Drugs can be quite expensive now, and not everyone has insurance coverage that covers their prescribed medications or makes the price lower with a co-pay. In other cases, people have to pay full price for their drugs, which can be pretty expensive. This can happen even if they have a medical insurance plan, but it doesn’t cover the specific drug.
People with and without medical insurance could use some of the following methods to mitigate the effect of expensive drugs on their wallet.
There are several tips on how to save money on prescription drugs. Those tips exclude unsafe ways to obtain medications, like buying them on the street or ordering through an unlicensed pharmacy.
Generic drugs instead of brand-name
This tip is the first that comes to mind when it comes to saving on prescribed medications. Indeed, generics in most cases have the same efficacy as their brand-name versions, but patients can obtain them at a significantly lower cost. If a physician said that a patient may replace a brand name drug with its generic substitute, or didn’t prescribe the drug to be “dispensed as written”, purchasing a generic alternative would be a wise decision.
In most cases, pharmacists provide their customers with generics unless they see “DAW” on the prescription.
For example, Prilosec. This brand-name drug used to treat GERD costs about $230 for 30 capsules, and its generic version costs only $13 for the same amount.
Here is the difference between the cost of generic drugs and their brand-name versions:
Name, dosage, quantity
Brand-name price with coupon
Generic cash price
Generic price with coupon
10mg, 30 capsules
200mg, 30 capsules
60mg, 30 capsules
300mg, 90 capsules
10mg, 120 tablets
20mg, 30 capsules
20mg, 30 capsules
25mg, 30 tablets
50mg, 120 tablets
|Zestoretic (lisinopril / HCTZ)
20mg/12.5mg, 30 tablets
Prices are valid as of February 2, 2017, for New-York city. All of the estimated prices are taken from Goodrx.com for Walmart pharmacy. Lower prices may be found in other pharmacies or areas.
Using preventive care services
With the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare), people have access to preventive care services for free, regardless if they have any type of medical coverage or not. This method will not help to save money on current prescriptions, but will decrease the chance of drugs needed in the future.
Using patient assistance programs
If patient can’t afford a specific drug, using patient assistance programs is an option.
90-day supply instead of 30-day supply
A 90-day supply is almost always cheaper than a 30-day supply. In the long-term, this method can save not only money but also time spent to visit a doctor or a pharmacy.
Plus, if a patient has private health insurance, they can get a 90-day supply using a mail-order pharmacy. This will save even more money and it’s more convenient.
Patients could save money on their prescriptions by using mail-order pharmacies. This method is more convenient than going to a pharmacy, but patients should be really careful when using online pharmacies.
Some of them could be fake and simply looking to scam customers. However, patients could avoid those issues if they use the BeSafeRx program from the Food and Drug Administration.
If a physician says it is okay to split the pill, you can, as long as it is not a birth control medication or a long-acting drug. There are also drugs that are not designed to be split or drugs that have a special coating to protect the stomach. It is impossible to split these and use them without any consequences.
In all other cases, it’s a very smart move to make 20 10mg tablets out of 10 20mg tablets. This method uses the same principles as getting a 90-day supply: a twice-higher dosage does not mean a twice-higher cost.
It is very important to ask a physician about pill splitting in every specific case.
It is possible that medical coverage will not cover the drug that is lifesaving or really important for the patient’s health. If the patient’s physician provides the insurer with proof of the importance of the drug for the patient’s life, there is a chance the patient could get a right for exemption. With this right, the health insurer would cover the drug that is not covered otherwise.
Spending some time on a call to the insurance company could save a lot of money.
Another pharmacy – another price
A patient with an insurance plan could obtain his drugs for different prices from different pharmacies. The difference could be small, only saving a couple cents, but it could be significant as well.
For example, 60 pills of Adderall will cost about $45 at Walgreens and about $79 at Kmart. That’s $34 saved just by walking to another pharmacy.
If this example is not shocking, just imagine the amount of money that would be saved if there are several drugs prescribed.
You can use Store Locator & Pharmacy Search to locate pharmacies in your area.
Using online medication coupons
If a patient has a high deductible plan, or if the drug is not covered, it is a good idea to check if it is possible to get the drug at a lower price by using online coupons. It is hard to save a lot of money on commonly prescribed drugs, especially generics, but savings could be huge for brand-name drugs.
One of the most commonly used services for getting online coupons is Goodrx.com.
Another way to save money is to check if there is a manufacturer discount available for the drug. If a patient is eligible for the manufacturer discount, there is a possibility they could get the drug at a low cost.
Overall drug savings
These tips, combined together, will save a lot of money on prescribed drugs for people with or without medical insurance. Each of these methods is safe for patient health, as the patient will obtain only original medications without any additional substances, which are common in counterfeit drugs. If you are not sure if some of tips would work for you specifically, don’t hesitate to ask a physician.