Ohio prescription drug plan expands

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Changes to Ohio's prescription drug program will allow about 105,000 additional people to take advantage of the discount, officials said.

Beginning in April, income requirements will be expanded for people under age 60, said Jennifer Lopez, who oversees the program for the state Department of Job and Family Services.

The new income eligibility level includes people with annual family incomes of less than 300 percent the federal poverty guidelines _ or $60,000 a year for a family of four.

Other changes include eliminating a waiting period for people who lose their jobs and find themselves without drug coverage, and allowing people with workers' compensation drug benefits to participate.

Ohio's Best Rx, organized by unions and drug makers, began in 2005. It's designed to lower the cost of prescriptions for Ohioans who don't have prescription drug insurance coverage. People age 60 or over are eligible regardless of income.

The program is replacing the drug discount that has been available with the Ohio Department of Aging's Golden Buckeye card. After July 1, people using the Golden Buckeye card will automatically get the Best Rx discount.

''By almost every indicator, the Best Rx discounts were better,'' Lopez said.


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