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I've been off my meds for over a year--it's a long story. Anyways, I used to take Seroquel, Lamictal, Wellbutrin, Prozac and Ritalin. A lot of meds, I know--but I have bipolar 2 and ADD in addition to social phobia. The reason I had to go off my meds was because I was kicked off my parent's insurance when I turned 22, even though I was in college. I did get insurance, however--a catastrophic plan that does not cover pharmaceuticals, let alone mental health. I still am in college (going to graduate this June), and I couldn't afford the school insurance plan. I'm going to get a job (hopefully) within the next year. I can't wait to get a job and then get insurance--I need the meds now. Besides that, even if I did get a job soon, I'd have to wait several months to get my meds covered because, unfortunately, catastrophic health insurance plans are not creditable for insurance purposes so my conditions would be considered pre-existing. I'm from Washington state and we have a state health plan here (called Basic Health) but it is facing significant budget cuts (40% of people are going to be kicked off within the next few months), and there are people waiting to get on, so many that there is essentially a waitlist for the waitlist. So that is not a viable option.

Anyway, I'm looking into getting free meds through the pharmaceutical assistance plans for low-income individuals like myself. Here's the problem: my parent's claim me on their taxes. If there income is taken into consideration, then I'd be ineligible for free meds. I know that all of my meds are generic except for the Seroquel, but that doesn't mean the pills are cheap. Prozac is on the $4 generic list at Walmart/Target/etc. but the other meds are not. I looked into getting generic Wellbutrin; the cheapest I could find was $40. Which is not cheap when you're on a student budget. Honestly, I can't afford to spend more than $20 a month for all of my meds combined. I'm that broke.

I'm going to make an appointment to go to a sliding-scale clinic, but what can they do for me? I went there a year ago and they gave me the written prescriptions, but that doesn't help much if you can't afford to have them filled! I brought this up to the nurse practitioner who saw me and she was not much help at all. Basically said, "I don't know what to say. Here's the prescriptions." Thanks. A lot. I'd like help filling out the paperwork because honestly, the process is very intimidating and confusing! I'm not very organized (read: ADD. 'Nuff said) so having to juggle all this paperwork from 3 or more pharmaceutical companies is overwhelming.

So my question to those who get free meds: did you get them through the pharma companies? Are there any other less involved avenues I can pursue to get meds for free--or at least, real cheap? I can't switch or make substitutions for less expensive meds. I know that for bipolar, lithium is often used and it's dirt cheap, but I can't take it because I have a real extreme fear and preoccupation with weight and lithium can cause weight gain, and gaining weight would be detrimental to my mental health. I know someone's going to say, "you've got to decide what's more important, get your priorities straight...etc." but I can't take lithium. Not an option. And as for tax information, am I screwed because my parent's claimed me? My income is extremely low--I work on the weekends, so I only make $3500 a year. When their income is factored in, however, I'm not eligible for the programs.

I know this is a long post, thanks for reading! And thanks in advance for any comments, I appreciate it.
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