I know a few seniors who stop taking prescription medications because they don’t have the funds to cover cost. Seniors usually have high drug costs due to health related issues and living on a fixed income can prove detrimental to their health. Seniors living on fixed incomes and have little money left out of their social security checks, usually stop taking prescription medications to have extra money.
I know a senior living in Madison Heights, Virginia who stopped taking her high blood pressure pills because she can’t afford to buy the medication. This puts her at risk for heart attacks and strokes.
In cases where seniors on fixed incomes can’t make it, the government needs to step in and help. Seniors lose money paying Medicare roughly $96 a month while paying for supplement insurance for services Medicare doesn’t cover. Supplement insurance programs such as Humana charges a fee for services not covered by Medicare. This digs the hole deeper for seniors on a tight income.
There are two plans for healthcare coming out in the near future that will cover name brand medications. However, the premiums will be higher and most seniors won’t be able to afford the coverage. There will be a limited range in medications that treat chronic illnesses in seniors. This will make seniors pay more in the end.
Lipitor controls cholesterol and isn’t available as generics. I talked with a local Pharmacist from CVS Pharmacy in Amherst Virginia and he said Lipitor costs $122.99 without prescription coverage. There is very little coverage for brand name drugs and this strains a senior.
In the new plan, Medicare beneficiaries along with their insurance plan will spend $2,840 on medications. After this amount is spent, seniors will be responsible for the next $3,600, which puts seniors in an even bigger hole.
Under the new plan, seniors who reach a spending limit of $6,400 will then have Medicare kick in which means beneficiaries will pay smaller amounts. Many seniors won’t reach that spending limit because they can’t afford doctor visits. Therefore, they still pay higher costs for doctors and prescription medications.
In 2020, President Barack Obama’s health care law will close the gap but that’s a few years down the road. This doesn’t help seniors who need help now. The health care law will provide discounts next year. Giving seniors a fifty percent break on name brand drugs and small break on generic drugs.
However, Medicare will continue counting the full retail value of medications. This helps seniors pay less. If seniors aren’t careful, about whom they chose for insurance next year, their premiums will rise into double digits creating a bigger hole in their pockets.
The government should step in and give seniors who worked or served in the military free health insurance and prescription drug coverage when they’ve reached a certain age requirement. Doing this would ensure seniors are provided for by the healthcare system in every way. The government should help seniors by covering all expenses such as, medical and eye coverage, surgery and prescription drugs.