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For older Americans, health bill will bring savings and ‘peace of mind’

When you hear the voices of older Americans who face high drug costs month after month, the hearing is fear and worry, anger and stress. Many say they’re figuring out how to get by, skipping vacations and other fun things they’ve been saving for.

Kim Armbruster, 65, who recently retired after a 40-year nursing career, has struggled to keep the cost of her medications for diabetes, psoriatic arthritis and Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland, low. since she started Medicare. in March.

Ms. Armbruster, of Cary, Illinois, said she saved extra insulin from prescriptions she filled when she had commercial insurance, enough to keep costs down before a monthly cap goes into effect. But her other ailments have caused huge financial problems.

By June, she had reached Medicare’s threshold for catastrophic coverage after paying more than $7,000 for Enbrel, a drug she takes for the arthritis; Synthroid, which she takes for Graves’ disease; Eliquis, for atrial fibrillation, insulin and her insulin pump.

“It’s all about thinking ahead, looking for alternatives and setting the home budget to be able to take the necessary drugs,” she said. Learning to track costs, she added, was like “a baptism of fire, learning everything I can about how to manipulate drug costs and stay healthy without complications.”

The carousel of drugs taken by Mr. Spring, the dementia patient who died in April, contained dazzling price tags for drugs, including Eliquis, for a heart condition, and Namenda, a drug for Alzheimer’s disease. Mr. Spring also took an antidepressant and medication to lessen the side effects of Namenda.

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