Prescriptions are not an expense you can choose to delay or decide not to purchase. Unfortunately, costs for medications have become a challenge for many people.
A recent report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee found that, on average, prices for the 20 brand-name drugs that are prescribed most often for seniors have increased by 12 percent every year for the last five years. Inflation over that period averaged only 1.5 percent annually.
While dealing with the increase in medications can be frustrating, consumers have several options to reduce their costs.
ASK FOR HELP
Talk to your doctor. Many times, doctors are not aware of what each patient must pay for their prescribed medications based on their insurance coverage. If they know cost may be a deterrent for taking the prescription, your doctor may be able to prescribe a similar medication that has a lower cost.
Talk to your pharmacist also. In 2018 legislation was passed that lifted contract clauses preventing pharmacists from informing patients they could pay less for prescription drugs by not using insurance and paying the retail rate instead. Pharmacist can speak more freely today about different options you may have to purchase your medication.
ASK FOR GENERIC
Ask your doctor and pharmacist if there are less expensive alternatives. Often generic drugs work just as well as their name-brand counterparts at a fraction of the cost.
TALK TO YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
Make sure you understand your benefits if you have prescription drug coverage. Each insurance company has a list of drugs that they do and don’t cover, called a formulary. Ask your insurance company where your prescriptions fall on that list. If your prescription is not covered, call your doctor to see if he has an alternative he can prescribe.
Most importantly, make sure you understand what co-payment or coinsurance costs may apply. Reach out to your insurance provider and have them explain your personal benefits. Many times, it helps to talk to an insurance representative directly about your specific overages instead of sifting through the general documentation.
DRUG DISCOUNT PROGRAM
Join a prescription drug discount program if your health insurance does not offer prescription drug coverage. In return for a low annual fee, you may be able to save a certain amount on each prescription purchase at participating pharmacies.
PURCHASE HIGH DOSAGE PER PILL
Some insurance companies charge based on the number of pills you purchase. Check with your doctor to see if you can purchase a higher dose of your medication and split them at home.
Prescription drug prices vary among pharmacies. Spending a few minutes comparing prices online at sites such as GoodRx may save you a significant amount. Some pharmacies may even be willing to match a competitor’s price if you ask.
Don’t forget to check with Mail Order companies also but first make sure you’re buying from a legitimate and licensed source.
Ask your pharmacist if your pharmaceutical manufacturer is offering any current promotions or coupons. You can also check with the manufacturer directly by calling or searching on-line.
Check online or download apps such as GoodRx, NeedyMeds and RxSaver that provide coupons for many prescriptions.
PATIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
Most drug companies offer patient assistance programs. These help you get free or reduced-cost medications. You will need to qualify for the program, and each manufacturer has different standards. Contact the company through their website or ask your pharmacist for help reaching out to the right place.
Find out if there are programs in your state that can help you pay for prescription drugs. These may be available to disabled individuals, seniors or others with limited income and assets.
Extra help with Medicare drug plan costs is also available to seniors who have limited income and assets.
DON’T SKIP MEDICATION
In a recent study, 29% of all adults report not taking their medicines as prescribed at some point in the past year because of the cost.
To avoid additional complications, it is important that you continue taking your medication as prescribed by your doctor. Not taking the amount prescribed will make the drug less effective and waste money. It can also lead to health complications causing additional health care costs.
DON’T DO IT ALONE
At Kuderer Financial we connect our clients to resources that improve their financial lives. Contact us today to see how we can help you with your medical expenses.