Plan aims to help seniors losing drug subsidy from state

February 18, 2005|By CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and some lawmakers say they have devised a plan that would help provide affordable medications to thousands of seniors when a popular state program ends next year.

Ehrlich, Del. Peter A. Hammen, a Baltimore Democrat, and Del. Donald B. Elliott, a Frederick Republican, crafted a change to a bill that will allow the state to complement the federal Medicare Part D medication payment program when it kicks in next year.

The bill would take $14 million annually from Blue Cross and Blue Shield to fill in coverage gaps in Part D, subsidizing 75 percent of deductibles for beneficiaries and paying $25 of their monthly $35 premiums - for a total of $487.50 annually per enrollee.

The action was prompted by Ehrlich's proposal to cut the Senior Prescription Drug Program.

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