Less and less American families can afford health insurance and this can often leave them with a choice between buying groceries or medicine. Unfortunately medicine usually loses out in this situation as the need to eat is much more immediate. However, help to buy medication for low income families does exist. Both government agencies and big pharmaceutical companies are stepping up to help out struggling people in the interest of greater public health. The programs both of these groups offer subsidize or even provide free medicine to low income families while they are struggling.
Help to Buy Medication for Low Income Families – Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs
If you are already in receipt of Medicare cover then you may also qualify for the Medicare Extra Help program. If you are exceeding your current allowance the Extra Help program can provide $4,000 of extra coverage for you and your family. This $4,000 is in addition to you standard coverage so if you are on particularly expensive prescriptions it could literally be a life-saving program.
Are You Eligible for the Medicare Extra help program?
There are three aspects to Medicare Extra Help eligibility; location, income and Medicare membership. Firstly. you must be located in one of the 50 states or Columbia. Secondly, you must earn less than $13,000 per year as an individual or $26,000 as a couple. Finally, you must currently be in receipt of Medicare benefits and be unable to purchase your needed medication on your current allowance.
How You Can Join the Extra Help Program
Provided you are a Medicare patient you can apply for the Extra Help program by simply filling out an application form either online on the social security site, or in person at a social security office. The application form you are looking for is called ‘The Extra help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs’. Within 1-2 weeks of applying you should receive a letter from social security letting you know whether or not you were approved for cover.
Help to Buy medication for Low Income Families – Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs)
If you cannot apply for the Extra Help program or if it does not fully cover your needed medicinal needs then you can also apply for a Patient Assistance Program. PAPs are run by pharmaceutical companies themselves and are given out either directly or through an intermediary health care professional. There are at least 75 pharmaceutical companies throughout the US that offer PAPs and over 800 different medications are covered. Most companies offer one or more of these programs and many offer separate programs for different medications, so you may qualify for more than one.
How Much Can PAPs Save You on Prescription Medication?
Most PAPs cover 100% of the costs of certain types of medication, especially if they are considered essential. Some other programs instead offer a co-contribution system where the patient pays for a fraction of the medicine and the pharmaceutical company covers the rest. Your savings will depend exactly on which programs you are approved for and the type of medication you need.
How Soon Can You Get PAP Sponsored Medication and How Do You Get it?
Approval times for most Patient Assistance Programs are between one and six weeks with essential medications making the priority list. Delivery is most commonly done through the prescribing health care professional but some companies will deliver medication directly to customers, particularly in cases where the customer is disabled or elderly.
How Long Does a PAP Last?
Patient Assistance programs are only intended to provide temporary help to buy medication for low income families. Most last for a month or more but few extend past half a year of coverage. However, once your coverage has expired you can reapply for the program and if your situation has not improved you are likely to be approved again.
Who Can Receive Help to Buy Medication From a PAP?
PAP requirements usually require that a family be low-income or otherwise unable to afford their required medication. If you are on a disability pension or anohter form of government payment you are more likely to be approved. Each program’s requirements vary drastically so it is best to check the program for the medication you require for specific details.
Help to Buy Medication for Low Income Families – How to Apply for a Patient Assistance Program
the best way to find out about applying for a PAP is to speak with your prescribing health care professional. Inform them that you are unlikely to be able to afford the prescription they have tendered to you and they may be able to point you towards a relevant PAP-offering company. You will need your financial information handy for the application process so be sure to make copies of it and keep them nearby. Applications can be submitted either online or via post or fax.