If you have had to pay for any sort of medication throughout your life, then you know how pricey they can be. According to the United States Census Bureau, 27.5 million Americans did not have health insurance as of 2018, which has risen since then. This is a considerable percentage of people that have to pay out of pocket for any painkiller, antibiotic, or any other drug they are prescribed.
Luckily, there are some things that you can do to save money on prescriptions. So, if you are part of the one-fourth of Americans that find it difficult to afford their prescription drugs, read on.
Ask if You Can Pay Cash
Surprisingly, medications are often less expensive if you pay for them in cash. Sometimes they are even less than your insurance company’s co-pay. When you pick up a prescription, always ask how much it costs with insurance as well as the cost if you pay out of pocket.
Get the Generic Equivalent
Generic versions of the same medication often cost a percentage of the brand-name drugs. Often you can find a medicine with the same active ingredient but without the expensive name. Check the dosage and do your research beforehand. Make sure that what you are getting is equivalent to what you were prescribed.
Many people are nervous about using generic drugs because they are substantially cheaper than the brand-name drug alternatives. However, the FDA requires that generic drugs be as effective and safe to use as the name brand.
The manufacturers of generic drugs don’t have to work on the development and research of new medicines. Therefore, they don’t have to pull in the extra money to do so. Big-name brands are always researching and creating new drug developments, which leads them to amp up the price of their pre-discovered medications.
Have your Prescription Mailed to You
Some prescriptions, just like anything, are cheaper when you order them online. Online pharmacies have fewer costs than typical pharmacies and are often able to offer medications for less.
If you have a health insurance provider, check with them to see if they partner with any mail-order pharmacies. Another great addition is that they get delivered to you, so there is no need to visit a pharmacy.
Try a Big-Box Store
Often, the pharmacies in big chain stores offer an extensive list of medications at very affordable prices. Places like Target and Costco have medicines at a fraction of typical costs. Do some research before you fill your prescription and check different big-box store websites. Also, ask your doctor if they know of any stores offering your prescription at a low cost.
For example, one large pharmacy charged $302 for a 90-day supply of a drug called Paxil, an antidepressant. They sold the generic version of the same pill for $90. This same generic version of the drug was sold at Walmart for only $10.
Look at Different Pharmacies
Shop around before deciding where to fill your prescription. Surprisingly, pharmacy prices can vary dramatically. Some pharmacies buy their drugs directly from the manufacturer, while others have a middleman that causes them to amp up their price. Compare pharmacies in your area to see where you can get the best deal.
Update Your Medicare Plan
If you are on Medicare, there may be a better plan for you. Medicare plans change each year. Medications, deductibles, and copays differ. Between October 15th and December 7th, the annual enrollment period, you have the option to change your Medicare plan. The Medicare website has a personal plan search to enter your needs and find what is best for you.
See if You Qualify for Assistance
There are many options available for you if you are looking for assistance or health care. Medicare, nonprofits, pharmacies, and drug manufacturers are all possible options for drug assistance. Local and state governments also offer health insurance and medication assistance programs. Do some research on what is available in your area.
Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor if they are aware of any programs as well. Additionally, you can call the medication manufacturers directly and ask them if they have any options.
Many stores offer their own assistance programs and discount cards. Some places provide medications and antibiotics for free! Contact the pharmacies around you and see what is available.
Get a Bigger Amount at Once
Ask your pharmacist if you can pick up a larger dose at one time. If you get a 30-day prescription filled each month, ask if you can pick up a 90-day supply. This way, you are only paying one copay every three months rather than one copay every month. Some stores charge $4 for a 30-day supply of a specific medication and only $10 for a 90-day supply.
Additionally, this also saves you time and trips to the pharmacy. This is especially helpful if you are on long-term medication.
Try a Sample from Your Doctor
If your doctor has prescribed something to you, ask them if you could try a sample. Often doctors can give you a sample of the drug so you can make sure it doesn’t cause any adverse side effects. This trial run can save you a lot of money in the long run if the prescription drugs end up not working out for you.
Buying medication is never something that we want to do, but unfortunately, most people have to do it multiple times throughout their lives. Prescriptions can be costly, but there are ways to help you save money. Do your research and implement these suggestions to get the best bang for your buck and get the medications you need!