Caregivers, when you take your elderly family member to the pharmacy to pick up prescription drugs, does it seem like the cost just keeps going up? If the senior is struggling with paying for medications, they are not alone. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 20 percent of adults are trying to figure out how to pay less for their medications. Unfortunately, the difficulty of paying for prescription drugs is causing some to take dangerous chances with their health.
About the Survey Results
Survey participants were between the ages of 18 and 64 and had been prescribed a drug in the past year. The survey showed that 20 percent of the survey’s respondents had looked for ways to pay less for their medications.
Some of the strategies the respondents used were:
Asking the Doctor for a Cheaper Drug: 40 percent of people who did not have insurance asked for less expensive drugs in comparison to 18 percent of people with private insurance and 15 percent who were covered by Medicaid.
Rationing Medications: Many of the respondents said they did not take their medication according to the doctor’s instruction in an attempt to stretch it out over a longer period of time. They either waited to get the prescription filled, skipped doses, or took less than they were supposed to.
Alternative Therapies: Some respondents said they tried something other than the drug that was prescribed.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with asking the doctor or pharmacist for a less expensive drug but trying to ration drugs or not filling the prescription at all are disturbing options your aging relative may be taking. When medications aren’t taken as directed, they are not as effective at managing conditions or may not work at all.
Tips for Saving Money on Prescriptions
There are several ways caregivers can help seniors to lower their prescription drug costs, such as the tips below:
- Ask for the generic version of the drug.
- Fill prescriptions at big box stores that may offer some generic medications at reduced costs.
- Ask the doctor if the medication the senior is taking can be cut using a pill splitter. If so, ask if they can prescribe a double dose that can be cut. For example, a 10 mg pill that is taken in 5 mg doses. This allows your loved one to pay a single copay for twice the amount of medication.
- Not all pharmacies charge the same amount. Caregivers can contact multiple pharmacies to find the cheapest one.
Caregivers may also want to consider encouraging their aging relative to change their Medicare coverage. Seniors have a chance to change their plan during the annual open enrollment period, which takes place between October 15 and December 7.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Caregiver Services in Norwood MA, or anywhere in Eastern Massachusetts, please call the caring staff at CARE Resolutions – (508) 906-5572.
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