We’ve all heard about astonishingly expensive drugs, and about drug company resources for helping people afford them.
Here’s another resource: “When people in these circumstances need help, many turn to Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs), while others apply for financial assistance through independent non-profits such as The HealthWell Foundation. PAPs – which are offered by state governments or drug makers – are designed for those who cannot afford the cost of medication. Groups like Partnership for Prescription Assistance, NeedyMeds, RxAssist, RxOutreach, and the National Center for Benefits (provided by the National Council on Aging), empower individuals to sort out their options and get connected to the PAP that’s right for them, sometimes even helping applicants fill out their paperwork.
“What do all these organizations have in common? They focus on addressing the financial strains confronting individuals with health insurance who need important medical treatments but cannot cover their associated out-of-pocket costs and premiums.” — Real World HealthCare blog, “Filling the financial gap when health insurance isn’t enough,” April 2013.
The blog is a project of the HealthWell Foundation, a nonprofit “providing financial assistance to adults and children to cover the cost of prescription drug coinsurance, copayments, deductibles, health insurance premiums, and other selected out-of-pocket healthcare costs. ”
Drug companies also have patient assistance programs. One place they’re easy to find is on auntbertha.com, an Austin startup that connects people with aid programs.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.