Adults Under 65 are Unable to Pay for Their Prescriptions at Three Times the Rate of Seniors in Some States
WASHINGTON, DC – Sept. 13, 2021 – Americans under the age of 65 are skipping pills or not filling prescriptions for medication prescribed by their doctor at more than double the rate of the nation’s seniors. Yet in some states, adults under 65 are unable to pay for their drugs at more than three times the rate of their senior counterparts, according to a new analysis of survey data from West Health and the Global Strategy Group. These findings come from two surveys, polling a total of 5,422 adults across nine states: Arizona, Delaware, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Respondents were asked if there has been a time in the past 12 months where they or someone in their household could not pay for prescribed medication. A new comparison of survey results analyzed the responses by age groups to compare how cost deters adults under 65 from being able to access their prescriptions versus adults over 65. This comes as federal lawmakers craft a $3.5 trillion budget package that is expected to include legislation empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for its beneficiaries, as well as for the more than 150 million Americans enrolled in private plans.
The comparison found that adults under 65 are 1.6 to 3.4 times more likely to not be able to afford their medications than adults over the age of 65. The greatest challenges were uncovered in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In these states, adults under the age of 65 are struggling to pay for their prescriptions at three times the rate of older residents in their respective states.
Nearly 1 in 2 adults under 65 in Florida (48%) and more than 1 in 3 adults under 65 in North Carolina (41%), Ohio (38%), Arizona (35%), and New Jersey (35%) cannot access their prescribed medicines due to high costs. As Congress considers empowering Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, these disparities in affordability will widen unless lower negotiated prices are available patients who are not eligible for Medicare.
The findings from Arizona, Delaware, New Jersey, and West Virginia are from a multi-channel survey of 2,422 likely general election voters across the four states. Interviews were conducted by live telephone and via web-based panel from April 29 to May 4, 2021. The confidence interval is +/- 3.9% within each state. Topline data reports are available here. Data summary can be found here.
The findings from Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are from a multi-channel survey of 3,000 residents across the five states. Interviews were conducted by live telephone and via web-based panel from February 16 to February 22, 2021. The confidence interval is +/- 1.8% within each state. Topline data reports are available here. Data summary can be found here.
About West Health
Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health is a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations including the Gary and Mary West Foundation and Gary and Mary West Health Institute in San Diego, and the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C. West Health is dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence. Learn more at www.westhealth.org and follow @WestHealth.
About Global Strategy Group
Global Strategy Group is the go-to public affairs, communications, and research partner for companies, causes, and campaigns. We work with our clients to build their reputations, tackle big challenges, drive positive change, and win.