If the current economy weren’t bad enough for seniors on fixed incomes, now the state of Massachusetts (as a result of the recession) has slashed a state program that assisted seniors with drug costs. Boston.com reports:
Tens of thousands of Bay State seniors are facing steep increases in the cost of their prescription drug copayments, the result of an $11 million cut in a state-funded program that, until Jan. 1, helped to defray their pharmacy costs. More than 44,000 senior citizens are affected by the cuts in the Prescription Advantage program, with many seeing their copayments double or triple, officials said.
As a result, some seniors are simply leaving their prescriptions on the pharmacy counter, rather than pay a price they feel they can’t afford, said Mary Sullivan, a pharmacist and director of MassMedLine, a nonprofit organization run by the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
“I am selling everything I can on eBay to help pay for these drugs,” said Ralph F. Van Dean, a 77-year-old Swampscott resident who said he was hit with a $793 copayment Jan. 4 for four medications for his wife, Nina, who suffers from a chronic lung disease. Previously, he said, the copayment for the four drugs would have been about $50, because the Prescription Advantage program covered what Medicare did not.
The irony here is that, compared to most states (particularly mine — Texas), Massachusetts has been among the most generous in supplementing federal programs like Medicare and Social Security. If the state of Massachusetts is bailing on its seniors, I’m afraid we can expect others to do the same.