Janet Benavente, Colorado State University Extension
Agent, Family and Consumer Science
the cost of medical insurance climbs and Medicare and Medicaid funding
continue to shrink, many older individuals are searching for ways
to maintain their quality of life. There are some little known medical
resources designed for uninsured and underserved aging or disabled
Many states have prescription drug assistance programs. However, Colorado
is one of 14 states that currently does not have such a program. Volunteers
in Health, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in collaboration
with Brown University and the Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, provides information about non-governmental pharmaceutical access programs
available nationwide to fill the gaps not provided by governmental
If you cannot afford to buy your prescription medications, most drug
manufacturers offer a limited supply of free prescription medication
to eligible patients. These Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) have 1-2 page application forms that are
free from your physician or from the pharmaceutical manufacturer.
For those with Internet access, most applications are available on
line. For more information about PAPs , talk with your doctor, pharmacist,
or refer to the PhRMA directory. To obtain the PhRMA directory call
1-800-762-4636 or go to www.phrma.org.
Contact your physician or local Area Agency on Aging if you need free
assistance completing the PAP application. To find the nearest Area
Agency on Aging, call 1-800-677-1116. Be cautious of other organizations
that offer help with completing PAP applications, there may be a fee
that may or may not be refundable. If you are disabled or over 65,
are a Medicare recipient, and have no other prescription coverage,
many pharmaceutical companies have drug discount cards. Some provide discounts on all drugs they manufacture,
while others provide discounts only on selected drugs. These discount
cards have no enrollment or annual fee but are valid only at participating
pharmacies. If you are interested in these discount cards that provide
20-40 percent discounts or flat fee per prescription, find out if
your pharmacy will accept the card provided by the manufacturer of
your most expensive prescription. The household income limits for
these discount cards range from $18,000 to $30,000 for individuals
and $24,000-$40,000 for couples.
drugs 30% savings at participating pharmacies
Lilly drugs except controlled substances Flat rate per prescription
Pfizer drugs Flat rate per
prescription (less than $20)
select drugs from Abbott, AstraZeneca, Aventis, Bristol-Meyers
Squibb, GalxoSmithKline, Johnson &Johnson, and Novartis
20-40% discount at participating pharmacies.
(Information from Volunteers in Health 11/22/02)
you or a member of your family is a veteran, contact the Veteran's
Administration at 1-877-222-8387 or www.va.gov.
If you or a member of your family is an active or retired member of
the United States Military
Service, go to www.tricare.osd.mil for information regarding the National Mail Order Pharmacy Program
and to find the phone number of your regional office.
you can afford to pay a portion of the cost of your prescriptions
and do not meet the income criteria for PAPs and Manufacturer's Drug
Discount Cards, there are free and membership fee discount programs.
The Nonprofit Warehouse's Prescription Drug Discount Program is associated
with K-mart Pharmacies. There is no fee and it is available to any
individual regardless of age or income. For more information, call 770-541-7777.
are also group discount drug plans offered through employee benefits
programs or membership in national organizations. Check with all professional
and special interest organizations of which you are a member to see
if this is a benefit of membership. These group discount plans usually
have an annual membership fee.
S. citizens or legal residents over 65, who have not seen an ophthalmologist
in the last three years, do not have an HMO, and are not eligible
for VA or Armed Forces care may be eligible for free eye care.
The National Eye Care Project Hotline (1-800-222-3937) will match
eligible callers with one of 7,600 volunteer ophthalmologists nationwide.
The physician will provide a comprehensive medical eye
examination, and treatment for any condition diagnosed at the initial
visit. If ongoing treatment is needed, it will be provided for one
year. This program does not cover eyeglasses, prescriptions, hospital
services, and fees of other medical professionals. This service is
funded by the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology,
Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., state ophthalmological societies,
and volunteer ophthalmologists.
If none of these options match your circumstances, community health
centers, national disease advocacy organizations, or social service
and religious organizations may be able to help you. Contact your
local health department or senator or congressperson's office if you
cannot locate medication assistance or medical care on your own.