As we recently went through the end of the longest government shutdown in US history, there are a lot of concerns people still have in case a new shutdown goes into effect on February 15th which is when this shutdown will be revised. The number of families of the 800,000 federal workers were placed in a difficult and stressful situation. People were not getting paid, therefore their basic necessities were compromised. The economical and psychological damage took a toll on them. Some of the workers and family members who were interviewed, have said that they were faced with the difficult decision of either paying their mortgage, car payments, credit cards or even their medications.

On the positive side, family, neighbors, friends and even strangers came together to help those in need with warm meals and even donating towards GoFundMe accounts setup for a good cause. Big corporations also pitched in and offered to help in many ways, but it was still not enough for all the financial responsibilities that everyday people have.

Situations like this will continue to have a trickle-down effect if we go back to another shutdown and that can be devastating for our economy and job force. One of the biggest worries for those out of work or not being paid for the work they’re doing is the ability to afford their medications. Many necessary medicines are expensive, even with good insurance. Some people have said they were rationing their insulin, others debated between skipping their pills or paying for gas. You should not risk your life and do start looking for options as there are many out there when faced with financial hardships.

So, what can people do to afford their medications? Here are a few ideas to help.

Ask About Generic Options

When researching this topic one of the things that came up over and over again was the use of generic versions of common medications. Often, generic drugs are significantly cheaper than their brand name counterparts.

In some cases, and at some pharmacies, generic medications can be refilled for a fraction of the cost. Sometimes for mere dollars and other places offer free generic medicines. Talk to your doctor for options. It is important that you make a well informed decision before jumping into conclusions that a generic medicine will work out for you. Always get your doctor’s approval before making any adjustments.

Talk to Your Pharmacist

While your pharmacist can’t work miracles, they may be able to help. If your medication cannot be replaced by a generic option, your pharmacist or their techs may have access to discount coupons directly from the drug manufacturers. As an example, you may be able to get a $300 medication for 50% off depending on the offer.

Your pharmacy team will be happy to help you in any way they can. Talk to them about discounts they may have on your specific medication. They may also direct you to the manufacturer’s website where you can fill out a form regarding lower-cost medication. Or they could recommend a discount program that can help you even in the long term.

Inquire about Samples

Your doctor may also be able to help you out in the short term. They often receive samples of medications from their drug reps. If you need something for only a short period of time or as a stop-gap measure while things are sorted with the government shutdown, this could be an option.

This helps your doctor as well since medications do expire. They don’t need to be keeping shelves of samples for very long. Talk to them about the options and they’ll be happy to help you keep your head above water.

Raise Money Online

While no one likes to think about it, one of the best ways to raise additional money to help out in a crisis situation is to crowd fund online. There are plenty of platforms, such as Go Fund Me and ABC Fundraising, that allow you to raise money for your own personal needs.

And with so much attention paid to the situation with our federal government, many people will be happy to assist those affected by the shutdown. You can ask your personal network, most likely on social media, to help by sending you extra money they can spare through PayPal or start a crowd funding campaign to spread the word even farther. Some people may feel ashamed when having to ask for money, but you need to put aside those thoughts and know this is a financial crisis you didn’t ask for and have been placed in the middle of a bigger problem which at this point is out of your control. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, people will be happy to lend a hand.

Look Into Your Personal Finances

You may also be able to tap into other personal resources to help you afford medications during this time. Some families are going through their personal belongings and things they don’t use anymore and have setup garage sales with their old coats, purses, shoes, toys, etc. Others are looking a little deeper into their assets like their homes or side properties, motor cycles, RV’s, cars and any other asset that can work for them. People who own their vehicles for example, are able to take car title loans which provide fast cash even if they have bad credit. It is a way for people who are in financial distress and need money now to pay for medical bills or medications.

There is a lot of uncertainty as to how the government will behave after February 15th and we all hope there is not another shutdown if an agreement isn’t reached. Do look into your options and don’t put your health at risk. You may have all of these options mentioned above at your fingertips and can certainly tap into them now that you need it the most. Without good health, we can’t function and not taking care of ourselves can have devastating consequences in our near future.

While the outcome of the current government negotiations is uncertain, the goodness of humanity is still worthy of our belief. Others are happy to help out when situations become critical, and that has been the case with furloughed employees all across the country. Trust in your community and don’t be afraid to ask for help.