CVS/pharmacy and National Council on Aging Help Seniors Get the Cost-Saving Benefits they Need

Monday, May 18, 2009

WOONSOCKET, R.I., May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The economic downturn continues to challenge Americans, with seniors perhaps being hit the hardest by dwindling retirement funds, loss in home value and rising health care costs. And with eight out of 10 older Americans suffering from at least one chronic health condition, the monthly cost of prescriptions and over the counter medication can be significant.

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In an effort to help seniors manage monthly expenses and encourage medication adherence, CVS/pharmacy and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) are offering a way for those with limited income to get the benefits they deserve through federal, state, local and private benefit programs, including prescription coverage. CVS pharmacists are also working to educate patients on ways to lower their health care costs.

Together CVS/pharmacy and NCOA are promoting BenefitsCheckUp(R), a free comprehensive online service that allows seniors aged 55 and over to determine if they qualify for over 2,000 benefit programs across 50 states. To date, BenefitsCheckUp has helped more than two million seniors find more than $7 billion worth of annual benefits. BenefitsCheckUp can be accessed through www.BenefitsCheckUp.org/cvs.

"For many older Americans, fixed incomes aren't going as far as they once did, making them particularly vulnerable in this economy," says Wendy Zenker, vice president of Benefits Access at NCOA. "Yet millions of dollars in benefits go unclaimed by seniors each year because seniors simply do not know about them."

Some seniors are also unaware of ways to save on their medication, with some skipping doses or splitting pills as a way to cut costs. "Not taking your medication as prescribed can put your health at risk and can cost more in the long run," cautions Papatya Tankut, vice president of pharmacy services at CVS/pharmacy. "There are simple yet significant ways to lower the cost of your medication, like switching to a generic alternative."

Generic substitutes are available for many maintenance medications such as those commonly prescribed for seniors with high blood pressure or cholesterol. Generics are safe, effective alternatives and are approved by the FDA. Both prescription and over the counter medications are available in generic form.

For a full personal review of medications to identify other ways to save, seniors can meet one-on-one with their local CVS/pharmacy pharmacist.

About CVS/pharmacy

CVS/pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), is America's largest retail pharmacy. The Company operates more than 6,900 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drugs stores. CVS/pharmacy is committed to improving the lives of those we serve by making innovative and high-quality health and pharmacy services safe, affordable and easy to access, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS/pharmacy and CVS Caremark is available at www.cvscaremark.com.

About the National Council on Aging

The National Council on Aging is a non-profit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for older Americans - especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged - and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together non-profit organizations, businesses and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently and remain active in their communities. For more information, visit www.ncoa.org.