We’re wrapping up 2014 here at NeedyMeds, and it’s been a big year for us. We have kept true to our original mission to provide information on programs that help people who can’t afford medications and healthcare costs, and have expanded in the interest of offering more direct assistance to those in need.

The year started with a redesign of our website. Later that January, we launched a unique crowdfunding platform called HEALfundr. Using HEALfundr, people can raise funds for verified medical expenses that will be paid directly with the crowd-raised funds. HEALfundr is the only crowdfunding platform to verify campaigns and pay bills directly, giving confidence to donors that they will not be victimized by fraud and relieving the stress of handling incoming and outgoing funds for those in need.

This past May we released a new web-based tutorial for those looking to learn how to find help for patients facing problems affording their medicine or other healthcare costs called Patient

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Children going back to school and a cold wind starting to blow are signifiers of the impending cold and flu season. This year’s may seem particularly daunting due to exotic diseases appearing in the news and the spread of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) affecting hundreds of families throughout the United States. With all of this in mind, NeedyMeds wanted to give our readers some helpful tips to keep themselves and their children healthy, along with resources available for those in need.

  1. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow. This will reduce the spread of germs through touching objects or one’s face.
  2. Wash hands often, especially after blowing your nose or coughing. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) suggests washing using warm water and soap, and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds and drying with a single-use towel. Tell your children to sing “Happy Birthday” twice while washing—that takes about 20 seconds.
  3. Regularly disinfect common surfaces in your home that your family touches every day, including countertops, telephones, computers, faucets, and doorknobs.
  4. Ensure your family eats a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, gets plenty of rest, and exercises regularly. These steps will keep your immune system in prime shape to help fight off illness.
  5. Know the difference between a cold and the flu. The flu generally comes on strong with severe symptoms, including fever, sore throat, chills, body aches, cough, runny/stuffy nose, diarrhea, vomiting, headache and fatigue. Although colds can exhibit some of the same symptoms, they usually are not as severe and often do not last as long.
  6. It’s also important to know the difference between a cold and autumnal allergies. With the similarities in symptoms, it can be easy to self-medicate for the wrong condition.
    1. With a cold, you’re likely to wake up with a sore, painful throat. With allergies, the throat has more of an itch or tickle rather than soreness.
    2. Colds follow a relatively slow progression and last for a few days, whereas allergies can come on almost instantly, with symptoms of coughing, sneezing, and congestion striking all at once and can last as long as allergens are in the environment—sometimes a matter of hours, other times for weeks.
    3. Sneezing with itchy eyes or mouth are associated with allergies rather than colds.
    4. Fevers can appear with colds, but do not affect those suffering from allergies.
    5. It’s important to know you don’t have both a cold and allergies, as this can lead to chronic sinus problems if left untreated.
    The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months to get a flu vaccine every season. Children younger than 2 years old, or children with health problems such as asthma, diabetes, or other chronic conditions are at the highest risk of severe complications of the flu and should get the flu shot. The best way to protect infants under 6 months old is to surround them with people who have been vaccinated. Stay home from school or work if you or your child are sick.

    Enterovirus D68

    EV-D68 presents similarly to a cold, with runny nose, sneezing and coughing, body and muscle aches, and occasional fever. Severe symptoms can include difficulty breathing, wheezing, and worsening of asthma. State and county Departments of Health say children diagnosed with EV-D68 or any other enterovirus should be excluded from school or daycare until symptom free, or until fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication if a fever is present. Though there is risk of children catching the illness at

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Treatment and other diabetes-related costs can be expensive.   According to the American Diabetes Association the total costs of diagnosed diabetes was  $245 billion in 2012, with $176 billion in direct medical costs.  “People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of about $13,700 per year, of which about $7,900 is attributed to diabetes. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.”

Here are 5 ways available to find help with these costs on the NeedyMeds website.

1.     Apply for free or reduced prescription medications through a Patient Assistance Program (PAP).
How they work:

→ PAPs are run by pharmaceutical companies and provide free or discounted medicines to those who qualify.

→ Eligibility and application requirements vary from program to program, usually based on income and insurance.

How to find them:

→ To find out if there’s a PAP available for your medication, click on the Brand Name Drugs or Generic Name Drugs links and look up your medication alphabetically.

→ If you do find your medication, click on it and you will be able to look over any assistance programs that are available for that medication.

How to get enrolled:

→ Most PAPs require that you fill out an application,

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by Richard J. Sagall, MD, President of NeedyMeds

Everywhere you look you see claims of savings from drug discount cards. You may be skeptical when cards promise huge savings. And you should be because not all the claims are real.

Too Good to Be True

The old saying “If it seems too good to be true then it probably is” applies to drug discount cards. Drug discount cards have the potential of saving you a lot of money, but you have to understand how they work.

It’s important to remember that they all work basically the same way. Here’s the scoop.

First, a company called a “pharmacy benefits manager” (PBM) or an adjudicator sets up a network of participating pharmacies that agree to accept the cards. Then the PBM negotiates with each pharmacy chain and all the participating local pharmacies offer a discount on the drugs they dispense. The discount is usually a percentage of the cash price of the drug. The percentage may vary from drug to drug.

Next, the PBM finds companies or organizations to market their card. These groups, called marketers, may be for-profit companies or non-profit organizations.

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Have you heard about the NeedyMeds drug discount card yet? If so, have you tried it yet? Hopefully you’ve already used the card and have seen some significant savings. If not, it’s time to print out your free card and start using it today!

The free NeedyMeds drug discount card can be used anywhere in the country at over 63,000 participating pharmacies including all of the major chains, to save up to 80% on your prescriptions. There are no income or age restrictions. There is no activation or registration needed and no personal information is taken when using our card.

The only rule is that you can’t combine it with insurance. So if you’re uninsured, you can use it anytime you are purchasing a medication. If you have health insurance, you might wonder how this card can help you. The card can fill in the gaps in your coverage. For example, if you have any medications not covered under your insurance or if you have a high co-pay or deductible, you could try using the card instead of your insurance. You can also use the card on any over-the-counter or medical supplies your doctor writes as a prescription, as well as pet prescriptions

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