WASHINGTON, D.C.  This week, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) was joined by Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) in introducing the Seniors Securing Access to Vital and Essential (SAVE) Prescription Drugs Act. If enacted, this bill would help more low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities afford their prescription drugs. This bill would also incentivize responsible saving for retirement by excluding covered retirement accounts when determining who qualifies for the Medicare Part D “Extra Help” program, which helps seniors cover their prescription drug costs.

“Prescription drug costs have been skyrocketing in recent years, adversely affecting every American. One of the most afflicted groups has been seniors, a majority of whom are on a fixed income and need medication to get through the day,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “I’m proud to support the Seniors SAVE on Prescription Drugs Act, and I look forward to continuing to fight for our seniors.”

“No senior should have to choose between buying groceries and life-saving medication,” said Rep. Lee. “But the reality is one in four seniors report it is difficult to afford their prescription drugs, and, even worse, one in five report not taking their medication as prescribed because of the cost. That’s unacceptable. This bill will lower out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs by helping more seniors qualify for Medicare’s ‘Extra Help’ program. I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan Seniors SAVE on Prescription Drugs Act with my colleague, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.”

“The Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy (LIS) helps people with low incomes pay for their prescription drugs, improving their health, quality of life, and economic security. But the current eligibility rules are overly restrictive, which can leave many people behind. We support efforts to ease access to the LIS program, including the Seniors SAVE on Prescription Drugs Act. By excluding certain retirement plans from LIS eligibility determinations, this important bill would allow more people to qualify for needed help and correct misaligned incentives that today can punish people for saving during their working lives. Those who manage to build retirement savings should gain peace of mind, not lose assistance when they need it most,” said Fred Riccardi, President of the Medicare Rights Center.


Anyone who has Medicare can get prescription drug coverage via a Medicare Part D plan. Some low-income individuals may also be eligible for subsidies – called “Extra Help” – to help cover their Part D premiums, deductibles, and prescription copayments. To be eligible for “Extra Help” applicants must meet income and asset limits. In 2021, married couples must have incomes below $26,130 and assets below $29,520. Currently, these limits penalize seniors who have responsibly saved for retirement by contributing by counting retirement account disbursements as income or assets for purposes of “Extra Help” eligibility.

This bill would help seniors and individuals with disabilities afford their prescription drugs and incentivize responsible savings by excluding covered retirement accounts from “Extra Help” eligibility determinations. This would allow more seniors to qualify for the prescription drug assistance they need without being penalized for doing the right thing by saving for retirement. Covered retirement accounts would include defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans, IRAs, governmental 457(b) plans, and 403(b) plans.

The following organizations have endorsed the Seniors Securing Access to Vital and Essential (SAVE) Prescription Drugs Act:

•           National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

•           National Council on Aging

•           Center for Medicare Advocacy

•           Justice in Aging

•           Medicare Rights Center

•           Battle Born Progress