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Rhode Island Pharmaceutical Assistance for the Elderly (RIPAE)

Page Reviewed / Updated - September 03, 2020

Program Description

The Rhode Island Pharmaceutical Assistance for the Elderly program, or RIPAE for short, provides financial assistance in the form of discounted prescriptions to elderly state residents. There are 4 levels to this program; each level receives a different percentage discount on their medications ranging from 15% - 60%. (Level 1 – 3 are for seniors 65 and over and level 4 is for persons 55 – 64 years of age who are disabled). The senior’s (and their spouse's) annual income(s) determine into which level of the program they are placed. The following numbers are current as of March 2020.

-Individuals with income under $23,968, or couples under $29,963 receive a 60% discount
-Individuals with income under $30,089, but greater than $23,968, or couples under $37,625, but greater than $29,963, receive a 30% discount
-Individuals with income under $52,755, but more than $30,089, or couples under $60,179, but more than $37,625, receive a 15% discount
-Level 4, as previously mentioned, is specifically for persons who are between 55 and 64 years of age and disabled. Individuals with income less than $52,755, or couples under $60,179 receive a 15% discount.

The RIPAE Program is designed and intended to work in tandem with a Medicare Part D insurance plan.  The cost of fulfilling a prescription is first addressed by the Medicare Part D plan, and RIPAE then applies to the portion of the cost not paid for by Medicare Part D.

Did You Know?  Older adults have challenges adhering to their prescriptions as do lower income individuals.  Low income seniors have 7 times as many challenges when compared to the average adult.

Eligibility Guidelines

To be eligible for this program, seniors must meet the following criteria:

  • Rhode Island resident
  • 65 years of age or older (or between 55 and 64 years old, if officially disabled)
  • Ineligible for Medicaid
  • Enrolled in Medicare Part D plan

Individuals 65 and over, as well as disabled persons 55 – 64 years of age, must have annual income under $52,755 and married couples under $60,179 (in 2020). This is equal to $4,396 and $5,014 per month for individuals and couples, respectively.

Benefits and Services

Depending on their income level, program participants receive a discount of between 15% - 60% on their prescriptions.   Generic medications will always be used in place of brand name drugs unless a doctor has specifically determined that the brand name variety is a medical necessity.

There are no applicant fees or enrollment fees to participate in the RIPAE program.  Some seniors have the perception that there is an additional cost if they are not already enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan as they are required to do so. However, this is a Medicare Part D premium, not a RIPAE cost.

How to Apply / Learn More

RIPAE is administered by the Rhode Island Department of Elder Affairs.  RIPAE is administered by the Rhode Island Department of Elder Affairs.  One can learn more or apply for the program here, by downloading a RIPAE fact sheet, or by calling (401) 462-3000.

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.