While some people only take a trip to the pharmacy when they’re feeling ill, about half of all Americans take prescription drugs regularly. For many, these medications are life-saving, and it’s not feasible to simply go without them.
However, the pharmaceutical industry is growing each year, with it reaching $1.2 trillion in 2018. Now more than ever before, pinching pennies is something millions of people must do when trying to save money on prescriptions.
If you’re one of the many Americans trying to make ends meet when it comes to your medication, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading for your complete guide about saving money on prescription drugs.
Hacks to Save Money on Prescriptions
Pricey prescriptions don’t have to hold you back from a healthy life. There are many ways to save on prescription drugs and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some of the best ways to get prescriptions in 2019 without breaking the bank.
1. Shop Around
Believe it or not, the pharmacy down the street isn’t the only place to get your medication. Some medications can be bought online with a valid prescription through providers outside of the United States. This shop in Canada is run by licensed pharmacists who can provide generic prescription drugs at a lower price.
You should always check with a pharmacist to make sure the generic form of a medication is right for you, but the formulas are often the same thing – just much less expensive!
2. Talk to Your Doctor
If your medication is too expensive for you, talking to your doctor about alternatives is a safe way to make sure your prescriptions are filled without going broke.
Unlike with some shopping, you can’t bargain with a pharmacist. Luckily, this is where your doctor can help. They can likely prescribe generic drugs, similar drugs, or an entirely new drug that is less pricey.
You may also qualify for a prescription assistance program through the drug manufacturer. Your doctor may be able to help you get started on this path for little-to-no cost medication.
Talking to your prescribing physician is always a good idea, even if you think your options are limited. They know the system and will usually try to find a solution if they can.
3. Try a New Pharmacy
If your prescription costs are high, your pharmacy may be the cause. This isn’t always the case, but with medications being marked up between 200 and 3,000 percent, it never hurts to take your prescription to a different pharmacy just to see.
Independent pharmacies have shown to be consistently less expensive than big name pharmacies. Known discount stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club are also consistently less expensive than other pharmacies, even without a membership.
Don’t feel like you need to give up of your regular pharmacy, though. Many pharmacies have exclusive discounts for loyal customers. You may be able to save on prescriptions by joining your pharmacy’s reward program if they have one.
Seeking out lower prices takes some effort, but it is worth it especially if you do not have insurance.
4. Use Coupons
If your insurance is covering your prescriptions, you may be paying more than those without insurance, one study found. This means calling in a prescription without filing with your insurance might actually save you money.
There are plenty of ways to make sure you’re getting the best price on your prescriptions, with insurance or not. Sites such as GoodRx has plenty of coupons for certain prescriptions which could save you more than half the cost of your medication.
GoodRx also allows you to compare prices from different pharmacies using only information about the drug in question and your zip code. And no – there is no membership fee to use this site.
5. Prolong Your Medication’s Shelf-Life
How to save money on prescriptions isn’t always about pinching pennies at the pharmacy. Sometimes, saving money is as simple as taking good care of the medication you already have.
Don’t let the name fool you: your bathroom’s medicine cabinet is a less-than-ideal place to store your prescriptions. Warm, moist environments mean your pills and capsules are more susceptible to damage. A bottle of pills exposed to steam from a warm shower could transform your monthly prescription into one big clump of medicine.
Most medication should be stored in a cool, dry place. Some medications should be placed in the fridge if the instructions say so. When in doubt, following the directions on the bottle is a safe bet.
Like anything else you consume, medications expire. While it’s typically not dangerous to consume medication that has expired, it loses some of its potency, or effectiveness. Always confirm with a doctor or pharmacist before consuming expired medication.
Things to Keep in Mind
Knowing how to save on prescriptions can be a life-saver (literally). But price-slashing has obstacles you’ll need to keep an eye on.
Retail prices vs. deductibles. Paying retail price for prescriptions can save those with – and those without – insurance some money. If you do have insurance, bear in mind paying retail price for prescriptions does not count toward your deductible. While you may be saving on prescriptions, not meeting your deductible can influence future medical payments.
Drug interactions. If you’re filling different prescriptions at different pharmacies, stay vigilant of possible drug interactions across medications. If you can’t change all of your prescriptions over to one pharmacy, have each medication that you’re on listed at each pharmacy.
Price changes. Drug prices are constantly changing. Prescription price shopping might need to become a regular activity for you if you notice a prescription price changing often. Otherwise, ask your pharmacist if you can get your medication several months in advance in order to dodge possible price changes.
Find the Best Price for Your Budget
Healthcare can be tricky to navigate, but you shouldn’t have to spend more than what’s necessary on your medication. There are plenty of ways to save money on prescriptions, and now you have a few options to get started.
Try these prescription hacks today and keep your health – and bank account – in check! Be sure to check out the rest of our Health, Lifestyle or Fitness blog categories for more tips to live your best life.
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