Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Always Heartbreaking News When Seniors Can't Afford Their Medications

By Coleen Elkins

We are in the business of helping people with their Medicare options and we get the opportunity to really listen to what is important. It is heartbreaking to meet with an aging member of our community and have them tell us they can't fill their prescriptions. Not taking prescriptions can be life threatening or shorten someone's life.

It is very stressful to be sick. It is even more stressful to be on a fixed and/or limited income and not being able to afford your medications.

How does a senior decide between paying their rent or mortgage and paying for their medications?

More than 300,000 American's are now taking medication with an annual cost of $50,000.00. Many  of the the Cancer medications cost $10,000.00 per month. Even with a Part D prescription plan the cost sharing is unaffordable. Then there is the "gap or the donut hole" where the burden is shifted back to the insured. They won't see any relief until they have spent $4700.00 out of pocket. Many of the newer drugs are not found on drug plan formularies meaning the are not covered by the plan at all.

Some can get extra help from VA benefits. Drug manufactures are offering financial assistance and often free medications to those who are the most needy. Those are not unlimited funds though and the benefits can be depleted quickly.

Many people don't know the true cost of their medications in the initial coverage stage because they are paying a copay. They are learning the hard way when they suddenly end up in the "gap".

We urge consumers that are unable to pay for their medications to let their legislators know. Call or write your Congressman. Speak out and be heard. If you don't tell them they don't know. If you don't know how to do that ask a family member or friend to help.

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