There has been a great deal of commentary and reporting about the high costs of prescription drugs.
It seems to be sort of like the comment on the weather attributed to Mark Twain that everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it.
Well, finally, someone is parting the clouds on the subject of prescriptions, at least for those whose income is below certain limits.
And, those are the folks who really need relief. Some relief is also available for the public, in general, without means testing.
Usually, the first group that comes to mind, when this subject arises, is seniors. Of course, they have access to "Part D" with Medicare.
This program does pay quite a bit of the cost of drugs. However, by now, everyone knows about the co-pays and "doughnut hole".
These costs can be more than $5,000 per year outside the plan. It is not unusual to encounter those who are paying as much as $6,000
per year on Part D. Also, most of these prescriptions are generic. However, as if this weren't enough, some prescriptions are brands not on the Part D
plan's "formulary" of covered drugs. Should the patient need one of those, the entire expanse is borne by the patient completely out side the plan.
Those who are within the Federal Poverty Level can receive assistance with the costs under Part D. But, those over the Federal Poverty Level receive no help with these co payments
In addition to seniors, there are millions if Americans who do not have insurance coverage, or if they do, prescriptions are not covered or are severely limited in coverage.
Once more, if they do not qualify for Medicaid, they bear the total cost, themselves. Many of these hard-working people cannot afford the cost of prescriptions-even generics.
Any pharmacist can tell you sad stories about confrontations at the counter over " sticker shock ".
Fingers point in all directions placing blame for the " crisis ". The pharmaceutical companies have been vilified by politicians, reporters, consumer advocates,
and yes, by patients, too. However, these companies are stepping forward to extend relief to the aforementioned people, within a specific income range. They ( around 250
of them ) are willing to give these patients brand name drugs. Yes, I said " give ". And there are almost 1,200 drugs on the " free formulary ".
Astonishingly, many do not know about these programs. Even a healthy percentage of physicians don't know about them! There has been some publicity, and the forms are
available online though some outreach programs. But, as you can imagine, the qualification process is daunting. It has been compared to filing one's income tax forms.
Needless to say, those who most need the programs are confused and unable to make their way though this maze. First, each company has its own rules for qualification.
Usually, the patient is taking several prescription drugs manufactured by several different companies. So, a separate application needs to be submitted to each company
according to its specific rules. And, the patient needs to be re-qualified every few months. It is just too much for the average patient.
In addition to these companys' programs, there are quite a few discount prescription cards available. Some charge a fee. Many do not. We have found that charging a fee does
not necessarily get a " member " the best discounts. Actually, many of the free cards are the best. There is a place for these plans in almost every American
household. Some insurance plans have formularies similar to those in Medicare Part D plans. So, almost everyone has the chance for needing a drug not covered by insurance.
Also, these programs include pet prescriptions obtainable from a pharmacy. Of course, these discount programs are just that -discount programs- not a " free list ".
On the upside, there usually are no income qualifications for these cards.
From our considerable experience helping those in lower income brackets with prescription cost, the best answer to the dilemma of not being able to afford all
of the prescription drugs needed is what we call " The Ultimate Prescription Assistance Program ". It is a system that combines the discount and the manufacturers'
free programs into one. Anyone between the Federal Poverty Level and twice that amount of income needs to consider this combined effort, if their monthly bill
for prescription drugs is over $100 including the Part D premium.
To see if you qualify for this program click the link below.