Even with the help of various coverage programs, Americans pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket, on average, every year for prescriptions. For those that don’t have coverage, that number can be much higher.
If you’re finding yourself struggling to keep up with the rising costs of medication, the good news is that there are several ways to save money on prescriptions.
To guide you towards whatever savings are available to you, below, we share eight helpful tips.
1. Purchase Health Insurance
Our first prescription saving tip is perhaps the most obvious and that’s to get health insurance. Health insurance is easier than ever to purchase through the healthcare marketplace and allows you to fix your annual medical expenses.
Not all health plans come with adequate prescription coverage so you’ll need to read plan details to ensure you’re going to get the assistance you need. If you’re a low-income individual, the healthcare marketplace will help you get on your state’s medicare program which offers coverage at ultra-low and sometimes, no cost.
You can apply for coverage in the marketplace in October or during any time of the year if you’ve been affected by unique life events.
2. Get on an Employer Plan
For those of you that are having trouble paying for health insurance premiums, an employer plan may help. Most employers across America that have 50 or more employees must offer some sort of health subsidy or risk being fined. If your employer doesn’t, consider looking for a job that does so you can save money on prescriptions.
If you suspect that your employer is offering health benefits to some team members but not others, contact an attorney as offering coverage on a discriminatory basis is usually illegal.
3. Leverage Online Coupons
There is a growing coupon industry in the prescription drug space where users can get staggering discounts simply by flashing their phone screens at pharmacists. The most pronounced of these coupon providers is GoodRx.
The prices offered on GoodRX may seem too good to be true but they’re real and are a bi-product of negotiations the company has done with manufacturers and pharmacies.
You may also be able to find coupons on pharmacy websites.
4. Compare Prices
If you’ve purchased prescriptions in the past, you likely know that no two pharmacies are the same when it comes to price. As a matter of fact, pharmacies right up the street from one another could offer prices that are different by hundreds of dollars for the same drug.
Consider using digital trackers to keep up with drug prices across various dispensaries to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal.
5. Shop Internationally
This is a little bit of a legal grey area. Technically, you’re not supposed to import prescriptions across country borders due to drug control laws. Still, every day, Americans important prescription drugs from Canada because Canada is charged less by drug manufacturers than the United States is.
Many Canadian online pharmacies will ship your prescriptions internationally so long as you can show them a doctor’s note. If you live in the Northern United States, you might also consider crossing the border and picking up your medicine in person.
Just be sure to keep your medical documentation with you in case you’re stopped by border patrol.
6. Opt for Generics
When a drug is created by a research and development group, they have the exclusive right to sell it for several years. This period of exclusivity enables them to recoup their development costs and usually turn a profit. After exclusivity ends, the formula to create the drug is released and competitors can sell it under a generic brand.
Generic brand drugs are always cheaper than original, name brand ones and should be what you purchase unless your doctor has a real concern with a particular generic.
Some stories have circulated about generic brands being less effective or even dangerous when compared to original brands. As any non-bias pharmacist will tell you though, from a makeup perspective, legitimate generics are identical to their top-shelf counterparts.
7. Bulk Buy
One of the easiest ways to save money on prescriptions is to buy a three month supply. When you buy in three-month increments, most pharmacies will ship to your door for free (saving you money on transit) and may even cut you a discount on your medicine’s purchase price.
8. Keep an Eye Out for Loyalty Programs
We’ve seen some pretty impressive loyalty programs pop up over the years at big-name pharmacies which may be worth exploring. These programs reward people that exclusively fill their prescriptions at a particular establishment.
In most cases, jumping from pharmacy to pharmacy based on prevailing prescription rates is going to save you more money than banking on a loyalty program. If you’re finding that one pharmacy consistently offers the best prices on your medication though, stacking loyalty discounts on top certainly doesn’t hurt.
Use Our Tips to Save Money on Prescriptions Today
There are ample ways to save money on prescriptions which are certainly not limited to the suggestions we’ve just shared. Whether you choose to save money via our tips or leverage other advice, we hope that you’ll put in the effort required to start shaving a little bit off of your monthly prescription expenditures today.
After all, living a healthy, happy life shouldn’t cost you your savings.
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