Tips That Are Good For Your Health and Your Wallet
Being able to afford medications and medical bills is the #1 financial concern among seniors, beating out things such as missing house or rent payments, losing a job or getting laid off.
Those who regularly take a prescription medication spend an average of $59 a month out of their own pockets for prescription drugs, with about 12% saying they spend more than $100 a month on their medications.1
Therefore, to help you get the best value for your dollar, there are six recommendations that can be made to lower the costs of your medications…
Video Overview of 6 Ways To Save On Your Prescription Drug Costs
Generic drugs can save you up to 95% off of the cost of brand-name medications, and the good news is that 3/4 of all medications are available in generic form.
And while the shape, color, labeling and size of the pill may look different from the brand-name version, the active ingredient in these pills is the same as the brand-name version. And the FDA regulates generics the same way it does brand-name drugs.
Doctor’s don’t always consider a patient’s ability to pay for their medications when they prescribe them. So make sure to speak up when your doctor is ready to prescribe a drug. Explain that the economics and the costs of a drug are important to you, especially if it will be necessary for you to take a medication for an extended period of time.
Search for Discount Programs
Many of the chain drug stores, big-box retailers like Target and Wal-Mart and other pharmacies have “$4 generic drug” programs. You can get a 3-month supply of medications for as low as $10.
And these chins will normally offer other perks to their programs, such as savings on flu shots or free health screenings for high-blood pressure. As an example, Kmart has a pharmacy prescription savings club where you get a 5-20% discount on brand-name drugs that have not gone generic yet.
Walmart does the same thing where members get a 10% bonus back on their card that can be used for in-store purchases.
The programs vary from store-to-store, so when you are checking them out ask the pharmacist to go over the details of their discount program and if you can qualify for additional discounts.
Ask Mom-and-Pop Drugstores If They Will Negotiate
Although many neighborhood independent pharmacies might not offer or widely advertise a discount drug program like the major pharmacies do, store owners might be willing to negotiate and match prices of the big chains in order to keep a customer.
Ask, especially if you expect to be on a medication for along time or if you prefer to shop local and use a small pharmacy as opposed to one
of the larger chains.
These independent pharmacies have been shown to have faster customer service, make fewer errors and be more likely to have medications ready for you when promised. The independents are also very well ranked for making pharmacists available for answering questions.
Regardless of which type of pharmacy you use, you should make the decision to have all of your prescriptions filled in one place rather than trying to shop around for the best deal for every medication. This is a safety issue because if you get your medications filled in one spot, they will know your history, have access to all of your medications and be able to tell you if one medication will negatively interact with another.
This will allow you to have peace-of-mind if you are taking multiple medications that the effects of one, when mixed with another, are not causing an adverse side effect.
Order Online…BUT ONLY IN THE USA!!!!
This is one where you have to be careful, as there are way too many scams that are not worth your life. Some of the most infamous are the “Canadian pharmacies” which supposedly save you money but in actuality about 99% of these “pharmacies” are actually just websites that will ship from overseas, places like India and the Philippines, to Canada and then send you the medications from Canada.
There is no FDA check, they are outside the closed-loop system that make US medications safe and are not manufactured in a sterilized way.
If you are interested in using an online pharmacy, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NAPB) maintains a list of safe, approved online pharmacies that meet the requirements for safety that you need to give you peace-of-mind.
Buying from any of the other 99% is the equivalent of taking your life into your hands.
You should ONLY look for online pharmacies that have the VIPPS designation, which is illustrated below…
If you don’t see that then you should not buy from the pharmacy…PERIOD!
Follow Your Formulary
Insurance companies that cover prescription drugs and Medicare Part D plans have formularies that offer pricing advantages when you fill prescription drugs through their “Tier 1” list (usually consisting of generic drugs) and their “Preferred” medications (branded and generic).
And as I pointed out previously when discussing the Part D formulary, by following the drugs on your formulary you can save plenty of money.
Buy A Pill Splitter
You can save money on your medications buy simply buying this $6 device. But you have to be careful to use it properly and under a doctor’s care.
Click here to read everything you need to know, the benefits and hazards, of pill splitting.
1-Consumer Reports Survey