How can your doctor help?
To get your
doctor to help, tell him or her that your prescription medicine bill is a
financial burden. Ask for drugs that are less expensive but that work just as well.
Often, a condition can be treated with one of several different medicines, and your
doctor may be able to prescribe one that costs less.
You might ask your doctor if he or she has medicine samples,
vouchers, or other resources for you, especially when you are trying out a new medicine to see whether it will work.
What about the Medicare drug program?
Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit began in January 2006. For the most
current information about what the Medicare Part D Act means for you, go to
www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE. Your doctor, pharmacist, or
social worker may also be able to help you know about
your Medicare benefits.
What other resources are available?
the pharmaceutical company that makes your medicine has a patient assistance
program. Some companies offer free or
discounted drugs for people who cannot afford them. These companies often
require that your doctor contact them first about your case. Your
doctor will need to be involved, and the application process can be complex.
You may need to provide documentation to verify your income. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance provides doctors and other health care providers with the
information they need to access these programs. You can find out more at
Some states have programs for seniors and
people with disabilities or low incomes.
If you have a rare disease, you
may qualify for a National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) medication
assistance program. NORD's assistance programs help people with rare diseases whose income
is too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to pay for their prescribed
medicines. For more information, visit
Most veterans know that the Veterans Administration offers prescription
drug coverage for retired veterans. But many people don't know that the same
service is available for their families and survivors. Call the VA Health
Revenue Center toll-free at 1-877-222-VETS (8387), or go
Some organizations offer special discounts on
prescription drugs for their members. For example, AARP and AAA offer savings.
Many pharmacies offer some form of a discount plan for seniors. Community
health clinics or programs may have low- or no-cost prescription drugs for those
who qualify. Also, some pharmacies offer a set price for some medicines—for example, $5 for a 30-day supply of certain generic medicines.