"The federal drug prescription program doesn't protect all of our
seniors -- in fact, it leaves significant gaps that forces them to
pay more for their prescriptions than they should," said Governor
Blagojevich. "But here in Illinois, we have the Illinois Cares Rx
program that helps our seniors get the benefits that they are
entitled to. And now, our seniors can receive these benefits faster
by applying online."
Gov. Blagojevich and the Illinois Department
on Aging (IDoA) made the applications available online to make it
easier and quicker to apply for benefits and to accommodate the
increasing number of older persons accessing the World Wide Web.
Several recent studies show that seniors are the fastest growing
population of Internet users. Last year the number of Internet
applications more than doubled when nearly 159,000 people took
advantage of the Internet to file their Illinois Cares Rx
applications and Circuit Breaker claims, compared to 75,288 filed
online in all of 2005.
Before logging on to the Internet, IDoA Director Charles Johnson
suggests having the following information available in order to make
the process smoother: Social Security number(s), amount of property
taxes paid in 2006, amount of rent paid in 2006, and a copy of 2006
federal tax returns.
"I encourage seniors who have access to the Internet to file for
Illinois Cares Rx online at
If you don't own a computer, I recommend reaching out to family
members who do own computers and use theirs, visiting your local
Area Agency on Aging or senior center, contacting a SHIP volunteer
in your community, or calling the Illinois Department on Aging's
Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966," said Director Charles Johnson.
IDoA has sent booklets to those seniors and the disabled who
submitted Illinois Cares Rx applications in the mail last year.
Seniors and the disabled who filed for Illinois Cares Rx via the
Internet should have received yellow postcards in the mail as a
reminder to sign up online.
Illinois Cares Rx provides a safety net for seniors and the
disabled when their out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs go up
under the federal program. In 2007, the standard federal Medicare
Part D prescription drug program will pay 75 percent of prescription
drug costs up to $2,400 after a $265 deductible with an average $24
per month premium. Beneficiaries are responsible for all of their
costs between $2,400 and $5,451.25, with the plan paying 95 percent
of costs beyond that top threshold. The gap where a beneficiary has
to pay all the drug costs between $2,400 and $5,451.25 is commonly
referred to as the "donut hole." People with Medicare applying for
Illinois Cares Rx must also apply for Medicare's Extra Help for drug
coverage through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Apply for
Extra Help by calling the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 or at
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The Medicare Part D stand-alone prescription drug plans currently
coordinating with Illinois Cares Rx are the AARP MedicareRx Plan,
UnitedHealth Rx Basic, and WellCare Signature. The Medicare
Advantage companies currently coordinating with Illinois Cares Rx
are Group Health Plan, Health Alliance, HealthSpring, OSF Health
Plans, SecureHorizons by United Healthcare, and WellCare HMO. The
stand-alone prescription drug plans are available statewide.
Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans may be available only in
Individuals eligible for the Illinois Cares Rx program may also
be eligible for additional benefits from the State's Circuit Breaker
program. The Circuit Breaker program provides a property tax relief
grant for individuals who pay property tax on their residence or
rent or nursing home charges on a residence that is subject to
property tax. In addition, the program provides an annual $54.00
discount on the license plate fee for one vehicle.
Those eligible for Illinois Cares Rx fall into one of the
following groups whether you have Medicare or not:
1. Illinois Cares Rx Plus
Who can enroll?
If you are single with an annual income of no more than $20,420;
or a couple with an annual income of no more than $27,380; and a
citizen or qualified non-citizen.
All classes of medically necessary prescription drugs are
2. Illinois Cares Rx Basic
Who can enroll?
Seniors or the disabled with income less than $21,218 for a
single person or $28,480 for a couple.
Prescription drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease,
arthritis, cancer, diabetes, glaucoma, cardiovascular disease, lung
disease and smoking-related illnesses, osteoporosis, Parkinson's
disease, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS (if you have Medicare).
In June 2005 Gov. Blagojevich signed the "No Senior or Person
with Disability Left Behind" law, which created the Illinois Cares
Rx program, the nation's most comprehensive response to fill in the
gaps created by the federal prescription drug program. Illinois
Cares Rx took effect January 1, 2006, with the start of the new
Medicare prescription coverage and has provided extra assistance to
nearly 245,000 Illinois Cares Rx members and other Medicare
For those who don't have a computer at home, seniors can visit a
local senior center, public library, community center, Area Agency
on Aging or Senior Health Assistance Program (SHAP) site to access
the Web-based application. For more information or assistance,
please call the Illinois Department on Aging's Senior HelpLine at
1-800-252-8966 (888-206-1327 TTY) or visit
copied from file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information)