Maine DEL & RX Plus Programs: Prescription Drug Assistance for the Elderly
The state of Maine offers two prescription assistance programs for its residents. Both programs offer financial assistance to participants though they each offer different amounts of assistance and have different eligibility requirements. The Low Cost Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled Program is more commonly referred to as the DEL Program and it is designed for disabled or elderly individuals with very low incomes. The Maine RX Plus Program is intended for low to middle income individuals and families. There are no costs to enroll in either of these programs.
Did You Know? Low income seniors are 7x more likely to fail to adhere to their prescription regiments than younger adults.
To be eligible for the DEL Program, persons must meet the following criteria:
- Be 62+ years old or over the age of 19 and be designated as disabled by the Social Security Administration
- Be a Maine Resident
- Income Limits - Less than 175% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). For 2018, single applicants must have income less than $21,245 per year or $1,771 per month. Married couples or two-person households are limited to an annual income of $28,805 or monthly income of $2,401. There is one exception to this income rule. Applicants who spend a minimum of 40% of their income on prescription drugs are allowed a higher income limit. As of 2018, this limit is 25% higher, making the income limit 200% of the FPL. This equates to an annual income limit of $24,280 or a monthly income of $2,023 for a single applicant. For married couples or households with two people, the income limit is $32,920 / year or $2,743 / month.
- Asset Limits – A single applicant can have liquid resources (cash, savings bonds, certificates of deposit, checking accounts, etc.) no greater than $58,000. Married applicants are permitted up to $87,000 in assets.
RX Plus Program
To be eligible for RX Plus, persons must meet the following criteria:
- Be a Maine Resident
- Have an annual income less than 350% of the Federal Poverty Level. In 2018, for a single, widowed or unmarried individual, this limit is $42,492 per year or $3,541 per month. For a married couple living together, the limit is $57,612 per year or $4,801 per month. Those with higher incomes may still be eligible if at least 5% of their income is spent on drugs or 15% is spent on medical related expenses.
Unlike the DEL program, the RX Plus program does not consider one’s assets.
Benefits and Services
The DEL Program pays for 80% of a senior’s out-of-pocket drug costs after Medicare Part D or other insurance coverage. Eligible medications include those that treat Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and many other conditions.
The Maine RX Plus Program offers discounts off the purchase price of brand name and generic drugs. For generic drugs, discounts are offered up to 60%, and for brand name drugs, discounts are offered up to 15%.
How to Apply / Learn More
Maine residents can learn more about these programs or apply for assistance by contacting their local Area Agency on Aging. Alternatively, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ Pharmacy Unit provides some additional information on their new prescription drug portal. One can also download an application here.
Other Help - Maine has another program that provides assistance to the elderly, though not necessarily for medications, the Home Based Care Program can help families caring for aging loved ones at home.
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.