Over the year drug prices have continued to increase. In 2017, most prescription drug costs were inflated by about 2% while others rose to 10%. For many people, prescription drugs are a lifeline but for some, the costs are financially draining. Are you tired of having to choose between your prescription medications and living a financially sound life?
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to save money on medications in 2018. Keep reading to learn 5 methods that will keep money in your pocket without putting your health at risk.
- Shop Smart
Since you know what prescriptions you need, the first step is to shop around. Just like you find deals for clothing, shoes, and even groceries, you can find steep savings on prescription medications, depending on where you look. As a rule of thumb, neighborhood pharmacies tend to have lower prices than chain pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS. For those with and without insurance, stores like Walmart and Costco tend to have most affordable prices.
Since it’s time consuming to call pharmacies to get prescription quotes, save time by using GoodRx, a website that allows you to quickly compare prescription drug prices at local pharmacies. If you’re serious about cutting prescription costs, you may end up using several pharmacies to fill your prescriptions. While a little less convenient, the savings are well worth it.
If you can find a pharmacy that has an app and delivery service like Medly Pharmacy that services your area, this could be a great way to save time and money. The ability to schedule and pay for your pickups ahead of time, or have your prescriptions paid for and delivered to your door is a huge time and money saver.
- Prescription Changes
One of the easiest ways to save money is to ask your doctor to switch your prescription to generic form. Generic medications are the same as name brand except the cost per pill is typically much lower. Newer drugs that have hit in the market in the last few years may not have a generic form just yet, so be sure to ask your doctor.
Another quick change to make to your prescription is to ask for a longer supply. Instead of a 30 day supply, ask your doctor to write you a script for 90 days. This saves you trips to the pharmacy and multiple copays.
- Look for Discounts
Think coupons and savings only apply to groceries and clothes? Think again! These days there are all sorts of discounts for prescription medications. In newspaper and magazine ads, you may be able to find coupons that save you a few dollars off of your prescription. You could also ask your doctor about any coupons that are available for the drugs you take.
Another way to save money is to sign up for a pharmacy savings card. This card can be used at thousands of participating pharmacies, including large chain stores. With this card you’ll have access to the lowest prices on certain medications. This means less money spent on your prescription costs each month.
- Use Financial Assistance
There are all sorts of financial assistance programs offered by foundations, charities, and drug companies that allow patients to save money on their prescriptions. One of the top sites to use is NeedyMeds. This is a national non-profit organization that helps to find people applicable assistance.
Believe it or not, pharmaceutical companies give away billions of dollars in free or low cost drugs each year. Knowing where to look and how to find these programs can help ease the financial strain of your medication costs.
To be eligible for these programs you’ll need to meet certain requirements such as:
- Being diagnosed with a specific disease or health condition
- Not having drug coverage or insurance
- Meeting certain income thresholds
- Proving the drug is medically necessary
There are dozens of other organizations that offer financial assistance for prescription drugs and copay costs including Patient Services Inc. and Partnership for Prescription Assistance.
- Appeal for Insurance Coverage
One of the biggest gripes about insurance companies is that people pay so much money into them but when it comes time to actually use the coverage, it seems to fall short in some way or another. This is a real issue when getting certain prescription drugs covered by your insurer.
While most insurers have a very long formulary, which lists which medications are covered, there are times when patients require a medication that may not be listed. When this happens, you’re faced with paying the full cost of the medication or skipping it altogether. Before you dish out money to pay for the prescription, file an appeal with your insurance company. Insurers usually have to cover drugs that are deemed to be medically necessary, even if they aren’t listed on the formulary.
If your insurer rejects the appeal, contact your state regulator for a free independent medical review. Throughout the process, be sure to stay in close touch with your doctor in the event that certain documentation is needed to prove that the drug is a medical necessity.
Don’t let the cost of your prescription drugs put you into a financial bind. Keep these 5 options in mind if you’re serious about saving money on your medication.