High prices for prescription drugs – from generics to brand name drugs – are causing millions of Americans to delay or prohibit getting their drugs from providers, including Medicare beneficiaries, according to a new study of the Urban Institute.
The study said 13 million American adults saw their prescription drugs delayed or not received at all in 2021 due to cost. This included 2.3 million Medicare beneficiaries, 3.8 million non–seniors with private insurance, 1.1 million people with Medicaid, and 4.1 million people uninsured at any time of the year.
“Recent congressional negotiations have focused on policies to expand health insurance coverage and reduce drug costs, including allowing drug prices to be negotiated for people with Medicare and health insurance. private health care, requiring rebates for price increases that exceed inflation, and capping Medicare costs,” says the Urban Institute.
If you’re struggling to keep up with rising costs, consider using a drug discount card. You can also potentially reduce your expenses – like your monthly mortgage payment – by refinancing.
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What are the unmet prescription drug needs?
According to the Urban Institute study, unmet needs for prescription drugs were most common among women, people with low incomes and those with multiple chronic health conditions. In fact, nearly all Medicare beneficiaries and more than eight in 10 adults on private insurance plans with unmet need have been diagnosed with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke , diabetes, arthritis and respiratory diseases.
If you’re struggling to pay rising costs for prescriptions or copayments, you have options to help you save money on monthly expenses. For example, you may consider refinancing your private student loan to cut costs.
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The cost of prescription drugs is rising
According to the study, many privately insured adults and those on Medicare spend significant amounts on prescription drugs. Just over 25% of adults with health insurance and 5.3% of those with private insurance spend more than 1% of their family income on personal prescription drugs.
And more than 3% of Medicare beneficiaries and about 7% of beneficiaries with unmet prescription drug needs spent more than 10% of their household income on prescription drugs.
“Policies to reduce drug prices and limit out-of-pocket expenses could increase access to needed prescription drugs for adults with health insurance and private coverage, and efforts to expand coverage to the uninsured population could further improve the affordability of prescription drugs,” the study states.
If you are having trouble paying for prescription drugs and other health care costs, consider taking out a personal loan to consolidate debt and eliminate high-interest debt to lower your monthly payments.