How to Save Money on Prescription Drugs

by Dr. Ben on October 10, 2011

Some people need prescription drugs to stay alive!  Others need medication to adequately function or enjoy quality of life.  But what if you can’t afford the medication(s) you need?  There are ways to reduce out-of-pocket costs for these life-saving, life-enhancing necessities. I remember at one point I needed injections which cost over $300 per day!   Unreimbursed or excessive costs can be a budget-killer, particularly for senior-citizens or those with chronic or major health issues.  Here are a few ways to save:

  1. Most health care plans will cover at least a portion of the cost of prescription drugs.  Check your plan and the drug “formulary” that’s a part of your plan.  Look for co-pays, exclusions and limitations.
  2. If your drugs are not covered talk with your physician to see if there may be a comparable substitute that is covered.
  3. Comparison shop.  There are wide price variations.  Check with discounters like Costco, Kmart, Wal-Mart or Target.
  4. Consider online pharmacies.
  5. Use generic brands whenever possible.
  6. Buy larger quantities (e.g., 90 day supply instead of 30).
  7. Ask your health care provider for “free samples.”
  8. Get discount coupons from your physician, pharmacist, or on the internet.
  9. See if you qualify for special cost reduction programs from pharmaceutical companies.
  10. Determine if you qualify for Medicaid, Medicare or other benefits. If you have Medicare coverage consider enrolling in the Part D prescription drug plan.
  11. Consult with your physician regularly to determine if you can reduce dosages, eliminate or substitute drugs, change frequency, etc. Also, explore the feasibility of natural or homeopathic remedies and alternatives

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