Did you know that 25 percent of Americans struggle to pay for their medications?
This problem especially impacts people between 50 and 64 who have chronic health issues but can’t get Medicare coverage yet. But anybody with or without insurance can easily struggle if they’re prescribed a new brand name drug or get a scary diagnosis.
Luckily, there are several steps you can take to fit your prescriptions into your budget. The main key is to look for as many discounts as possible and even consider changing how or where you order your medications.
So before you head out to your usual pharmacy, learn about these five tricks to save on prescriptions in 2020.
1. Save a Bundle By Choosing Generics
Has your doctor ever prescribed you a brand name drug just for you to be shocked at the price? In fact, some of the most expensive brand name medications can run thousands to millions of dollars!
While your medication hopefully doesn’t cost that much, you can still save on drugs significantly if you skip out on the brand name version and look for a generic. In fact, most medications people pick up at the pharmacy are the generic version, and there are good reasons why.
First, you can save anywhere up to 85 percent buying a generic drug. Second, you don’t have to sacrifice quality or effectiveness either. The Federal Drug Administration holds these drugs to the same standards as brand name versions.
2. Look for Coupon and Discount Programs
Doing some searching online to learn about manufacturer’s coupons and patient assistance programs can save you money. You can maybe even get some free medications. These options usually work best when your medication doesn’t have a generic available.
Start with your drug manufacturer’s website. For example, the maker of your asthma inhaler might offer a discount card that gives you either free inhalers or allows for refills for a set fee like $30. Having insurance usually doesn’t disqualify you for such discounts, but you may need to meet income requirements.
Also explore any drug discount programs your state, charities, or healthcare companies might offer. You can do a quick search online to find options, or you can ask your doctor for recommendations.
You can also always sign up for an annual membership with a drug discount card. This option can help you get a percentage off of your drugs at included pharmacies. Some have options to provide you with additional discounts for vision, medical, and dental services.
3. See About a Larger Supply or Different Strength
Whether you choose brand name or generic drugs, your doctor can possibly modify your prescription to help you save money. You can either get each pill for less or make a regular supply last longer.
Larger supplies of medication usually cost less per-pill than a usual one-month supply. So, having your doctor write a prescription for a 90-day supply can potentially save you money. Check your insurance benefits since you might get an even better deal ordering a larger supply through the mail.
Your doctor may also allow you to have a higher strength medication and split the pills. This could allow your supply to last twice as long and save you half in medication costs! Ask your doctor if this is possible for your specific pill.
4. Check Medication Prices at Different Pharmacies Online
Price comparison is a must if you’re looking for how to save money on prescription drugs. Prices for both generic and branded medications can vary widely by pharmacy. Also, your insurance benefits may make you pay more through certain pharmacies.
If you want to avoid the hassle of calling pharmacies individually, use a website like SearchRX. Here you can type your prescription information and zip code and see real-time price information at pharmacies near you. This site also lets you know about medication coupons, so you can maximize your savings!
When looking around, don’t forget to consider discount prescription programs that popular retailers like Walmart, Rite Aid, Sam’s Club, and Meijer offer. You can often find a 30-day supply of a generic for $10 or less and a 90-day supply for under $20.
Surprisingly, you might even find local pharmacies that offer your medication for free! You’ll have the most luck if you just need a common type of antibiotic. But other pharmacies give free medications for chronic illnesses like diabetes and high cholesterol.
5. Order Online Through a Canadian Pharmacy
Looking outside the United States can help you save money on prescriptions if even the generic version is expensive. You just have to understand the pros and cons along with the legality of the option.
For example, you can shop this pharmacy in Canada for both generic and name-brand medications. You can easily compare prices for different quantities before placing your order. You can handle everything from uploading your prescription to asking medication questions through this online pharmacy.
While buying from an online Canadian pharmacy is pretty easy, you should check that the pharmacy doesn’t have bad reviews and has the appropriate license. Otherwise, you might risk getting unsafe medications or not receiving your order at all.
Also, be aware of regulations on imported medications. Bringing in medications from Canada is often illegal depending on the drug type and its availability in the United States. But there are some exceptions for low-risk medications and special drugs, so don’t disregard the option.
Now You Can Save on Prescriptions in 2020
So if you’ve found it harder and harder to pay for your essential medications, you can finally relax. You now know several ways to save on prescriptions, and these aren’t your only options either!
Along with following these five suggestions, don’t hesitate to share your concerns with your doctor or pharmacist.
Your doctor may help you out with a free sample or two, or they may know of a similar drug that costs a lot less. Your pharmacist could also share some local assistance programs with you.
Be sure to check out our other posts about healthcare for more tips and news!