8 Prescription Savings Tips

Out-of-pocket costs for prescription medicines are out of control, and this is especially true for  United States Citizens. For example, according to Drugwatch, the US pays approximately 56% more on prescription costs than other countries.  Granted, if you have to pay for an expensive medicine for an illness or infection that will eventually go away, the costs may not be that life-altering.

However,  many people with chronic conditions are having to choose between needed medicine or having to pay rent or buy food. Consequently, if you don’t have enough money for both rent and medicine, potentially life-saving medicine will not be purchased. Hopefully, the above situation does not apply to you.  But, this list for saving money on prescription drugs, will save you money.

So, here are  the EIGHT ways to save money on your prescriptions:

1.  Make Sure You And Your Family Are Insured

It should go without saying, but getting, at least adequate insurance, can save you thousands of dollars a year.  Medical insurance no matter how old or healthy you are is a necessity. For example, twenty-somethings are diagnosed with diabetes daily, which may require you to take medicines for life. Also, one unfortunate accident could require you to take pharmaceuticals regularly. So, GET INSURED!

Medical care is not guaranteed in the United States, and if you go into the emergency room (without insurance), you will only be stabilized and then released from the hospital.

2.  Switch to Generic Drugs

Generic drugs are copies of brand name drugs. They have the same medicine as a brand name drug. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers generic medications as being safe and effective.

The brand name drug costs more because of the research that went into making it. A generic medicine is the same. However, generic drug costs less.

You might also be able to buy an ” at a lower cost “therapeutic equivalent” of the drug that you are currently on. This therapeutic equivalent” is a different drug formula. However, it treats the same condition and works just as well.

3.  Splitting Pills

You may be able to order a double dose of your prescription and cut the pills in half. It depends on the type of medicine and the dose you are taking. In some cases,  buying your medicine in bulk can save you money.

First of all, ask your Doctor if your drugs can be split in two. Additionally, the FDA has a list of drugs that can be split safely, and the “How Supplied” section of the medicine label will tell you if splitting the pill is appropriate.

There will also be a line across the tablet to show you where to break it. You should only split one pill at a time and use up both halves before cutting another pill.

DO NOT split pills without talking with your provider first. Some drugs may be harmful if split before use.

4.  Mail Order or Online Pharmacies

Try to find a good mail-order pharmacy for your long-term medicines. Your health plan may offer one to you. You can order a 90-day supply and may have a lower copay.  Also, you can search online for good mail-order prices. Then check with your health plan to make sure the medicines you buy from the program will be covered before you order.

Remember, though, to do your homework when buying your prescription drugs over the internet.  So, do your research, and if applicable,  check with your health plan or provider before you buy to make sure the online pharmacy is safe.

Use Caution: Only purchase medicines from a licensed US  or Canadian pharmacy. DO NOT buy drugs online from other foreign countries to save money as The quality and safety of these medicines are not known.

5.  Discount Programs or Supplemental Coverage

Depending upon your income and condition, you may be eligible for a drug assistance program. Some pharma companies offer these programs, which are often called “patient assistance programs.” With these programs, you may get a discount card, free, or low-cost medicines.  Ask your Doctor how you can apply directly to the drug company for the medication you are taking.

If your Doctor does not know of any patience assistance programs, you should check out Websites such as NeedyMeds (www.needymeds.org) and Partnership for Prescription Assistance (www.pparx.org)can help you find assistance for the medicines you are taking.

Additionally, some states and health insurance plans also offer assistance programs. Check with your health plan and local government websites.

6.  65+ Prescription Help

If you are over 65, look into supplemental drug coverage (Medicare Part D). This optional insurance coverage can help you pay for your medicines.

7.  Use Medicines Wisely

In the long run, skipping medicine, to save money, may cost you more money.   So, take all of your medication as directed to avoid problems that can lead to illness and other out-of-pocket expenses.  Build a good relationship with your pharmacist. Your pharmacist can look out for you, recommend ways to save money and make sure all the drugs you take are safe.

Additionally, check with your provider at each visit to make sure you need to continue taking medicines. There may be other ways to manage your condition that cost less.

8. Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor. ASAP, if you are having trouble paying for your medications.  Your Doctor may be able to do the following:

  • Prescribe cheaper, but just as effective medicines
  • Give you free samples
  • Know if a generic option is available
  • Provide other alternatives than prescriptions

Final Thoughts

In the near future, United States Citizens should not expect any relief from the high cost of pharmaceuticals.   (Obviously, the following advice does not apply to many people with chronic, hereditary illnesses, I.E., Some cancer patients, patients with genetic disorders, etc..)    The above tips can result in you saving up to thousands of dollars a year.  So, the best way to save money on prescriptions is to avoid having to take drugs in the first place.  So, take care of yourself, exercise regularly and eat well.