MedAssist Expands to Include All Diabetes Care Medications | New
MedAssist, a Santa Clara County program that helps county residents with the cost of a few specific types of medications, will expand to include all diabetes care medications, the county announced at a news conference. September 21.
Previously, the program only covered insulin for diabetic patients. The program will continue to cover asthma inhalers and epinephrine auto-injectors, also known under the brand name EpiPens, which deliver lifesaving medication in the event of a severe allergic reaction.
“In Santa Clara County, approximately 119,000 adults have diabetes, of whom nearly 29 percent take insulin,” according to a county statement. “With the expansion of MedAssist to include all types of medications to treat diabetes, more Santa Clara County residents may be eligible for this program.”
As The Voice previously reported in an August 1 article about the program, qualification and the amount of financial assistance for the program is based on the patient’s income level and healthcare expenses, according to Joy Alexiou, communications manager for the Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System. .
“People with high out-of-pocket expenses receive monthly subsidies that are inversely correlated to their income levels,” Alexiou said, meaning the lower a person’s income, the higher the subsidy.
As Alexiou previously told The Voice, rising drug costs in the United States are causing some people to take their medications less often than prescribed. Under-treatment of diabetes can hasten vision loss, end-stage kidney failure and death. The expansion of the program will help patients with diabetes have access to all the medications they need, beyond insulin.
“Our goal was to roll out a program that would allow people to maintain good health without spending an arm and a leg,” Fifth District Supervisor Joe Simitian, who led the program’s creation, said at the conference. September 21 press release. “…What can we do to make the program even better? And the answer to that was to expand the coverage of the program. Particularly for those with diabetes, insulin is one piece of the puzzle.”
Nari Singh, director of pharmacy at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, said the expansion will include all medications used to treat diabetes, allowing more Santa Clara County residents to control their diabetes in a way that works best for them and their health.
“No matter where you get your care, we’re here to help,” Singh said at the press conference.
To apply for MedAssist online, go to scvmc.org/medassist or download the application from scvmc.org and submit it at any SCVMC pharmacy. Staff will help guide residents through the process. If accepted into the program, participants receive a monthly check. Call 408-970-2001 for assistance or for more information.