Managing Prescription Costs
Most stroke survivors leave the hospital with several prescriptions. The cost of these can be a significant blow to any budget. Below are some resources that may help. Typically, these types of programs require:
- Doctor’s consent
- Proof of your financial status
- Proof that you are uninsured or have no drug benefit coverage.
Find out if you’re eligible for a Pharmacy Assistance Program (PAP)
Most pharmaceutical companies offer prescription assistance programs for patients. The programs provide free or low-cost drugs to uninsured people who can’t afford their medication. Most brand name drugs are included in the programs.
A clearinghouse for more than 475 public and private assistance programs, including nearly 200 offered by pharmaceutical companies. The programs help qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get the medicines they need.
The PPA website is a portal through which you can enroll in programs that allow you to get your medications free or nearly free. For more information, call 1-888-477-2669 or visit pparx.org.
Rx Assist has a directory of assistance programs. You can also get a drug discount card that provides 10 - 40 percent savings for many generic and brand name medications. They list programs that help with medication co-pays and those that provide free and low-cost healthcare and information for Medicare Part D beneficiaries.
NeedyMeds has a searchable list of diagnosis-based assistance programs with descriptions and contact information.
They recently launched a first-of-its-kind program with Rx Outreach that helps patients buy generic medication if they’re unable to afford it. Called the Generic Assistance Program (GAP), it will offer nearly 20 generic medications at no cost to eligible people. These drugs are essential to many people’s health. They have a helpline for this program in English and Spanish: 1-888-203-7687.
They also have a list of state-sponsored programs and offer a prescription drug discount card. They offer monthly webinars explaining their many patient assistance resources. Their general helpline is 1-800-503-6897.
Other Ways to Cut Costs
- Talk to your doctor. Before switching to generic drugs or less expensive brand name prescription drugs, discuss your concerns about costs with your doctor. This is not always the case, but sometimes your doctor may be able to give you free samples of medications until you can enroll in an assistance program.
- Compare costs at your local pharmacies. Many pharmacies list their prices for commonly prescribed drugs online, or you can call local pharmacies to request prices for your medications.
- GoodRx.com helps you find the best price on prescription drugs. Different pharmacies can have extremely different pricing. The GoodRx website and apps for smartphones and tablets allow you to enter your medication and dosage and find the best deal on your specific prescription. They also provide pharmacy coupons, manufacturer discounts, generics, comparable drug choices and savings tips all in one place. All free to the consumer.
If you are a U.S. citizen age 65 or older and qualify to collect Social Security benefits then you should be eligible for Medicare. Medicare prescription drug coverage, commonly called Part D, covers brand name and generic prescription drugs at participating pharmacies in your area. Everyone enrolled in Medicare is eligible, regardless of income, health status or current prescription expenses.
The Extra Help program helps eligible Medicare recipients pay for some or most of their prescription drugs. The level of assistance depends on your situation; for instance, if you’re enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid or receive SSI, the program offers a discount card.
But keep in mind that you can’t use a discount card and Part D coverage at the same time. If you’re enrolled in Part D, it’s better to use your discount card only during your plan’s deductible and coverage gap periods (known as "the doughnut hole"). Your co-pays count toward Part D’s out-of-pocket limit ($4,550 in 2014). But any drugs received through Patient Assistance Programs don’t count toward your out-of-pocket costs.
Safety Net Providers
Pharmacies in some government-funded hospitals and community health clinics provide medication at low cost and charge you based on your income. Some of these pharmacies waive co-pays for Part D drugs if you ask for assistance.
Some states have PAPs to help pay for prescriptions. Many of these programs coordinate with Medicare Part D regarding co-pays and out-of-pocket costs. See a list of State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs at Medicare.gov.
Download the American Stroke Association’s free Finances After Stroke Guide for more helpful information.
This information is provided as a resource to our readers. The tips, products or resources listed have not been reviewed or endorsed by the American Stroke Association.