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A Wisconsin program that provides assistance to seniors purchasing prescription drugs will be extended to the end of January while officials work on a long-term extension.

The SeniorCare Prescription Drug Assistance Program was set to expire Dec. 31, but the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave the state an extra month to continue the program, before finalizing its review of a 10-year extension request from the state Department of Health Services.

Wisconsin has the only state-run, income-based prescription drug assistance program for seniors 65 and older, working with Medicare Part D to allow seniors to choose the right drug coverage that's comprehensive and cost-effective, DHS said.

SeniorCare started in 2002, and the program is currently in a three-year waiver period, which expires Dec. 31.

About 50,000 state seniors are in the program.

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Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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