#508: Understanding Poverty and a Plan to Help

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Today I gained a first-hand understanding of seniors and others who can not afford to buy their needed medications. Either they have no insurance to help offset the cost or, like me, have hit a Medicare gap called the donut hole. emoticon

Te way that works is that once the cost of a person's prescription drugs equals $2,840 that person then is required to pay higher co-pays for their medications. Even ones that had been no cost now have a fee to get them. This continues until the drugs' total costs equals $4,550 then the cost goes back down.

But many people lack the income to cover this donut hole. Here is one example: A diabetic drug called Byetta, a twice a day injection, had cost me $75 per month. Starting tomorrow, that cost is $141. The pain pills I take for my back are now $14 instead of zero.

If you're still with me, here is an idea I had tonight that may help people in this predicament. But I need your input on how to make it work.

What if our neighborhood associations, Scouts, etc., could somehow identify some of those people who can't stretch their budgets for their medications and had collections for them of things they need every day that would help them save money to use for their refills?

Think of all the things we use every day -- dish washing liquid, laundry soap, shower soap, shampoo, paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, toothpaste, etc., etc., etc. When the list is compiled, it becomes fairly lengthy. These are simply examples.

If these items could be collected and then distributed, it might save needy people the money they need to pay for their prescriptions. Even if it only helped for a month, that's better than nothing, right?

Next time you shop, look at the cost of the above items and more you purchase for every day use. And, we're not even talking about food, just the basic items that add up and divert money from what is really needed.

For me, what if I do not refill three diabetes prescriptions and stick to one? How will that affect my diabetes? What if I stay with the pain pills and forego the other two prescriptions for my back? Will the pain increase? Will I be limited physically more than now? emoticon emoticon emoticon

These are decisions made every day and not always by seniors, but by people who are disabled, often severely. emoticon

Will my plan work? You tell me. Then I can decide whether or not to pursue it starting with my neighborhood association.

emoticon for you thoughts.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    What a good heart you have, Lou.
    It is difficult to identify people with this need as most seniors don't let people in on their troubles and suffer in silence.
    Today the family support system is not present like in past generations with kids living all across the country.
    Try contacting the local senior center in your area to see if the director has a handle on this issue.
    Good luck.
    Even though my budget is in sad shape these days I can find extra to help someone worse off and you have given me the idea to contact my senior center and ask how I can help. Thanks.
    3507 days ago
    Even with some prescriptions only $4.00, many others are very high priced and I hit the donut hole every year before the end of May. Definitely makes life interesting, Wonderful blog, Lou and definitely sounds like it should be a workable plan.
    3508 days ago
    Not sure if it will work, but it would be nice to see Americans helping Americans in need. So many of us struggle without medical care & even housing, yet so little is done for folks here at home. What better way than to start in your own community.
    3510 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5178852
    How can one keep up with price raises like that? Wages aren't keeping pace, that's for sure.
    It sounds like another good example of looking out for our neighbour. The medications we need are not to be cut back or it could throw out you entire body chemistry. Don't play doctor.

    Your medical system is so different than Canada's that I haven't got the foggiest on how to raise the consciousness of those who could improve things.
    3511 days ago
  • MOGAL1946
    I think it is a great idea. I just became elgible for Medicare and have 3 prescriptions that must be filled each month. I have friends who are currently in the donut hole and are struggling and are considering not taking their prescriptions as ordered. So this is a scary situation. I applaud you in finding a solution to help our generation plus give community project ideas to local organizations and hope it will become a reality. Maybe it will be a wake up call for our government to put the medicare system back on track for those that have worked and paid into the system. emoticon
    3511 days ago
  • LESLIES537
    You would make a great social worker! Maybe you should consider going into the field with me?! emoticon I say GO FOR IT!!
    3513 days ago
    That does sound like a good plan. I go through budgeting issues every week it seems. What we need versus what bills need to be paid etc etc. There is Food share that passes out fresh fruits and veggies in most towns and the Food Bank for canned goods etc.We need the paper goods and the toothpaste and help with that and then there would be extra money for presciptions.

    Wendy emoticon
    3513 days ago
    Lou, this just makes me so angry at our health care in this country, and I am not going to blame one president, congress, or another. It has been this way for years.

    I am sorry it has hit you. It will hit everyone but the rich eventually, because we inevitably age, get ill, or become infirm. I have no good answer.
    3513 days ago

    I think you are on to something here. I heard a statistic that 75% of all bankruptcies are medical-related. That is a real tragedy in this country. I think it's a great idea to help seniors with everyday staples so that their money could be used for their prescription drugs.

    I never could understand the Medicare donut either. All I know is that my Dad, fortunately, never hits it. You are in my prayers.
    3513 days ago
    I have no intelligent input for you, other than it definitely sounds like it would help.

    Sorry to hear you are struggling and in the gap... and I hope you can make a go of this...

    Go for it Lou! And who knows what doors this may open for you in the process.

    Take care!
    3514 days ago
    Sounds like an excellent plan. I think this is something that could be beneficial to everyone.

    3514 days ago
    Hey there....in our area there are rite aides and cvs pharmecy's that by the time you use coupons and start with 10.00 you can get money back coupons from the store and use them on the next week sale and so on and so on and yes the items are most of the time come out free....10 papers newspapers and the coupons in them together with the sale and their in store coupons will get items for you and many others! Check and see if you have a stor near you. If not yes this is a great idea expecially if you put it in a basket say at the local church and offer them at a desk.
    3515 days ago
  • PRINCESS1959
    Great idea
    3515 days ago
    I think it's an excellent idea. It would provide things that Food Stamps does not allow, too. The Council on Aging and local churches would be able to provide names of those needing such a service. I bet the local news shows would do a piece on it to raise awareness and contributions of items, too. The larger problem is harder to address, and it is twofold: Congress stepping up to stop this health travesty and (the far, far more difficult problem) finding a way to stop pharmaceutical companies from charging such astronomical prices for medications, leveling the playing field a bit by capping what they are allowed to charge within different classes of drugs. I am never convinced that bombarding our congressmen congresswomen ever accomplishes anything, but still, it couldn't hurt to wage a campaign to make so much noise that congress would have to take action.
    3515 days ago
  • BOVEY63
    It is a great idea and one that I hope will catch on and spread like wildfire. People are always quick to help in an emergency (which is wonderful) but tend to be lax on those who need help with the everyday needs.

    You really are a kind soul my friend! Bless you.
    3515 days ago
    When that portion of the law was enacted, I asked, "What good is a 'donut'?!!"

    Here's a concrete example of the stupidness on the part of Congress. Just one of many.

    Lou, I think you have a winner of an idea. Also, others' comments were also good.
    3515 days ago
  • CHARMIN944
    I think that's a great idea and it's something I want to start in my area.

    Another good idea is this organization called "Angel Foods Ministries" to implement this in their ministry. It's something I will suggest.
    3515 days ago
    We have universall health care in Australia and seniors pay a token amount for all their meds, susidised by the Federal government ie tax payers. It is a great scheme, but we are one of the highest txed citizens in all the OECD countries, but I would rather pay higher taxes and have our senior cirizens recieve medication subsidy.
    3515 days ago
  • TEMPEST272002
    I think it's a great idea! I'm so glad that Canada has universal health care. Here in Quebec, our seniors get all of their meds for free. I'm so grateful because I don't know how my in-laws would manage if they had to pay for all MiL's expensive drugs.

    I agree with what Chloe said about people being unaware of different programs out there. It may be that your community already provides these services, but still need is a someone to compile a big list of who will provide what when.

    Love your big heart & how you want to work to make your community better! Go for it Lou.
    3515 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7978563
    Many people who take prescription medications are not aware that there are patient assistance programs out there offered by the prescription companies. I worked at our local senior center for a few yrs doing this along with a private company that helped people obtain their meds. Anyone can do this.....yes it takes filling out an application, getting the dr to sign it, attach a prescription (sometimes) and attaching documentation on your income....but if you get your medication free for one year what a bargain. To start go to the www.needymeds.com website and look up needed medications to see if they can be provided by the company and what their guidelines are. If anyone has any questions on anything or if you can not find your needed medication(s) throw me an email and I will be happy to help you out. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO GO WITHOUT THEIR NEEDED MEDS!!!! Hugs~~~Kelly
    3515 days ago
    I think it's a great idea and am going to bring it to the attention of both the YMCA & my granddaughters' girl scout troops. Thanks for being the sweet YOU that you are. Love, Dawn emoticon emoticon
    3515 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6035648
    Lou, I think it's a great idea. My parents had 3 insurances and you would be amazed at how much the copays still were on their meds!

    Our local food bank carries all of these items besides food (ie. toilet tissue, paper towels, napkins, cleaning products, soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc.). You might want to check with them to see what they have to offer too. Getting the Scouts in on the idea would be a great plan. You could even have your church get involved by running drives to collect specific items.. you know, instead of just "toys for tots" at Christmas time, why not "Sundries for Seniors"?

    One thing you will have to be careful of is, many people, particularly seniors have a "pride" issue. No matter how hard things may be financially for them, they might not take advantage of the "freebies" and might not accept "charity". That's one thing to consider.

    Once you get people on board with this idea, you'll have to figure out how to get the word out to the public, where are you going to keep and store the collected items, where and when are you going to distribute the collected items and to whom? Are there any qualifications needed, (ie proof of financial need, or can any senior take advantage?) I know.. it sounds like a lot, and it is, but I know you will work out all of the details..

    3515 days ago
    I have something I will be receiving next month that I will send to you. It is a free card that helps with the cost of your medications, also covers some other things like cat scans, etc. It is so new, I am not certain just how it works, but it is free and it won't hurt to check it out. Will e-mail you when I receive them.

    3515 days ago
    I have always thought that the Church should help in that way. Help single parents with child care , school supplies and clothes etc. Help unwed mothers with car seats, cribs diapers. Help people on food stamps with paper products and the items FS wont buy. The government can't and shouldn't do it all. Its time for the Church to step up to the plate.
    3515 days ago
    That is a really cool idea. Maybe you could partner with Meals on Wheels if they have one in your area.
    3515 days ago
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