At first, the ADHD symptoms themselves — the distractibility, impulsivity, anger, and shame — were your biggest challenge. But then you secured an ADHD diagnosis for yourself or your child and, after much research and agonizing, you made the difficult decision to try ADHD medication. Though not perfect, this treatment has been a life changer for your family. Then, just as you hit your stride, your insurance company announced it would no longer cover the medication that works for you or your child, and the out-of-pocket costs became unaffordable.
Unfortunately, this story is all too common. It’s true that ADHD medications can be life-changing for many patients. But their efficacy often comes with a cost — literally. Many who depend on these treatments complain that they’re frustratingly difficult to access and/or afford.
High ADHD Medication Costs Impact Most Patients
“Thank goodness my husband makes a good salary,” wrote one respondent in a 2017 survey conducted by ADDitude. “All of these things are very expensive — and not always covered by insurance.” She went on to say she felt price-gouged and found the process of finding — and funding — the correct medication “horrible.”
“It’s expensive to have to see my doctor every three months in order to get my medication, because it’s a controlled substance,” wrote another respondent. “And my medication itself is expensive to refill each month. Navigating the healthcare system for [ADHD] medication is really difficult.”
Though those respondents ultimately accessed their treatment, others weren’t so lucky. Many other survey respondents wrote that they had simply forgone medication altogether because they couldn’t find room in their budgets.
“Both medication and therapy [were too] expensive to maintain,” writes one respondent. “So, for now, I’m not on any treatment.”
When medication costs spike out of your reach, what are your options? Some drug manufacturers provide savings programs, and you can see a complete chart of them HERE. If you’re taking a generic medication, or if your particular medication isn’t included, read on — we’ve gathered a list of government, non-profit, and other prescription assistance programs that can offset some of the cost of ADHD medications.
Government Programs for ADHD Prescription Assistance
Federal, state, and local governments often provide different forms of prescription assistance. In the U.S., these include:
- State or Local Assistance Programs Most states provide some form of prescription assistance, ranging from discount cards to government subsidies. To find out what your state offers, talk to your doctor and visit www.staterxplans.us
- Medicaid, Medicare, and More The federal government offers several forms of health care coverage — including Medicaid, Medicare, and others — to assist those struggling with the high costs of health care. For an overview of each option, visit www,medicare.gov. Adults over the age of 65 who are on Medicare, in particular, may be eligible for a prescription program called Extra Help. Call 1-800-333-4114 to find out if you qualify.
Non-Profits and Online Tools for ADHD Prescription Assistance
Prescription assistance is also available through non-profit agencies, online comparison tools, and more. Some of the most helpful include:
- GoodRx Drug costs can vary by pharmacy. This online tool searches for the lowest prices in your area and sends you coupons for as much as 80 percent off medication costs. Learn more at www.goodrx.com
- NeedHelpPayingBills.comNeedHelpPayingBills is an extensive database for anyone who needs any form of financial assistance, from medical bills to tax debt. It lists free and low-cost healthcare solutions, prescription assistance programs, and other ways to save money on common financial challenges. Learn more at www.needhelppayingbills.com
- NeedyMedsNeedyMeds is a registered non-profit organization that claims to have helped U.S. patients save nearly $240 million on medication costs since its founding. NeedyMeds provides a prescription assistance card to qualifying patients, and connects them to the cheapest pharmacies in their area. It also provides an app — called NeedyMeds Storylines — that allows you to set medication reminders, track your symptoms, and access your savings card on your phone. To learn more, go to www.needymeds.org
- Partnership for Prescription AssistanceA free service that connects patients to free or low-cost prescriptions or clinics across the U.S. Currently, PPA’s database includes more than 475 programs, including 200 offered by pharmaceutical companies. Learn more at www.pparx.org
- RxAssistRxAssist provides both patients and healthcare providers with information on free and low-cost prescription assistance programs. It also gives patients a prescription savings card that can be used with or without insurance. Learn more at www.rxassist.org
- RxHopeProvides patients with applications for pharmaceutical savings programs, and links to other useful online resources for managing healthcare costs. Learn more at www.rxhope.com
Talk to Your Doctor About ADHD Medication Costs
If none of the listed options work for you, talk to your doctor. She may be able to switch you to a less expensive medication, or provide free samples of name-brand products to supplement your regular prescription. In certain cases, doctors can also reach out to insurance companies and get special approval to prescribe certain medications.
Affording medication can be an ongoing challenge, but there is hope — and help — out there. In the current healthcare climate, exploring all your options is critical for getting the treatment you or your child needs.