One in Four Elders Skip Drugs

Article excerpt

Almost a quarter of older Americans skip doses of their medications or do not fill prescriptions because of costs, according to a survey of elders in eight states released in July by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Commonwealth Fund. Researchers from both organizations worked with those at The Health Institute at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, which coordinated-the study.

An article published online in the journal Health Affairs and a companion report, "Seniors and Prescription Drugs: Findings From a 2001 Survey of Seniors in Eight States," feature results from the 2001 survey-conducted in California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas-of 10,927 Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older. These states account for 42% of adults 65 and older, and 41% of low-- income elders, defined as those below 200% of the U.S. poverty line.

Medicaid is a key source of drug coverage for the most economically vulnerable elders in all of the states. In seven of the eight states, less than half of those age 65 or more who are living below the poverty level have drug coverage under Medicaid. …