What type of prescription drug coverage do most health plans provide?

Most health insurances offer some drug coverage. Prescription drugs may be expensive, so a health insurance plan will cover an important amount for prescription drugs. This specific insurance type may vary based on the plan and the medication you are looking for. In certain cases, it's possible the prescription medication will require copays. Sometimes you have to pay some deductibles to get health benefits for other expenses. Most health insurance plans cover the cost of prescription drug coverage, but it is difficult to see all the benefits.

Patient assistance programs

Major pharmaceutical companies have created patient assistance programs that provide free or reduced-price prescriptions to eligible individuals.

Generally, you must not have private health insurance. You also must be ineligible for government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare and meet certain income guidelines. You can find patient assistance programs by talking to your doctor or calling the pharmaceutical company directly.

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) can also help you identify assistance programs. Sponsored by pharmaceutical research companies and supported by groups such as the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Cancer Society, the PPA serves as a clearinghouse of information for 475 public and private patient assistance programs.

To locate a program for your medications, search listings online at the PPA website or call the PPA toll-free at 1-888-4PPA-NOW.

Pharmacy programs and your physician

Major nationwide retailers (Wal-Mart, Target) and regional chains (Kroger, Publix, Meijer) also offer low-cost or free prescription drugs. Generic medications often are available for just a few dollars to customers nationwide.

If all else fails, talk to your physician. Many doctors have a stock of samples provided by pharmaceutical companies that they can distribute to their patients as they see fit.

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