There’s no getting around it: prescription drugs are expensive. In fact, if you have a lousy insurance policy, you could end up paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket just to get your hands on the medications that you need.
Are you in this position? Wondering how to soften the blow? There are a few different ways to save on prescription costs, all of which we’ll discuss in this article.
- Opt for Generics
In general, there are two types of prescription drugs: Name-brand drugs and generic drugs. When it comes to cost, it’s not even close: generic drugs are substantially cheaper than name-brand drugs. In fact, in most cases, generic versions are around 80% to 85% cheaper than name-brand versions.
Of course, this means that generic drugs are of lower quality than name-brand drugs, right? Not at all, actually.
In fact, in the vast majority of cases, name-brand drugs and their generic equivalents share exact ingredients. As such, there’s really no reason to ever opt for name-brands.
So, when your doctor is writing you up a prescription, be sure to ask if there’s a generic version available. If there is, your doctor will be glad to write it up for you.
- Make Use of Assistance Programs
Another way to save money on prescriptions is to make use of assistance programs. There are quite a few assistance programs available in the United States, some of which can help you save as much as hundreds of dollars a month.
First, look to your state and local governments. Most states provide specialized assistance programs, as well as a program called Medicare Extra Help. The latter is beneficial to those on Medicare.
Next, you should look for non-profit assistance programs. Some popular ones include Partnership for Prescription Assistance and Needy Meds. You might be able to find others by searching for “non-profit prescription assistance” in Google or another search engine.
- Take Advantage of Big Box Pharmacies
Often times, pharmacies themselves will provide discounts. This is particularly true at big box store pharmacies (i.e. Walmart, Kroger, etc.). In fact, depending on the prescription you need, a big box store pharmacy could save you tens to hundreds of dollars a month.
These pharmacies offer discounts in two ways. In some cases, they hand out coupons for $10 or $15 off. That said, many of these pharmacies offer select drugs at discount prices initially.
A 30-day prescription of anti-depressants, for instance, can often be purchased for $4 at such a pharmacy. 90-day prescriptions are often sold for as little as $8. In comparison, you could be paying as much as $30 for a standard 30-day prescription.
Note, you can take advantage of these deals regardless of whether or not you have insurance. Over the course of a year, they can save you a substantial amount of money.
- Get a Bigger Dose
Another way you might be able to save money is by opting for a bigger dose. For instance, if you take 2 5-milligram pills, you might instead opt for a prescription that allows you to take 1 10-milligram pill. Often times, these bigger doses will be available for a smaller amount of money.
Note, however, that not all drugs can be taken this way. If your meds require you to divvy up your dose throughout the course of a day, you won’t be able to obtain such a prescription.
In any case, you should ask your doctor if it’s a possibility. If it is, your doctor will likely be glad to write up a new prescription for you.
- Ask for a Larger Prescription
If you’re required to make a copay on your prescription drugs, you should ask for a larger prescription. In doing so, you can reduce the number of co-pays you have to make, thus reducing the total amount of money you spend over time.
For instance, if you get a 30-day prescription now, you’re subject to a copay every month. However, by getting a 90-day prescription instead, you would only be subjected to a copay every 3 months.
Ask your doctor if a larger prescription is possible. As long as you’re taking your meds long-term, your doctor should accommodate you.
- Shop Online Pharmacies
If you don’t have insurance, you might find that your cheapest option is buying from an online pharmacy. There are online pharmacies located all over the world, most of which sell to United States citizens.
In many cases, it’s wisest to buy from Australia, New Zealand, or Canadian-based pharmacies. These pharmacies sell their drugs at low prices but are still governed by the type of stringent regulations that you’ll find in the states. In other words, they offer safe products at bargain prices.
This online pharmacy is an example of such pharmacies. However, there are many more in existence as well.
- Open an HSA
Your last option is to open an HSA. HSAs or health savings accounts can be funded with pre-tax money and then used to buy prescriptions at a later date. If you need expensive prescriptions on a regular basis, HSAs can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.
Generally speaking, you can open an HSA through your employer. You will then fund it with portions of your paycheck. Note, however, that if you’re self-employed, you’ll need to open one yourself.
Time to Save on Prescription Costs
If you’re looking to save on prescription costs, the tips reviewed above will help you to do so. Over the course of a year, these tips can save you anywhere from tens to hundreds to maybe even thousands of dollars. In other words, they’re well worth using.
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