What to Do If You Can't Afford Your Asthma Medicines

 

Keeping your asthma under control is a key part of staying healthy. Avoiding asthma triggers to prevent symptoms is important. So is carrying a quick-relief (rescue) inhaler everywhere you go. Long-term control medicines that you take every day help you prevent and control asthma symptoms.

But asthma medicine can be expensive, whether or not you have insurance. If multiple members of your family have asthma, the cost is even greater. Your house may be stocked with different kinds of inhalers and pills for each person.

Here are some ideas to try to lower the cost of your asthma medicines:

1. Patient assistance and drug discountsPatient assistance programs are resources that offer free or reduced-cost asthma medicines. Eligibility varies make sure to follow specific directions for each type. Some medicine companies offer discount coupons while others may offer free medicine.

2. Talk to your doctor – There may be a lower cost asthma medicine that is appropriate for your condition. The FDA has approved generic versions of some asthma medicines, such as ADVAIR DISKUS®, ProAir® HFA and Proventil® HFA. Talk with your doctor about your treatment options.

3. Compare pharmacy prices – Call around to different pharmacies. Prices may vary, especially between large chain pharmacies and smaller independent pharmacies. Pharmacies at club stores, such as Costco and Sam’s, are generally available to non-members too. Try a price comparison tool like GoodRx. If you have prescription benefits through your insurance, look into your plan’s mail order pharmacy options. This may give you a lower price or provide more medicine for the same price.

4. Change insurance plans – If you are buying insurance on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, stay up to date with enrollment deadlines. If your family’s income is below a certain level, you might be offered Medicaid and/or your children might qualify under The Children's Health Insurance Program. This depends on your state. Visit HealthCare.gov or your state’s health insurance site. If you are privately insured through work, see if you can shop around during open enrollment.

5. File an appeal – If your insurance refuses to pay for a medicine, you have the right to appeal. HealthCare.gov has more information about how to appeal a denial.

Medical Review July 2016. Updated May 2020.

It is important to stay up-to-date on news about asthma and allergies. By joining our community and following our blog, you will receive news about research and treatments. Our community also provides an opportunity to connect with other patients who manage these conditions for support.

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