Pharmacists can assist seniors with drug cost

Many seniors face financial issues with increasing costs of medications.   But pharmacists can provide a valuable service to the elderly by referring them to Extra Help, a low-income subsidy program that assists seniors with low incomes.   Currently around 10 million people are receiving this subsidy, but many others may qualify for it and don’t even realize it.

Changes in the law make it easier than ever to qualify for the Extra Help program.    Persons qualified for help may pay no more than $3.35 for a generic drug and $8.35 for a brand -name drug in 2018.

To get the subsidy, a person’s assets can’t be more than $14,000 (or $28,150 for married couples living together).   Bank accounts, stocks and bonds count as assets, but their home, vehicle, personal belongings, life insurance and burial pots do not.    Also, a person’s monthly income can’t be more than $1,538 (or $2,078 for a married couple).

Additionally, the government won’t count any money if a senior receives help for household expenses like food, rent, mortgage payment, utilities and property taxes.

Pharmacists may wish to inform their senior patients to apply for Extra Help by: going online at; calling Social Security at 800-772-1213; or visiting a local Social Security office.   The application form is easy to complete.

Pharmacists can develop a lasting relationship with seniors by informing them of the Extra Help program.