The New York State pharmaceutical assistance program is called Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage, or EPIC for short. This program provides financial assistance for seniors to help with the costs of prescription medications (both generic and brand names).
The program has two tiers; the Fee Plan and the Deductible Plan. Placement into one of these tiers is based on income. Both of these plans are Medicare wraparound programs, which means the benefits wrap around those benefits provided by a Medicare Part D plan, which is Medicare’s prescription drug plan. Therefore, to participate in EPIC, one must have Medicare Part D. When making a prescription purchase, Medicare Part D is the first payer, then this program contributes toward the costs that the Part D plan does not cover.
There is an annual fee for the Fee Plan that ranges between $8 and $300 and is based on income. There is no charge to participate in the Deductible Plan.
This program is overseen by the New York Department of Health.
To be eligible for this program, seniors must meet the following criteria:
- Be a New York resident.
- Be 65+ years old.
- Not be enrolled in Medicaid.
- Enrolled in or be eligible for a Medicare Part D plan.
- Be under the annual income limit. As of 2022, the income limits are the same as the previous two years. The Fee Plan requires an annual income of less than $20,000 for single applicants and $26,000 for married couples ($1,666 / month and $2,166 / month, respectively).
- The Deductible Plan is for single seniors with income between $20,001 and $75,000 or between $26,001 and $100,000 for married couples. In monthly terms, single applicants can have income greater than $1,666, but less than $6,250, and married couples can have income greater than $2,166, but less than $8,333.
Benefits and Services
The EPIC program will pay for Medicare Part D premiums. As of 2022, a maximum of $42.43 per month is made available for Part D premiums for single seniors with income between $20,001 and $23,000 or married couples with income between $26,001 and $29,000.
EPIC also helps with prescription co-payments and some drugs not covered by Part D, such as prescription vitamins and cold and cough preparations. Fee Plan members are immediately eligible for assistance, and Deductible Plan members are eligible after they’ve met a sliding scale deductible. Deductibles may be as low as $530 / year and as high as $3,215 / year. The amount is determined by one’s income.
Co-payments for prescriptions are between $3 and $20 and are based on the cost of the medication. For instance, if a medication costs $15, the co-payment is $3, and if a medication is over $55, the co-payment is $20.
How to Apply / Learn More
To learn more about this program, visit the EPIC program webpage or call their toll free number at (800) 332-3742. This program is available statewide. To apply, one can download an application here.
New York residents who are financially eligible for EPIC may also be eligible for the EISEP Program, which helps with home care, adult day care, and other supports.
The state of Illinois has two programs designed to provide financial assistance to the elderly to help them purchase their prescription drugs. Rx Basic is for individuals without Medicare insurance and the Rx Plus is designed for those on Medicare.
Rx Plus is known as a Medicare wraparound program which means the benefits wrap around those benefits provided by a Medicare Part D plan. When making a prescription purchase, Medicare Part D is the first payer and then this program contributes towards those costs the Part D plan does not cover.