It’s Older Americans Month: Time for a benefits checkup?

Seniors-on-Prescription-Drugs

You probably didn’t know it, but May is officially Older Americans Month. Since many members of the eDrugSearch.com community are seniors, and we are keenly aware of their struggles in managing their prescription drug costs, we thought we would take this opportunity to share some facts about the older population that might surprise you, courtesy of the Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging

  • The older population — persons 65 years or older — represents about 12.4 percent of the U.S. population, about one in every eight Americans.
  • By 2030, there will be about 71.5 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000, representing about 20 percent of the U.S. population.
  • In 2006 older consumers averaged out-of-pocket health care expenditures of $4,631, an increase of 62 percent since 1996. In contrast, the total population spent considerably less, averaging $2,853 in out-of-pocket costs.
  • Older Americans spent 12.7 percent of their total expenditures on health, more than twice the proportion spent by all consumers (5.7 percent).
  • Health costs incurred on average by older consumers in 2006 (the latest year for which data is available) consisted of $2,770 (60 percent) for insurance, $859 (18 percent) for drugs, $844 (18.5 percent) for medical services, and $159 (3 percent) for medical supplies.

Unfortunately, our seniors too often bear the brunt of our overpriced healthcare system. While the issue of skyrocketing drug costs for seniors has received less media attention since Medicare Part D was introduced in 2006, the truth is that this costly new entitlement program has helped insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies far more than it has helped individual seniors (as Suddenly Senior explains).

What’s more, many seniors are unaware that they may qualify for additional financial assistance with their prescription drugs and other medical bills.

To commemorate Older Americans Month, we encourage you to tell a senior you love (and that can include yourself!) about BenefitsCheckUp, a service of the National Council on Aging that helps match seniors with benefits programs. BenefitsCheckUp has helped more than 2.2 million people find over $7.2 billion worth of annual benefits.

Take your BenefitsCheckUp here.

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