As an Elder Law Attorney, I write a regular blog for my clients on subjects they ought to know about, or on topics they would find “of interest.” I was inspired by one of my current clients to write this entry – about the high, often prohibitive cost of important drugs for chronic diseases with which many of my clients are struggling. Often retired seniors, a number of them are on fixed incomes. Recently, one of my client’s was so relieved to find some assistance with the high cost of her medications, I promised I’d write about her success.
Sally, diagnosed with Parkinson’s, was prescribed an important medication enabling her to continue living an active and productive life, but the burden of the cost was too great for her budget. She kept trying to find relief, even when she got answers to her concerns like “lots of people have high costs for their pharmaceuticals – some higher than yours!” Because she didn’t stop with that response, she found the assistance she needed. I thought there might be others who could use the encouragement, and a list of steps she took and resources she ultimately found helpful. I’m sure this is not an exhaustive list, but it certainly worked for her.
When there’s a diagnosis of a chronic illness, like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s (a progressive disease that could be dramatically slowed by medication, in some cases), the doctor may hand the patient a helpful drug for the condition, but it might also have an overwhelmingly large price tag attached. Ask for help before you decide you can’t afford it!
Here’s a checklist of what Sally tried and what resource(s) she found to assist her with her specific diagnosis/prescription:
- Ask your doctor about alternative versions, including generic, of prescribed drugs;
- Ask the pharmacy (and your doctor) for any rebates/coupons for the drugs;
- Double check your medicare coverage (Is there a better choice when open enrollment comes up next?);
- Determine whether buying a medicare supplement would be of significant help;
- Contact any/all resources for your particular medical condition (Alzheimer’s Association, for example);
- Contact the drug manufacturer and ask for information on any financial assistance programs;
- Contact Senior LinkAge Line at 1-800-333-2433, and request any information and resources;
- Contact the Assistance Fund, Inc. (this resource, suggested by Senior LinkAge Line), and ask for a consultation:
The Assistance Fund, Inc.
4700 Millenia Boulevard, Suite 500
Orlando, FL 32839
This blog is written by Bridget-Michaele Reischl, Attorney
DECORO LAW OFFICE, PLLC
This blog is not, nor shall it be deemed to be, legal advice or counsel. This blog does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. It is designed to encourage thoughtful consideration of important legal issues with the expectation that readers will seek professional advice from a licensed attorney.
Contact Bridget-Michaele Reischl at:
DECORO LAW OFFICE, PLLC
6 West 5th Street, Suite 800-D
Saint Paul, MN 55102