The high prices of prescription drugs– from generic to brand-name medications – are causing millions of Americans to delay or prohibit getting their medicine from providers, including Medicare beneficiaries, according to a new study from the Urban Institute.
The study indicated that 13 million U.S. adults saw a delay in receiving their prescription drugs, or didn’t altogether in 2021 due to costs. This included 2.3 million Medicare beneficiaries, 3.8 million non-elderly adults with private insurance, 1.1 million people with Medicaid and 4.1 million people who were uninsured at any point during the year.
"Recent congressional negotiations have focused on policies to expand health insurance coverage and lower drug costs, including authorizing the negotiation of drug prices for people with Medicare and private health insurance, requiring rebates for price increases that outpace inflation, and capping out-of-pocket costs in Medicare," the Urban Institute states.
If you are struggling to keep up with mounting costs, consider utilizing a drug discount card. You can also potentially lower your expenses – like your monthly mortgage payment – by refinancing.
Whose prescription drugs needs aren't being met?
Unmet prescription drug needs were the most common among women, people with low incomes and those with multiple chronic health conditions, according to the Urban Institute’s study. In fact, nearly all Medicare beneficiaries and more than eight in 10 adults with private insurance plans with unmet needs have been diagnosed with chronic conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and respiratory illnesses.
If you are struggling to pay for rising prescription costs or copays, you have options to help save money on monthly expenses. For instance, you can consider refinancing your private student loan to help reduce costs.
Prescription drug costs are rising
Many privately insured adults and those with Medicare are spending a significant amount of money on prescription drugs, according to the study. Just over 25% of adults with Medicare and 5.3% of those who are privately insured spend more than 1% of their family's income on individual out-of-pocket prescription drugs.
And more than 3% of Medicare recipients and about 7% of beneficiaries with unmet prescription drug needs spent more than 10% of their family incomes on prescription drugs.
"Policies to reduce drug prices and limit out-of-pocket spending could increase access to needed prescription drugs for adults with Medicare and private coverage, and efforts to expand coverage to the uninsured population could further improve prescription drug affordability," the study stated.
If you are struggling to afford prescription drugs and other health care costs, consider taking out a personal loan to consolidate your debt and eliminate high-interest debt to reduce your monthly payments.