Boomers Are Splitting Pills And Skipping Doctors Visits To Cut Health Care Costs

Photo: Flickr / Kenneth Ristau

One in five Americans over 50 are using guerrilla tactics to cut their health costs, reports the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Such tactics include buying generic drugs, using free samples, forgoing prescriptions and skipping doctor’s visits.

With health care costs rising at a rate of 7 per cent per year, they’re the second biggest expense for older Americans after housing, the institute says.

Switching to generic drugs is the cost-saving method of choice, with 82.1 per cent of boomers going this route. 

Meanwhile, 40 per cent of Americans use free samples, 6 per cent stopped taking one or more pills while 5 per cent split pills or reduced their medication dosages. 

Unsurprisingly, single women and African-Americans have had to adjust their spending the most, the report says.

On a brighter note, the report cited a slight uptick in the number of millennials with insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Qualified young adults (ages 19 to 25) who received health insurance as a dependent increased from 24.7 per cent in 2009 to 27.7 per cent in 2010.

The institute used data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, and the centre for Disease Control’s National Health Interview Survey for its data. 

You can read the full report here

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