Sunday, April 4, 2004

Top medical worry: paying the bills


'Get me cheaper medicine'

Senior citizens worry most about soaring medicine costs.

Jacqueline Annis, a 76-year-old retired nurse living in Price Hill, pays about $170 a month for medication to control her diabetes. The cost would be higher if her doctor didn't give her free drug samples.

"I've been lucky," Annis says.

Hazel Griffith, a 91-year-old Hamilton resident, says she worked until she was 78, the last 10 years in a paper mill.

Now, she struggles to balance her fixed retirement income against the costs of everything from rent for her doublewide trailer to the cost of medications.

"I didn't know that living so long would be so expensive," she says.

"Just this year, the cost of my Nexium (for frequent heartburn) went up from $35 a month to $85 a month. I was just so mad they did that to me," Griffith says. "The next time I see my doctor, I'm going to have to tell him to get me on a cheaper medicine, or I'll have to die and go to Heaven and leave all this behind."

Part 5: 'The bills got paid' - There appears to be little enthusiasm for sweeping changes in the system, even though a generation of Baby Boomers is reaching the age of their highest health-care needs.

  YOUR HEALTH/
YOUR MONEY

Paying the bills
The rising costs of health care have spiraled into a crisis.
Full survey results
Return to special report front

Healthy lives, lower premiums
Most favor penalties for smokers, fat people and those who don't take care of themselves.
Employers offer incentives
Editorial: Don't blame others

A common fear
These families share a worry about the cost of health care.
Small business owner
Young professional
Living with chronic illness
Union worker
Concerned senior
Retired executive
More stories

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