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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 21, 2007
GOVERNOR'S OFFICE NEWS RELEASE No. 07-034
DHSS Contact: Sherry Hill, (907) 465-1618, Cell (907) 321-2838
Jeff Kasper, (907) 465-8194, Cell (907) 321-3158

Governor Palin Outlines Continued Support for Alaska Seniors

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(Juneau, Alaska) — Governor Sarah Palin introduced legislation today to continue support for low-income older Alaskans by extending the Alaska SeniorCare Program. Without passage of this legislation, the program will end June 30, 2007.

“We must support our seniors,” Governor Palin said. “I’m pleased to present a plan that continues this important assistance to Alaska seniors, and helps keep pace with cost-of-living changes.”

The SeniorCare program was created in 2003 to help low-income Alaska seniors with monthly cash payments of $120. The program was expanded in 2005 to help cover prescription drug costs. Currently, nearly 7,000 Alaskans are enrolled in the SeniorCare cash assistance program and about 140 receive prescription support.

Governor Palin’s legislation will continue the $120 SeniorCare monthly cash payment to low-income seniors for five years and will tie eligibility to the annual federal poverty income guidelines for Alaska. Currently, the program’s eligibility is frozen at 135 percent of the 2005 federal poverty level.

About 2,500 seniors enrolled in SeniorCare previously were enrolled in the Alaska Longevity Bonus Program. If seniors receiving SeniorCare previously received the Alaska Longevity Bonus, they will be given a choice between receiving SeniorCare or the Alaska Longevity Bonus, should both be supported by the Alaska legislature.

The SeniorCare prescription drug payment assistance, which has had very low enrollment, will end. A recent survey by the Department of Health and Social Services found that many seniors have other insurance coverage .

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Fact Sheet: SeniorCare Program survey of Alaska seniors (PDF 52KB)

Fact Sheet: Governor Palin's SeniorCare legislation (PDF 99KB)

SeniorCare Program Proposal Comparison (PDF 25KB)