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Finances may affect prescription medication use

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Adults younger than 65 were twice as likely as those 65 and older to not take medication as prescribed because of financial considerations, according to a data from the 2011 National Health Interview Survey, as reported by the CDC.

The proportion was 12.6% of adults ages 18 to 64, compared with 5.8% of those 65 and older, according to the report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Age 65 is the beginning of Medicare eligibility.

Among adults ages 18 to 64, uninsured adults (23.1%) were more likely than those with Medicaid (13.6%) or those with private coverage (8.7%) to not take a medication as prescribed to save money.

Adults ages 18 to 64 (19.8%) and those 65 and older (20.3%) were similarly likely to ask their physician for a lower-cost medication to save money on prescription drugs. Among those 65 and older, those with only Medicare coverage were more likely to ask for a lower-cost medication (24.9%), compared with those who had private coverage (20.1%) and those with both Medicare and Medicaid coverage (14.7%).

Adults designated as “poor” or “near poor” were twice as likely as other adults to not take medication as prescribed.

“Adults who do not take prescription medication as prescribed have been shown to have poorer health status and increased emergency room use, hospitalizations and cardiovascular events,” the authors noted.

The full report is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db119.htm.

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