Benefits Check-Up is a free tool accessible at www.benefitscheckup.org. By answering a few questions about yourself and your health care needs, you can find out if you are taking advantage of all of the benefits that you are eligible for, including nutrition and prescription drug assistance.
The Cook County Prescription Drug Discount Card is free and available to all Cook County residents. There are no income or age requirements, and patients with prescription drug coverage through their private insurance plans may be able to save with the card. You can print a card online at www.nacorx.org, visit your Cook County Commissioner’s office, or obtain a card from my constituent services office at 1051 West Belmont.
The Extra Help program helps Medicare beneficiaries pay for monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments and is on average worth around $4,000 annually. Patients must live in the United States, have limited resources (currently $13,070 for an individual and $26,120 for a married couple. “Resources” include bank accounts, stocks, and bonds, but not assets such as your home, car, or life insurance policy), and have a limited annual income (currently $16,755 for an individual and $22,695 for a married couple). Applicants should apply through the Social Security Administration online at www.ssa.gov/prescriptionhelp, by calling 800.772.1213, or by visiting a local Social Security Administration office.
The HealthWell Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that helps eligible individuals with some of the associated costs with prescription medication such as coinsurance, copayments, healthcare premiums, and deductibles for certain treatments. HealthWell currently offers coverage for the following diseases: acute porphyrias, associate vasculitis and Wegener’s, asthma, carcinoid tumors and related symptoms, chemotherapy induce neutropenia, chronic gout, Crohn’s Disease (Medicare patients only), cytomegalovirus, Dupuytren’s Disease, head and neck cancer, immunosuppressive treatment for solid organ transplant recipients, metastatic melanoma, post-menopausal osteoporosis, secondary hyperparathyroidism, system lupus erythematous, and Wilms’ Tumor. Applicants should check the website to make sure they are eligible and can complete a short survey to verify eligibility. Patients should apply online at www.healthwellfoundation.org or by calling 800.675.8416.
The Illinois Rx Buying Club is a discount drug card for brand name and generic prescription drugs, saving patients 20% on average. An individual must be an Illinois resident with an income equal to or less than 300% of the FPL (see page 3). The cards can be used at 2,500 pharmacies in Illinois and there are no limits to the benefit. There is an annual $10 processing fee. Applications can be downloaded online at www.illinoisrxbuyingclub.com or obtained by calling 866.215.3463.
Medicare Part D is the prescription drug component of Medicare. You may join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (adding drug coverage to Original Medicare, Medicare Cost Plans, Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans, or Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans) or a Medicare Advantage Plan (you must have Medicare Part A and Part B coverage). You must join a coverage plan run by a company that has been Medicare-approved and can find these plans online at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan. For further assistance, call 800-MEDICARE.
The Patient Advocate Foundation helps financially and medically eligible insured patients pay for pharmaceutical drug co-payments. Medicare Part D beneficiaries are eligible. Patients must have prescription drug coverage, a qualifying diagnosis, and a household income of 500% or less of the FPL (see page 3) to be considered for assistance. Visit www.copays.org or call 866.512.3861 for more information or to obtain an application.
Private prescription drug companies have Patient Assistance Programs to help patients struggling to pay for their medications. Policies vary by company and the specific drug – and may change frequently – so if you are having trouble paying for your drugs, you should contact the company directly to find out if you can receive assistance. Most companies have their policy posted online, along with a search tool to verify that your drug may be covered. You can also check www.RxAssist.org or www.medicare.gov/pharmaceutical-assistance-program to see if you can obtain patient assistance for the drug you need.
The Walgreens Prescription Savings Club is $20 annually for an individual membership and $35 annually for a family and can help patients without insurance or with inadequate insurance. Members receive discounts on brand name and generic drugs as well as immunizations, Take Care Clinic services, and pet medications. You must register online at www.walgreens.com/pharmacy/psc/psc_overview_page.jsp?ban=rxh_psc_6.