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Outreach Provides Direction on Prescription Medications

The Outreach Program has been serving the needs of members of the Masonic family organizations and their families since 1994 by providing information, referrals to service providers and financial assistance. Over the years, we have seen needs change as our society changes, the greatest of which is the need, and inability to pay for prescription medication.

As the population ages and life expectancies increase, the need for prescription medications to maintain our health also has increased. Unfortunately, incomes and insurance often do not cover the increased costs of these prescribed medications. If you, or someone you know, are faced with drug bills that exceed your resources, what can you do? There are various agencies and services that can provide the needed assistance.

If you are 65 years of age or older, you are eligible for the PACE and/or PACENET benefits in Pennsylvania. This program meets the needs of thousands of Pennsylvania's seniors. Applications are available at all Area Agencies on Aging, pharmacies and state legislators' offices. To apply, proof of age, Pennsylvania residency and income are required.

If you are not yet 65 years of age, you may be eligible for Medical Assistance, which covers the cost of prescription drugs. To determine if you are eligible for Medical Assistance and drug coverage, you can contact your local County Board of Assistance office, for which a number can be found in the Government listing section (blue pages) of any telephone book. Also, Federal programs for military personnel and veterans are available through the Veteran's Administration, and their contact numbers can be found under County offices in your local phonebook. You also may contact the nearest Department of Military Affairs office, listed under U.S. Government services.

Drug discount cards, usually offered by local pharmacies and drug store chains, also are a possible source of assistance and reduced medication costs. Before enrolling in one of these programs, be sure you clearly understand the available benefits, costs and any restrictions that may exist in a specific program.

Another source of assistance, though usually a last resort, is through the drug companies themselves. Many pharmaceutical manufacturers offer discounted or gratis drugs to individuals experiencing financial hardships due to excessive medication costs. To take advantage of these patient assistance programs, it is usually necessary to work with your physician to obtain required documents to apply. A website that offers direction for this assistance is www.rxassist.org.

If you need direction in locating pharmaceutical assistance, the Masonic Outreach Program may be able to help. Please contact us at 1-800-462-7664 to receive more information about drug assistance available through Outreach or in the community.

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