Our senior patients are already at a disadvantage when it comes to income and diseases; so why do we want to burden them with high cost of medications. They should be given the opportunity to access discounted copays for prescriptions at their pharmacy of choice. The seniors of our community have contributed their quota to society through taxes and many more; the least we can do as a country is to give them the freedom to choose. The freedom to choose what best fits their need and the right to great healthcare. The Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act H.R. 1939, was developed by Morgan Griffith and Peter Welch (National Community Pharmacists Association, 1).
This act was introduced to solve the problem where Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) prevent seniors from having a wide range of preferred pharmacies to choose from (National Community Pharmacists Association, 1). The act if passed will; give seniors more access to discounted medications, increase competition among pharmacies and increase savings for both individuals and health agencies. I support this act because I believe our seniors deserve the best of care after their service to their country and the community. Passing this Act will ensure that our seniors have access to great care which will cause them to live longer.
Seniors usually retire at the age of 65 and it’s around that age that seniors start facing health challenges. This is the time they make use of their health insurance for health care related cost the most. According to a Merrill Lynch study; lots of workers have the fear of retiring due to the projected health cost they will face (Backman, 1). Young people are usually advised to have a healthcare retirement plan but even with the best plans it will be nice to have access to low medication cost. At the age of 65, seniors are prone to develop several chronic diseases and infections. This means that they need to pick up several medications and sometimes may need extra care which means extra cost. There are several types of elderly care and none of them are cheap but if we started by giving seniors the freedom to access cheaper prescription medications that should help them with their cost. By reducing their cost, they become adherent to taking their medication which increases their quality of life.
Also, seniors who live in underserved community have limited options of accessing good care and if they are further restricted to get their medications from pharmacies that do not have extra saving options then we are doing a disservice to them. Lots of pharmacies especially independent pharmacies found in these underserved communities try to reduce their cost to better serve the community. Now, if these pharmacies are not allowed to be the preferred pharmacy for patients they might have to travel to that pharmacies just to pick up their medication. In addition to them not receiving extra discount they might have to pay for transportation to get their medications. This now becomes an added cost for these patients who have little to nothing.
In addition, most seniors have a fixed income from social security and nowhere else. Some seniors may have several responsibilities such as mortgage payment, car insurance payment and many more. Some will have to supplement their health care payments out of pocket, there may be some healthcare cost that are not covered by their insurance. With their fixed income and whatever payments, they are making, expensive healthcare cost is not what they need. Several people have different obligations so an assumption cannot be made that just their income from social securities and healthcare cost covered by Medicaid will be sufficient. Stress can reduce one’s quality of life at a younger age so imagine the effect of stress on an older patient. According to an article written by Chris Woolston shows that increased stress for a long period of time increases a patient’s risk of developing other diseases. Reducing any form of stress, no matter how little can help our senior’s health (Woolston, 1).
There are people not in support of this Act and one of their main reason for opposing is that; current “preferred pharmacies” might lose customers, money and profit (National Community Pharmacists Association, 1). They believe their profit may decrease because the age group that pick up medications every month are usually patients with comorbidities and chronic disease. Seniors make a large percentage of this group. However, this is not the case because by giving seniors more options these current “preferred pharmacies” can provide discounts and reduce their prices as well which can attract these seniors to their businesses. When most pharmacies provide similar prices, it forces pharmacies to develop competitive patient care plans such as extra counselling, listening more to your patients and treating them right. By giving more access and more options, Seniors can get the best of care and this increases their quality of life.
In Conclusion, we all need to remember that we will grow old one day and we will want to be treated well and have the freedom to choose. Also, life happens and sometimes it is beyond our control therefore we need to promote Acts that protect our seniors and our future. For people who have worked hard and contributed to our communities, the least we can give them is the freedom to choose. By increasing their options, we can indirectly cause pharmacies to increase their quality of patient care which can increase their quality of life.
- Backman, Maurie. “Want to Know What Senior Healthcare Costs Will Look Like in 20 Years? Here’s a Peek.” The Motley Fool, The Motley Fool, 11 Feb. 2018, www.fool.com/retirement/2018/02/11/want-to-know-what-senior-healthcare-costs-will-loo.aspx.
- “Pharmacy Choice.” Health Screenings, National Community Pharmacists Association, 2018, www.ncpanet.org/advocacy/federal-advocacy/pharmacy-choice.
- Woolston, Chris. “Aging and Stress.” Consumer HealthDay, 20 Jan. 2018, consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/aging-1/age-health-news-7/aging-and-stress-645997.html.