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Help with Prescription Drug Costs

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Dr. Ernest Levister, Jr.Dear Dr. Levister: After my stroke I am not able to work full time and cannot afford to pay for the medications that control my blood pressure and asthma. Is there help for people in my situation? H.A. Dear H.A.: There are several agencies you may want to contact:

• Start by contacting your local State Social Services Agency. Social Services can provide direct assistance to individuals in distress and referrals to other local organizations that may be able to help you.

• Community-Based Health Centers serve populations with limited access to healthcare. A patient's annual income and family size determines their ability to pay, according to the most recent Federal Poverty Guidelines.

• If you are a Medicare or Medicaid recipient, you may call the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS at 1.800.MEDICARE (1.800.633.4227) or TTY: 1.877.486.2048. CMS can provide information about government-run healthcare programs and referrals to state agencies that administer these programs.

Consider contacting the company that manufactures your medication. They may supply you with free or discounted medication. You may also get a list of discount programs by company through the organization Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) that offers the Partnership for Prescription Assistance PPA. You may contact the PPA at 1.888.4PPA.NOW (1.888.477.2669).

The (PPA) program is a group of drug companies, health care providers, patient advocacy organizations, and community groups. They help people who don’t have prescription coverage find assistance programs that are right for them. There are more than 475 public and private patient assistance programs, including nearly 200 programs offered by drug companies. They also have information on free drug discount cards funded by private companies, which can help reduce your costs for certain brand or generic drugs.

If you are a veteran, you may also want to contact the Department of Veterans Affairs VA. The VA offers many programs designed to assist veterans.

If you are a senior citizen, you may also want to use the Administration on Aging’s (AOA) Eldercare Locator. This free service can help you locate resources and programs designed to assist seniors in your area. You can also contact an Eldercare Locator information specialist by calling 1.800.677.1116.

Medicare beneficiaries already enrolled in Medicare’s Prescription Drug Program are eligible for extra help with the cost of prescription drugs if they have limited income and resources. You can apply online for extra help.

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