Medication can feel like a fixed expense. You might assume that the cost of medication and especially the cost of prescription drugs is fixed. When you’re working on your budget and looking for places to save, prescription medication might feel like an area that doesn’t leave much wriggle room or space for saving.
The good news is that there are actually a few ways to save on prescription drug costs if you just know where to look. You may be able to make some significant savings each month.
1. Speak To Your Doctor
It may sound a little awkward to discuss your finances with your doctor, but the good news is that your doctor can help you save on medication costs. Doctors are used to these kinds of questions and there are a couple of ways they can help you save money on prescription drugs.
Ask About Switching To A Generic
Ask your doctor about switching to generic medications. Occasionally generic drugs don’t work as well as the original, brand name versions. For the most part, though, the generics contain all the same active ingredients as the brand name versions. They are just far less expensive. Your doctor will be able to tell you if the generic version of your medication is as effective. If your doctor is happy with the generic version, then you can ask them to write you a prescription for the generic drugs instead of the brand name.
Ask About Alternative Treatments
If the cost of your prescription medications is becoming a problem, ask your doctor about alternative treatments and options. There may be other ways to handle your condition which are cheaper. Remember to ask your doctor about lifestyle changes you can make that could help lower the amount you need to spend on prescription drugs.
Don’t Do It Alone
It’s really important that you make decisions about your medication with the help of a qualified doctor or health care professional. You don’t want to be making decisions about which medications to use and which treatment to follow without medical advice. Your doctor will be able to give you the correct medical advice and recommend a treatment that fits your pocket and your health care needs. It’s really important that you don’t stop taking a prescription drug without talking to your doctor first.
2. Buy In Bulk
If you’re going to be needing to take your prescription medications for at least a few months, then you can save money by buying a 30 day supply or even a 90 day supply all in one go. Most places will offer a prescription discount if you buy more than a month’s supply of your medication all in one go.
If you’re starting a new drug, buy a small amount at first. You may even be able to get a sample of the medication from your doctor. It’s important to make sure that you will actually be able to use the medication, and that your prescription drugs work for you before you buy a 90 day supply. Buying the wrong medication in bulk is a big waste of money.
3. Shop Around
This might sound novel, but the cost of medications can vary quite dramatically depending on where you buy your prescription drugs. Even a small variation in price can make a big difference when you’re making the same purchase month after month. Shopping around is one of the best ways to save on medications and there are quite a few options to look into.
Compare Pharmacy Prices
Don’t assume that all pharmacies in your area charge the same amount. Phone around and find out the prices for your prescription drug. You can even use an online comparison to see which pharmacy has the best price for your prescription medication.
Some pharmacies will also offer a discount if you pay in cash. If you pay in cash, they can save on card fees and they don’t have to wait for insurance companies to reimburse them. Not all pharmacies offer a cash price, but it’s worth asking next time you fill your prescription.
Try Big Box Stores
Sometimes big box stores have really good prices and specials. Remember to check their prices when you’re shopping around for prescription medications and use any loyalty cards that are applicable.
Look Out For Coupons And Online Discounts
Finding the lowest prices doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Rewards sites like Swagbucks can help you save big when you need to fill your prescription. They often have discounts and coupons available for medical expenses. Swagbucks will also find and apply coupons to your online purchases which can help you make big savings with minimal effort.
Some pharmacies also offer loyalty cards or discounts. These can often be found online or applied for in-store. The savings and rewards can add up quickly, so it’s worth signing up for these programs.
Try An Online Pharmacy
Mail-order and online pharmacies can be cheaper. They’re generally more streamlined and efficient and don’t have as many operating costs as a traditional pharmacy. This means that they can often provide prescription drugs at well below retail price. Another advantage is that you don’t need to wait for your pills at the pharmacy counter because they’re usually delivered right to your doorstep.
4. Find Out About Assistance Programs
If you are having trouble affording your medication, you may qualify for assistance. Patient assistance programs provide financial support to people who can’t afford their medication. Making use of a patient assistance program can help reduce the cost of your monthly healthcare. They usually determine who qualifies based on income level. The requirements vary according to the state you live in, so check the requirements in your area to find out if you qualify to receive a prescription discount.
5. Re-evaluate Your Insurance
If your medical costs are getting out of hand, it might be time to reconsider your health insurance and check what savings can be made.
Different programs offer different benefits and drug coverage. It may be that your benefits are not well matched to your requirements. Shop around a bit. Compare prices and then decide which plan can offer the best coverage for your needs.
Sometimes paying a little more in insurance each month, can help lower your out-of-pocket costs on medication. Sometimes the opposite is true and you’re paying too much for insurance that doesn’t cover the cost of your medications.
If you qualify for Medicare, you can add on a prescription drug plan that will help reduce the amount that you spend at the pharmacy each month.
It’s Worth The Effort
Most of these ways to save require some effort and input, but they are well worth the discount and savings at the end of the day. A little bit of research on medical insurance and medication prices can help you start saving money each month, without compromising your health. The best part is, once you put in the effort, you’ll keep reaping the rewards month after month.
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