5 Ways to Save Money on Prescriptions
From commercials for the latest miracle drugs to politicians promising to lower prescription drug prices, there’s no escaping the fact that prescription drugs are big business. And sooner or later, we all need to pay for prescriptions. Whether it’s a one-off antibiotic or medications to treat a chronic condition, paying for prescriptions often stretches consumers’ budgets to the breaking point. Even those who have prescription drug coverage through their health insurance plan can be hit with an unexpectedly high total at the pharmacy. Fortunately there are several things consumers can do to save money on prescriptions (whether they have insurance or not). Let’s take a look at what they are.
Ask for Generic Alternatives
By law, generics must have the same active ingredients, in the same quantity, as the branded drugs. While generics aren’t available for all prescriptions, you will find big savings on the ones that are available. Be sure to let your health care provider know that you want the generic version of the prescription if it’s available and double-check with the pharmacist whether or not your prescription has a generic alternative.
Purchase a Larger Supply
If you have one or more prescription medications for managing chronic conditions, you will save money if your provider prescribes them in 90-day increments. You’ll make fewer co-pays over the course of the year, plus it’s much more convenient than having to refill prescriptions every month.
Since there is no regulation on prescription drug prices in the United States, pricing can vary widely. Be sure to shop around to find which pharmacies near you consistently ring in with the lowest prices. Check big box stores, grocery stores, national chain pharmacies and even small, local pharmacies. Additionally, you’ll want to look into the possibility of filling your prescriptions through a mail-order pharmacy. While mail-order isn’t an option for prescriptions you need to fill immediately, many people find it a money-saving choice for long-term maintenance medications and one of the most effective ways to save money on prescriptions.
Look for Discounts
When your health care provider gives you a prescription, ask if they have any discount coupons from the drug maker. You should also check online with Good Rx or We Rx for possible discounts and promotions. And be sure to ask your provider if they have any samples they can give you; trying something for a day or two before you fill the prescription will help you know if you have any adverse reactions. If you’ve ever paid a lot for a prescription only to find out your allergic to it, you know it’s a frustrating expense you want to avoid if possible.
Seek Out Assistance
State and local governments, nonprofit groups, and drug manufacturers all offer financial assistance programs for certain medications. In most cases, you’ll need to apply and provide proof of financial need. It’s a process, but it can really be worth it to have affordable access to the medication you need.