Prescription drugs are notoriously expensive, and there are many Americans who have to make real sacrifices to afford their medications every month. This is a tough situation for anyone to be in, but there are options. Even under the current system, there are ways to save a great deal of money on prescriptions, but not everyone knows about them, and sometimes they can be tricky to figure out.
Here are some ways you can budget for health, reduce costs, and save on prescriptions.
Check Your Coverage
Chances are that you have some kind of health insurance, even though it is not mandated this year, and you can self-insure without penalty. However, if you have insurance there is probably a prescription plan that goes with it. Look at the medications you need and see if your plan covers them. If not, ask your physician to suggest alternatives that are covered.
If nothing else, call your insurance provider and ask about coverage or special offers. You may be able to get more out of them than you think.
Health and Flex Savings Accounts
If you have a high-deductible plan, you can contribute to a health savings account or HSA pre-tax. This is a big advantage, and if you do it carefully can leave you a chunk of money you can use to pay for your prescriptions. Of course, you are still paying for them, but not paying income tax on the money you are using to do so.
Even if you are not eligible for an HSA with your plan, you can still often use a flex savings account or FSA to cover your health care costs that are not covered by your insurance company. You should still use other methods to save on the cost of prescriptions, but these two ways at least offer you income tax savings.
Brand vs. Generic
There are usually two versions of any given drug unless they are relatively new. One is a brand name, the other is a generic equivalent created by another company. Think of it as generic cereal or soda brands. The ingredients are essentially the same or a similar formula, but one is cheaper than the other.
There can be differences and be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist, but your insurance may cover more than you think for these medications and may even only pay for generics rather than brand names. This can save you hundreds of dollars or even thousands in some cases. Always check for generics to save money.
The exception is that some name brand medications have programs that, if you cannot afford your prescriptions, will give you a supplement that will make them cheaper or in some cases free. Check for these programs online as well and see what you might save.
Find Coupons Online
There are tons of coupons for prescriptions online, and they are not hard to find. Whether you are looking for Adderall coupons or discounts on diabetic drugs and supplies, there will be a program for you. If you are without insurance and have to pay yourself, this can be truly valuable.
The savings through these programs can be upwards of 80% off, sometimes just as much as you would have saved by having insurance. These discounts can make the difference between being able to afford your medication, having to go without, or having to sacrifice in other areas of your life simply to afford the prescriptions you need.
Ask Your Pharmacist for a Deal
Pharmacists deal with the drug companies on a daily basis, but they are often prevented from telling you about certain deals they can offer by a gag order. If you ask, they can tell you about better deals, but they cannot volunteer information unsolicited about those discounts. The key? Ask them if there is a deal on your medication.
Often these discounts are significant, and can even eliminate costly copays, saving you hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Remember, your pharmacist wants you to ask. They care about your well-being and want to give you the best deals and advice they can.
Affording prescription medications is a chore for everyone from the elderly to those who have a chronic illness. If you take medicine on a regular basis, you can benefit from saving on the cost of your prescriptions. Use these ways to explore your options and find out where you can get the very best deals to help you budget for your health.
What are some useful ways that you have found to save on prescriptions or other expenses? Leave us a comment with your tips in the section below.