Bay State residents age 50 plus continue to be affected by prescription drug sticker shock, with the majority reporting major problems paying for their medication, according to a new AARP survey.
As the prices of brand name prescription drugs widely used by people in Medicare soared, some of the most notable increases took place among drugs nearing the end of their patents. The most recent AARP Rx Price Watch Report found drugs facing generic competition in 2010 climbed by an average of 13.7 percent in 2009, compared to 8.3 percent for all drugs studied.
While AARP continues to fight at both the state and federal level to lower prescription drug costs, resources are available to help Massachusetts residents get the medicine they need at a price they can afford.
Mass Medline is a free, confidential service available to all Massachusetts residents who are seeking information regarding their medications. Whether you are having difficulties affording your medications or want to know what the side effects are to your prescriptions, you can speak to pharmacists and case managers one-on-one to receive personal assistance with answering your pharmacy related questions or finding programs to help with the cost of your medications.
Prescription Advantage is the state’s pharmacy assistance program that works in tandem with Medicare. The program is available to all Massachusetts residents age 65 and older, as well as younger individuals with disabilities who meet income and employment guidelines. Currently, 60,000 older residents count on Prescription Advantage to help afford their medication.
SHINE (Serving the Health Needs of Elders)
SHINE counselors help older residents and Medicare beneficiaries understand their rights and benefits under Medicare and other health insurance coverage. Counselors can identify and compare current options and protect clients from paying too much for their medical care. SHINE counselors are available at most councils on aging, senior centers and Aging Services Access Points, hospitals and libraries. Counselors are also available for homebound clients. Find a telephone directory by town.
AARP Drug Savings Tool
Review your drug’s price range and efficacy and compare it to Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs. Print out your options for discussion with your doctor.
AARP Doughnut Hole Calculator
If you have Medicare Part D, you may be at risk of falling into the coverage gap, or "doughnut hole." Follow this four-step tool and save money.