Prescription medicines are used by up to 66% of the adult population in the United States. And according to the CDC, around 46% of people use at least one prescription medicine per month.
Inflation affects everything, including medications. We are seeing significant price hikes on hundreds of prescription drugs. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll, one in every four persons struggles to pay for their prescription. More specifically, 19% do not fill their prescription, 18% substitute an over-the-counter medication, and 12% cut their tablets in half or miss doses.
If you’re looking to cut costs or save money on your prescriptions and medications, there are several ways you can do it. Whether you’re shopping around for new pharmacies or researching your existing insurance plan, there are ways to get your medications for less money. Here are eleven ways to save money on medications and prescriptions.
Buying the generic version of your prescription is one of the best ways to save money on your medications. Generic drugs are the same as their brand-name counterparts in dosage, form, and strength. Since the manufacturers don’t spend much on advertising, they can pass the savings on to you. Although not all medications are available in generic forms, the majority of them are.
Finding the generic form of your medication is easy. Do an internet search by typing in the name of your prescription. The generic name is the actual drug name. For example, Motrin is really just ibuprofen. You can also ask your pharmacist about the generic version of your brand-name medication. It is perfectly legal for the pharmacy to change your prescription from brand name to generic since the drug is the same.
Biosimilars are drugs that are highly similar to brand-name ones but at a significantly lower price. Therefore, they can be a viable alternative to expensive brand-name medications. However, it is important to note that biosimilars are not the same as generic drugs. This means your healthcare provider has to write prescriptions for them specifically.
A recent study by the RAND Corporation projected that biosimilars could save the US healthcare system up to $38.4 billion over five years. This could be as much as 1.5% of the total spending on prescription drugs. The savings would come from increased use of biosimilars and decreased spending on brand-name medication.
Unfortunately, since the initial biosimilar approval in 2015, the FDA has only awarded 26 biosimilar approvals, with just 11 now on the US market. It may be a long shot, but you can always check with your healthcare provider. Find out if there are any available biosimilars for your medication.
Buy In Bulk
Another way to lower your medication costs is to buy your medications in bulk. You can often get a 90-day supply for less than the price of a month’s worth. Additionally, many pharmacies will offer a discount if you purchase a two or three-month supply. Walmart, for example, has a long list of medications that you can get at $4 for a 60-day supply and $10 for a 90-day supply.
Shopping around is always a classic way to find the best deal. This goes for prescriptions and medications too. Prices vary widely depending on the pharmacy and brand. For example, a particular drug could cost $48 at one pharmacy but only $15 at a local store. Or vice versa.
Check your local pharmacies as well as online ones. You may even find a deal in a nearby town with enough difference to make it worth the drive.
Using an online pharmacy is a great way to save money or cut costs. Many of these pharmacies offer medications at significantly lower prices. In addition, some online pharmacies make their own generics. This cuts out the middleman entirely, so it lowers patient expenses.
It is crucial to verify the legitimacy of any online pharmacy. Always check to ensure they are certified and affiliated with a reputable organization.
Price Comparison Websites
Price comparison sites can help you shop around even easier. Sites like GoodRx, SingleCare, and WebMDRx allow you to compare prices and find coupons and discounts at pharmacies near you and online. GoodRx, for example, will enable you to check the price of your favorite drugs at nearby pharmacies. They also have a coupon section and a membership plan that costs $10 for each prescription.
Prescription Drug Discount Cards
Another way to save money and cut costs is to use drug discount cards. Sometimes you can even cut costs by up to 80 percent! These companies arrange bulk purchases with pharmacies and then pass the savings on to customers. Then, when someone uses their card to fill a prescription, the discount program receives a payment from the pharmacy.
Some of the best of these discount cards include GoodRx Best Overall, Optum Perks, SIngle Care, and RXSaver. Prescription drug discount cards are always free and can be especially useful for those without insurance.
Using a preferred pharmacy can also help you cut medication costs. These pharmacies have contractual agreements with your health insurance provider. As a result, they have a lower deductible and copay and can offer you other benefits, such as free prescriptions. Call your insurance provider to see who their preferred pharmacies are.
Good insurance coverage is possibly the biggest way to save money on medications. You could significantly cut costs by shopping around for your prescription insurance.
If you have a plan that does not cover prescription pharmaceuticals or restricts your coverage, or if you are uninsured, there are many stand-alone prescription drug plans available. You can also add stand-alone coverage to your existing medical plan.
Talk To Your Doctor
Many people are unaware that their healthcare provider has many options when prescribing medications. Not only can they prescribe a generic version (or possibly a biosimilar), but they may be able to prescribe cheaper medication that is equally effective. Let your provider know that you are trying to save money and would like a low-cost option. Most providers are very helpful and willing to accommodate such requests.
Prescription Assistance Programs (PAP)
PAPs are an excellent way to get your medications affordably. Pharmaceutical corporations form them to give free or reduced medicines to persons who cannot afford them. According to recent data, there are over 375 PAPs in use in the United States. PAPs have assisted more than 36 million patients in obtaining medication during the last decade.
Needymeds.org allows you to search by drug name and lists the available PAPs. Each program has its own set of requirements and requires an application.
There are many ways to save money on medications and prescriptions. This is especially true if you use more than one of our suggestions. For example, if you can get the generic or biosimilar version of your medication and use a drug discount card at a preferred pharmacy for a 90-day supply, you can save a good deal of money.