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Other State and Federal Health Insurance Programs
Some states have individual health insurance programs for working disabled adults. In Massachusetts such a plan is called CommonHealth. For a small monthly premium and a minimum number of working hours in a month, an individual may purchase a reasonable health insurance plan. Other states may have similar plans.
Free or sliding-scale care is mandated by federal law for hospital costs, including for doctors or health centers attached to hospitals. Depending on your income you may be eligible for free care. If you are over the eligibility amount, your cost may be reduced.
Health New State Care Laws
Some states are beginning to establish forms of universal health insurance or partial insurance. In Massachusetts, the Commonwealth has set up a mandatory universal system of coverage. All residents, unless they are covered by another "acceptable" health insurance policy, are required to participate under a system of penalties embedded in the state tax system, unless the state determines the person cannot "afford" the insurance.
In Massachusetts there are two policies. Commonwealth Care is low or no-cost health insurance for people who qualify. Prescription coverage is included. For those above the income limit, Commonwealth Choice offers many options from brand-name health plans.
Massachusetts residents can get up-to-date information on these programs from the Commonwealth Connector.
So, a disabled person with or without Social Security must look at the various options and determine what health insurance coverage is within their means and is best suited to their needs.
Free or low-cost prescription drugs for lower income individuals (Patient Assistance Programs)
Patient assistance programs (PAP's) are programs established by drug companies that provide free or low-cost drugs to individuals who are unable to pay for them. These programs may also be called charitable drug programs, indigent drug programs or medication assistance programs. Most prescribed drugs are available through these programs. All of the major drug companies offer patient assistance programs, but each company has its own eligibility requirements and application procedures.
To utilize these programs for your prescriptions, you must first find out which company manufactures each of your prescriptions. You then apply to each company for the specific medication(s) the company manufactures.
You must meet program income eligibility requirements, which may differ somewhat from company to company. Generally, individuals must have an income below 200% of the federal poverty standard, must be a U.S. resident or citizen, and must not have other prescription drug coverage.
There are two websites that provide comprehensive information on which medications are manufactured by each company, as well as how to obtain applications for each company's program. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance at www.pparx.org - phone number: 1-888-477-2669, will allow you to download company applications.
A second program, RxAssist - a Patient Assistance Program Center, www.rxassist.org - phone number, 401-729-3284, also provides comprehensive information and assistance. You must fill out each application carefully, according to instructions. Some companies require that the physician's office obtain the application form by calling the company.
After the form is completed and submitted, the company will decide if you are eligible. If an individual is approved, the medication may be sent directly to the patient, to the doctor's office, or to the patient's pharmacy - depending on the program. Most medications provided are free, but some companies require a small co-payment.
Each company will have a different procedure for refills. These programs are extremely helpful for those who have no other means to pay for their prescriptions.
Delivery of medications-Some pharmacies may have home delivery services. If you are too sick to pick-up your medications, your local taxi company will often pick-up and deliver your medication for a fixed cost.