Managing prescriptions is an important part of daily lives for many Americans. In fact, a study found that around 66% of people in the country take at least one medication per day. So for those without adequate insurance coverage, it can be a significant financial burden and any tips that can help them access free or or low-cost pharmacies would be welcomed.
The good news is there are plenty of places you can look into for help: from pharmaceutical companies, to government programs, to non-profits organizations. As you will find out from this guide, if you meet certain requirements, there's a good chance you will be able to find a program that can make your prescriptions more affordable.
What Is a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM)?
Let us first look at how you can get help within the industry. Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) are separate companies that work independently from pharmaceutical companies. They manage prescription drug benefits from health plans, employers, and government programs, with the goal of helping to lower the cost of prescription drugs in several different ways.
One of the main ways PBMs can save you money is by negotiating prices with drug manufacturers and pharmacies. PBMs have the bargaining power to get discounts on prescription drugs, which are then given to you as the consumer.
Managing Your Formularies
PBMs work with different health plans to develop a formulary, which is a list of covered drugs. By choosing medications based on their cost-effectiveness, PBMs can help lower the cost of prescription drugs for consumers.
Authorizing Your Medication
PBMs also require prior authorization for certain drugs. This can help ensure that patients get the most appropriate medication. It helps reduce waste and ensures that patients are only paying for drugs they actually need.
Many PBMs offer mail-order pharmacy services, which can save you money as well by offering discounts on 90-day supplies of medication and eliminating the need for retail markup.
Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drugs
The second on our list is Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company (MCCPDC), which cuts out many of the middle men from the pharmaceutical supply chain that add to the cost. This not only lowers the price of your medicine, but gives you full transparency on pricing as well. Some people hailed it as the company that has changed the pharmaceutical industry.
MCCPDC is cash only, meaning it does not accept health insurance or coupons. But you can use your Health Savings Account (HSA) or your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to pay for your prescriptions. Cost Plus Drugs also uses a single drug manufacturer (True Pill Pharmacy) to help keep costs down.
Asking For Generic Drugs
If you visit the grocery store often, you probably know that name-brand packaged foods cost more than the off-brand or store-brand for almost the same product. The same thing applies to prescription drugs and other medications. Most, if not all pharmacies, carry generic meds (the pharmacy's brand) at a more affordable price than the brand-name. This is because it avoids the costs associated with all of the middle men between the drug's manufacturer and the pharmacy. Some pharmacies may give you the brand-name by default. So an easy way to save a lot of money on prescriptions is to ask your pharmacist for generic medications instead.
Asking Your Pharmacist For a Lower Price
In 2018, a study found that 1 in 5 people were paying more for their medication when they use insurance compared with just paying the pharmacy's retail price themselves. And the main reason for this was Gag clauses.
Gag clauses prevented pharmacists from telling you if there was a cheaper price available for your medication if you don't use your insurance. Since this has now been put to an end in the U.S., your pharmacist can now help you get the best price for your medication. So all you need to do is ask them.
When you think of a pharmacy, you might picture a small store with white shelves, packed with everything from medicine to pretzels, and you wouldn't be wrong. Though these days, there are many pharmacies dedicated to offering low-cost medicine for those who need it. Here are a few examples
Community Or Charitable Pharmacy
The purpose of a community or charitable pharmacy is not to make money. Their only focus is to improve the health outcome of their customers and make medication accessible to more people. It's worth looking for one of these pharmacies in your area if you are worried that you may not be able to afford your current pharmacy's price.
Mail-order Or Online Pharmacy
Another way to access low-cost medicine is to check the internet for a mail-order or online pharmacy which could not only have better prices than physical stores, but may also offer subscription plans for discounted rates on your prescriptions.
It may take some digging, but you can find other options apart from your regular drug company that offers more affordable medications.
Prescription Assistance Programs (PAPs)
Prescription Assistance Programs (PAPs) are programs designed by pharmaceutical companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies for those who cannot afford the prescriptions they need. These programs can be helpful for people who have limited income and resources to pay for their medications.
How To Qualify For a PAP
Each PAP has its own eligibility requirements, application process, and drug coverage. Some programs are exclusive to individuals with specific medical conditions, while others are available to anyone who meets the income criteria, which could be up to $100k for some programs. Most PAPs require applicants to provide proof of income and residency, as well as a prescription from their healthcare provider. One of the benefits of PAPs is that they can provide medications that are not covered by some insurance plans.
How To Find PAPs?
To find PAPs that may be available to you, you can visit the websites of the pharmaceutical companies that make your medications, or search for them using one of the many databases of PAPs that provide information on eligibility requirements, application processes, and drug coverage. Note that PAPs should not be a substitute for health insurance. They may provide assistance with prescription drug costs, but they do not cover other medical expenses, such as doctor visits or inpatient care.
Grants for Prescriptions
There are many grants available to help you pay for your prescriptions. Some of them require you to have insurance for your medication while some don't. Simplefill, The Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation, NeedyMeds are some of the companies that offer grants to help you with your prescriptions:
There may be other local or national programs that also offer grants for prescription drugs. You should talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist, or do some research online to see what options are available in your area.
Does Medicare Part D Cover Prescriptions?
Medicare Part D is a prescription drug benefit program available to Medicare beneficiaries. This program is designed to help people with Medicare pay for their prescription drug costs. The cost will vary depending on the plan you choose, but most have a monthly premium, an annual deductible, and copayments or coinsurance for each prescription.
Government Assistance To Help You Stay Connected
Keeping track of all these information we mentioned above in this digital age can be challenging. Luckily, like prescription drugs, the government also has programs that make internet and cell phone services more affordable for lower income individuals and households. At EASY Wireless, our goal is to help everyone access these benefits.
Lifeline/ACP Programs with EASY Wireless.
Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) are government programs designed to make phone and internet services more affordable for eligible individuals and families, including senior citizens. At EASY Wireless, we understand the importance of affordable internet connectivity for many elderly Americans, and we want to help you access the benefits of these two programs so that you can stay connected while lowering your financial burdens.
Using Other Assistance programs for Lifeline and ACP through EASY Wireless
The good news is that if you are already on certain government assistance program, you can leverage them to receive:
EASY Wireless Unlimited Plan
- FREE Unlimited Data
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- FREE Brand-new Smartphone
- FREE SIM Card Kit and Activation
- Choose to Keep Your Number or Get a New One
When you sign up for Lifeline and ACP through EASY Wireless. EASY Wireless is an established provider with a 20-year history of offering reliable communication services to thousands of satisfied customers
How do I Get My Free Government Cell Phone?
When you come to one of EASY Wireless's retail stores, our customer service agent will help you apply for the benefits.
You will first have to provide identity proof with a government-issued ID. With that easy step, you can confirm your participation in one of the qualifying programs or your household income amount.
Need More Than Just One Line of Service or an Additional Phone?
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