Options to Obtain Medications for Free or a Reduced-Cost in the Pandemic by Gloria D. Crawford

With layoffs continuing across the country, Americans are forced to make tough financial decisions. The good news is that there are options available for patients to obtain their medications for a reduced price, or in some cases, for free. Here are some programs that may be helpful:

The Behavioral Health Safety Net of Tennessee & CoverRx

This program offers behavioral health services to those that do not have insurance coverage and meet certain requirements. The program does not offer inpatient care. There is a separate program called CoverRx, which will assist eligible individuals that do not have prescription drug coverage with obtaining medications. Unlike the Tennessee Drug Card, CoverRx covers a specific list of medications, most of which are generics.

The Tennessee Drug Card

The Tennessee Drug Card (the “Card”) is free and immediately available to all Tennessee residents. Equally important, is the fact that the Card has no restrictions on who can obtain the Card and its benefits. On average, users are saving approximately 30% on their medications. According to the website, “[a]ll residents are eligible to get pharmacy discounts . . . [it] may be used to provide savings on prescriptions not covered by your health insurance or Medicare Part D. . . . it may also be used instead of your insurance coverage when it offers greater savings than your copay.” The beauty of the card is it provides Tennesseans the lowest price on brand and generic medications as well as open formulary. In addition to this, the card is accepted all over the country and may offer users discounts up to 80% on their medications. More information on the Card can be found here.

Free Insulin or Reduced Insulin

The insulin manufacturer Novo Nordisk is offering 90-days of insulin to its users that have recently lost their employment-based health insurance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To qualify for the free insulin, the company is requiring that applicants supply documentation of a loss in healthcare benefits, and have a prescription for Novo Nordisk insulin. This may be accomplished through providing proof of COBRA benefits, notice of a job termination or status change.  Patients that have been denied Medicaid benefits may be eligible to receive insulin through the end of the year if they meet certain criteria.

The free 90-days of insulin is being offered through the Diabetes Patient Assistance Program (“PAP”). Traditionally PAP “provides mediation at no cost to those who qualify. Patients who are approved may receive free diabetes medicine. . . . There is no registration charge or monthly fee for participating.” To apply for PAP, participants must meet certain requirements, including that your household is at or below 400% of the federal poverty level. In short, the main difference between PAP and the 90-days of free insulin is that, those patients that had a change in their insurance do not have meet income-level requirements and other criteria to receive the benefit.

Please share this information with those that you think would benefit. The more we share, the more we can help one another navigate this unprecedented time.

Post authored by Gloria D. Crawford