Prescription drug assistance program cut affects thousands of Missouri seniors

Published: Jun. 20, 2017 at 4:28 PM CDT
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Thousands of Missourians who get discounted prescriptions through the MORx program will be cut off at the end of June.

"I hope it don't get down to where I have to make a choice between food and medicine, but it may come to that," Larry Gillette said.

Gillette says without MORx to help with his medication co-pay, he'll have to pay about $40 more per month. It's a big cost for him, but one that is crucial.

"If I don't take these medications, daily, I am probably more susceptible to heart attacks and several other health concerns," Gillette said.

More than 60,000 Missouri seniors got the letter that informed them their program coverage was ending. In some cases, seniors received the notice less than two weeks before their coverage ends. That's why places like Springfield's Agency on Aging are packed as employees try to answer a lot of questions in very little time.

"We have people on our doorstep wondering what they're going to do now," Springfield's Area Agencies on Aging Silver Haired Legislature Coordinator Becca Fields said.

Fields says MORx used to help people who are on Medicaid and some who aren't, but the program has been cut back dramatically.

"If you're above the Medicaid income threshold, then you will not have any benefits from MORx anymore," Fields said.

Fields says their agency is helping those affected by checking to see if they're eligible for Medicaid or other services. However, that will take time.

"There's no way to immediately replace what has been taken," Field said.

People like Gillette say they're hoping lawmakers take notice of their struggle.

"This is going to be a tremendous financial burden on an awful lot of people who can't afford this," Gillette said.

Missouri Representative Lynn Morris voted against the cut to the program. He says he plans to bring up the issue during the next legislative session, in hopes that it will again be fully funded.

If you are affected by this cut and are looking for resources to help you, check out the contact information below:

MO Healthnet (Medicaid) - To see if you qualify, call the Family Support Division at 1-855-373-4636

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) - The PPA helps the uninsured and under-insured to get prescription medications from existing patient assistance programs. Call PPA at 1-888-477-2669.

Rx Outreach - Rx Outreach is a non-profit mail order pharmacy that provided affordable medications for people in need. To find out if you qualify for the program, call 1-800-769-3880.

Community Leaders Assisting the Insured of Missouri (CLAIM) - To see if you qualify for a Medicare savings program, speak with a CLAIMs counselor at 1-800-390-3330

Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) - Missouri has ten AAA that are ready to assist you. To see if you qualify for a Medicare savings program, call AAA at 1-800-677-1116. You can also speak with your local senior center about how to receive guidance and assistance from AAA.