When patients cannot afford the medications they need, we have a health crisis on our hands. Fortunately, companies out there understand this and are trying to do something about it. Whether they are a nonprofit pharmacy committed to helping people get the medications they need at an affordable price or a community health center that believes everyone deserves access to affordable medications. Either way, there are places that feel no one should ever have to choose between filling a prescription or feeding their family.
Community health centers may offer prescription assistance to low-income patients. To locate a center in your area, contact the Health Resources and Services Administration at 888-ASK-HRSA (888-275-4772). In addition, local Area Agencies on Aging may be able to assist patients who are 65 or older and can’t afford their medications.
You could also speak to your pharmacist or prescription provider about any low-cost alternatives they might provide. For example, pharmacists are often happy to help you find manufacturer’s coupons or generic options for your medication. They can also work with your doctor to get a new prescription or the generic version if necessary.
Help paying for expensive prescriptions
When seeking assistance in paying for medication costs, there are a few options to explore if they are too expensive or your insurance does not cover them. Here are a few to start with in addition to the community health option mentioned above:
- Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs: Many pharmaceutical companies offer assistance programs that can help with the cost of medications. These programs are often based on income, age, and other factors.
- Medicare Part D: Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage to seniors who qualify. It covers both generic and brand-name drugs and can help with the cost of medications.
- Sliding Fee Scale: Some clinics and health centers may offer a sliding fee scale for prescription medications, which means that the cost of medications is based on a patient’s income.
- Charitable Organizations: Some charitable organizations may offer assistance with prescription medications. These organizations may also provide other forms of financial aid and resources.
- Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding websites, such as GoFundMe, allow individuals to start campaigns to raise money for medical expenses, including prescription medications.
Let’s go a little deeper with more explanation and examples of how these programs work in real life.
Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs: Pharmaceutical companies often offer assistance programs to help cover the cost of medications. These programs are typically based on income, age, and/or other factors. For example, Novo Nordisk offers a Patient Assistance Program for up to 12 months of free insulin if you meet eligibility criteria. Additionally, Pfizer offers a patient assistance program that provides prescription medications at no cost to those with limited or no insurance.
Medicare Part D: Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage to seniors who qualify. It covers both generic and brand-name drugs and helps with the cost of medications. It also offers additional benefits, such as coverage for certain preventive services, like vaccinations. To qualify, you must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and/or Part B and have a valid prescription.
Sliding Fee Scale: Some clinics and health centers may offer a sliding fee scale for prescription medications. This means that the cost of medications is based on a patient’s income. For example, a health center may charge a certain percentage of the medication cost, depending on the patient’s income.
Charitable Organizations: Charitable organizations may offer assistance with prescription medications. These organizations may also provide other forms of financial aid and resources. For example, the National Organization for Rare Disorders offers a medication assistance program to help those with rare diseases get their needed medications.
Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding websites, such as GoFundMe, allow individuals to start campaigns to raise money for medical expenses, including prescription medications. Campaigns can be created by individuals, family members, or friends, and anyone can donate to the campaigns. This is a great way to get help from friends and family members who may otherwise be unable to provide financial assistance.
Emergency prescription help
In an emergency situation, it is important to act quickly. If you have the funds and insurance but cannot access them due to a specific emergency, there are a few options you can explore.
First, contact your health insurance provider to see if they offer any emergency programs to help cover the cost of medications. Additionally, you can speak with your prescription provider or pharmacist to see if they have any discounts or coupons available.
For assistance, you can also reach out to charitable organizations, such as the National Organization for Rare Disorders. They may be able to provide resources and financial assistance.
No matter the situation, it is important to act quickly and explore all of your options. Then, with the right resources and assistance, you can get the medications you need in an emergency.
The Emergency Prescription Assistance Program, or EPAP, helps people in a federally identified disaster area who do not have health insurance get prescription drugs, vaccinations, medical supplies, and necessary equipment. EPAP works with state and local health departments to provide access to medications, vaccines, and medical supplies to those affected by a disaster.
Additionally, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance provides a single point of access to more than 475 public and private patient assistance programs, including nearly 200 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. This resource can help you find the programs and resources needed to get the medications.
Another notable organization is the Patient Advocate Foundation which provides help with accessing medications, navigating insurance issues, obtaining financial assistance, and more. They offer a variety of resources, including an online search tool to help you find the programs and resources you need.
From EPAP to the Patient Advocate Foundation, these resources can help in an emergency.
When patients cannot afford their medications
Overall, various programs and resources are available to help those needing prescription assistance. From pharmaceutical assistance programs to crowdfunding websites to emergency aid, there are many resources to help get the necessary medications to those who need them the most.