Pricey Prescriptions: Practical Pointers for Getting the Meds You Need

Prescription drug costs are growing higher and higher each year and many people — especially those with a fixed or low income — have trouble coming up with the money they need to pay for them. This can not only be dangerous, even life-threatening, but is puts added stress on those who are already in less-than-perfect health.

The good news is that there are ways you can get help in reducing the cost of prescription drugs or even help in with paying for them. Many prescription drugs can costs hundreds of dollars out of pocket — even with health insurance coverage — so finding all the help you can to get the medicines you need is important. If you find yourself struggling with the cost of prescription drugs, here are a few tips you can use to see if you can get the costs reduced, or to find extra money helping you pay for them.

Talk to Your Pharmacist

If you need to take prescription drugs regularly, you should talk to your pharmacist to see if there are any alternatives that you can take in order to save money.

Drug prices can increase or decrease very quickly and your doctor may not be aware of the price change. After all, your doctor’s job is to prescribe the medicines that you need to live a healthy life, not monitor the costs of the drugs. Your pharmacist, on the other hand, has daily access to the medicines in stock and should be able to tell you if there are similar drugs available and lower prices.

Many drugs have cheaper “generic” versions that do the exact same thing. Don’t be thrown off by the generic label: they are the same drug — approved by the government just like the name brands — but can cost up to 30% less than the name brand. You can visit Rx Outreach for more information on saving for your prescription drugs.

Think About Getting Insurance

If you are uninsured, you should think about getting health care coverage. Many of the plans will help you pay for your prescription drugs, taking up a large portion of the financial burden.

Sure, you will then be responsible for monthly health care payments, but the trade-off could be to your advantage. If you need a high-cost medication — one that may cost hundreds of dollars per pill — you will certainly save money by paying the insurance premiums and getting financial help than paying for the medicine yourself. Simply do the math and see if the yearly cost of health care will be lower than the total cost of your prescriptions.

Remember, though, that if you aren’t insured you’ll be paying a penalty as well, so make sure you factor that into your math.

If You Are Insured, Call Them

If you already have insurance, you should call an agent to see if they can help you.

Many times, they will give you some alternative drugs that your plan covers that your pharmacist may not think about, which can save you money. Sometimes, your insurance will only pay a portion of the cost for prescription drugs but will cover all of the costs for the generic version. Therefore, it might be crucial that you invest in good Medicare Advantage plans beforehand.

Other times, the company may give you alternative plans that you can sign up for that will, in the long run, save you money. Certain plans cover certain drugs and costs, so moving up a tier of coverage may cost a little more per month, but it may reduce your overall costs when you factor in the price of your prescriptions. The best thing to do is to call an agent and tell them your concerns: they will help you however they can.

Apply for a Patient Assistance Program

Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) are offered by the drug manufacturers themselves to help low-income patients get the drugs they need.

Each company will have its own program, but your doctor will probably have to apply for you. Also, most PAPs will not allow you to join if you can qualify for Medicare Part D, so find out if you are eligible for the government coverage first.

You may still be required to pay out of pocket costs, but PAPs can offer prescription drugs at drastically reduced prices. Find out which drug manufacturer makes your prescription and talk to your doctor about applying. You could see a significant drop in your drug spending, or at least get some assistance that will take the strain of off you and your family.

Joshua Pollard needs several prescriptions each month to keep his body working properly. He has learned some tricks to manage the costs over recent years which he now shares with others.