Do you find it difficult to afford your prescription medications?
It’s a common problem, with 24% of people finding it difficult to pay for their prescription drugs.
Even if you can afford your prescriptions, it’s always best to pay as little as possible for them.
How do you save money on prescriptions?
For many people, there are multiple strategies for lowering drug costs.
Keep reading to learn 9 ways to lower your prescription costs.
1. Review Insurance Coverage
Understanding how your prescription insurance coverage works allows you to get the lowest price possible for your prescriptions.
Drugs often fall into different categories. Those categories can cost different amounts.
Your insurance company might have a preferred pharmacy. Many insurance companies offer a lower price if you get your prescriptions through a specific mail order company.
Some health insurance companies require you to meet your deductible before you get prescription coverage.
If you’re unclear on your prescription coverage, call your insurance company to better understand what they pay.
2. Request Generics
If you’re taking a brand name prescription, switching to a generic version could save you about 85% on the cost. The exact difference in price depends on the drug. If lots of companies make generic varieties, the cost is usually lower.
You don’t have to worry about the quality of generics. While they might look different, they’re required to be the same quality as the name brand version.
Generics have to use the same active ingredients with the same strength as the name brand. They also have to be in the same form and have the same administration route. Generics have to meet the same standards.
Check with your medical provider or pharmacist to see if a generic version is available for your name brand prescription.
3. Ask About Alternatives
Your doctor chooses medications for your medical conditions based on what should work best for you.
But most medical conditions have multiple medication options as treatment.
In some cases, your doctor might be able to switch you to a different drug that has the same results but costs less.
Sometimes other medications aren’t an option for your situation. They might interact with other drugs you’re taking, or your doctor might not feel they would be as effective.
It’s always a good idea to bring up the topic and let your doctor know the cost of the prescribed medication is an issue. Your physician might be able to come up with a plan to make it more affordable.
4. Shop Around
Do you automatically fill your prescription at the same pharmacy each month?
You could be paying more by sticking to your routine.
Call around to the different pharmacies in your area to see how much you would pay for your prescription. Some might offer special pricing for your prescriptions.
Some pharmacies might have membership programs or reward programs where you can earn money back or pay less.
Check on individual prescriptions if you have more than one to fill. You might discover that one pharmacy offers the best price for one prescription while another is cheaper for a different prescription.
Keep in mind that going to multiple pharmacies takes more time. If the saving isn’t significant, it’s often easier to use one pharmacy.
5. Try Online Pharmacies
Online pharmacies can often give you discounts you can’t find in brick-and-mortar pharmacies. Doing business online reduces overhead, which can lower the price of prescription drugs.
Check out options like this online pharmacy to see if your prescription drug is available. Compare the pricing online to your local pharmacies to see if you’ll save money.
6. Check Into Special Discounts
You can often find special discounts either through pharmacies or pharmaceutical companies.
Some pharmacies offer a cheaper price if you pay for your prescriptions with cash instead of running them through your insurance company. Ask your pharmacist if they have any programs like that.
Coupons are sometimes available for name brand drugs. The manufacturers offer the coupons so you’ll use their drugs instead of generics.
Prescription discount cards are also an option. They’re usually free, but they might have restrictions or limitations. Always check the fine print before using a discount program.
7. Increase Your Prescription Length or Strength
If you’re only filling your prescription one month at a time, you could be paying more for your medication.
It’s often cheaper to fill your prescriptions with a 90-day refill instead of a 30-day refill. Check with your insurance company and your pharmacy to compare the pricing.
When you look at the 90-day prescription cost, divide it by 3 to compare it to the 30-day prescription cost. This helps you determine which is cheaper per month.
Not all prescriptions may be available for a 90-day refill. Check with your doctor to see if your medications are available for the 3-month refill option.
A similar possibility is to look into a stronger prescription if the medication can be divided using a pill cutter.
Say you’re prescribed a 5-milligram dose of your medication. If it’s a pill that can be split, your doctor might be willing to prescribe you with a 10-milligram dose.
You can cut the pills in half and make the prescription last twice as long. The prescription will likely cost you the same amount no matter what the strength, so you can essentially cut your cost in half.
8. Ask for Samples
It’s not a long-term solution, but asking your doctor for samples can save you a little money on prescriptions temporarily.
Pharmaceutical companies often push medication samples onto doctors to convince them to prescribe the pills. That can benefit you if the doctor has the drugs you need on hand.
9. Use Patient Assistance Programs
If you meet financial requirements, you might have access to charitable medication assistance programs. States and local organizations often handle those programs. Some drug manufacturers also have special assistance programs to make their medications more affordable.
If you qualify, you can get your prescriptions at a lower price or sometimes for free. This is especially helpful for people who are on a very tight budget.
Start to Save Money on Prescriptions Now
Learning how to save money on prescriptions can make your medical expenses more affordable. Even one of these methods can help, but combining strategies can give you the best possible prices on your prescriptions. Dig into our health archives for more helpful tips.