Federal Study: Millions of Older Americans Can’t Afford Their Prescriptions

Federal Study: Millions of Older Americans Can’t Afford Their Prescriptions

A new federal report says that 3.5 million Americans age 65 and older struggled to afford their needed prescription drugs in 2019 and that Medicare beneficiaries of color and those with lower incomes were more likely to skip needed doses because of cost.

Latino and Black adults 65 age 65+ were roughly 1.5 times more likely to have affordability problems than were Non-Latino White adults and 2 times as likely not to get needed prescriptions due to cost.

The report from the Office of Health Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is based on the annual National Health Interview Survey.

“The high cost and out-of-pocket expenses of drugs cause many Americans — particularly those with chronic conditions such as diabetes — to delay or skip taking needed treatments,” the report says. This despite the fact that the vast majority of Medicare beneficiaries have prescription drug coverage. AARP published a summary of the report that can be accessed at https://bit.ly/3fVEaLo

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Darryl Hicks

Darryl Hicks is Vice President of Communications for the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. In this capacity, Hicks writes for NRMLA's publications, manages the association's web sites and social media accounts, assists committees and the Board of Directors, and manages the Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional designation. Prior to joining NRMLA in 1999, Hicks spent three years in the Washington, D.C. bureau for National Mortgage News.