Patient Assistance Program F.A.Q.

Here at NeedyMeds we are dedicated to providing information on how to save money on your medications and other health-related costs. One of our primary resources is our database of Patient Assistance Programs. Today we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Patient Assistance Programs. If you have any questions that are not covered here please leave us a comment and we will get you an answer!

What is a PAP? – Patient Assistance Programs are usually run by pharmaceutical companies to help uninsured and underinsured patients get their medication at free or low-cost. For more information on applying to a PAP read our previous blog post Applying to a Patient Assistance Program.

What are the requirements for a PAP? – Every program is different but most require personal information including your full name, address, date of birth, and social security number. They also generally require information from your doctor including their contact information and a valid prescription. Some programs also require a diagnosis and information on household income. When using

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There are a lot of people concerned about their healthcare costs in the U.S.  I’m certainly one of them.  My family gets hit unexpectedly like any other, and we have our own recurring medical bills to deal with.  Since I realized a few years ago that I could save upwards of one to two thousand dollars a year in medical expenses, I’ve made a habit of reviewing my medical bills much more closely.  This can take hours upon hours on the phone and researching of medical codes and jargon—far from a simple process.

But what can you end up saving by comparing costs?   Multiple case studies have shown that the difference between the low and high price is often a factor of 5 to 15 times.   For San Francisco (the first metro area we have significant data for) you can pay as little as $149 or up to $833 (cash rate) for an ultrasound during pregnancy.  For those who don’t ask, or for whatever reason don’t get the uninsured or cash discount, the amount could go as high as $1,733.  Several imaging and lab work procedures have a much greater disparity.

The problem is finding prices to compare. In California, hospitals are

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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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Today many Americans find themselves struggling to pay for their medications, unfortunately leading to difficult choices between paying for food, rent, or prescriptions. Luckily pharmaceutical companies and other organizations are aware of this fact, and doing what they can to help alleviate costs for those struggling financially. For many drugs that may seem too expensive to afford there are Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs). These programs offer the drugs at little to no cost to the consumer.

Finding a Program for your Medication:

To apply for a PAP, first make sure one is available for your medication. You can look up each PAP alphabetically on the NeedyMeds site here. There are both brand name and generics listed. Once you find your drug, click on the name of the medication to get to the program details page. Here all of the contact information for the program is listed, along with the application form. You will need to contact the program directly to apply.

Eligibility Requirements:

Every Patient Assistance Program has it’s own set of guidelines and requirements. Most programs require that you are a legal

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As children grow up, they learn an important lesson: when you are sick, taking medicine usually helps you feel better in a reasonably short time. That acquired knowledge has helped generations of kids suck down foul-tasting cough medicine and other remedies.

In fact, “taking your medicine” has become cultural shorthand for doing something that may be unpleasant in the short run, but benefits one over the long term. This is certainly aided by the fact the United States has one of the safest drug supplies in the world; when you take a medication in America, you can count on it not only helping you feel better, but being safe for consumption.

Except when you can’t.

Illegal, unregulated pharmacies have become more prominent in recent years. Advertising and selling largely over the Internet, these criminal enterprises developed a niche selling medication to patients at cheap prices found nowhere else. But these savings come with a price: the drugs are often counterfeit, and are sometimes laced with dangerous substances. Antifreeze, road paint and rat poison have all been found in these discount fake medicines, and the National Association

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