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How to Navigate Patient-Assistance Programs

Prescription drug costs are on the rise, but there are groups that can help. Here's what you can do to find financial assistance:

• Talk to your doctor. He or she should be aware of available programs for a specific disease or medication.

• See what financial help the pharmaceutical company that makes your prescription offers online.

•,, and compile information about patent-assistance programs. This information changes often, so double-check it on the drugmaker's website.

• Search for state programs online to see if you are eligible. Many states offer discount drug cards for state residents.

• Call your pharmaceutical company and your insurance company to find out more information about assistance programs.

• If you find it too difficult to search through these programs yourself, you can hire someone to do it for you. Beware of companies that charge a lot of money or that promise unrealistic results.

• If you qualify for a program, work with your doctor to fill out the paperwork correctly. If your doctor must submit the information, follow up with the office to make sure the application was sent in.

• Figure out when you need to reapply. The programs last only for a fixed amount of time (usually a few months to a year).

• If you don't qualify, don't give up hope. The offerings change constantly.

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