The estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that uninsured Americans increased by 2.9 million in one year has once again put a spotlight on patients struggling to obtain the health care and medications they need.
The CDC report found 46.3 million Americans without health care insurance last year. Another report, by the Gallup polling organization, shows that in 15 states, at least one out of five residents was uninsured through the middle of the year.
“These are people from all over the country who may not have a health care provider and they may well be having difficulties obtaining medicines for everything from cancer to heart disease to diabetes,” said Chris Badgley, executive director of the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA).
According to Badgley, help is available from the PPA, sponsored by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies. The PPA is a single point of access to more than 475 assistance programs that provide free or nearly free medicines to uninsured and financially struggling patients. Nearly 200 of the programs are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies.
Badgley noted that so far, “well over” 6.5 million Americans have been directed to patient assistance programs that provide free or heavily discounted medicines. “It’s easy to find out if you qualify,” he said. “It only takes about 15 minutes. You can call a toll-free number or use the PPA website. Operators at the toll-free number call centers speak 150 languages, including Spanish.”
The PPA also has information on more than 10,000 free health care clinics around the country and has helped hundreds of thousands find health care providers in their communities. The special needs of children are covered by more than 40 of the assistance programs, which focus on medications and care for pediatric patients.
To contact the PPA, visit www.pparx.org or call toll-free (888) 4PPA-NOW (1-888-477-2669). For more information on PhRMA, visit www.phrma.org .