Many people who have to take prescription medication on a regular basis are finding out that the cost of their medication is continually rising, even for those who have health insurance. However, for those individuals who have no health insurance, prescription medication can be exorbitantly expensive, with some medications exceeding the $200 mark for a 30-day supply. According to a recent consumer report by the National Research Center, one-third of people who are currently taking prescription medication have experienced a spike in the cost of the medications they take.
Fortunately, there are some things that people can do to help lower the cost of their prescription medication.
The Price is Not Always Set in Stone
Some shoppers have discovered that they could get a discount on their prescription medication; however, in most cases, they were only offered the discount once they inquired. So, whether the pharmacy advertises a discount or not, it is a good practice to ask about available discounts for prescriptions. In one instance in Des Moines, IA, a customer was quoted a price of $75.00 for the generic form of the drug Actos, but when the customer inquired about a better deal, she was offered the drug for significantly less, only paying $21.00 for a 30-day supply. While it should be expected for a pharmacy to always offer their customers the best possible price, that is not always the case. So, it is up to the consumer to ensure that they are paying the lowest price possible.
RX Assistance Programs
Another effective method for lowering the cost of prescription medication is to seek the assistance of RX programs that are designed specifically to assist people who cannot afford their medications. Program like RXOutreach.org offer discount services that can be used at a number of different pharmacies across the country. In many instances, people can get their prescriptions filled for less than $10.00.
Avoid Filling Prescriptions at Pharmacy Chains
In a recent study it was found that pharmacy chains consistently charge more for prescription drugs than independently owned pharmacies. Of all of the walk-in locations that were studied, Costco offered the lowest prices, and one does not need to be a member to use its pharmacy services.
Although normal rationale would suggest that the smaller independent stores would charge higher, based on the cost of acquisition, this is not always the case. Actually, some of the best discounts for prescription medications are offered at the mom and pop pharmacies. Supermarkets also offer some good deals, although the prices tend to fluctuate quite a bit.
Insurance is Not Always the Best Route
Many of the big-box and chain stores often offer some significant savings to customers who pay out-of-pocket. At places like Sam’s and Walmart, a person can often get a generic prescription filled for a low as $4.00 for a 30-day supply. Sam’s Club will even fill some prescriptions for free for members.
Get a 90-Day Supply Whenever Possible
For individuals who are taking medications on a long-term basis, it is wise to get the physician to prescribe the medication in 90-day increments. There is normally a significant saving applied to purchases of medications in larger quantities. Also, since the 90-day supply will be considered a single purchase, there will only be one co-pay that will be applicable for people with insurance copays.
For those who are paying out of pocket, it is a good idea to check online for cheaper prices. Not only can getting prescriptions filled online be less expensive, it can also be more convenient, because the prescription will be shipped directly to the door of the customer. It is worth noting that not all online pharmacies are reputable, so it would be wise to ensure that the online pharmacy being used is operating within the borders of the United States.
Confide in Your Physician
While it may be a little uncomfortable to admit to a doctor that the medication they are prescribing is creating a financial challenge, it could lead to getting some relief. Many times a doctor will be able to prescribe cheaper type of medication, or they may be able to refer the patient to a source that can assist them with acquiring the medication. Additionally, sometimes doctors will have relationships with pharmaceutical companies, and they may be able to get the medication for the patient at no charge.
With a little patience and diligence, consumers will find that there are some effective methods for lowering their monthly cost of prescription medications. It is all about knowing where to look.
Charlie Turner takes an interest in personal finance and enjoys writing articles sharing his ideas for people to save money in all aspects of life. His articles appear on a range of personal finance and frugal savings sites.