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AARP Helping Senior citizens save on prescription drugs

Senior citizens met at the Ironton Senior Center Wednesday hoping to find some relief from prescription costs.

The Lawrence County AARP chapter assisted with applications for two programs that could provide help.

"This would be a big benefit, I have got a lot of debt," said John Corn, a former Ironton Iron employee. "Prescriptions eat up just about everything we have.

"When you get to be 70 everything falls apart," he joked. "We really don't have any extra money."

Emmitt and Dorothy Middleton of Ironton spend an average of $500 a month on medicine. Each take about 11 prescriptions, with some pills costing as much as $3 each.

"It would be a relief," Emmitt said. "Five hundred dollars is a whole lot of money."

Seniors enrolled in Medicare with an income less than $18,000, or $24,000 for couples, may apply for the Pfizer Share Card Program. This provides prescription drugs for $15 for a 30 day supply.

If the total income is less than $28,000, or $38,000 for couples, seniors can apply for the Together RX Prescription Savings Card. It gives discounts on drugs provided by eight companies.

"For many people, depending on the medicine and companies, there may be quite a savings," Marilyn Grant Howard, president of the Lawrence County AARP. "Each person is a different story. This can provide help until the federal government steps in."

She said people also need to call their senators to let them know how important this is.

Anyone on Medicare who meets the financial requirements can apply. Seniors are encouraged to apply even if they do not presently have medical needs, Howard said.

Seniors should bring their Medicare card, 2001 tax return and their Social Security Benefit Verification Statement.

A community meeting is scheduled for Aug. 19 from 2-3:30 p.m. at the CAO Multipurpose Senior Center in South Point to discuss adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. For information, call 532-3534 or 867-4521. Michael Caldwell/The Ironton Tribune