Christine Stuart photo

When Democrats unveiled their budget last week, they included savings from a new program to help low-income Medicare-eligible seniors get their medications at a lower cost.

They said the program called ConnPace Plus helps the state leverage federal funds to replace state funds currently being spent on helping seniors get their medications.

The idea developed by Rep. Linda Schofield, D-Simsbury, could save some seniors thousands of dollars. “This is an example of creative thinking that saves money and adds a benefit to people in need,” Rep. Denise Merrill, D-Mansfield, said.

Schofield said the program would help people like an unnamed woman who testified at a hearing on the bill.

She said the unnamed woman takes 14 medications and her co-pays on ConnPace cost her $227.50 per month, which is $2,730 per year. Under the new ConnPace Plus program her co-pays would drop to $532.80 per year. She said the woman would see $2,197.20 in savings on her co-pays and another $1,156.80 on her Medicare Part B premiums.

Under the new program seniors could get their drugs for as much as $5.60 for a brand name and $2.25 for a generic, instead of the $16.25 drug co-payment they currently pay in the ConnPace program.

Speaker of the House James Amann, D-Milford, said the program is a “win-win for taxpayers and seniors,” in the state.

There are currently 37,379 seniors enrolled in ConnPace.

Democrats said the Department of Social Services will automatically enroll all eligible seniors on the ConnPace in the ConnPace Plus program, on Oct. 1, if the program is approved during budget negotiations.