Have you ever had that unpleasant moment of surprise at the pharmacy counter when medication rings up for a higher price than you expected? Are you familiar with drug discount cards?
You may have seen commercials for GoodRx or SingleCare on television. Perhaps you’ve seen pharmacy programs advertised at your local drug store or the pharmacy at your grocery store and wondered how they work and if they can help you.
These discount cards are available for people who are insured as well as uninsured (regardless of income), but it can be confusing to know which program is best. The short answer is that it depends on the medications you need and comparison shopping the different programs is the way to find the best price.
While reducing the price for medications makes a big difference, for thousands of uninsured Virginians the cost of prescriptions is still not affordable on a limited income and can mean they go without critical medication to treat diabetes, hypertension, or asthma.
Fortunately, low-income, uninsured patients in Virginia can receive the medication they need at no cost through a network of free clinics and community health centers in Virginia that participate with Rx Partnership. Rx Partnership is a Virginia-focused nonprofit that has been helping patients receive the brand and generic medication they need for close to 20 years now.
“We’ve supported Rx Partnership’s work since 2004,” said Carol L. Sale, President and CEO of Williamsburg Health Foundation. “Not only are they wonderful partners to our local clinics but they also provide leadership and continuous innovation in the constantly-changing world of access to prescription medication.”
Patients who are Virginia residents, uninsured and have income below 300% of Federal Poverty Level are eligible to receive medication at no cost after completing the eligibility process at a clinic. (For a frame of reference, 300% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is $38,640 for an individual and $79,500 for a family of four).
Once eligibility is complete, an individual can receive the medications available through Rx Partnership – brand and generic – at no cost for a year before any additional paperwork is needed. Many patients choose to make a small donation to pay it forward and help others, but no contribution is needed to receive life-saving medications worth thousands of dollars.
Since 2004 Rx Partnership has provided over 75,000 patients with nearly 850,000 prescriptions valued at over $229 million. The organization has been recognized with numerous awards for innovation, including the Health Quality Innovator of the Year runner-up in 2020 for the COVID-response program providing critical mail delivery of medication as a new initiative.
Over 1,800 packages with medication have been successfully mailed to patients since April 2020. Mailing medications has reduced the risk of COVID exposure for patients and clinic staff while ensuring continuous access to the medication needed.
The value of this initiative is clear from this story from Dianne Guse, Pharmacist-In-Charge at Lackey Clinic, “I had a patient who needed a refill for one of his meds but was extremely sick and said, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to get there.’ I was able to respond with, ‘Well, I can actually mail them to you!’ He was so relieved and appreciative to not have to leave the house and still receive the meds he needed.”
If you are uninsured and need assistance with prescription medication in Williamsburg, consider becoming a patient at check a local clinic like Olde Towne Medical and Dental Center (757) 259-3258 or Lackey Clinic 757-886-0608.
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