If you’ve ever had the experience of picking up a prescription from the pharmacy, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the sticker shock that can sometimes come from picking up your medication. Whether you’re one of the 80 million uninsured or underinsured Americans with no prescription savings provided by insurance, or you’re simply struggling to manage the costs of your medications, there’s hope. You don’t need to have insurance to find Rx savings; there are several ways to save.
Use Your Insurance
If you’re fortunate enough to have great health insurance, the first place to look for savings is to utilize your prescription drug coverage. Unfortunately, many insurance plans may not cover brand name medications, have coverage limits, or may have high deductibles. Choosing a generic medication can increase the likelihood that your drug will be covered by insurance, but it’s not a guarantee. Make sure to ask your pharmacist to check the prices of your medication with your insurance coverage, with the cash price, and with other savings options prior to purchasing, as you may be able to receive additional savings outside of your insurance.
Request Generic Medications
Rx savings can start long before you reach the pharmacy. Ask your doctor if there is a generic alternative for your medication at your next appointment if you are prescribed any brand name drugs. Brand name drugs get all the publicity (which drives up cost), but generic medications use the same active ingredients and undergo the same rigorous testing as the brand name medications. Generic drugs use different inactive ingredients and face increased competition from other manufacturers, which helps to keep costs low. Generic drugs aren’t available for every medication, and some patients may not be able to take generic medications due to their medical histories, but when available, this simple switch can save you a ton of money without sacrificing your quality of care.
Sign Up for a Pharmacy Discount Card
Pharmacy discount cards are somewhat of a newcomer to the Rx savings scene and offer a unique chance to receive major savings on your prescription medications regardless of your insured status. These cards are typically free to receive and require no medical history and have no eligibility requirements; they generally apply to all FDA-approved brand name and generic medications, offering savings of up to 75 percent. If you have an insurance plan with strict coverage limits or a high deductible, you’ll definitely want to explore pharmacy discount cards to make sure you can afford your medication year-round, but even if you have good insurance, you’re likely to have some medications that aren’t covered under your insurance plan. That means that pharmacy discount cards can benefit pretty much everyone, so they’re worth looking into.
Look for Coupons and Rebates
Coupons and rebates are sometimes available for brand name medications but are usually not available for generic medications. The next time you visit your doctor, make sure to ask if they are aware of any existing discounts or coupon codes that may be available since coupons sometimes accompany samples that your doctors receive. If they aren’t aware of any, check the manufacturer website.
Explore Patient Assistance Programs
Medications that are new to the market or extremely costly may be eligible for patient assistance programs provided by the drug manufacturer. Patient rebate programs are primarily offered to people who are low-income, uninsured, or underinsured, or whose insurance does not cover a specific medication. Patient assistance programs vary in length and eligibility criteria, so make sure you read the fine print.
While it helps to have excellent health insurance in order to receive Rx savings, there are plenty of options available to Americans who are not so fortunate. In some cases, you might find that savings match or even exceed what you would receive when using insurance. Make sure you ask your pharmacist to double-check each price before you check out!