Thursday, May 7, 2009


We blogged to you about prescription drugs last June ( and we hope it helps you find the best price for drugs.

We were shocked to read a recent survey that showed 1 in 5 Americans skip dosages, split pills or go without medication due to high prices. Team CHEAPIOSITY can't stand idly by while consumers risk their health like this. There is help out there!

(We worry that many of the consumers most adversely affected might be older and not so computer-savvy as our readers. You may want to help out older neighbors, friends and family members. They probably won't come to you; you have to go to them. Armed with information and access to the internet, you may actually be able to save a life and you'll definitely help save money.)

A. Tell your doctor you need help. Your doctor may have access to samples and can tell you about drug assistance programs.

B. Your doctor can't help? You still have us. Check out these amazing resources:

Needy Meds at provides help getting more than 4,100 medicines, plus links to discount drug card and coupon programs, thousands of free or low-cost clinics around the country, programs offering medical equipment and supplies for specific diseases. You will also find a glossary of insurance and related terms, and a tool to see if you're eligible.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance at links to every point for more than 475 different programs sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, government programs, health plans and charities.

Patient Advocate Foundation at is the most comprehensive patient assistance program available; they offer far more than help getting free or discount prescriptions. Provides help paying for surgery or large copayments for medical care, child care while patients are getting treatments, even transportation to treatments. Has specialized case managers who can help with a multitude of financial health care issues. at has links to more than 1,000 prescription-assistance programs, free clinics and programs that help with copayments for treatment for cancer and rare and chronic diseases.

Rx Assist at links to state-run assistance programs and programs to help with drug copayments, a search by drug name for available help, and online patient education.

Rx Hope at offers online assistance applications, links to medical group, patient advocate and drug company sites.

You will find State assistance programs at

For specific assistance with:

Heart medications,

HIV and AIDS drugs,

Lung medications,

Together Rx Access, Offers free cards accepted at most pharmacies, in every state and Puerto Rico, that can get you prescription discounts of 25-40 percent. Has nearly 1.9 million members, who have saved more than $82 million since it began in 2005.

Pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline offer discount cards.

Before applying, assemble the documents* you likely will need to get approval for a patient assistance program:

* Your last income tax return and, if you're employed, recent pay stubs.
* If you're unemployed, a letter or other document from your former employer stating you have been terminated and your health insurance has been stopped.
* Your last few months of bank statements.
* Statements covering any investments you have.
* Information on accumulated medical debt, which could affect eligibility.
* Make sure you include all requested information to avoid being turned down and having to reapply, which could significantly delay help.

Be Persistent:

Patients who have been through the process advise you not to accept rejection as final. Sometimes writing a letter detailing why a medication is so important, or applying to additional programs, brings success. A WARNING: Once you've gotten approval, you'll almost definitely have to reapply every year. That can cause a gap without the medicine, so don't wait until the last minute. Besides helping get medications free from a manufacturer or charity, assistance programs often help patients get qualified for Medicaid, which covers poor and disabled people, or other government health programs. The Patient Advocate Foundation will appeal denials to try to reverse them, help people get Social Security disability income or Medicaid coverage, and get preauthorization for expensive medical care. It does so using case managers trained in the ins and outs of specific issues.

Even people with health insurance can sometimes find help, such as when they need medicines for cancer or other complex illnesses that can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year, or when they have special circumstances.

Bottom Line:
Be your own Advocate!
Don't take NO for an answer!
There's help out there!

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