Saving at the Pharmacy Counter: How to Lower Your Prescription Drug Costs
There are simple steps you can take that may reduce the amount you pay for medications
If you're a budget-conscious consumer, you're always on the lookout for new ways to reduce your expenses on everything from insurance to groceries to utilities. But did you know that you can also lower the amounts you pay for prescription drugs?
Get control of your medication expenses by following these five tips:
- Tell your doctor you want to save on medication costs.
- Choose your insurance plan wisely.
- Think about not using your insurance to pay for the drug, then shop around.
- Find discount coupons online.
- Ask your pharmacist for a better deal.
According to a recent survey conducted by Consumer Reports, only six percent of people found out how much a new medication cost during their doctor's visit in spite of the toll that rising drug prices are taking on consumers.
Always speak up when the doctor is writing your prescription. Let them know that cost matters to you as well as safety and effectiveness.
Ask about the possibility of switching to a generic—which can cost as much as 90 percent less than brand-name drugs—or about a less expensive "therapeutic substitution," a different drug that works just as well. Talk about eliminating drugs you don't need any more and non-drug options that can also help your condition, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, exercise, or improving your diet. Ask for a 90-day prescription instead of a 30-day one so you pay one co-pay rather than three.
When you're deciding on a health plan, choose one that covers the medicines you need at a price you can afford. Since coverage will probably change each year, compare different plans during your open enrollment period.
Remember that high-deductible plans include lower monthly premiums but require you to pay more of the costs for your medications.
If your plan either reduces or drops coverage of a particular drug during the year, your doctor can appeal to your insurance company for an exception to cover the drug for you. Each company's administrative process for filing exceptions is different, and it can take a few weeks before a decision is made.
Many chain and big-box pharmacies, such as Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart, offer hundreds of prescription medications for just a few dollars for a one-month supply for so-called "cash-paying" customers. Get into the habit of asking the pharmacist whether you'll pay less if you bypass your insurance.
Before you pay, call around to different pharmacies in the area and check their prices, since they can vary significantly from one pharmacy to the next even within the same ZIP code.
If you'll be paying out of pocket, look up prices and discounts at nearby pharmacies ahead of time using price-comparison websites like GoodRx.com, BlinkHealth.com, or LowestMed.com.
You might also try a low-cost online pharmacy based in the U.S., such as HealthWarehouse.com, but beware of fraudulent sites. Use only those online retailers operating within the U.S. and displaying the VIPPS symbol indicating that it is a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site. After verifying legitimate retailers, read their terms carefully.
If you find out that your medicine is more expensive than you were expecting when you go to the pharmacy, ask the pharmacist to do some digging to find the best deal. This can yield deeper savings in the form of discount programs, cards, or coupons.
Are you using an independent pharmacy? If so, ask whether or not it will match or beat competitors' prices.
Can you Use Money That Is Mistakenly Deposited Into Your Account?
Have you ever noticed that your bank account somehow had 'extra' money in it even though you knew for a fact it wasn't yours? If so, you are not alone. It happens more often than you would think. All it takes is for a bank teller to type in one wrong number at the time a deposit is being made.
Is the 10 and 2 Driving Position Now Dangerous in Newer Cars? If Your Car Has Airbags, You May Want To Change This Habit.
Advances in airbag technology have made 10 and two quite dangerous, according to the American Driver and Traffic Safety Association. The old position puts the driver's fingers, hands and arms in the way of the airbag, which deploys at speeds of nearly 250 mph.
It's Possible To Remove Minor Car Scratches With Whitening Toothpaste
Have you ever considered using toothpaste on your car to take out a few of those minor scratches? If the scratch hasn't yet penetrated the clearcoat, there is a good chance that you can fix the problem with a little bit of elbow grease and whitening toothpaste.
The Better Business Bureau Can't Really Do What You Think It Can Do
Tell all of your friends and family that you have some type of consumer complaint. We bet that at least half of them will tell you to contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for some kind of resolution. But can the BBB really help consumers? It really isn't what you think it is.