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8 Simple ways to lower prescription drug costs

8 Simple ways to lower prescription drug costs

Navin Khosla NowPatientGreen tick
Medically reviewed by Navin Khosla, BPharm and written by Rajive Patel, BPharm - Updated on 28 Dec 2023
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Table of contents
Overview1. Compare Medicare plans2. Consult with your prescriber3. Explore different pharmacies4. Utilize discount prescription cards5. Tap into Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs6. Explore State Health Insurance Assistance Programs7. Check eligibility for Extra Help8. Seek assistance from national and community charity programsSources

Prescription drug costs can be a significant financial burden, especially for Medicare beneficiaries and seniors with chronic conditions. With rising healthcare expenses, it’s crucial to find ways to lower the costs of prescription drugs. These high costs can force Americans to make difficult choices between paying their household expenses and rationing their medication doses. U.S.-based Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly a quarter of Americans surveyed had trouble paying for their prescription medication. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore eight effective strategies that can help you take control of your drug coverage and reduce prescription expenses.

1. Compare Medicare plans

When it comes to curbing your drug costs, the first step is to carefully evaluate and compare different Medicare Part D plans. Look beyond the monthly premiums and consider factors such as co-pays, deductibles, and coverage limits. Medicare’s plan finder tool can be a valuable resource to understand how each plan covers the medications you need. Keep in mind that prices for the same drugs can vary significantly between different plans, so it’s essential to choose wisely. Be aware that insurance companies use something called drug formularies, which specify medications they prefer in order to keep costs down.

Contact Medicare.gov or 1–800– MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.

2. Consult with your prescriber

To optimize your medication regimen and potentially lower costs, it is essential to have open communication with your prescriber. Go through your list of prescriptions and discuss with your healthcare provider whether there are any unnecessary medications that can be eliminated. Additionally, inquire about lower-cost alternatives, such as generic drugs over brand-name drugs that can serve the same purpose. By working together, you can streamline your medication routine and reduce expenses.

3. Explore different pharmacies

Don’t limit yourself to a single pharmacy when shopping for your prescriptions. Prices can vary significantly between different pharmacies, even within close proximity. Take the time to call or visit various pharmacies in your area to compare prices. Consider looking beyond chain stores and explore options at grocery stores, big-box retailers, and independent online pharmacies. These smaller establishments often have different deals with drug manufacturers, allowing them to offer competitive prices.

4. Utilize discount prescription cards

Discount prescription cards can be a game-changer when it comes to saving money on your medications. Some websites provide online searches that show you multiple prices and options in your area, along with valuable coupons and discount codes. Retail outlets also offer prescription discount cards that can provide significant savings. Some of these cards even offer additional features like delivery services, making it more convenient and cost-effective to obtain your medications.

5. Tap into Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs

Many drug companies offer assistance programs that provide discounted or free prescription drugs to eligible individuals. While not all drugs may be covered, these programs can be a lifeline for high-priced or specialty medications. Reach out directly to the pharmaceutical company or use Medicare’s database to determine availability and potential savings. Programs like these can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs and make your prescription medications more affordable.

6. Explore State Health Insurance Assistance Programs

In addition to pharmaceutical assistance programs, many states have their own assistance programs to help lower prescription drug costs. Contact your state’s Insurance Department or Department of Health and Human Services, Elderly and Adult Services Division to inquire about available resources. These state-based programs may have specific requirements, such as low income or enrollment fees, but they can provide substantial savings for eligible individuals.

7. Check eligibility for Extra Help

The Extra Help program is a federal government initiative designed to assist Medicare beneficiaries with prescription drug spending. If you have prescription drug coverage but struggle with co-pays, deductibles, premiums, and coinsurance, you may qualify for Extra Help. Social Security requires an application to determine eligibility based on income, assets, and other factors. If approved, you may even be eligible for retroactive reimbursement for prescription expenses incurred during the application process.

8. Seek assistance from national and community charity programs

The generosity of national and community charity programs can make a significant difference in reducing prescription medication costs. Start by conducting an online search for organizations dedicated to providing medication assistance for individuals in need. You’ll likely find a wealth of resources specific to various medical conditions. Additionally, the National Council on Aging offers a tool that helps you search for benefits programs based on your geographic area, further expanding your options for cost savings.

By implementing these eight strategies, you can take control of your prescription drug costs and ensure access to the medications you need without breaking the bank. Understanding that drug prices are not uniform, and deciding to shop around for prescriptions, can save you a considerable amount. Remember to regularly review your drug coverage, consult with your prescriber, explore different pharmacies, consider generic medications and leverage assistance programs to maximize your savings. With a proactive approach, you can navigate the complexities of prescription drug expenses and prioritize your health without compromising your financial well-being.

Sources

Medical Disclaimer

NowPatient has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that all material is factually accurate, complete, and current. However, the knowledge and experience of a qualified healthcare professional should always be sought after instead of using the information in this page. Before taking any drug, you should always speak to your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider.

The information provided here about medications is subject to change and is not meant to include all uses, precautions, warnings, directions, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or negative effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a particular medication does not imply that the medication or medication combination is appropriate for all patients or for all possible purposes.

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