In today’s times, getting sick can turn out to be a costly affair. The increasing cost of a doctor’s consultation fees, and the skyrocketing prices of prescription medications leave us with a big hole in our pockets. But the good news is, you can save money on prescription medications, and WellnessKeen will tell you how.
One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.
– Sir William Osler
Due to the incessant rise of prices of all the ‘essential-for-survival’ goods, saving money has become the need of the hour. Frugal behavior is no longer treated as cheesy, in fact, it has become a new trend that everybody loves to follow. Speaking in terms of market behavior, tradesmen are becoming smarter at their trade by playing the same game with different rules. Consumers are also becoming savvier by the day, and have started to find ways to sneak out of the reins of inflation.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that a majority of people are on at least one prescription drug, and it’s not uncommon for some to be on five or more at a time. Opting for insurance may provide a little relief. But even with insurance, the co-pays and all the other ‘added charges’ sum up to almost the same amount that a person would pay if he was not insured. This is the reason for the phrase ‘playing the same game with different rules’ in the above paragraph.
Confide in Your Doctor and Ask For …
Medicines have also come in the ‘branded’ list, and people have started trusting the big names. But if you want to save some money, it would be wiser if you could just have a word with your doctor and tell him that you lack funds. You can ask him if the same medicine, or the chemical that makes up the medicine, is available in its generic form. In most cases, generic drugs can help you save a big amount of money, because they come at a price that is four to five times lower than medicines available from well-known pharmacy. You can ask the doctor to provide at least three to four options for the same medicine, and then opt for the one that is the cheapest. If you speak up, I’m sure the doctor will be more than happy to help.
If you compare the price of 10mg and 20mg of a medicine, you will find that even if the dosage becomes twice in strength, the price does not always double. Keeping this point in mind, you have to ask the doctor if the pill is safe for splitting? Many a time, medicines like capsules, slow-releasing drugs, and coated drugs cannot be split and consumed. If the doctor gives a green signal, ask him to prescribe twice the dosage, and be happy because you would have moved a step closer towards saving a considerable amount of money in the long run.
Your doctor will normally have a stock of medicines that drug companies usually send them as samples. If you talk to the doctor and ask if he/she could help by providing samples that could last a few days, then you can save a little money. But this tip is not meant to be repeated at every visit and made into a habit. If you are really in dire need of medicines and can’t afford to purchase them immediately, then you could ask for help. In another scenario, if the doctor has prescribed a new medicine, and you want to be sure if it would suit you or not, then you can ask for a sample. Otherwise, you would end up wasting the entire strip/bottle of medicine if it doesn’t agree with you.
Shop Around and Compare Prices
You will have to take a little effort to bag the best deal for you. Start by looking out for prices of the prescribed drug at different pharmacies. You’ll also have to hunt for prices of the same drug at supermarkets, retail stores, online shops, mail orders, or through some discount programs, like AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) and Medicare Part D. These discount programs give some price relaxations on FDA-approved medications. You can also get yourself some discount cards (available online for free or a nominal charge). These cards work at most pharmacies and retail stores, and help you bag good deals.
If you find a store that caters to your needs perfectly, then it is advised that you stick to it and become a loyal customer. Ask them if they provide any discount/privilege card, and then use these to get discounts. The main motive behind purchasing drugs from one particular store, is that, whenever you make a purchase, the data gets saved in their system. If you ask for a different drug, there may be a possibility that the system may be able to point out a harmful drug interaction that may occur with the previous drug, and the pharmacist could intervene.
Buy in Bulk
If you know that you are going to require prescription medications for a long time, you can purchase them in bulk. Most retailers give discounts if the medicine is purchased for 90 days instead of 30 days. Nowadays, many employers provide programs where you order your medicines through the mail with the help of Prescription Benefit Managers (PBMs), like CVS Caremark. This can help you save on prescriptions when you order in bulk. They may give you free shipping for bulk orders, and also would require you to pay less monthly co-pays. You have to keep searching for what works best for you.
Look Out for Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs)
If you are financially unable to handle the costs of prescription medicines, then you have dig deeper to find out more options to get discounts. Even if you don’t qualify for state or federal discount programs, your saving grace could be patient assistance programs. They are usually put forth by drug manufacturing companies, and can be taken up by those who are uninsured or fall in the low-income group. To find out more information about PAPs, you can search Rxassist. It is the most rigorous and current directory of PAPs across the country. Rxassist even provides a prescription discount card, which is available for free, and ensures that you pay the lowest price at pharmacies.
If you’ve been taking a particular medicine for long, ask your doctor if you still need it. It is highly possible that you would no longer need it, or could do equally well with a cheaper alternative. Nowadays, it’s all about making things fancier and bringing them in front of people by aggressive marketing gimmicks. And to do it all, money is required, which is spent by the companies and then earned back by increasing the prices of the products offered. But these prices are not written in stone, you have to make an effort to lower it, or else find the lowest price.