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How To Save Money On Your Prescriptions.

Prescription drug prices are heading up, just like almost anything else that we all depend on in our daily lives. While some insurance plans do cover popular drugs, but many people still pay hundreds, if not thousands, each month for their medicine. But with a little digging and a little work, there are many ways to save money on the drugs that you need!

  • Go generic. This should be an obvious one, but there are millions of people paying for brand name drugs that are available in cheaper generic versions. Before you leave the doctor’s office, make sure he or she is giving you a script for generic drugs, and if he isn’t, ask why and request that he only give you generic prescriptions when he can.
  • Get a prescription discount card. Although you will have to pay a yearly fee, you could save 20-30% on your prescriptions. There are many to choose from and I am sure some are better than others. Ask your plan manager for information about which one to choose.
  • Get your medicine from the less expensive pharmacies. Wal-mart and Target now offer a lot of generic prescriptions for $4 or $5 dollars a month, and although I don’t shop at Wal-mart, I am glad they are helping out those who cannot afford their prescriptions.
  • Ask for free samples from the doctor. When I was going through a bad bout with hives, my doctor gave me $500 worth of steroids…for free. They were a sample pack of something not available in generics yet, and they did their job. It never hurts to ask.
  • Order your medicine through the mail. If possible and if your insurance plan covers it, ask your doctor for a 90 day prescription, and then check with your benefits manager at work as to where you can get scripts by mail. Take a look at prescription benefit managers online like Medco and Caremark.
  • Take a trip to Mexico. I didn’t tell you to do it, but medicine is definitely cheaper down south.
  • Stop taking them. This is, of course, not for those medicines that you NEED. I am talking about making lifestyle changes that could take you off the drugs. If your high blood pressure is from sitting on the couch each night eating Doritos, then maybe you could get some exercise and eat an apple. Just a thought – it’s much cheaper to exercise and eat right than it is to pay for medical care!
  • Order them from Canada. Sure, the legality is questionable, but if I had to have a medicine that I could not afford here in the States, I would definitely either order it from a Canadian pharmacy or drive over the border to get it. There are even bus trips for seniors to get the drugs they need, which is just shameful that they even have to do that to afford them.
  • Ask for assistance from pharmaceutical companies. Many companies have programs in place to help those with affording the medicines they need.
  • Search for natural alternatives. There are many natural herbs and foods that do the same thing that some drugs do, so it might be worth it to check with a homeopathic doctor to see if there is one that will work for your condition.
  • Have your doctor prescribe you higher-dosage pills and split them. That way, you get double the amount of medicine for the same price. If you require 100MG pills of something, ask if he or she can prescribe 200MG pills instead, and just cut them in half.
  • Put some money in a flexible savings account, which is money put aside for medical expenses BEFORE taxes, saving you a little bit of cash for things you are going to have to buy anyway.

So what am I missing here? Anyone have any other ideas for saving money on prescriptions?

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Comments (8)

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  1. Miranda says:

    There are a surprising number of ways that you can reduce your prescription costs. We recently added a prescription deductible to our health insurance plan. It has lowered our premium, and we are saving close to $500 this way.

  2. David says:

    Good idea Miranda, have never seen that option on our plan!

  3. Trish says:

    I am working on staying as far away from “western” medicine as I can. The only prescription I’m still on is an inhaled steroid for mild asthma. When my husband’s company went out of business earlier this year and we lost our health insurance, I called my doctor and asked for samples. Then I started going to the local chiropractor/kinesiologist. At first he started working on issues with my back, but the last visit I asked him to start working on my allergies. I have already noticed quite a bit of lessening of need for the inhaler, plus my body feels better overall. I am now starting to wean myself off the inhaler. And I’m only going to see this guy once every two weeks!

    Having worked for a pharmaceutical company for 16 years when I was younger, I’m not a fan of the side effects of their products. I’ve made it a goal to use gentler methods, holistic alternatives, etc. It’s a LOT cheaper than getting pulled onto the Rx treadmill! Plus I’ve found that holistic healers tend to look for the source of the health problem and work to correct that (yes, by recommending things like getting off the couch and walking, doing stretching exercises, yoga/tai chi, start lifting light weights, eating healthier, herbal supplements, healthy teas, etc), rather than try to mask the symptoms with drugs.

    Just take a look at shows like The Biggest Loser. Look at how many meds those people are able to drop as they lose weight/get more fit/learn to eat healthier.

    A diabetic friend with a bad back got me started on this track years ago, and I’ll be forever grateful for her advice. She’s also off most of her meds.

  4. Ron says:

    On balance, I’m in agreement with you. The only problem I have with generics is that they’re usually 30+ year old technology. The patents last about 20 years and they were at least 10 years in development and testing (sometimes longer). I use them when I can, but I always wonder why health insurance plans (like the one I’m on now) ONLY pay for generics. Any others and you’re in the 80-20 rule after you’ve shelled out your deductible.

    My daughter has Crohn’s disease, an auto-immune condition that has drug companies making rapid advances in drug technology. Over 600,000 people have this disease and we’re all anxiously awaiting the newest technology in drug treatment which represents greater relief and hopefully one day, a cure. Right now, just ONE drug she takes is $1,700 every eight weeks. It has been on the market only 4 years, but it’s the only one that we’ve had any success with. Yeah, $1,700 dollars. I hit my deductible in January every year …

  5. Enrique S says:

    I’m a big fan of the FSA. At least my medical expenses, including prescriptions, are paid with pre-tax dollars.

  6. David says:

    Wow Ron, that is a hell of a lot of money. However, I am glad that it is effective, which is worth every penny I imagine :)

  7. rambkowalczyk says:

    I think buying medicine in Canada may have its own health risk. See website below.

    http://www.safemedicines.org/2009/02/what-you-dont-know-about-importing-drugs-from-canada.html

  8. Jan says:

    I go generic and use a discount drug card. I know there are a ton of them out there but I get my drug card from usamedsaver.com. Generic meds usually offer a greater savings than brand name meds so it’s almost like a double discount. It saves me about $75 a month and it’s free. I would never pay for a card.
    There are definitely some reputable canadian pharmacies out there. You just need to do some research.
    I am not sure if I would go to mexico to buy my meds. That sounds a little scary.

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