Some Guilford County residents who don’t have medical insurance – or who qualify for Medicare Part D coverage but find they still can’t afford the medications they need – can take advantage of a county service that’s expected to see increased demand in the second half of this year.

The Guilford County Division of Public Health’s Medication Assistance Program has been around since 2000. However, according to county health officials, there was a significant drop in users during the COVID-19 pandemic because of “the many financial/healthcare initiatives that were rolled out” during those three years.

Now, they expect that to see the number of users grow – especially over the next few months since COVID-19 relief programs have ended or are about to end.

Currently, the Medication Assistance Program has an active case base of 150 people.

On Thursday, Aug. 17, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners accepted just under $58,000 in grant money from the state’s Office of Rural Health to help fund the program that serves low-income and uninsured people in Guilford County.

The program is an extension of the county’s pharmacy service, which operates on a reduced or sliding fee basis for financially challenged residents.

The Medication Assistance Program works by connecting those in need with existing resources offered by drug makers, government and non-profits.

The grant’s purpose is twofold: to help low-income citizens get access to free and low-cost drugs using manufacturer’s prescription assistance programs and to provide clients assistance accessing available programs that exist to fill the coverage gaps in Medicare Part D coverage.

The same program also helps out seniors in need find any available prescription assistance.

As part of the grant agreement, Guilford County health staff must agree to “collaborate closely with local public and private health care providers including pharmacists, primary care physicians, health departments, hospitals, senior centers, Area Agencies on Aging, and local Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) coordinators to ensure the success of their efforts.”