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3 ways to hook up your patients with drug payment help

By Lisa Eramo

One out of every eight patients with cardiovascular disease fails to take their medication due to cost barriers. The New York Times has even gone so far as to label nonadherence as an “out of control epidemic.” Unfortunately, job disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more difficult for patients to afford their medications.

Drug copay cards can help patients afford medications that physicians determine are the best treatment options. Copay cards are tied to financial need and can help reduce the total out-of-pocket expenses for patients. These cards can also boost price transparency, helping patients better manage their finances. When patients use a copay card, their health insurance pays some of the cost while the drug manufacturer covers part or all of the copayment or coinsurance amount. The manufacturer may even cover these costs when the insurance doesn’t cover the drug at all.

However, accessing copay cards can be difficult for consumers because eligibility and usage can be confusing. Enrollment can also be challenging because programs require a whole slew of patient information as well as physician authorization.

Following are three tips to help practices connect patients with copay cards so they can manage the cost of prescription manage the cost of prescription medications and access medications that provide optimal treatment and benefit.

1. Use an online database of all Patient Assistance Programs (PAP).

Don’t spend time searching for copay cards and other PAPs online. Time is better spent explaining these programs to patients and enrolling them when appropriate. Use an online database to easily search by drug name or company name for eligibility information and applications. The database can help practices determine whether a drug has an associated PAP and how to apply for it.

2. Talk to patients about the cost of prescription drugs.

Make it a point to ask patients directly whether they need assistance paying for their medications. Don’t wait for the patient to bring it up because they may not.

3. Start the process in the office.

Spend a couple of minutes downloading the application, helping patients fill it out, and obtaining a physician’s signature and prescription. Be sure to follow up with patients to ensure they obtained the medication and are taking it as prescribed.

Practices play an important role in helping patients access copay cards to help offset out-of-pocket expenses for medications that physicians determine will benefit them. Doing so can help with medication adherence and foster value-based care.










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