Need help paying for meds? Check out these resources.
If you are like millions of Americans, you (or someone you know) struggle to pay for needed medications. Every day, we hear from people who can’t afford the high price of U.S. prescription drugs. Often we point those individuals to legitimate international online pharmacies—and many are able to find dramatic savings from Canada and abroad. But depending on the medication and their unique situation, importation many not be the right solution for every person. That’s why we decided to compile some additional resources.
Please note: we aren’t endorsing the examples given here, we’re simply offering this information in hopes that it may be useful.
Corporate patient assistance programs (PAPs) are administered by drug companies and their related foundations. They help patients access free or reduced price medications. The eligibility for these programs varies widely. Typically, applicants must lack prescription drug coverage and/or meet stringent income guidelines. GlaxoSmithKline’s Bridges to Access program, for example, will help those without drug coverage who are at or below 250 percent of the poverty line ($28,725 for a household of one in 2014).
In cases of extreme hardship or special circumstances, exceptions are sometimes granted. Johnson & Johnson’s Patient Assistance Foundation website lists $23,340 per year for an individual as the income eligibility guideline for receiving assistance. However, they also encourage anyone experiencing difficulty paying for one of J&J’s medications to apply. And they claim that 92 percent of applications are approved.
Here’s a compilation of industry sponsored PAPs. Keep in mind that even if companies are offering a discount they have a financial interest in getting you to take their medication, particularly if it’s an expensive branded drug. Be sure that you talk to your doctor about potential generic drugs and consider the sustainability of the particular PAP in terms of paying for your medication in the long term.
NeedyMeds and the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) RxAssist are all good resources for finding PAPs. In addition to company-run PAPs, PPA and NeedyMeds have compiled lists of state assistance programs as well as information regarding disease or medication-specific programs. PPA has a webpage dedicated to programs that help people access supplies for treating diabetes, for instance.
The Assistance Fund offers help with co-pays, premiums and basic healthcare needs for children and adults diagnosed with critical or chronic illnesses
Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs is also a good resource for finding information about how to cut costs on prescription drugs. Their website offers a number of good, money-saving guides.
For older adults, qualifying for a PAP may be more difficult since Medicare provides drug coverage. The National Council on Aging has a useful tool called “BenefitsCheckUp” that helps seniors determine if they qualify for help paying for prescriptions and other health care needs as well as utilities and food.
Have you used any of these methods to help pay for your prescriptions? Do you have additional resources to share? If so, please comment below.