Current economic times cause many to take lower-paying jobs. Many have also lost their jobs. These circumstances leave individuals without the means to pay health insurance premiums or to pay for expensive life-saving medications. Government and pharmacy programs were created to help individuals get their medication at reduced or no cost.
Medicare Extra Help
Funded by the federal government, the Extra Help program assists individuals with the cost of Medicare medications as long as a person's monthly and personal assets do not exceed specified guidelines. However, some types of incomes and assets do not count. When an individual's income falls below the guidelines established by Medicaid, the person is often able to get medication for no cost through Medicaid. Anyone having Medicare, Medicaid or both must enroll in Medicare Part D.
Medicare Savings Programs
When someone's income exceeds the limits set by Medicaid, the Medicare Savings Program helps pay for Medicare premiums, co-insurance fees and deductibles. In this way, people have more money to pay for their own prescriptions. Anyone enrolled in the saving program or who receives Supplemental Security Income automatically qualifies for assistance under the Extra Help program. There is no need to apply.
Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs
Some states have assistance programs that help patients save money on their prescriptions. But, certain states require that individuals have a Part D medication program in order to be eligible for help. Patient Assistance Programs offered by individual pharmaceutical companies also offer low-cost and no cost medications for financially strapped patients. To qualify, a patient's physician must apply for the client. The patient must supply the program with medication receipts and other required documents. Prescription drug discount programs are another alternative that help people get their medications at a reduced cost. However, when filling or refilling a prescription, patients cannot use both the discount program and their Part D cards simultaneously.
Safety Net Providers
Pharmacies located in community medical centers and hospitals that receive government funding sometimes offer low-cost prescriptions. The fees charged are based on a patient's income. Patients enrolled in Part D may not need to pay their co-payments when assisted by these facilities. Individuals must contact the nearest medical center for more details.
Miscellaneous Assistance Options
Community and local churches may maintain charitable programs that help people pay for their medications. Patients may inquire at their church or through their local health and human services representative. Another option includes visiting the websites of individual organizations based on specific medical conditions. For example, www.heart.org or www.liver.org websites feature a list of assistance programs that help patients with the cost of medications needed to treat specific organ-related condition.