Gov. Doyle, congressional delegation: Announce extension of SeniorCare through 2012

Contact: Carla Vigue, Office of Governor Doyle, 608-261-2162

MILWAUKEE – Governor Doyle and the Wisconsin congressional delegation today announced that the state’s successful prescription drug program, SeniorCare has been extended to 2012. SeniorCare had been scheduled to end December 31, 2009 but President Obama and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, after reviewing the merits of the program, officially granted the extension.

“I am deeply thankful to the President and the entire Obama administration for making sure that SeniorCare remains an option for nearly 90,000 Wisconsin seniors,” said Governor Jim Doyle. “SeniorCare not only gives our seniors the medications they need at a reasonable price, but it also saves Wisconsin taxpayers millions of dollars. During this tough economic time, our state continues to ensure that seniors have access to this cost-effective program. I would like to thank Senator Herb Kohl and Congressman Dave Obey for all they did to keep SeniorCare a prescription drug option for seniors in Wisconsin. Their work was instrumental in gaining the SeniorCare extension.”

“The administration made the right decision,” Senator Kohl said. “It must have been clear to them, as it is to me, that SeniorCare is vital and could not be allowed to expire. I want to congratulate Governor Doyle for making this happen.”

“SeniorCare works for seniors! It provides Wisconsin seniors an efficient, easy to understand, alternative for prescription drug coverage and I’m glad it’s going to continue,” said Congressman Dave Obey. “We had to fight tooth and nail with the last Administration to keep SeniorCare alive. So I’m especially happy that we’ve now got an Administration that understands how important SeniorCare is and is working with us to keep it going for Wisconsin’s seniors.”

The Governor also thanked the Wisconsin congressional delegation for their work to help ensure that Wisconsin’s seniors have access to affordable prescription drugs.

“SeniorCare is living proof of a highly successful public insurance plan option that serves as a model of how public and private plans may compete and thrive in our health care system. Governor Doyle and our entire Congressional delegation have worked hard to protect this program that benefits so many seniors in our state,” said Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin.

“I am pleased President Obama has followed through on his promise to extend SeniorCare and ensure that Wisconsin seniors have access to affordable prescription drugs,” Senator Russ Feingold said. “Not only do Wisconsin’s seniors win with this announcement, but so do taxpayers since SeniorCare will save tens of millions of dollars in the years ahead.”

“As a physician, I know first-hand that SeniorCare works. It guarantees that Wisconsin’s senior citizens in need have access to the prescription drugs their doctors believe are best for them. SeniorCare saves lives and tax dollars by keeping our parents and our neighbors healthy,” said Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D.

“It’s about time we had an administration willing to take a cue from health care delivery systems that work,” Congresswoman Moore said. “President Obama knows that SeniorCare gives seniors in our state affordable access to the prescription drugs they need – it works! Part of comprehensive health care reform is going to be getting pharmaceutical costs for seniors under control, and I am glad that Wisconsin’s seniors have a head start with Senior Care.”

“I am extremely grateful for the Obama Administration’s decision to extend Wisconsin’s SeniorCare waiver,” said Representative Ron Kind. “Seniors all over Wisconsin repeatedly tell me what a life-saver the SeniorCare program is to them, and their interests are our top priority. This program is a pillar of innovation, saving millions of dollars while providing more comprehensive and less expensive coverage than Medicare Part D. Simply put, Wisconsin’s program should be a model for the federal government, not the other way around.”

SeniorCare continues to be a popular and successful program and is an affordable alternative to Medicare Part D. Unlike Part D, SeniorCare has a simple enrollment process, a $30 annual enrollment fee, an income-based deductible and copayments of $5 for generic drugs or $15 for brand drugs. SeniorCare also does not have a strict enrollment period or enrollment penalty, nor do members have a gap in coverage, like Medicare Part D.

The annual federal cost per enrollee for SeniorCare is $588 and is significantly lower than the average Part D beneficiary cost of $1,690. This difference alone accounts for an annual savings to taxpayers and the federal government of more than $90 million dollars. The state of Wisconsin is also able to leverage additional savings because it can use its bargaining power to negotiate the lowest prices for prescription drugs, while Congress made it illegal for the federal government to bargain for lower prices.

SeniorCare has provided affordable, comprehensive prescription drug coverage to thousands of Wisconsin seniors since 2002.

To view the letter of approval outlining the terms of the agreement, go to:

For SeniorCare information, call the SeniorCare hotline at (800) 657-2038 or go to