Prescription medications: What are my family’s coverage options?
For many families, prescription medications play a vital role in their health care. From long-term cholesterol-lowering medication for dad, to a week of antibiotics for a child’s ear infection, prescriptions are the star of many families’ medicine cabinets, and put a major dent in their monthly health care costs.
The reality is many families have no health insurance, and surprisingly, even those that do, may not receive prescription drug coverage as part of their plan. As pharmaceutical costs continue to rise, even families with coverage are feeling their wallets lighten more than ever before.
Covered or not, there are options for Michigan families looking for more affordable ways to obtain safe prescription medications.
Some free clinics offer prescription assistance to families without insurance. You can learn about free clinics in Michigan by visiting the Free Clinics of Michigan website.
There is not much difference between a brand-name drug and its generic equivalent, other than cost. The Food and Drug Administration requires that generic drugs have identical active ingredients as their brand-name equivalents. They may differ from brand-name drugs in color and shape, but they are otherwise the same and are much lower in price. When your doctor is writing a prescription for you or your child, ask if there is a generic equivalent of the medication that he or she can prescribe. This will provide significant savings when it comes time to pay the bill for your medication.
The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) provides information on MichiganDrugPrices.com as a public service to help you save money by comparing medication costs at local pharmacies across the state. It can also help you identify an appropriate assistance program based on your family’s specific needs.
The state-funded program provides a MiRX card to Michigan residents (individuals and families) who do not have prescription drug coverage. Enrollment is free, and there is no cost for the card, however, residents must meet certain income qualifications to be eligible. Members present their MiRX card at participating pharmacies to receive a discount on prescription medications. Discounts range from five to 20 percent, depending on the type of medication and if it is brand name or generic.
If your family has health insurance, but does not have prescription coverage as part of your current plan, speak with an advisor about your options. You may be able to switch policies or add coverage for a price that fits your budget. If you do not have insurance, it may be worth reaching out to an advisor to discuss your family’s specific coverage needs to see if there is a plan that might work for you.
Want to learn more about prescription medication coverage and your family’s options? Ask questions, see answers and learn about health insurance on Health Insurance Central.