PFF Insights

Financial Assistance Programs for PF Medications

by Dr. Amy Hajari Case
March 29, 2022
Financial-Assistance-For-PF-Medications
If you’re concerned about the cost of your prescription medications and other healthcare expenses, you are not alone. A 2020 American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) survey of U.S. adults 45 and over found that when asked to indicate “how important each is to you personally” on a list of healthcare issues, 80% of those surveyed said paying for prescription drugs was “extremely important” or “very important” to them. Eighty-four percent gave similar answers when asked about paying for healthcare expenses overall.

This isn’t surprising when you consider the financial burden that prescription medications alone place on older Americans.  A 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health Tracking Poll found that nine out of 10 respondents aged 65 and over are taking a prescription medication, and over half (54%) in this age group are taking four or more prescription drugs. 

The consequences are worrying for those who are struggling to afford their medications and pay for their care.  A 2021 KFF Health Tracking Poll of adults over age 18 found that 29% of respondents reported not taking their medicines as prescribed during the previous year because of the cost, and that half of survey respondents delayed or skipped health care or dental care during the same period.  It’s not hard to see how the increased financial burden on those who are older, taking multiple medications, and managing a chronic disease like pulmonary fibrosis, can sometimes lead to difficult choices that could affect their health outcomes.

Nearly every day, the PFF Help Center hears from members of the PF community who are seeking assistance with their prescription copays and other medical expenses, and we are happy to share resources that may help with these costs.

There are several organizations that can help those living with pulmonary fibrosis with medication copays and insurance premiums. You can contact these organizations below to learn more about the assistance they provide.

Patient Advocate Foundation (800) 532-5274

Accessia Health, formerly Patient Services, Inc. (800) 366-7741

HealthWell Foundation  (800) 675-8416

Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation (800) 366-7263

The Assistance Fund  (855) 845-3663

There is an online tool called FundFinder that can help you access programs that have available funds for medication and other expenses. Through this website you can sign up to receive alerts when programs open for enrollment.

For assistance with the cost of an antifibrotic medication, the manufacturers of Esbriet and OFEV also have programs that help patients afford these medications.  In general, it is best to try the organizations provided above before contacting the manufacturers’ programs, which are provided below.

Esbriet:

Esbriet Access Solutions, 866-422-2377
Esbriet Co-pay Program, 844-693-7274 (press 2)

Genentech Patient Foundation, 888-941-3331 (uninsured and underinsured)

OFEV:

OFEV Open Doors, 866-673-6366

BI Cares Foundation, 800-556-8317 (uninsured and underinsured)

The Social Security Administration’s Extra Help program can provide financial assistance to qualifying applicants who are enrolled in a Medicare drug plan.  Patients who meet certain income criteria can receive assistance worth nearly $5,000 per year to help with medication copays, monthly drug plan premiums      and annual deductibles.  You can contact the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 to inquire about the Extra Help program.

You can also visit Benefits Check Up, a searchable database of government benefits programs, to find programs that may help with costs associated with your medical care.  Dialing 2-1-1 on your phone or visiting www.211.org can help you find state and local programs that offer assistance with healthcare costs and other basic needs. 

We also encourage PF patients to speak with the social work department at the facility where they receive care or at their local hospital to find out about assistance that may be available through state or county programs.  Your physician or the specialty pharmacy that provides your medication may also have resources to share.

Last month, the PFF offered the webinar, Financial Assistance for PF Medications, to provide information on accessing financial assistance programs and how patients may qualify.  You can stream this presentation by clicking its title above, and you can also find it on the PFF Webinars page of our website, or on our YouTube channel.

For assistance with accessing information on financial assistance programs, or any of the PFF’s resources, the PFF Help Center is available 9 a.m-5 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday, at (844) 825-5733, or via email to help@pulmonaryfibrosis.org.

References:

VITAL VOICES Issues that Impact U.S. Adults Age 45 and Older, AARP.org

Data Note: Prescription Drugs and Older Adults, KFF.org

Americans’ Challenges with Health Care Costs, KFF.org