4 Ways to Help Lower Your
Medicare Prescription Drug Costs
Are you a person with Medicare who’s having trouble paying for prescription
drugs? Joining a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan may help, even if you have to
pay a late enrollment penalty.
There are other ways you may be able to save. Consider switching to drugs that
cost less. Ask your doctor if there are generic, over-the-counter, or
less-expensive brand-name drugs that could work just as well as the ones
you’re taking now. Switching to lower-cost drugs can save you hundreds or
possibly thousands of dollars a year.
You can also help lower your Medicare prescription drug costs by:
1. Exploring national and community-based programs that might offer
assistance (like the National Patient Advocate Foundation or the National
Organization for Rare Disorders) that may have programs that can help with
your drug costs. Get information on federal, state, and private assistance
programs in your area on the Benefits Check Up website, benefitscheckup.org.
The help you get from some of these programs may count toward your true
out-of-pocket (TrOOP) costs. TrOOP costs are the expenses that count toward
your Medicare drug plan out-of-pocket expenses—up to $4,750 for 2013.
These costs determine when your catastrophic coverage will begin.
2. Looking at State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAP) to see if
you qualify. SPAPs in 22 states and 1 territory offer some type of coverage
to help people with Medicare with paying drug plan premiums and/or cost
sharing. Find out if your state has a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program
or calling 1-800-MEDICARE. SPAP contributions may count toward your
3. Looking into Manufacturer’s Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs
(sometimes called Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs)) offered
by the manufacturers of the drugs you take. Many of the major drug
manufacturers offer assistance programs for people enrolled in a
Medicare drug plan. Find out whether the manufacturers of the drugs
you take offer a Pharmaceutical Assistance Program by visiting
Medicare.gov/pap/index.asp or calling 1-800-MEDICARE
(1‑800‑633‑4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. Assistance
from PAPs isn’t part of Medicare Part D, so any help you get from this
type of program won’t count toward your TrOOP costs.
4. Applying for Extra Help paying for your Medicare prescription drugs.
If you have Medicare and have limited income and resources, you may
qualify for Extra Help paying for your prescription drugs. To apply for
Extra Help, contact Social Security at ssa.gov or by calling
1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.
If you need help finding resources, like the ones described above, call your
State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for free personalized
counseling to people with Medicare. Get their phone number by visiting
Medicare.gov/contacts, or calling 1-800-MEDICARE.
Robert W. Bache aka “MedicareBob™”
President / Producer
Senior Healthcare Direct
Direct Toll Free: 1-800-525-0299
Company Toll Free: 1-855-368-4717