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Young adults worried about drug costs, too

October 8, 2008 | 11:32 am

Everybody is worried about the rising cost of prescription drugs, but conventional wisdom would probably say that older people worry more.

Not so, says a new survey by Medco, a pharmacy benefit manager.

"According to the new national survey 'Feeling the Health Care Pinch,' nearly 70 percent of adults aged 25-34 claim the economic downturn of the last 12 months has made it somewhat or significantly more difficult to pay for health care expenses. Ironically, among people over 55 -- pre-retiree and retiree aged consumers whom many often think of as struggling to pay for health care -- more than half said the downturn in the economy has not impacted their ability to pay for health care at all. Overall, three out of four people are concerned about the cost of health care," the news release says.

A couple of things might be going on with young adults. First, problems like diabetes and heart disease are hitting younger people these days, connected to the growing rates of overweight and obesity among younger Americans, so more of them are taking prescription drugs than in the past. And second, young people are hit with economic hard times when they may still be paying off college loans and beginning to set up independent lives with their own rent, mortgages or car payments.

Older prescription drug users are more savvy about asking their physicians for cheaper, generic versions of drugs, and to use mail order pharmacies to save money, according to the survey.

So it seems that everyone is worried, and youth itself doesn't necessarily let people off the hook.

-- Susan Brink

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