While Congress continues to debate issues related to Medicare drug benefits, senior citizens grow increasingly frustrated with their monthly medication bills. Many seniors are unable to afford all of their medications, and therefore find that they must choose between those that are the most helpful and those that have the greatest potential for severe medical consequences if missed. Options are available for helping senior citizens with this financial burden, but many seniors are either unaware or unable to avail themselves of the existing programs. Several pharmaceutical companies have developed programs for the medically needy based on income levels. Generic medications as opposed to trade names represent substantial cost savings. Many pills can be split, thus providing twice the dose for half the cost. Some community health centers offer access to prescriptions at decreased costs through federal programs. This article explores the various options available to senior citizens so that nurses may act as advocates for these patients.
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