Finding Money for Expensive Drugs.

FinancialSupportForPrEPHere’s something you probably already know:  Drugs are super expensive, especially newer, very effective biologics and immunotherapies. But, here’s something you probably don’t know:  You may be able to get  reimbursed or better yet, upfront payment – yes!!  How is that possible?  In a word – Foundations.

What are foundations?  Charitable organizations that are supported by donations from generous folks, corporations and the pharmaceutical industry.  I knew they existed, but had to do a lot more research to actually figure out how to access the $$$ when I learned the drug I’m taking would cost me $8300/year.  That’s with my Part D Medicare Supplement paying approximately $145,000.  So, after every day for a month sitting in my pj’s at the computer, researching non-stop, I discovered how  to get financial assistance from a foundation.  Before I give you the details, here’s one important piece of information.  Although I’m a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, there’s a regulation within it that prevents people with Medicaid or Medicare (government programs) to get a reduced price pharmaceutical product.  If you’re younger and/or still have commerical insurance through your employer, the pharmaceutical industry will offer you their product at a discount.

So, let’s look at the how. Begin with a search.  Google your health issue i.e., diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, lupus, etc.  Any illness that requires an expensive drug qualifies.  I just googled diabetes and The American Diabetes Association came up listing all sorts of information – financial assistance included in the drop down menu. Keep clicking on all organizations that offer support/research efforts/blogs/foundations and start reading. Some foundations may help you pay for transportation and insurance too.  If you need to stay in your pj’s for a while, the effort and your attire is worth it!  Don’t give up that easily.  Certainly, this does take a good deal of time.  Keep at it.

Computer skills less than perfect?  Don’t be shy.   Ask for help, please.  You can also ask the nurse (or social worker in the medical practice, if there is one) to help you locate funding.  Often, they’re a great resource for financial assistance and any other type of support you may need.   Plus, they will know what to include and exclude about your personal finances on the application form.

You can also contact the manufacturer of your drug directly.  Many have a staff member whose job it is to assist you, guide you to find some $$ for their drug.  Call them and explain your situation.  Please don’t stop taking your medication because you can’t afford it.  That’s not your best option, although sometimes, it does feel like it.

In the end, unfortunately, not everyone is eligible for financial assistance.  Many are, though.  It’s worth the effort to find out if you are.  Look at it this way:  What’s the best thing that can happen?  You continue taking the medication you need and can still afford to live your life.  Sounds pretty good to me.

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