If your prescriptions are covered by the State of Missouri, listen up. About 64,000 Missourians will lose their coverage in a week.
A state program called Missouri Rx reduces drug costs to people in low income brackets. It expires July 1st for many who are not receiving Medicaid, but making about $20,000.
Even worse, letters notifying people they will be losing benefits were not sent until June 16, leaving many to scramble to find replacement coverage for July.
“I was scared to death when I got the letter on Monday, and I didn't know what I was going to do with some of my medications,” said Melissa Gill.
Gill loses prescription coverage on July 1. She says the cost of her medication will skyrocket.
“The one medication I take is about $214, give or take a few, and it's discounted tremendously,” she said.
The program was already going to end this year. But advocates for senior citizens expected the legislature to reauthorize it.
Lawmakers did extend it-- but only for those who qualify for Medicaid. Others who earn in the neighborhood of $20,000 are left in a lurch.
“They are not in a position to come up with some extra money,” said Margie Guller Hartman, director of strategic operations at Covenant Place, a 400 resident senior housing community.
“They don't have extra money or very low income to start with. Many of them don't have family who can assist them,” she said.
The reduction in coverage is expected to save the state $15,000,000 dollars. Representative David Wood (R) sponsored the bill. He told KSDK that cutting coverage was necessary to offset a budget deficit of $400,000,000.
Gill fears, if she does not get coverage, she will wind up in the hospital . . . or worse.
“My family is dead. I'm pretty much on my own so what am I supposed to do,” she said.
If the governor vetoes the bill, which is unlikely, Missouri Rx will lapse and no one will be covered.
In the meantime, advocates for the disabled and aging are encouraging residents to call their legislators and complain about the reduction.
Here are a list of resources to help you find replacement coverage:
- Rx Outreach: non-profit mail-order pharmacy providing affordable medications for those in need. Contact: 1-800-769-3880.
- MO HealthNet (Medicaid): 1-855-373-4636.
- Area Agencies on Aging: 1-800-375-1406
- Community Leaders Assisting the Insured of Missouri (CLAIM): 1-800-390-3330.
- www.rxassist.org: Provides info and application links to assistance programs
- www.needymeds.org: Provides info and application links to assistance programsrovides info and application links to assistance programs
- www.rxtouch.org: Discount purchasing program website