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Four Ways to Save Money on Prescriptions

Shopping smart when it comes to your prescription drug coverage

Written by: Andrew Hall.

Key Takeaways

  • Shopping around at different pharmacies in your area can help you pick the most affordable drugstore for your particular prescription needs.

  • Where possible, opting for generic drugs save you money as they are covered at higher rates.

  • Purchasing your prescriptions in larger quantities or through a mail-order pharmacy helps reduce your copayA copayment (copay) is the fixed amount you pay directly to your provider for medical services or prescription drugs covered in your plan. For example: If your plan includes a copayment of $20 for office visits, you'll pay $20 to your doctor whenever you have an appointment. spend.

  • Talking to your doctor about your financial concerns is a great way to have an open dialogue about any other treatment options (prescriptions or otherwise).

Blurry image of prescriptions on a pharmacy shelf.

Prescriptions Are More Common Than You Think

With nearly half of Americans indicating they’ve used at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days and 73% of office visits involving some sort of prescription drug, it pays to have reliable pharmacy benefits. As prescription costs continue to rise year after year, many people are seeing their out of pocket health care expenses increase right alongside them.

Below are four ways you can start saving on prescription drugs today.

1. Compare prices.

Believe it or not, different pharmacies charge different prices for the same drug. In the same way that produce is cheaper at different grocery stores, your maintenance medication could be less expensive at a different drugstore. Similarly, certain big box stores provide discounts and incentives for switching your prescriptions to their in-house pharmacy that could mean savings in other ways.
Consider calling a few local pharmacies and asking them to price out your medication. You may be surprised at the differences you uncover.

2. Generic, Generic, Generic.

Generic drugs are significantly less expensive than their brand counterparts. And exactly the same as brand name drugs.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, “A generic medicine works in the same way and provides the same clinical benefit as its brand-name version. This standard applies to all FDA-approved generic medicines. A generic medicine is the same as a brand-name medicine in dosage, safety, effectiveness, strength, stability, and quality, as well as in the way it is taken and should be used.”

3. Opt for the 90-day supply or your plan’s mail-order pharmacy.

Instead of buying your prescription in the standard 30-day quantities, ordering your prescription in bulk can help save you money on copays in the long run. Just like you save money by buying in bulk at big box stores, purchasing your prescriptions in 90-day supplies can help reduce the number of copays you shell out annually. This is a cost-saving strategy if you take maintenance medication regularly.

Similarly, mail-order pharmacies (if available through your health insurance plan) typically provide you larger medication quantities at a lower cost. Check with your health insurance provider to see if a mail-order pharmacy is included in your coverage.

4. Talk to your doctor.

If you’re upfront with your doctor about cost being a concern, typically he or she will work with you to help find a treatment plan that works with your budget. Some doctors can offer pharmacy coupons, while others may opt to switch you to a lower-cost drug with similar treatment cases.

In other scenarios, just simply bringing up your financial concerns could prompt your doctor to reevaluate other treatment options that could help you avoid a pharmacy altogether.

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