No Insurance? Programs to Help Pay for Medications

Posted in: COVID-19, Employee Benefits

In light of the mass, unexpected closures due to COVID-19, many people have been laid off from their jobs and may lose health insurance on May 1. This makes paying for doctor visits and buying necessary items for daily use, such as specialty maintenance prescription drugs, a concern. Here’s some good news: if you can’t afford your prescription drugs, you may be eligible for programs to help pay for medications offered by pharmaceutical companies, nonprofit groups, or state governments. Here’s how they work:

Patient Assistance Programs Run by Drug Companies

In order to receive assistance, you will need to complete an application from the drug company. To locate the application, go to the company’s website. Often, the application can be completed online. If you have questions, you can call the drug company directly. The application will include information about your financial situation. In most cases, your doctor will need to complete information about your medication as well.

Once completed and submitted, the drug company will review the application and tell you if you’re eligible for the program to help pay for medication. If approved, many companies will ship a supply of the drug to your home or your doctor’s office.

For more information on Patient Assistance Programs, go to http://www.RxAssist.org. They are a non-profit organization that maintains a comprehensive directory of drug assistance programs. You can type in the name of your drug and it will give you all information on any drug assistance programs, as well as links to applications.

Medication Assistance Programs Run by Non-Profits

  • Partnership for Prescription Assistance: A program sponsored by drug companies, doctors, patient advocacy organizations, and civic groups. It helps low-income, uninsured patients get free or low-cost, brand-name medications.
  • NeedyMeds:  (http://www.patienthelpnetwork.org/)  — A non-profit organization that maintains an extensive database of information about patient assistance programs, state assistance, drug discount programs, and free or low-cost medical care. You can search their database for free on their website. The site also has information on thousands of programs to help consumers through the application process.
  • RxAssist: An online database of drug company programs that provide free or affordable drugs and co-pay assistance.
  • Center for Benefits : Provided by the National Council on Aging, this shares information about assistance programs for low-income seniors and young people with disabilities.
  • RxHope:  A web-based resource where you can search by medication to locate medication assistance programs. They also offer help with the application process.
  • RXOutreach: A mail-order pharmacy for people with little to no health insurance coverage.

Discount Drug Cards

Some states, non-profit organizations, and retail pharmacies offer drug discount cards. A few are free. You can get others for a low monthly or annual fee. If you’re buying, be sure to go with a reputable organization, such as AARP or NeedyMeds.

Take caution. Unfortunately, some people sell fake discount cards to try to get credit card and Social Security Numbers. Be aware that discount cards are not health insurance. Before you sign up for any discount card, make sure it comes with clear terms and conditions and at least a 30-day refund policy.

For additional questions regarding programs to help pay for medications, contact me at dherndon@psafinancial.com. PSA clients may contact our Benefits Hotline at 1-877-716-6618 or via email at benefitshotline@psafinancial.com Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. Also, don’t forget to check out our free Coronavirus pandemic related business resources.

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