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How can I get help paying for my prescriptions?

The ongoing cost of prescription medications can be a challenge, especially if you are taking more than one prescribed medication. Some pharmaceutical companies offer prescription assistance programs to individuals and families with financial needs. These programs typically require a doctor's consent and proof of your financial status. They may also require that you have either no health insurance or no prescription drug benefit through your health insurance.

In addition, there are county, state, and national prescription programs for which you may qualify and special drug discount cards offered by some pharmaceutical companies.

The following organizations may be able to help qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get the medicines they need:

  • The Medicine Assistance Tool can help qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get the medicines they need through the program that is right for them. Many will get their medications free or nearly free.

Your local and/or state Mental Health America office is a resource for information about state and local prescription assistance programs.

Your state Medicaid office may offer information about prescription assistance and drug discount programs available in your state.

Medicare Rights Center offers information about state and national prescription assistance programs, drug discount cards, mail order and internet discount pharmacies, and prescription drug price comparison web sites. This information is not only for Medicare Part D plan participants but for anyone needing information about help paying for their prescription drugs. Use the "Help Paying for Prescription Drugs" option on the left-hand side of the page to access this information.

RX Hope has program descriptions and downloadable applications for prescription assistance programs for specific medications including psychotropic medications.

RX Assist offers a patient assistance program directory along with information about a variety of programs including drug discount cards, prescription assistance programs for generic medications, programs that help with medication co-pays, programs that provide free and low cost health care, as well as information for Medicare Part D beneficiaries.

Needy Meds has a searchable list of disease-specific assistance programs (primarily for other medical conditions) with program description and contact information (Use link under "Additional Programs" on left-hand side of home page.) Some of these programs provide a broad range of financial assistance including help with other necessary expenses such as utility bills. They also have a list of state sponsored programs which can be accessed from the link under "Government Programs" also on the left-hand side of the home page. 

Cutting Costs

It is important to let your doctor know if you cannot afford your prescriptions. In some cases, they may be able to give you free samples of your medications. Discuss with your doctor if switching to generic drugs or less expensive brand-name prescription drugs is a safe option for you.

When a doctor determines that a brand name medication is medically necessary for you or if you are seeking a generic that is identical to the brand but you have trouble affording the higher cost of the brand name medication, a third option may be available. This third option is an authorized generic. An authorized generic medication is a medication made by the original creator of the drug, using the exact same formula (including inactive ingredients) as the original drug. It is manufactured by the maker of the brand name medication and distributed by a special generics division of the drug company. An authorized generic medication will cost the same as a generic medication. But you may have to specially request it from your pharmacy because they may not keep it in stock. Not all medications are available in authorized generic form, but you can check to see if yours is at

Another way to cut costs is to compare the prices of your prescription drugs at different retail pharmacies (CVS vs Walgreens vs Walmart, etc.). Many retail pharmacies list their prices for commonly prescribed drugs online. You can also call local pharmacies to request prices for your medications.

Consider using a prescription savings card such as FamilyWize as another way to cut costs. FamilyWize, a trusted MHA partner, is a community service partnership focused on enabling everyone, both insured and uninsured, to have access to more affordable medications.

The SingleCare Prescription Discount Card: 

  • Is FREE for all
  • Has no eligibility requirements
  • Gives you discounts on your meds, whether you have insurance or not
  • Saves you an average of 54% on mental health medications

Download a free card and learn more about SingleCare here.

Medicare Part D

Medicare prescription drug coverage, also referred to as Part D, is a program that helps individuals who receive Medicare benefits pay for prescription drugs. This program covers both brand name and generic prescription drugs at participating pharmacies in your area. Everyone on Medicare is eligible, regardless of income, health status, or current prescription expenses.

There are two types of insurance plans that vary in cost and drugs covered. They are:

  1. Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, sometimes called "PDPs" only offer the Medicare drug benefit.
  2. Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called "MA-PDs," are managed care plans (like HMOs and PPOs) that offer more comprehensive health care coverage, to which the drug benefit will be added.

Extra Help is a program that helps eligible people with Medicare pay for some or most of their prescription drug costs.

Visit to find and compare Medicare plans or to enroll.

Talk to a Pharmacist

Do you have more questions? MHA has a partnership with Walgreens and together we want to help. Visit their Pharmacy Chat and speak to someone today to get answers to your medication questions.

Other Resources

There are a variety of organizations that offer prescription assistance for medications used to treat specific medical conditions. While these organizations do not offer assistance in covering the cost of psychotropic medications, they may be helpful if you have other health problems. Some of these programs offer financial assistance for those who have insurance but have high co-pays. Some also offer assistance with insurance premiums.