The programs are usually called “Prescription Assistance Programs,” but also go by the names “indigent drug program,” “charitable drug program” and “medication assistance program.” They are meant to help people who aren’t old enough to qualify for Medicare and aren’t poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. If you don’t qualify for free medications, you might well qualify for deeply discounted ones.
Programs vary, but here’s a general idea of the income requirements. You will usually be approved if:
One red alert: there are scammers out there who charge people big bucks for help accessing these programs. They’ve been known to make hundreds of dollars just for sending you forms you can access yourself for free. Never pay to apply.
To make sure you’re dealing with legit organizations, The Dr. Oz show put together this list of clearinghouse websites that link you with hundreds of individual drug companies and programs.
To apply you will need to fill out a form providing information about yourself. You may also be asked for some supporting documentation. Here are the basics:
Programs vary, but it typically takes about ten business days to get approved. Once you’re in, you will either receive your medications by mail or pick them up at your local pharmacy or your doctor’s office.