You are not imagining things. The cost of prescription drugs has increased substantially over the last few years. A report by the US Senate showed that the price of prescription drugs increased almost ten times the rate of inflation between 2012 and 2017. With those kinds of figures, it’s important to understand how to save on prescription drugs.
If you are someone who takes routine medication for a chronic illness, you feel the price hikes even more. A study by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) revealed that over 10% of Americans either delayed filling their prescriptions, took less medication than was prescribed, or skipped doses to try and save money on medications. A staggering 14% of uninsured adults were likely to resort to these measures. This statistic also does not count the thousands of people who avoid seeing the doctor all together over the fear of drug costs they couldn’t afford to pay. The CDC estimates that by not adhering to the recommended treatments and doses, a shocking 30 – 50% of chronic disease treatments fail and around 125,000 deaths occur every year in the United States as a result.
We can all agree that some price relief on the prescription drug price front would be great. Here are a few tips for you and your employees on how to save on prescription drugs the safe way.
Some Tips on How to Save on Prescription Drugs
Now you are probably wondering if there are ways that you can save on prescription drugs. Well, good news! Here’s how to save on prescription drugs and keep healthy too:
Have an Honest Chat with Your Medical Practitioner
Before going to the pharmacy, let your doctor know you would like them to prescribe you medication that is cheap but effective. Sometimes the fancy medication is simply a combination of two common drugs that are no longer patented or expensive. In other instances prescribing the generic medication usually does the trick to lower the price a good bit.
Your doctor can write you for a longer-term supply of your meds (for example, a 90-day script instead of a 30-day script). By doing this, you can avoid paying for some of your co-payments.
Do Your Research
Take the time to thoroughly understand what your health plan includes. You may find that there are pharmacies that could fill your script at a lower price because of their affiliation with your healthcare provider.
If this information isn’t clear, communicate with your provider. Ask them what perks you have at your disposal to decrease the cost of filling your script.
You can also use your health savings account to cover the cost of prescription medications. That’s what it’s for. If you want to know how to save on prescription drugs, this trick helps you save money on your medication and copays too.
Shop Around and Do Your Own Price Check
It is naȉve to assume that all medication is priced equally across pharmacies or prescription applications like GoodRX or Prescription Bliss. As with any industry, they are businesses and each will have their own profit margins. You may find a short drive could be the difference between paying $3 or $150 for the exact same medication. So, check several of the prescription applications listed on the Scoop Health website or you can make the calls yourself.
Consumer Reports secret shoppers called over 150 pharmacies to make price comparisons for one-month supplies of five drugs that are commonly prescribed. At HealthWarehouse.com (an online pharmacy), the total cost for all five drugs was $66. But, the same five drugs cost $105 at Costco. Two national retailers, CVS and Rite Aid, had all five for almost $900!
Consumer Reports went on to ask a Rite Aid store in New York whether there were discounts available. Through a combination of in-store and external discounts, they were able to get the price of a generic version of Lipitor down to $18 from $300. That is a massive price difference just for the asking, and important when you want to figure out how to save on prescription drugs. Checking multiple options for discounts is the key.
Paying Cash for Your Prescription Drugs
Sometimes, using your traditional medical insurance to pay for your prescription drugs isn’t actually cheaper. Larger drug stores tend to offer discounts for cash-pay patients. You can end up filling your script for far less than you would if you used your medical insurance. With medical cost-sharing, you can save even more as a cash-pay patient, and by using the numerous prescription drug applications listed on the Scoop Health member resources page.
So, speak to your local pharmacist to find out how to save on prescription drugs by taking advantage of the available discounts and pharmacy applications.
Don’t Be Shy… Ask and You Might Receive
Communication is key to any relationship. This applies to your pharmacist too. These are tough times, so don’t be shy to ask some questions. Find out from them whether you are able to get cheaper alternatives. Question the prices and ask them whether there would be any way to pay less. Sometimes your pharmacist may not remember a manufacturer’s discount coupon that is going on at the moment. By asking them, you could trigger their memory. That one question could save you some extra cash. This is one of the easiest tips on how to save on prescription drugs.
Some local pharmacies and grocery chains (like Publix) offer things like antibiotics and Flu shots for free. So, ask around and make sure you get yourself some of these bargains.
Pay Attention to What You are Prescribed
E-prescribing is a fast and convenient way for doctors to send prescriptions to pharmacies without you having to take a hard copy of the script with you. As convenient as this sounds, there is a catch. You might not actually get to see what you are being prescribed and not be able to find out whether there are cheaper alternatives for it.
The simple way to work around this is to ask your doctor to write down the prescription for you on a piece of paper. You can cross-check it with the medication that you get from the pharmacy to make sure you are getting the right thing. This also gives you a chance to try and find cheaper alternatives. And in figuring out how to save on prescription drugs, speaking to your pharmacist is one good thing to do.
Ask For OTC Swaps
According to the CDC, 48.4% of all Americans use at least one prescription drug every month. Sometimes, the medication you are taking can be swapped for an Over The Counter medication of lower strength. Ask your doctor whether this swap can be done and whether it would be healthy for you to make that kind of change. OTC medications do tend to be cheaper and you could get effective medication at a fraction of the cost.
How to Save On Prescription Drugs: Get Some Freebies
Doctors are often given free samples of medications by pharmaceutical companies. Ask your doctor if they have any of these sample medications available and whether you could try them. If you don’t ask the doctor probably isn’t going to think about offering you sample medications.
Another hack when trying to understand how to save on prescription drugs is to speak to the drug company directly. Some drug companies have patient assistance programs that allow you to either buy the medication at a discounted price or even get it for free in some cases of exceptional need. Some of these manufacturer programs only apply to ultra-high cost medications, so contact the drug company directly to find out if they can help you.
Enjoying Even More Savings With Medical Cost Sharing From Scoop Health
Medical cost-sharing is an innovative, community-based way to pay for your medical expenses and prescription drugs that come with a medical need. When you become a part of our community, you join a group of people who are encouraged to stay healthy for more savings. Our medical cost-sharing family provides you with the financial means to confidently seek medical attention in your time of need. We have a wide range of resources available to our members, such as telemedicine, free second opinions, and a free resource that compared over 30 of the best prescription drug tools to find members the absolute best price for their medications. that result in even more savings. Click here to look at all of the amazing resources available to our members.
If you or your employees want to know how to save on prescription drugs, medical cost-sharing from Scoop Health is here to help you every step of the way.