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4 Resources for Saving Money on Prescription Drugs

Part of the Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Whether you're on Medicare or not, prescription drugs can get expensive. The following resources can help people with limited incomes save money on prescription drugs through various public and private programs:

  • BenefitsCheckUp: This website, a service of the National Council on Aging, allows you to find national, regional, state, or local programs that provide benefits you may qualify for without realizing it — or perhaps never knew existed. It has helped more than 2 million users find more than $6 billion in benefits.

    Online, you're asked about your zip code, age, health status, family circumstances, and income. You do not give your name, address, or any other identifying information. You can search for benefits that will help pay for prescriptions and/or other benefits to reduce your living expenses. You can also search the Senior Housing Locator to find housing options, including assisted living, residential and nursing home care, and independent-living retirement communities.

  • The Health Resources and Services Administration: The website of this federal agency, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services, allows you to locate clinics in your area for free or low-cost healthcare and medications.

  • The National Council on Aging: This nonprofit organization sponsors many programs designed to help older Americans stay healthy and independent, find jobs and community service opportunities, and link them to benefits and resources. You can also call its Washington headquarters or four regional offices to ask for the phone numbers of resources in your community:

    Washington, D.C., 202-479-1200 (TDD 202-479-6674)

    San Francisco, California, 415-982-7007

    Lakewood, New Jersey, 732-367-7111

    Steubenville, Ohio, 740-283-2182; Nashville, Tennessee, 615-834-4900.

  • The Partnership for Prescription Assistance: This organization gives a single access point for getting information on more than 475 public and private assistance programs — including 180 offered by pharmaceutical manufacturers — that provide free or low-cost prescription drugs to people with limited incomes.

    To see if you qualify for any programs, go to the website or call toll-free 888-477-2669. You'll be asked to list your prescription drugs and give some information about yourself, including approximate income and savings — but not your name or any other identifying information. Any program you qualify for is identified, with instructions on how to apply. In many cases, you can download application forms from the website, fill them out, and take them to your doctor to send in.

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