The place to start is with your choice of insurance company or plan. Find out about the range of prescription benefits and whether or not the medications you’re taking are covered under your plan. Clarify co-pay information and whether or not brand name drugs are covered. This is particularly important if you take several medications. Medicare beneficiaries can switch their prescription-drug coverage between November 15 and December 31.
Comparison-shop among several pharmacies. There are often disparaging price differences for the same drug from pharmacy to pharmacy. There are also a number of useful Web sites that can assist you with comparison-shopping. The site www.destinationRx.com lets you compare prices and suggests generic substitutes that you can discuss with your medication prescribers. Explore www.Rxvouchers.com for coupons you could use for medications.
A number of assistance programs are available through states, nonprofits and drug companies. Contact the Partnership for Prescription Assistance at 888.477.2669 or www.pparx.org for eligibility requirements. PPA helps the uninsured or those struggling financially to gain access to about 475 assistance programs that are either free or very low cost.
Find out if your doctor is willing to prescribe either a less expensive brand of the medication you’re taking or a generic. More and more pharmacies are following Wal-Mart’s lead and are offering some generics for as little as $4.00 per prescription.
Ask your doctor and pharmacist for samples. Most physicians are more than willing to part with an overstock of samples, although drug companies have curtailed sample distribution to doctors in recent years.
Purchasing prescriptions via mail order, particularly in larger quantities, offers handsome savings in many instances.
Discuss whether you actually need all the prescriptions you’re taking with your doctor. The average length of a physician visit these days is about seven minutes in length, so an overall evaluation of your medication profile is often overlooked.
There are a number of ways to save money on prescription drugs, but the keys are to shop around, ask a lot of questions and use resources such as assistance programs to your best possible advantage.