Updated: Jul 29, 2020
“ Are you one of the 137 million Americans faced with financial hardship due to health care costs? You may be eligible for prescription assistance programs to get free or discounted prices on medication even if you have insurance."
Healthcare costs and higher deductible health insurance are squeezing households.
What are Prescription Drug Assistance Programs.
Five nonprofits that provide help on getting free or discounted drugs.
By: Allan R Kirby
Frugal living might not be enough when faced with high Medical costs
One of the biggest financial issues facing households in the United States today is healthcare costs. In fact a recent study found that 137 million have faced healthcare related financial hardship . The study specifically found that "Medical financial hardship is common in the USA, especially in adults aged 18–64 years and those without health insurance coverage.
With trends towards higher patient cost-sharing along increasing drug costs, risks of hardship may increase in the future." In fact a recent study by the American Journal of Public Health found an 58.5 percent of people who filed for bankruptcy agreed that medical expenses "very much" or “somewhat” contributed to their bankruptcy. As noted in the journal "Despite gains in coverage and access to care from the ACA, our findings suggest that it did not change the proportion of bankruptcies with medical causes".
“Higher drug pricing along with higher cost sharing provisions with healthcare insurance are financially squeezing many households”
What we are finding is that drug prices have been increasing while insurance coverage is decreasing whereby Americans are paying either a larger share or the full price of their medication. This is putting pressure on many household finances resulting in Americans either forgoing their medication or cutting back. So what can someone do? One possibility is using Patient Assistance Programs as a way to get free as well as discounted drugs.
“Patient Assistant Programs (PAP's) provide free as well as discounted prescription drugs to lower income uninsured and underinsured people.”
Patient Assistance Programs
Patient assistance programs (PAP's) are designed to help Americans who either have no health insurance or are underinsured. These programs are normally set up and administered by pharmaceutical companies with the goal of helping people gain access to drugs either free or at a discounted price.
In most cases the PAP's eligibility is designed around your income as well as the poverty guidelines set by the federal government. Most often income will need to be below or just above the poverty guideline for an applicant to be accepted into a PAP. However there are cases where income can be over 3 times above the poverty line.
The following details five outstanding non profit organization that help americans with finding Patient Assistance Program as well as other ways to find savings.
5 Top Non Profit Patient Assistance Programs Websites:
NeedyMeds: A mysmallbank.com top choice non profit for medication savings; maintains an extensive database of information about patient assistance programs, state assistance, drug discount programs, and free or low-cost medical care. They allow you to search information on their easy to use website for free. NeedyMeds is basically a website packed full of information to help you find savings with your healthcare and medications costs. Specifically you can do the following:
Search their database for Patient Assistance Programs:
Additionally once you find a program you can get help filling out your application. NeedyMeds provides a list of Organizations that provide application assistance for free or a small fee.
The $4 Generics Drug Program
Struggling to pay for medication and you do not see a PAP that works? You can try NeedyMeds searchable database to help you find a $4 pharmacy generics drug program near you. The database lists pharmacy retailers' that offer generic medications for a discounted price. However as cited on NeedyMeds and other sites, charges may end up ranging from $4-$15 for a 30-day or 90-day supply.
Diagnosis Based Assistance
Incredibly NeedyMeds also provides information on programs that offer assistance based on a person's diagnosis.
RxAssist: RxAssist is a nationally recognized, web based medication assistance resource center. Established in 1999 with funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. RxAssist provides consumers as well as healthcare workers up-to-date information on Patient Assistant Programs and coupons to help them find free and low cost medications in an easy to use format. As part of their services RxAssist offers downloadable PAP applications, drug coupons and other resources to help people get access to free and low cost medications they need.
RxHope: A web-based resource where you can search by medication to locate assistance programs. They also offer help with the application process.
The Physician, Physician Assistant, Office Manager, or Social worker enters the site clicks on the Patient Assistance Application link, chooses from the available products, fills in the application, and depending on manufactures, either prints and faxes the application for signature verification or mails the printed application to the proper address. Some products do not require a fax or mail they are simply completed electronically. All information is sent to the pharmaceutical manufacturer for final approval and shipping.
RxHope works with pharmaceutical companies.
RxHope contracts directly with the pharmaceutical companies to provide an electronic application process for their patient assistance programs. RxHope provides this service to physicians and patients free of charge.
See the all the PAP's listed:
RxOutreach : is a fully licensed non profit mail-order pharmacy to help the uninsured and underinsured.
RxOutreach currently offers over 1,000 medication strengths that cover most chronic diseases. As a Mail order pharmacy RXOutreach can ship medications directly to the patients doctors office or to their home. Additionally to make the process cost effective RXOutreach normally ships enough medication for 30, 60, 90 or 180 days at a time. Find the medications available.
RxOutreach states they serve people whose income is at or below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. You can check Eligibility online online have eligibility requirements for both individuals and families. Patients can be on Medicare, Medicaid, or other health insurance and still qualify for Rx Outreach.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) created the Medicine Assistance Tool MAT; A free to use website with a search engine that focuses its searches on patient assistance programs available to eligible patients.
MAT contains information on approximately 900 public and private assistance programs that help those with financial need get access to their prescription.
One of the biggest financial issues facing households in the United States is healthcare costs. Being frugal unfortunately may not be enough to help support you medication needs, additionally cutting back on medication is not ideal either. However we provided five excellent non profits that can help eligible people save on their drugs and healthcare costs. Take your time, do some research on each of these sites and hopefully you will find a program that help you save on medication.
1. Yabroff, K.R., Zhao, J., Han, X.et al.Prevalence and Correlates of Medical Financial Hardship in the USA.J GEN INTERN MED 34,1494–1502 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-019-05002-w
Disclosure: mysmallbank.com nor the author received any compensation from any organization mentioned in this article. The article is our opinion only and is written to help readers learn more about non profit organizations that may help you save on your healthcare costs. Consider this as basic information only and utilize professional services and additional resources before making any decision.