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Keep Healthy in a Poor Economy
Date:7/9/2009

NEW YORK, July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of Hispanics have lost their jobs and are looking for ways to remain financially afloat. Some are forced to choose between necessities to reduce expenses. Important items, such as health care and medications, are being sacrificed and the results can be dire. Maintenance medications and yearly physicals can mean the difference between staying healthy and developing a debilitating disease. The key is practicing prevention.

Pfizer Helpful Answers(R), which is a family of assistance programs for the uninsured and underinsured who need help getting Pfizer medicines, wants individuals who are struggling with paying for their medicines to know that there are options available. These programs provide Pfizer medicines for free or at a savings to patients who qualify. Some programs also offer reimbursement support services for people with insurance. Millions stand to benefit from assistance programs but they are not aware of them.

In June 2009, the unemployment rate in the United States rose to 9.5 percent. Nationwide layoffs were perhaps hardest felt by Hispanics and blacks, who made up the highest percentages of unemployed persons (12.2% and 14.7%, respectively), according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor.

While layoffs mean a loss of salary, they can also mean a loss of health insurance benefits. For every one percent rise in the unemployment rate, the number of uninsured Americans increases by 1.1 million according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Maintaining health coverage can be a costly endeavor if you don't know where to look for assistance. Consider these options:

-- Companies that employ 20 or more people typically offer enrollment in the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) health insurance plan. It provides certain former employees the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rate
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SOURCE Pfizer Helpful Answers
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