When it comes to prescription assistance programs, there are a lot of rules you need to know, a lot of red tape to cut through, and not a lot of people who are qualified to help you.
Patient assistance programs were created offer the medication for free but complications and human error can keep you from getting the help you need. There are websites (like this one!) that can help you sign up for prescription assistance programs by yourself. This is a great resource for people who are organized and not afraid to spend some time doing research.
How to Apply
First, you must track down the patient assistance program for your medication. Not all of the programs have the name of the medication or even the name of the pharmaceutical company in the name of the program, so it can be difficult to find.
Once you’ve found the program online, you need to read all of the information on the patient assistance program’s website and on their application. There are hundreds of patient assistance programs and each one is different. They each require different applications, have different guidelines, and ask for different proof of income. Their processing times and shipping practices are different too.
Whether you are in one or several patient assistance programs, the only way to stay on top of all of the dates and guidelines is to be very organized. Stay in touch with the patient assistance program and keep a notebook (or a computer spreadsheet) with detailed notes on your communication with them.
You should also keep a calendar of dates. Once you are in the program, there can be a very short window of time to order refills or to reapply for the program. You might have to get another prescription or send in another form in that time. If you don’t act within that small window, you will experience a gap in your medication, which could affect your health.
Unfortunately, patient assistance programs often change their guidelines and application forms without announcing it. Be sure to note the effective date on the program’s application and check with the program to make sure that it’s the correct form. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; often programs will not share information unless they are specifically asked about it.
A little-known fact about patient assistance programs is that they often have an appeals process. These are not advertised on their websites. If you don’t seem to qualify due to income or insurance, or if your application has been denied for some reason, it’s possible that you or your doctor can appeal that decision. You might have to send in another application, additional financial documents, or a letter to get approved.
Again, each program is different, so you will need to call and ask what specific documents the program requires.
If all of this seems overwhelming, you can turn to another person for help. Your doctor’s office or pharmacist seem like the most logical choice but most of them are either unfamiliar with prescription assistance programs or they just don’t have the time and man-power to dedicate to them.
To be honest, the average person is more likely to get rejected by a program than accepted because they don’t truly understand what the program wants. Without specialized software, they would have to learn each patient assistance program from scratch. That would be hundreds of unique programs! Depending on how many patients they were attempting to help, it would be an impossible task.
In that case, where can you turn?
Prescription Lifeline has helped people just like you get their prescription medication for 15 years. We have the experience and the technology to make sure you get assistance from whatever patient assistance program you qualify for.
Prescription Lifeline has developed unique software to keep track of all the forms, medications, and rules for each patient assistance program. This gives us an unmatched level of accuracy and speed.
Medicare is another program that is helpful but often frustrating. You can look over the Medicare website (https://www.medicare.gov/) and still feel overwhelmed or confused. There are thousands pages full of information that may - or may not - apply to your unique situation.
After hearing our Prescription Lifeline members talk about their Medicare problems, we decided to expand our advocacy services to include Medicare plans and supplements. We not only help you get into patient assistance programs, we can evaluate your Medicare plans and make sure you are getting the best price for the best coverage.
Your health is your greatest resource. The patient advocates at Prescription Lifeline know that and work their hardest to make sure you are getting your prescriptions and getting access to health care without overpaying. The average member in Prescription Lifeline is saving around $800 a year.
Contact Prescription Lifeline and speak to a patient advocate at 1-888-331-1002. Our advocates are dedicated to making sure that everyone has access to the health care they need. Whether you need help with prescriptions or you’re just curious about getting the best price for your Medicare coverage, Prescription Lifeline is here to help.