48 Million Americans Forgo Filling Prescription Medication in 2010 Due To Costposted Thu, 1 Sep 2011
August 31, 2011
By Gabriel Levitt and Margaret Rode
A new report by the Commonwealth Fund, from their 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey, shows that 48 million Americans, ages 19-64, did not fill a prescription due to cost in 2010, up from 29 million in 2001 – a 66% increase. The study includes both insured and uninsured Americans but does not include children and seniors. The study indicates that the recession has greatly exacerbated the national crisis of prescription non-adherence (skipping medications), as nine out of 16 million Americans who have lost their job have also lost their health insurance.
It is difficult to estimate the sickness and even death that has resulted from so many millions of Americans not taking their prescribed medication due to cost. As evidenced by the new report, the situation is particularly dire for uninsured Americans with chronic medical conditions, as 27 million “skipped doses or did not fill a prescription for their condition because of the cost.”
The report shows that the newly uninsured are particularly susceptible to having to forgo not only prescription medication, but many types of medical treatment. As covered in the U.S. News and World Report, of nine million who lost their health insurance, 72 percent said they couldn’t afford to: fill a prescription; get a recommended test, treatment or follow-up; go to a doctor or clinic for a medical problem, or get specialist care.
The Commmonwealth report forecasts that the aforementioned problems will worsen until 2014 when the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented. However, as the study shows, having health insurance does not guarantee prescription drug affordability. Last year 18% of insured Americans with a chronic medication condition did not fill a prescription due to cost. Most health insurance plans simply do not cover all medications and sometimes the co-payments or co-insurance to obtain them are beyond reach for Americans.
Americans with or without health insurance deserve to have access to affordable medication. The best options available for affording medication are buying online at verified U.S. wholesale club and international online pharmacies, or low cost generic programs offered by large U.S. retailers. Consumers can access our free Consumer Guide in English or Spanish for details on these cost saving options.
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