10 Tips for Saving Money on Prescription Medications

Prescription drug commercials do a good job of making everything about the products seem good. However, the prices actually wind up being much higher than many seniors can afford. There are several ways to save money on prescriptions.

1. Coupons Pharmacies and discount stores take the time to send out quite a few coupons, so it is a good idea to make use of them. Searching online is even easier, and there are many apps such as GoodRX that help seniors find the best drug prices and pharmacies near them. Price comparison apps also exist. While shopping at the pharmacy, ask about a discount card. Most large pharmacies offer these to help customers save even more.

2. Generics Nearly 80 percent of prescriptions today are written for generics. These are bio-equivalent drugs for the name-brand ones. However, they cost between 80 and 85 percent less than their name-brand counterparts. Experts estimated that buying generic drugs saved Americans a total of about $3 billion every week in 2010. Also, the 17-year patents that exist on many big-name drugs will end during the next several years. When this happens, it will be easier to find generics for several drugs that did not have these options in the past.

3. Tests Another good way to ensure a drug is more useful than harmful without investing a lot is to ask the prescribing physician for a free sample. They often have trial packages with enough to last for 10 or 14 days, so this helps patients decide if a med is right for them. If it works well, use that time to also search for long-term discounts. There are often free trial offers from drug manufacturers in magazines or online.

4. Government Programs There are drug assistance programs provided in many states to help seniors pay for the gap between what is covered and what they must come up with out of pocket. There are programs for Medicare Part D in addition to resources for finding treatments. The Medicare site offers more information about these.

5. Pill Splitting Buying pills that can be cut in half will help save money, so ask a physician if a particular prescription is appropriate for this. If the pill is coated or is a time-release capsule, avoid doing this. This can be difficult with small pills, but pharmacies sell pill cutters that are tapered to cut many different sizes of pills.

6. OTC Drugs Doctors may recommend over-the-counter drugs in some situations. For example, a doctor may decide that an over-the-counter allergy substance will work instead of a prescription one for a senior. Be sure to ask about this any time a physician prescribes something new.

7. Patient Assistance Programs Nonprofit organizations and pharmaceutical companies sometimes provide discounts or grants to people who need financial help. Needymeds.org is one option, and discuss other options with an agent.

8. Order By Mail Costs can be reduced by ordering long-term supplies by mail. Avoid shady companies on the Internet that cannot be verified, but use the resources provided by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Sites listed with this organization have been inspected and verified for quality practices and upholding the highest standards. When shopping online, watch for the VIPPS seal.

9. Shop Local Ask local friends, relatives or health care providers where to find the best prices. Many pharmacies are willing to offer seniors lower prices in exchange for a loyalty commitment. Keep in mind that they desire repeat customers and a long-term business relationship.

10. Wholesale Clubs Costco and other wholesale clubs offer discounted prices for members’ prescriptions. In some cases, wholesale clubs may not require membership to purchase drugs there. This is often a good way to save a great deal of money.

Saving money on prescriptions takes some research and invested time, but it is well worth every minute. To learn more about options, call ACBI at 203-259-7580 or visit our website. 

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