What Can I Do if Medicare Doesn’t Cover My Medical Costs?

Free treatment with clinical research studies.

Today, 58.5 million Americans who are at least 65 years old receive Medicare benefits. Many would not be able to afford healthcare without them. Thus, for countless senior citizens, Medicare has provided great peace of mind ever since President Lyndon Johnson signed it into law in 1965.

Even so, for some people, Medicare payments aren't enough to cover co-payments. Fortunately, there are other resources and methods for bringing down your medical expenses.

1. The Medicare Part D Extra Help Program

Before you assume that Medicare can’t help you pay your out-of-pocket medical costs, consider Medicare Part D Extra Help. It works by curbing the prices of medications. In 2017, its members spent no more than $8.25 for a drug from a major brand and a maximum of $3.30 for one of its generic counterparts.

To qualify for this Medicare assistance program, your annual income and the total amount of certain assets — including stocks, bonds, and savings — must be lower than the limits the government sets. Those limits are adjusted every year.

2. Pharmaceutical Company Discounts

The companies that make pharmaceuticals often distribute coupons that lower the cost of their products; you can find some of them online. Just be aware that federal law forbids using such coupons for the drugs that Medicare Part D covers.

Drug manufacturers offer other kinds of financial support. To learn more, look at the alphabetical list of medications on the Medicare website. When you click on the name of a drug, you can find out what types of aid are available and which you're eligible for.

3. Nonprofits

A charitable organization may help you pay for the drugs that your Part D plan covers, as long as you shop at a pharmacy in your Medicare network. Click here to see a list of some of those foundations, as well as benefit descriptions, eligibility rules, and contact information.

4. Comparison Shopping

Perhaps you never buy a sofa, a roll of paper towels, or another consumer good before you check out the prices at various stores. At the same time, you might not compare the prices of your prescription drugs.

For many consumers, though, this practice leads to considerable savings. Which pharmacies in your network consistently have the lowest prices? Do any of them give rewards to frequent shoppers? Do any run a membership program that offers special discounts?

These days, sophisticated internet tools and mobile apps make comparing drug prices fast and easy. For a great place to start, try GoodRx.

5. Clinical Research Studies

Finally, you might take part in a medical study at a healthcare facility, university, or clinical research institution. For your efforts, you'll receive expert care and prescription drugs for free or at a substantially reduced price. In some instances, those treatments are highly innovative and more effective than what's available to the general public. You'll also have the satisfaction of realizing that you're helping to grow the existing body of medical knowledge, which could be advantageous to patients around the world for many years to come.

In particular, the trials at the California Dermatology and Clinical Research Institute represent outstanding opportunities for Medicare patients, or even patients without insurance, who cannot afford medicine or other treatments for their dermatological conditions. For more information on these studies, feel free to get in touch with the CDCRI at any time. After all, there's no reason to ever go without the medicine or treatments that you need.