Senior citizens fight inflation, rising electricity and prescription costs in Oklahoma

Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 10:13 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Inflation is affecting consumers across the nation, including Oklahomans who are cutting costs to make ends meet.

That’s according to a recent poll out of Oklahoma City.

The survey from Amber Integrated shows the average prices for food and energy in Oklahoma and Texas are higher than the average U.S. city. One of the groups that’s had to sacrifice the most are our senior citizens.

Between high prescription drug prices and skyrocketing utility rates, inflation is hurting seniors who live on a fixed income in the Sooner State.

“As we know, inflation has been double digits for a very long time, so the cost of prescription drugs, food, energy, and it’s just rate increase on top of rate increase for utilities is really hitting people in the pocketbook and they’re really needing help,” Voskuhl said.

This summer, OG&E announced a nearly two percent rate increase, resulting in more expensive bills for customers.

PSO also hiked prices this year to recover costs from the 2021 winter storm.

Voskuhl said the best way to fight the increases is to catch lawmakers’ attention.

“What plan does OG&E have to reduce those costs for residential customers who have made them so profitable in the last few years? Are you gonna give money back to them? What kind of payment plans are you going to offer to help people who are struggling in paying their monthly electric bills?” Voskhul said.

Like everyone else, the senior population is facing higher prices at the grocery store, too.

Voskuhl said some relief is coming, though, for seniors soon.

“People that are taking insulin who are on Medicare, there will now be a cap of $35 per month on folks paying for prescription drug costs regarding insulin,” Voskuhl said. “There’ll be free vaccines like shingles also available starting in 2023.”

And beneficiaries will see an 8.7% increase to Social Security benefits for a cost of living adjustment. It’s the highest increase in 40 years.

“Depending on what your payment is per month from social security, they’ll be on average of more than $140 per month,” Voskuhl said. “That’s some welcome news to help ease some of the inflationary costs. It’s not enough, but at least it’s some good news.”

Out of 500 Oklahomans surveyed, 60% said they’re cutting back on groceries, travel and entertainment.

Voskuhl encourages people to contact the Senior Health Insurance Counseling Program, or SHIP, for unbiased information on Medicare options and prescription drug plans at 1-800-763-2828.