Objectives. To examine the experiences of low-income Part D beneficiaries with mental illness and their use of community helpers to access prescription medicines.
Methods. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 Medicare beneficiaries with mental illness in community settings. The transcripts were analyzed for content related to community help-seeking and attitudes toward family and professional helpers.
Results. Medicare Part D beneficiaries with mental illness used the assistance of community helpers extensively. Pharmacists, nurses, community mental health case managers, and family members assisted beneficiaries with understanding their benefit plans and interpreting paperwork from plans and government agencies. Community helpers also assisted with tasks related to medication adherence. Mental health consumers appreciated the help that they received from family members and professionals.
Conclusion. This group of Medicare beneficiaries would have experienced difficulty in using their benefits and obtaining their medication without considerable help from professionals and family members.