Strategies to Save on Prescription Drugs

Prescriptions are expensive and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the high rising costs in today’s market. The United States spends twice as much on prescription drugs as other high-income nations; and the average American spends approximately $1,200 each year on prescriptions drugs.

Whether you are covered by insurance through your employer, or have a medical condition that requires multiple medications, exploring new options by shopping around may put money back in your pocket. Here are some tips on how to make it happen:

  1. Go Generic — This is the first place to start. Often times, stores and pharmacies offer $4 generic versions of brand-name prescription drugs. If a generic medication is not available, ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a generic version of a similar prescription.
  2. Compare Prices — Instead of running a prescription through your insurance, use an app to compare and find a similar option with a cheaper price tag. To get a comparison, you can type in the drug name, dose, quantity, and zip code.
  3. Order a 90-day Supply — Once you know a prescription that works well for you, ask if there is a 90-day stock option instead of a regular 30-day supply. Believe it or not, a 90-day supply is often cheaper than their 30-day counterparts. Looking into a mail-order prescription service could also be beneficial. You could get up to three months of prescriptions delivered right to your doorstep.
  4. Sign Up for a Reward Program — Sign up for these programs is usually free. You can use coupons and accumulate points to save money when you fill prescriptions or use pharmacy services.
  5. Use a Preferred Pharmacy — Find a pharmacy in your network to secure a lower copayment and save on costs in the long run. According to AARP, over a third of employers have pre-negotiated lower rates through preferred pharmacies under their employee health benefit plans.
  6. Call Your Insurance Company — Call your insurance company and ask if your prescribed drugs are covered. If they are not covered, ask if there is an alternative available.
  7. Check for Rebates — Browse manufacturer websites for coupons and rebates. Oftentimes, online deals are available which can be used at various pharmacies.
  8. Shop Around — Explore your options. Surprisingly, small and independent pharmacies tend to be less expensive than large chain alternatives. Alternatively, filling prescriptions at wholesale giants, whether you are a member or not, may be a good money saving strategy.
  9. Pay with Cash — Pharmacists can tell you if you will save money by paying with cash compared to using your insurance.
  10. Split Pills — Ask your doctor if your prescription is available in a higher dose that is okay to split. Generally, capsules, coated pills and time-released medications should not be split.

It is important to keep in mind that drug prices are constantly fluctuating. If you have prescription drug related questions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist as they may know of additional cost-cutting tips.

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