EPIC expansion benefits seniors

An estimated 25,000 senior citizens across the state could benefit from increased funding within the New York state budget for the Elderly Pharmaceutical In-surance Coverage program.

More than 270,000 seniors over the age of 65 have enrolled through the state Department of Health in order to supplement out-of-pocket Medicare Part D drug plan costs.

The recently approved budget increased the amount of income seniors can have and still qualify for coverage from $35,000 to $75,000 for single individuals, and $50,000 to $100,000 for married couples.

Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean, and Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-James-town, are optimistic about funding for the program, which increased by $4.1 million in the budget.

“The EPIC program has been an enormous success over the years and what we see with seniors across the state is that many are on fixed incomes and they have to choose between getting their prescription medications or paying their other bills,” Young said, adding that she was pleased to see increased income levels for eligibility.

Goodell agreed, and said EPIC was one of many advantageous programs within the budget for New Yorkers over the age of 65.

“Senior citizens were winners this year,” Goodell said of the state spending plan. “Incomes are rising for some, and I think EPIC is a really positive benefit for those in Chautauqua County.”

In some cases, copays for prescriptions are capped at $20, while the EPIC program pays the remainder of the copay.

For more information, call 1-800-332-3742, visit your local pharmacy for an application, or visit

Applications can also be obtained by calling the Office For the Aging at 661-8940.