Anyone dealing with a chronic disease faces a myriad of emotional, physical, and psychological challenges as they struggle to stay healthy. For many patients, especially those on fixed incomes, an additional burden comes with having to manage the financial aspects required to obtain the one thing that will provide relief: their medications.
Navigating the confusing and costly web of insurance, co-payments, and paperwork requirements is a daunting task. Many medications for life altering conditions pose exorbitant costs to patients. While there are many sources of financial support available, qualifying for this support too often requires hours and hours of time. And when you are a chronic disease sufferer, time is precious.
So it is essential that patients, healthcare professionals and pharmacists know where to look.
If a patient has no insurance at all, and if they make less than $100,000 annually, there are free drug programs available directly through the pharmaceutical manufacturers who develop a specific medicine or treatment. In fact, every product manufacturer that treats a chronic illness offers corresponding programs to help commercially insured patients, regardless of financial criteria. These programs go as far as providing co-pay offsets directly to a patient’s local pharmacy.
That still leaves a majority of patients who have insurance (whether through a private plan or through government sponsorship programs such as Medicare and Medicaid) but still find they are falling short. That’s where organizations like Good Days from CDF play an invaluable role, by helping patients who fall into this gap.
Nearly all chronic conditions are treatable with medications. Getting access to those medications in a timely manner is the hard part. With a better understanding of the resources that are available to help navigate the web of insurance, co-payments, and paperwork requirements, patients benefit by saving money and, more importantly, time.
Clorinda Walley is the executive director of Good Days from CDF, one of the few charitable organizations that provides financial assistance to patients who cannot afford the medications they desperately need. To learn more, visit our website at GoodDaysfromCDF.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.