Medications can be very expensive. If you are having trouble covering the cost of your medications, here are some ways you may be able to get help.
Talk with your doctor.
Let your doctor know that it is difficult to pay for all your medications.
They may be able to find alternatives or suggest Patient Assistance Programs for certain medications.
Seek help from a Social Worker or Case Manager.
Many clinics have a Social Worker or a Case Manager who may know of Patient Assistance Programs to help cover or subside the cost.
Assistance Programs and Prescription Discount Card
There are many different programs and discount cards that you can apply for assistance.
SenioRx is a program at the Jefferson County Office of Senior Citizens Services that may be able to help you get prescription drugs and nutritional supplements at virtually no cost. Generally, this program is for people who are uninsured or underinsured, who are 55 or older, who have a chronic medical condition and who meet certain income limits. However, if you are in the 24-month waiting period to draw disability, you can qualify for SenioRx even if you are younger than 55. And, if you have a Medicare prescription plan, but find yourself in the “doughnut hole” and are paying out-of-pocket costs for drugs, SenioRx may be able to help. If you live in Jefferson County, call 205-325-1416. If you aren’t in Jefferson County, call 1-800-AGE-LINE (800-243-5463).
Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs is available for some Medicare beneficiaries who have limited resources. If you qualify for Extra Help, you can receive help with paying for monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-pays. You can apply for the Extra Help program online at www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp, over the phone at 1-800-772-1213, or at your local social security office.
A number of organizations offer prescription discount cards that can lower the price on some medications. Be aware that some of these cards may also require that you pay a fee. You should check to see whether there is a fee. You should also check with your pharmacist about whether the card is honored at your drug store and whether it can save you money on a particular medicine. Sometimes, the savings could be a lot if you don’t have insurance or you have a gap in your prescription coverage. But sometimes, there may be no savings at all.
NeedyMeds offer a prescription drug discount card at its website that is honored at most major drug store chains. According to the NeedyMeds website, the discount card is available to anyway at no cost, but it cannot be used in combination with any insurance plan. The NeedyMeds card claims to offer up to 80% savings.
FamilyWize offers another free card that is honored at most of the major retail chains. Offered in partnership with the United Way, the FamilyWize card claims to offer an average of 35 percent savings. Remember, though, that the savings can vary a lot and may not exist at all in some cases. You can print a card by visiting the website at www.familywize.org.
By: Robin DeMonia of Direct Communications (October 2013)
Edited by: Rebecca Honaker, MPH & April A. Agne (July 2014)