The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities has been working for several years to have people with disabilities who are on Medicare included in the state prescription drug program. The program has served seniors since 1999, but people with disabilities who are under age 65 were not included until now. In 2000, the legislature agreed to expand the drug program beyond seniors but decided not to fund the expansion until July 1, 2002.
Last winter, Governor Ventura proposed to stop this expansion of the drug program because of budget concerns. Thanks to the letters and phone calls from the disability community, the legislature did not support Ventura’s proposal and provided additional funding this year to help get the program off the ground.
Effective, July 1st, people who qualify will pay $35 a month this amount includes the premium and co-payment and will have access to the prescription drugs that they need.
To qualify, you must:
-Have an income of less than $906 per month for a single adult and $1,214 for a household of two.
– Have liquid assets (other than home, car, burial funds, and so on) of $10,000 or less for one person, $18,000 or less for a married couple (your spouse’s income and assets count even if he or she isn’t applying for the program).
-Have been a Minnesota resident for six months.
-Not be living in a nursing home.
-Not have had prescription drug coverage within four months of applying.
-Not be enrolled in MinnesotaCare.
-Be enrolled in, or applying for, one of the following Medicare supplement programs Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) or Service Limited Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) which help enrollees pay their Medicare premiums.
You can contact your county social services agency for more information about how to enroll.
Joel Ulland is the Public Policy Manager for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Minnesota Chapter.