MedAssist Program Offers Help with Stubbornly High Prescription Drug Costs

Covers insulin, asthma inhalers and EPI pens

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2022                                                   

News Highlights

  • People with chronic diseases face rising cost of prescriptions, making it difficult to stay on their medications. Not staying on medications can have dangerous and sometimes deadly consequences.
  • Program funds help offset high out-of-pocket prescription costs, making medications more affordable. 
  • MedAssist is available to Santa Clara County residents who use retail pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, including individuals and families with middle incomes. 

Santa Clara County—To help combat stubbornly high prescription drug costs, the County of Santa Clara started the MedAssist Program. People living with chronic diseases have a particularly difficult time, not only because of their disease state, but because of the rising cost of their medications.  Some individuals may miss taking medications to make ends meet. These vital medications can be the difference between life and death for disorders like diabetes, asthma, and severe allergies.

In Santa Clara County, 118,900 adults have diabetes mellitus, 257,000 adults and children have asthma, and 21,600 individuals are prescribed epinephrine auto-injectors. With a valid prescription for asthma inhalers, insulin, or epinephrine auto-injectors (EPI pen), eligible individuals and families receive a monthly check to help pay for these medications. Any eligible Santa Clara County resident can receive these funds, including people who fill their prescriptions at retail pharmacies like CVS or Walgreens.

“A lot of folks are part of that ‘missing middle’. They make a little too much to qualify for Medi-Cal or other programs like it, but not enough to afford high-quality market-rate health insurance,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who first proposed the MedAssist program in 2020. “These are essential medications — lifesavers, truly — but the cost is out of reach for middle-class families. I encourage people to apply. Our goal is simple: keep people alive and well, affordably. MedAssist can help make that happen.” 

In January 2020, when COVID-19 was just finding its way across the world, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted to investigate the opportunities and costs associated with subsidizing select life-saving medication for County residents. In the County of Santa Clara’s fiscal year 2021-2022 budget, the pilot program became an ongoing program dedicated to helping the “missing middle” population thus an individual who is part of a family of four can make up to $251,000 and would still receive a partial reimbursement.

“By helping to pay for prescriptions, MedAssist helps individuals who have diabetes, asthma, or severe allergies stay on their medications,” commented Nari Singh, Director, Pharmacy Services, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. “Keeping people on their medications improves their health and the community’s overall health outcomes.”

A news conference will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 29, 2022, on the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center campus in the park area in front of Valley Specialty Center and the hospital.  

 
Directions: News conference located at 751 S. Bascom, San Jose. News crews should enter the campus on Renova Drive, take the second left and park along the one-way loop.
 

About MedAssist

This program provides eligible residents with a monthly grant to assist in paying for their life-saving medications. The eligibility criteria for this program are:

  • 18 years or older
  • reside in Santa Clara County
  • have a valid prescription for an asthma inhaler, insulin, or epinephrine auto-injector
  • meet household out of pocket healthcare spending and annual gross household income requirements

The application process is quick and accessible to everyone. Log into the website at www.scvmc.org/medassist to apply online, or download the paper application and submit it to any SCVMC pharmacy locations. Staff will help guide a resident through the process to ensure it is seamless. Once accepted, participants receive a monthly check to assist in payment for these medications—Call 408-970-2001 for more information. 

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