Covering the cost of prescription drugs
Medicine > Covering the cost of prescription drugs
Despite – or perhaps because of – the prominence prescription drug coverage has had in the news; legislators have done little to assist senior citizens with their medication costs. The bill passed through Congress last year received few accolades from seniors, many of whom are on fixed incomes and are facing ever-rising drug costs. Still, some options exist to help the elderly pay for their medication. The influx of senior citizens on the Internet adds to the possibility of getting drug coverage, as online pharmaceutical companies are a fast-growing sector of e-commerce.
Two programs in existence help the elderly pay find affordable prescription drug coverage. The first is the patients assistance program. Run through Medicare, the government-sponsored insurance program for the elderly, the patients assistance program offers information-only to seniors who need drug coverage. The United States government provides, through Medicare education – including the department’s website – on local and regional drug coverage and reduced cost drug programs.
EPIC, or the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program, actually assists seniors in purchasing their medications. This program began in 1987 and has helped hundreds of thousands of seniors saved estimated billions of dollars on their prescription costs. There are requirements to join and most members are over age 70 with many prescription drug needs. Still, interested seniors may want to check their eligibility status for this program.
Another option for seniors is the use of mail order or online pharmacies. Some online companies actually provide medication from Canada or other countries, and seniors should check to ensure the legality of their purchases of these medicines. Mail-order pharmaceuticals, however, are perfectly legal and are a convenient way to receive medication. These companies often require a 3-month or more minimum purchase, but they reduce the amount paid per month and deliver the prescription to the patient’s door, making them very convenient for seniors who may not be able to drive. These options are available only to a select few seniors and are not a solution to the overall problem, but they should assist in making some progress toward finding affordable solutions to seniors’ healthcare costs.