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Patients can’t afford their meds? Direct them to these resources
e-Reports, March 19, 2012
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If you have patients who are non-compliant because they can’t afford their prescriptions, you can help by alerting them to these sources for low and no cost medications.

A first place for patients to turn for financial help with prescriptions is the Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI) website.

Your elderly patients may have a variety of prescription drug plans to choose from, including:

  • Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
  • Hoosier Rx
  • NEW Indiana Drug Card
  • Finding Help with Prescriptions Guide
  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association Free Medications Directory

Medicare enrollees can find a Medicare prescription drug plan and receive extra help paying for premiums, deductibles, gaps in coverage and co-pays. In certain situations, patients may be able to join, switch or drop Medicare drug plans at any time. View the 2012 “Medicare Plan Finder” available here.

Hoosier Rx
Hoosier Rx is Indiana’s prescription drug plan for low-income residents age 65 or over who have a low monthly income and are without an insurance prescription drug benefit.

HoosierRx does not consider assets, only income. If yearly net income is $16,485 or less for an individual or $22,095 or less for a couple, help may be available. Patients can apply toll free at (866) 267-4679 or online at in.gov.

VA Prescription Benefit
Honorably discharged veterans should consider using the VA drug benefit ($8 per prescription per month). Mail ordering is an option for monthly maintenance drugs while still using Medicare Part D for other prescriptions. Veterans can call (877) 222-8387.

Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association
Many pharmaceutical companies have programs for free or low cost medications regardless of age. Most programs require the patient to:

  • Not have insurance that covers outpatient prescription drugs
  • Not qualify for government assistance
  • Have income within stated guidelines

The application process differs for each company. Usually a doctor must sign a completed application form and have the medical office submit it for the patient. Rx for Indiana can provide assistance matching your prescriptions with these assistance programs. Contact Rx for Indiana at (877) 793-0765 or at rxforindiana.

Trained SHIP counselors at sites throughout Indiana can offer guidance on obtaining and completing applications from drug companies. View a list of local SHIP sites here.

Indiana Drug Card
Both uninsured and underinsured patients can take advantage of the Indiana Drug Card. The free program allows Indiana residents to receive pharmacy discounts averaging 30-35 percent on both brand and generic medications. The card is pre-activated, so it is ready to use and is accepted at over 60,000 pharmacies around the country.

Patients do not have to meet any age or income requirements or complete enrollment forms. The card can be obtained by calling (888) 446-3979 or downloaded on this site.

Local chains
Several national pharmacies drastically reduced the cost of generic prescription drugs. Meijer boasts no cost for generic antibiotics. Target, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club charge $4 for generic drugs, but the list includes more than antibiotics. Log onto their websites for details.

Free guide
“Finding Help with Prescriptions” Guide is a free publication with helpful information for lowering prescription costs. Request a free copy at (800) 452-4800.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get the medicines they need. Many obtain medications free or nearly free. Call (888)-477-2669 or visit here.

The sting from Rx costs is real
Patients have reason to complain. Their costs for medications have risen at about twice the rate of inflation. That’s why they may need help paying for medications they have taken for years.

The latest Rx Price Watch Report from AARP’s Public Policy Institute examined retail prices for the 514 prescription drugs most used by Medicare patients. They found 469 of the products on the market since 2004 increased 25.6 percent from 2005 through 2009. The general inflation rate at that time was 13.3 percent.

The impact on patients taking a drug for a chronic condition? The average annual cost of their therapy rose from $2,160 to $3,168 in those years.

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