Even if you have health insurance, the cost of some prescription drugs can be through the roof. In the U.S., it’s not uncommon for an adult to be taking at least one prescription drug, and a good percentage of our elderly population takes five or more medications. From birth control to medicine for high blood pressure, we’ve become a society heavily reliant on prescription drugs. But, the cost alone is a cause for a lot of concern.
Talk With Your Insurer
Every insurance company has a set formulary list. This list contains all of the medications that your insurer covers. You may find that drugs used to treat the same condition have different copayments. It’s not uncommon for certain drugs to be more expensive than another, even if they’re both for lowering cholesterol or treating high blood pressure.
To save money, talk with your doctor about the medications that you need to take. Ask for 3 different options for each prescription you have. You can then talk over the medication options with your insurer to see which drugs have the lowest copayments, as well as any restrictions. Once you’ve selected the most affordable option, you can let you doctor know of your preferences.
Sometimes it pays to go through your insurance company, sometimes it doesn’t. Some big pharmacy chains offer generic drugs at extremely low prices if you’re willing to pay out of pocket. With this option, be aware that any money spent on medication will not count toward your annual deductible. Your purchases are also not eligible for discount programs under certain health insurers.
Some medications are expensive just because of their names. If you’re not worried about buying a name-brand drug, ask your doctor to prescribe you a generic version. According to the FDA, a generic drug may be 80%-85% cheaper than brand-name medicine.
Common generic drugs include:
● Omeprazole (Prilosec)
● Atorvastatin Calcium (Lipitor)
● Amlodipine (Norvasc)
● Levothyroxine (Synthroid)
● Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen (Lortab)
Rest assured that generic drugs are held to the same standards as name-brand drugs. A generic medicine must have the same active ingredient and must be the same strength, type, and have the same use indications.
Just like grocery or retail stores, there are options for buying prescription drugs. Pharmacies in grocery stores, online, and mail order stores often offer different prices. For example, online you may find pharmacies that offer a discount for a 30 or 90 day supply. When shopping with an online pharmacy, be sure that it’s VIPPS certified. This way you can purchase confidently and safely.
Shopping around also comes in handy when looking for vitamins, such as the best vitamins for eyes or the top vitamins for aging bones and joints.
Ask for Samples
There’s nothing worse than being prescribed a 30 day supply of a medication that doesn’t work for you. Before dishing out the money to pay for a costly medicine, be sure that you can tolerate it and that it works for you. Ask your doctor for samples. Typically your doctor can offer you a 10 to 14 day supply for you to try.
By trying out samples first, you can avoid the risk of paying for medicine that may not be the best option for your health condition.
Consider Splitting Pills
You may be able to save money if your doctor is willing to prescribe you a double-dosage of your medicine. In turn, you’ll split the pills and get more out of your supply. Commonly prescribed drugs, such as those used to treat depression and high cholesterol can be easily and safely split.
Talk with your doctor about this option if you’re on medications that can be split without lessening its effect or strength. It’s important to note that it’s NOT okay to change your own dosage. If your doctor says he cannot offer you double dosages, he or she has a good reason.
Embrace Preventive Care
Sometimes the best option for saving money spent on health care is to take care of yourself in the present to avoid future health conditions. The healthier you are, the less likely it is that you’ll need prescription drugs.
The Affordable Care Act has made preventive care more widely available to a larger number of people. Undergoing routine screenings, such as colonoscopies and mammograms, as well as keeping up with the standard vaccination schedule, may lessen the amount of prescriptions that you need to take in the future. For seniors, the ACA offers a one-time Medicare visit which offers free-health screenings and yearly wellness visits.
Prescription drugs don’t have to break the bank. With these tips, you can save money on your medication. This way you don’t have to worry about not filling a doctor’s script or having to skip because of lack of funds.