There are several programs available in San Luis Obispo County to assist residents with paying for prescription medications.
Alliance for Pharmaceutical Access (APA)
The Alliance for Pharmaceutical Access (APA) is a local non-profit providing help for people who are unable to afford their medications or prescription co-pays. The APA provides access to brand-name medications for chronic conditions at no cost by registering patients for Patient Assistance Programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. The process can take time, so patients may need another way to access their medications (samples, a filled prescription, etc.) while waiting.
Eligibility depends on income and varies by manufacturer. To determine eligibility, the patient can call APA at (805) 614-2040 or visit the APA website. Patients will need to provide information regarding their income, household size, and the medications needed. Proof of income, a tax return, and a medication prescription less than 30 days old will be required to complete the application. People without legal immigration status may still be eligible, depending on the manufacturer requirements. Providers and patients can get detailed and instructions and download a registration form prior to making an appointment with the APA.
With five offices locations, the APA accessible for patients from Lompoc to Paso Robles. Appointments are required:
Community Health Centers of the Central Coast (CHC)
Patients of CHC who do not have health insurance and do not qualify for Medi-Cal can access CHC’s sliding scale prescription program. The amount of the copay depends on the medication. CHC’s pharmacy is in SLO, but they will deliver medications to any CHC site. Note that CHC also has a sliding scale for medical appointments. Legal residency is not required for the sliding scale programs.
If CHC does not carry the medication, staff can check prices at other pharmacies in the area and they have discount cards that can be used at many pharmacies to lower the cost of medications. CHC staff can also register patients for pharmaceutical company Patient Assistance Programs. Patients should ask about samples while waiting for assistance programs and for short-term medications.
Discount cards are available at CHC and other locations throughout the county, including pharmacies and government offices. Each brand of discount card provides different discounts depending on the pharmacy and the medication, so asking around is essential. Costco and Walmart frequently have the lowest prices; anyone can use the Costco pharmacy. Discount cards cannot be used at the same time as other health insurance, but can be used instead if they offer a better price.
If the person needing medication is a low-income adult on Medicare, they may also qualify for Medi-Cal. For more information, contact the Department of Social Services or use their online application: http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/dss/Medi-Cal.htm.
Low-income residents who do not qualify for other health insurance but are homeless are eligible for care through CHC's Homeless Services. Providers and clients can contact Joe Gossner (North & Central) at 459-7476 or Jan Stone (South County), 723-4699 for services. Case management is not mandatory, though clients must try to sign up for Medi-Cal (this will not affect immigration status).