We all get sick from time to time and seeing the bill for prescriptions makes you feel even sicker. Take some of the stress out of your life with these 7 tips to save money on prescriptions.
Learn Your Insurance
Make sure before you or a family member falls ill that you know what your insurance plan covers. Many plans offer lower costs to members if you accept generic medication or buy maintenance medications from a mail order pharmacy. Often, just checking your plan’s summary can lead you to fast savings.
Mail Order Maintenance
Many plans offer a much lower cost to you if you get your maintenance medications (blood pressure, asthma inhalers, etc) from a mail order pharmacy. Plans set up discounted rates with specific pharmacies and pass some of the savings on to you. Using a mail order pharmacy usually means that your prescriptions are shipped to you automatically when they are ready to be refilled. This saves you time as well as money.
Make Use of Discount Programs
Many large retailers offer free or low-cost prescriptions for a large variety of medications and each chain has a slightly different list. Check to see if any of your maintenance medications or medicines commonly prescribed by your family physician are on the lists of retailers near you. Remember, you can use more than one pharmacy so you could, for example, get one prescription from Publix and another from Wal-Mart and a third from Winn-Dixie to save the most money. If you don’t have these major retailers near you, check your local pharmacy to see if they have any sort of savings program for prescriptions.
Ask Your Doctor for Alternatives
Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor if there is a lower cost drug that will work for you. Most doctors are well aware of the struggles many families face in paying for medical costs. While there may be valid reasons your doctor wants you to take a specific drug, there may be times when he feels it is ok to try a cheaper alternative. Especially for “standard” illnesses like sinus infections.
Ask Your Doctor for Samples
Doctors are getting fewer samples from drug reps these days but if you are truly in a pinch, explain that to your doctor and ask if there is any way he can supply part of your prescription from his samples.
Larger Doses and Less Pills
Ask your doctor if he minds writing the prescription for a larger dose pill you can split in half (not all medications work this way but many do). In general, the cost of 15 higher dose pills is less than 30 lower dose pills. Pill splitters are cheap are easy to use if your doctor agrees to write your prescription this way.
Drug Manufacturer Plans
While not all drug manufacturers offer discount programs, many offer lower cost or free medications to low-income individuals. Medicare maintains and interactive database by drug name of savings plans offered by drug manufacturers.