one girl’s guide to surviving unemployment

free meds

Was browsing the GSK site the other day for coupons or discounts on one of my meds.  Even with the amazing Together Rx Access plan, it’s still about $300/month. (Don’t get me started on why prescriptions are cost-prohibitive for those of us on the dole, but you get a massive discount when you’re making the bucks . . .)

The lovely folks at GlaxoSmithKline have a pretty rockin’ program called Bridges to Access.  It gives an amazing discount on your GSK meds, plus free refills by mail.

The catch is that it’s a pile of paperwork, both for you and for your “advocate.”  Your advocate can be a doctor, social worker, registered nurse; any one who helps you with the meds that you take.  According to the GSK site, the reason for the advocate is two-fold:

Recognizing the important role that healthcare professionals play in the overall healthcare of patients, Bridges to Access uses “Advocates” to help patients enroll in our program.

For the purpose of Bridges to Access, an Advocate is any non-family member who:

  • has a relationship in the delivery of healthcare services to the patient, and
  • agrees to help the patient enroll and manage ongoing participation in Bridges to Access

You’ll need to identify an advocate, get them to register and fill out some paperwork, and you will need to do the same.  While again, this is a fair amount of hoops to go through, if you’re on the ball, you can get same-day coverage.  There is a small co-pay for the first 60 days of medication ($10ish, depending) and then refills are free via mail.

As with most services, there are income and residency restrictions, so do some digging on the site to see the criteria for yourself.


creative spending: options for health care

The drug companies have done a nice thing and issued a discount card for their meds – it’s called Together Rx Access.  It provides good savings on most medications.  Also, many major retailers including Target, Wal-Mart, Safeway and others are now offering $4 generics.  These discounts don’t cover ALL generics, only a certain subset, so be sure to check their sites or at the pharmacy to see what’s eligible. 

Along the lines of generics, consider that store brand antacids, pain relievers, antibiotic creams, allergy medications contain the EXACT same active ingredient as the brand name.  Flip both over and compare side by side.

In addition, talk to your doctor.  Does he/she have any samples that could help offset your prescription costs?  I know that many physicians are cutting back on the freebies they take from the pharmaceutical companies, but it’s always worth a phone call to your doc. Is there a generic alternative to anything you’re taking?  Can he/she work on a sliding scale?  Can you get on a payment plan for any ongoing care?

As far as immediate care is concerned, look for low-cost options for the things that aren’t major: sinus infections, colds, sore throats.  CVS has a discount clinic that may offer a considerable savings in comparison to a traditional doctor’s visit. Wal-Mart has a health clinic as well.  Planned Parenthood is an amazingly low-cost resource for womanly issues: PAP smears, vag infections, UTIs, etc.  If you’re just not comfortable with Planned Parenthood (no judgement here), there is likely a women’s clinic in your region that can help you for cheap.

Lastly, definitely check out an organization called FACT.  The membership is nominal (less than $10) and they offer fantastic discounts on medical, dental, vision care and more.  

caveat shoppor: I’m not a doctor.  Nor do I play one on TV.  Only you can determine what makes most sense for you and your fam.

Post-publishing update: Apparently Target has a few medical clinics as well.