Needy assisted living seniors should be spared drug co-payments, says ALFA

June 12, 2008

ALFA pleads with the Senate Special Committee on Aging to drop co-payments for poor assisted living residents.

If seniors who live in nursing homes don’t have to pay drug co-payments to obtain their Medicare Part D drug benefit, is it fair to require those who live in assisted living facilities to do so? The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) doesn’t think so. So it has submitted written testimony to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, asking for this requirement to be eliminated for the 100,000 needy seniors who live in assisted living communities. According to ALFA president and CEO Richard Grimes, residents of nursing homes and assisted living both use a similar number of prescriptions-on average, between eight and 10. Co-payments of as little as $1 to $5 can impose considerable financial hardship on many assisted living seniors. Grimes added that not exempting poor assisted living seniors from the co-payment requirement could force them into nursing homes, which cost on average twice as much.

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