According to the latest statistics on drug spending from the Organization for Economic Development*, Americans pay much more for prescription medications than people in all other developed countries. The average American pays nearly $1,100 annually, compared with $742 in Germany, $619 in Australia, $509 in Sweden and $478 in Britain. And keep in mind: these figures only reflect insured payments. For the more than 40 million American adults who lack health insurance, bloated drug prices can be catastrophic.
But these averages are often misleading in the sense that younger people don’t usually need as many prescriptions as seniors. In addition, with 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day, the number of Americans on reduced fixed incomes baring the burden of high drug prices and insurance deductibles is skyrocketing. Many have to choose between quality food and medicine. Either way longevity is severely reduced.
The drug industry says discounted programs exist for such people, but that just underlines the insanity of the system—that we need special programs for people who have to pay list prices for a product.
Reverse mortgages can save lives. If you know a retiree who is having trouble making ends meet and still living in their own home, a program to provide enough income to pay for basic needs and medication can be a life saver and guarantee that they age in place comfortably.
Marc has 36 years in financial services and 6 years in teaching.
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