I have a number of tips to save money on prescriptions for clients that pay out of pocket for their meds. It always alarms me how poor the information is for people who need lower cost meds but they can’t find them. In the following series on saving money, I have a number of tips that should help you.
1) Talk to your doctor
If you are paying out of pocket or your insurance won’t cover your meds, make sure to let your doctor know. There could be simple things that he could do like switching away from an extended release which is newer and costs more or moving you to another medication which is covered by your insurance. If your doctor isn’t responsive to your concerns, this is a bad sign. Many years ago I met someone who had to declare bankruptcy due to her medication cost being over $3,000 a month for a couple of new drugs! As absurd as that may sound, my own father had been prescribed a medication that would have cost $1,500 for a one month supply. He talked to his doctor and found an alternative that was $30 for a month’s supply.
2) Check you bill!
When you go out to eat, you check your bill, right? Why wouldn’t you also check your bill when buying your medications? I have seen it all too often where people are charged for a higher priced drug mistakenly. There are codes associated with your drugs and a slight error in that code being entered can cost you.
3) Split the medication
If you have cost concerns, talk to your doctor and see if they could prescribe a higher dose of your medication so you can buy a pill cutter and halve or quarter the dose. This could cut your cost significantly. I have seen a number of people who regularly do this for ADD and bipolar medications and it helps them significantly cut down the cost.
If you live in Travis county and don’t have insurance, then you are likely eligibly for MAPS. You can make a decent amount of money and qualify for MAPS, so check it out. It will help you with dental, doctor, and prescription cost. It’s a wonderful program.
5) Bigger versus smaller pharmacies
What pharmacy do you use? Many people think that a larger pharmacy will give them greater cost savings. That seems like a logical thought, right? Walgreens is huge so they must have a significant cost savings over a smaller pharmacy, right? Actually, no. Walgreens know that they are huge and often have some of the highest prices on prescriptions. My ex-wife was a pharmaceutical rep and it surprised me what she told me her drugs were sold for at Walgreens and CVS vs smaller pharmacies. The difference was often and increased cost of $30-40 more at Walgreens. You pay heavily for convenience at Walgreens. Costco is what Walgreens should be as they really do leverage costs. I called around once to search prices on Lamictal which is generic and Walgreens was charging $150 for a one month supply of the same medication that Costco charged $19 for a 3 month supply. Many insurance companies now allow you to look on their websites and cost compare for prescriptions at various pharmacies. Annoyingly they don’t automatically sort for the lowest cost, but instead require you to click on each one like it’s a lottery scratch off. That said, it’s better than calling a bunch of places.
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Read our whole series:
Tips to Save Money on Prescriptions: Part One
Tips to Save Money on Prescriptions: Part Two
Tips to Save Money on Prescriptions: Part Three