It’s no fun paying through the nose for medication that you really need. We take a look at 9 tips for how to save on drugs.
The U.S. population spends billions of dollars filling their prescriptions. And every year, that number continues to increase as pharmaceutical companies boost their margins unchecked by the government.
Many drug users hold out hope that new administrative policies might curb the cost of medication. But until that happens, it’s up to each individual to do what they can to save on drugs.
There are a number of ways that you can shave money off of your monthly prescriptions, which could lead to hundreds of dollars in savings annually. Below, our team shares what we feel are the nine best ways to keep both your body — and your bank account —healthy.
Be Selective About Which Prescriptions You Fill
Western doctors rely on prescriptions to fix most things. For example, rather than pushing lifestyle changes that could lower a patient’s cholesterol, many doctors turn to prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications.
As we’re sure you know, just because your doctor prescribes you something, doesn’t mean that you have to fill/pay for that prescription.
Talk with your physician about alternative courses of action when they suggest you start taking a new drug. It could be that spending a little bit of extra time grocery shopping or taking 15-minutes per day to meditate could deal with many of your chronic issues.
Request a Drug’s Generic Form
Once a new drug is developed, the creators of that drug have a window of exclusivity on it. When that window closes, other drug companies can copy their formula and release non-branded forms of the medication at a steeply reduced price.
Whenever your doctor prescribes you a drug, ask them if there’s a generic version on the market. If they say that there is, request that they prescribe it instead.
Generic drugs can easily cost 50% less than name-brand medications.
Ensure That Your Insurance Is Saving You Money
Because of the policies outlined in your insurance and the wide array of drug prices, it may cost you more to pay for a medication with insurance than it would cost you to pay for it out of pocket.
For example, if your insurance carries a $40 co-pay, but a particular drug is only $35, you might end up overpaying by $5, depending on your policy provisions.
Ask your pharmacist how much your prescription costs without insurance. If it’s more than your co-pay, request to pay your bill in cash.
Shake Up Your Coverage
People invest in low-quality insurance policies because the monthly premiums are low. While that arrangement works if you’re healthy and rarely see the doctor, if you’re picking up medications regularly, a more comprehensive insurance policy could benefit you.
When October rolls around and health insurance enrollment opens up, try to opt into a policy that covers more of your drug expenditures. Even if the policy costs more per month, you may end up saving enough on your prescriptions to offset the additional spending.
Look for Coupons on Popular Medications
Name brand medications offer coupons online to entice people to purchase them over competing brands. In most cases, you’ll still save more money by buying generic medication than you would by buying discounted branded products. If you have a psychical or psychological aversion to generic prescriptions, though, coupons are a great way to make costs manageable.
Coupons can be found through drug manufacturers’ websites, through your healthcare provider or through third-party providers, like GoodRx.
Price Shop Between Pharmacies
The price of a drug can vary drastically from pharmacy to pharmacy. Consequently, one of the easiest things that you can do to save on drugs is to shop around.
Be aware as you’re price shopping that some pharmacies may be running offers for new customers that aren’t indicative of how much you’ll pay for your prescriptions long-term. Try to find a pharmacy that offers every day low prices so you can rely on them for years to come.
See If You Qualify for Prescription Assistance
There are government and private organizations that help low-income people pay for their medications. For example, state Medicaid programs can help low-income individuals get their medication 100% free. Programs like the National Patient Advocate Foundation can also help facilitate assistance for certain individuals.
Look Into International Options
Resources like this website help people find discount drugs in price-conscious countries like Canada. If you’re a United States resident, you’ll find that Canada’s and many other countries’ drug prices are substantially lower than prices that you’d find domestically.
But be warned: While shopping internationally is an easy way to save on drugs, in many cases, it’s considered a felony to have overseas pharmacies ship controlled substances into the United States.
Buy in Bulk
Some pharmacies will discount your drug prices if you buy a 3-month supply. Discounts are usually nominal, and in most cases, only come in the way of free shipping.
Still, waiving a $20 shipping fee multiple times per year could mean an extra $100 or so in your pocket.
Save on Drugs and Start Living a Better Life
Medical debt is the most common cause of bankruptcy in the United States. When you save on drugs, you can significantly cut down the investment that you make in healthcare, which could free you up to buy a house, start a family, and live a more fulfilled life.
We hope that we’ve given you information that could prove to be lucrative, and we welcome you to check out more of the interesting health content that we have featured on our site!