Needymeds exists to help you get healthcare costs under control. We know you need additional resources to make sense of healthcare —  that’s the whole point of the NeedyMeds Voice.

But what we don’t always talk about is the importance of finding your own voice. Do you ever find yourself with lingering questions? Do you ever have trouble holding yourself accountable? Do you ever fail to speak up?

We recently discovered a resource that supports individuals on a one-on-one basis, where a health coach comes right alongside you to keep you motivated and get your questions answered in your day-to-day life. It’s called Pack Health, and it’s a digital coaching service. This means they can reach you wherever you are and on your schedule – on the phone, online, or both.

These people get what you’re going through, and they’ll help you with everything from exercise and nutrition to budgeting and logistics. You set the goal, they’ll help you get there. It’s that simple.

We reached out, and they’ve opened up a special opportunity for our community. We were able to reserve 100 free spots for members

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You may have seen the ads claiming a company can help you get all your medications for free. These sites may claim there are “secret” programs run by pharmaceutical companies that provide medicines for free – and only these sites know how to access them. Other sites may claim “for a low monthly fee” they can get you your medicines at no cost.

Let’s take a look at these claims and learn the truth.

First, there are no “secret” programs. Most pharmaceutical companies have patient assistance programs (PAPs). You can find out about them on the companies’ websites, drug-specific websites, or at NeedyMeds. Some even mention them in their television ads. These are the “secret” programs the website ads refer to. Nothing secret about them!

Second, despite claims made on websites, PAPs don’t help with every drug. Each pharma company decide which drugs to offer on their PAP. Some include all their drugs, others programs only include certain drugs. What’s rare is to find is a program that provides free generic medicines.

Third, not everyone is eligible. Each program has its own eligibility guidelines

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by Richard Sagall, MD

This essay first appeared in Pediatrics for Parents (www.pedsforparents.com) Volume 30, issue 7-8

The doctor saw you or your child and ordered some tests. It may have been a blood panel, a check on urine, or perhaps an X-ray. As you leave the office the doctor says, “I’m sure all will be normal, but I want to be sure. I will call you if there are any problems. Remember, no news is good news!”

You leave optimistic everything will turn out fine. Then, a few days later you begin to wonder if all the tests came out normal. You haven’t heard from the doctor, but then remember she said she would call if there were a problem.

The real issue is that the “no news is good news” approach is all wrong. It leaves the patient dangling and is open to all sorts of errors and opportunities for miscommunication. Let’s look at what no news could really mean.

1. The specimen never made it to the lab. You know the blood was drawn or the urine was collected, but you don’t know if the specimen was actually sent to the lab. Maybe the specimen was mislabeled or lost. And you never hear about

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A recent addition to the NeedyMeds website is the Radiology Imaging Centers database. As hopefully you read in our August edition of the Patient Assistance Newsletter, this new resource will help you search for facilities that offer the tests you need in your area. You can use the data to compare cash prices of over 20 commonly performed studies. The database also includes other pertinent information about each location such as whether or not they offer discounts or payment plans, which procedures they perform and even if they host free imaging screenings throughout the year. Such details will hopefully assist you greatly in your pursuit of better health.

Yet, per an article published at the beginning of the year by our partner Consumer Reports, there are a few more steps you should take, a few more answers you seek before actually scheduling that test. The full article is worth a read. But one of the important suggestions

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September is National Blood Cancer Awareness Month, also known as Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month.  Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that is fairly common, with an estimated 52,380 new cases in 2014. From the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website: “Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, the spongy center of bones where our blood cells are formed. The disease develops when blood cells produced in the bone marrow grow out of control.” There are multiple types of Leukemia, some more common than others.

Lymphoma is similar to Leukemia in that it is a common type of blood cancer. More from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: “Lymphoma is the name for a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymphatic system. The two main types are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). In 2014, about 761,659 people are living with lymphoma or are in remission (no sign of the disease). This number includes about 177,526 people with Hodgkin lymphoma and 584,133 people with NHL.” Hodgkin lymphoma is defined by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, named after the scientists who discovered

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