Prescription Drug Coverage

Frequent Pitfalls

Not knowing all your options for prescription coverage

It is important to know about private health coverage and public health programs like the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) and Medicare. However, there are other options that can also help you pay for prescription drugs.

  • The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) supplies HIV/AIDS-related prescription drugs to uninsured and underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS. To learn more about it and how to apply, click here.
  • Drug companies offer Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) to supply free or discounted prescription drug coverage to uninsured and underinsured people. These include people who have Medicare coverage or Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) coverage and those who have private health insurance but do not have adequate prescription drug coverage. Here are a few ways to search for PAPs:
    • Search using the Medicine Assistance Tool.
    • Look at RxAssist’s database of PAPs, with up-to-date information on how to access assistance from nearly 100 companies and more than 700 medications.
    • Go to and check out its list of PAPs. This list is also useful for anybody, not just people on Medicare.

Refusing Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage

If you are enrolled in Medicare and either the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) or AHCCCS Freedom to Work, you will automatically be enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan.

Being enrolled in Medicare and either AHCCCS or AHCCCS Freedom to Work automatically qualifies you for the Part D Low Income Subsidy. This means you won’t have to pay a premium for your Part D or any deductibles. All you would pay for your prescription drugs is a copayment of $1.55 – $4.50 for generics or $4.60 – $11.20 for brand-name prescriptions. Persons who are enrolled in Part D and the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) have no cost-sharing for Part D covered drugs.

Paying too much for your prescription drugs

Just as with over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and anything else, prescription drug prices can vary a lot depending on the pharmacy. A drug might be much more expensive at one pharmacy than another. If you have prescription drug coverage that requires you to pay co-insurance or don’t have prescription drug coverage that covers the medications you need, you can save a lot of money if you call different pharmacies and ask what their prices are. You may also be able to find your prescriptions for less at online pharmacies.

Another way of saving money is by getting generic medications instead of brand-name medications. Often, your health coverage will require you to pay higher copayments for brand-name medications than generics and those copayments can really add up. Generics are identical to brand-name drugs and there is no reason for you to pay more to get a brand-name medication. If there is a medication that is only available as a brand name and there is no generic, you can ask your doctor if there is a different medication that is generic that you can use instead.

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