I was diagnosed with lupus 17 years ago and over the last 17 years, I’ve undergone a variety of medical treatments and taken A LOT of prescriptions! I’m really fortunate because I’ve had good insurance throughout my lupus journey and it’s really helped make my care more affordable.
Did you know that medical expenses are responsible for well over 60% of the bankruptcy filings in the United States? It doesn’t surprise me. Let’s be honest…medical care is EXPENSIVE!!! And anything related to medical care tends to be expensive as well. Prescriptions can be a significant expense with some medications costing over $1,000 a week!
If you don’t have comprehensive insurance, paying for your medications can be a real challenge.
Here are some strategies that will help you reduce your prescription costs:
1. Get the generic.
Anytime your doctor writes a prescription, ask if there is a generic equivalent. Generics can be much less expensive and some pharmacies will fill many generic prescriptions for $4! Most of us can afford $4.
2. Ask for price matching.
Sometimes your pharmacy will match the price at another pharmacy, even if that other pharmacy does business strictly via mail order. Pharmacies are competitive, just like any other business. It never hurts to ask.
3. Get a phone app.
There are phone apps that will compare the cost of your prescription at multiple pharmacies in your area. There are several, just do a search and find one that works for you.
4. Split the pills.
Many medications cost about the same, regardless of dosage. You can ask your doctor if he will write the prescription at double strength so you can split the tablets with a pill splitter. You just saved 50% on the cost of your medication.
5. Cut coupons.
There are also coupons for many medications. Check the magazines in your doctor’s waiting room. Or google “your prescription name” plus coupon and see what comes up!
6. Change pharmacies.
Pharmacies frequently offer gift cards as an incentive for transferring a prescription to their store. This is one of my favorite ways to save and something I have done regularly over the years. Keep an eye out for coupons and hang on to them so you can use them to transfer prescriptions or fill a new prescription. Of course, you’ll need to make sure you’re not going to pay a lot more for the prescription. Shop around and see what’s out there.
7. Get it online.
There are many online pharmacies that tend to be significantly less expensive than local pharmacies. This makes sense, since they don’t have stores and all the related expenses that go along with them.
Please keep in mind that while prescriptions typically cost half the price in Canadian pharmacies, the FDA doesn’t approve of using this option, and it’s technically illegal to have pharmaceuticals shipped into the country. The FDA claims safety concerns while others claim it’s merely the pharmaceutical companies flexing their muscles. If you’re not sure if an online pharmacy meets the legal requirements of US law, you can check this website.
8. Ask for free samples.
Pharmaceutical sales reps often provide free samples to physicians. In fact, some physicians refuse to talk to reps unless they provide free samples. It never hurts to ask.
There are many options available to reduce your prescription expense. If you’re not able to afford your prescription, be honest with you doctor. In many cases, prescriptions can be obtained for a greatly reduced cost compared to what you might be paying now. There is even the possibility of getting your meds for free if you can prove financial need. Most doctors know of programs that can help!
If you’re having a financial challenge with your meds, there are solutions. Use the above tips to lower your costs and keep more money in your bank account.