Seniors and the disabled rely on prescription medications for their wellness and overall health,” said Assemblyman Benson (Mercer, Middlesex). “Increasing the income eligibility for the PAAD and Senior Gold discount programs means more residents will see significant cost-savings, and that is always a win.”

The bill would take effect on January 1, 2022, but the Commissioner of Human Services would be able to take anticipatory administrative actions beforehand as necessary to implement the bill.