In an earlier post, I discussed government programs that have been priceless for me and many low- to middle-class families. Now I want to talk about financial assistance programs from corporations that can help middle-class folks.
Corporate Assistance – Many pharmaceutical manufacturers have medication copay assistance and this is very useful if you require any medication on a long-term basis. For example, AbbVie Inc., a major pharmaceutical company, states that they “consider many factors when reviewing an application. Examples include: family size, the medication you are taking, and other special circumstances.” You may have to dig around to find information. I was able to get co-payments waived for two years in a row through a corporate assistance program but this program isn’t mentioned anywhere on the company website. A kind employee told me about it after I had corresponded with her a few times and told her we could not afford the co-pays.
Hospital Assistance Programs – Many hospitals are run like a corporate entity, so it’s not surprising that may also offer charity programs to help with medical bills. Income is a factor but don’t let that deter you from asking. If you have extremely high bills, you may get assistance even if you make too much money to qualify for government programs.
I have asked for financial assistance twice in my life from two different hospitals. In one case, we did not qualify for funding due to income. However, in the second case, the hospital took expenses as well as income into consideration. Because we had many medical bills, high premiums and live in a high cost-of-living metro, we were able to get two bills waived.
Private Foundations – Some private foundations provide grants to individuals, not just to non-profit organizations. For example, the Act Today foundation provides $100 – $5,000 grants to families affected by Autism. According to their guidelines, they do not set an income level cap but incomes below $100,000 per year are reviewed first.
Although I haven’t received any private foundation grants yet, I plan to keep trying.
Unlike government programs, which are fairly straight-forward, your ability to state your case in writing may make a huge difference in getting help. When I apply, I usually include a cover letter that highlights special circumstances that affect our ability to pay. It can’t hurt to bring a human element to the application process.
Short List of Pharmaceutical Company Assistance Programs
A good place to start is the Partnership for Prescription Assistance website (PPA) which connects to more than 475 patient assistance programs. However, it does seem to emphasize helping those without prescription medication insurance. I would still check individual company websites for details because exceptions can be made even if you don’t meet the set criteria.
GlaxoSmithKline – The GSK Co-Pay Assistance Program is for people who have prescription coverage who need extra help paying for certain oral oncology and specialty medicine
Pfizer – Patients with private insurance coverage may receive co-pay assistance through Pfizer RxPathways. These patients will receive a Pfizer RxPathways co-pay card to use at their local pharmacy to cover the entire cost of their co-payment.”
Merck – “At Merck we realize that sometimes exceptions need to be made based on the patient’s individual circumstances. If you do not meet the prescription drug coverage criteria, your income meets the program criteria, and there are special circumstances of financial and medical hardship that apply to your situation, you can request that an exception be made for you.”
The bottom line is: There are a few assistance programs out there for middle-class folks. You just have to dig harder to find these.