(CONSUMER REPORTS) -- Millions of Americans haven’t just lost their paychecks, they’ve also lost their health insurance. Without it, many are finding it difficult to afford prescription medications. But as Consumer Reports explains, there are ways to get affordable medicine without insurance, and sometimes even free.
Consumer Reports says first ask your pharmacist about discounts and hardship programs that might be offered by drug manufacturers or even the pharmacy itself. And some pharmacies partner with community health centers that also offer payment resources.
A lot of pharmacies, both independents and large ones like Walgreens, participate in a federal program called 340B, which allows them to partner with publicly supported community health centers to offer drugs at a significantly reduced cost to people in need.
If you strike out at your pharmacy, enrolling in a drug company’s program could be an option.
Almost all pharmaceutical manufacturers have programs to help people without insurance get medications at no charge if they qualify.
And if you aren’t eligible for free meds, CR says you might be able to get low-cost generics from a big-box pharmacy. For example, Walmart has long featured programs offering hundreds of drugs for $4 per month or $10 for a three-month supply.