According to a report put out by Georgetown University (Prescription Drugs | Health Policy Institute | Georgetown University) seventy-five percent of people in the fifty to sixty-four year-old age range and ninety-one percent of people over the age of eighty fill a significant number of prescriptions each year. The cost of these prescriptions isn’t cheap, either. Even with supplement policies meant to defer or reduce the cost of prescription medications, millions of dollars are spent by seniors out of pocket each year on prescription drugs.
The financial burden on seniors to stay healthy can (and often does) come at an even bigger cost—the cost of not being able to age in place. You read correctly. Some seniors actually have to find cheaper housing so they can afford their medication. Sometimes this means moving in with one of their adult children. Sometimes it means merging households with a friend or other family member living alone. Some seniors even rent a room or part of their house (finished basement, for example) in an effort to supplement their income to cover the costs of their prescriptions.
The fact that none of these solutions is utterly unacceptable or workable is beside the point. The real issue here is eliminating stress and potential complications during the senior ‘golden’ years. But let’s be realistic. Adding people to the ‘mix’ in your home, no matter how well you know them, has the potential for complications and stress.
So you see, you are not alone if the cost of medication is a concern for you or the seniors in your life. Thankfully, though, there are several viable solution for easing the financial burden so that seniors can age in place comfortably.
- Use a pharmacy with a loyalty discount program or consider using a less expensive mail order prescription service.
- Get a 90-day supply instead of a 30-day supply. The copay is the same.
- Insist on generic brands.
- Ask for all possible discounts (veterans, retired law enforcement, retired teacher, members of AARP or AAA, etc..)
- Discuss the possibility with your doctor of substituting a less expensive over-the-counter medication that can be equally effective.
- Discuss the possibility with your doctor of eliminating some of your prescription medications altogether.
Aging in place in the comfort of home shouldn’t be compromised by the cost of the medication you or your loved one take. That is why taking the time to make sure you or your loved one is getting the most for their money or that unnecessary spending is not wreaking havoc on your/their finances is so important.
By Darla Nobel