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September 24, 2008

Low Levels of Awareness of Pharmaceutical Cost-Assistance Programs Among Inner-City Seniors

JAMA. 2008;300(12):1412-1414. doi:10.1001/jama.300.12.1412

To the Editor: Although Medicare Part D has improved access to prescription medications, drug costs remain a problem for many older adults.1 The Medicare low-income subsidy program (Extra Help) and state-sponsored pharmaceutical assistance programs can help seniors mitigate this problem by providing cost-sharing or Part D premium assistance, yet they are underenrolled by as much as 50%,2,3 possibly due to lack of awareness. We assessed a diverse sample of inner-city seniors for rates of awareness of New York State's Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC), established in 1987, and Extra Help, established in 2006.