Let’s admit it; most prescription medicines are expensive. It is so expensive that some drugs aren’t included in our insurance. This is especially true in the US. When you live in the US, that means you are paying more per capita for your medication than anywhere else in the world. If you’re still quite young, it might not bother you too much, but the costs can really add up when you get diagnosed with chronic sickness in your older years.
According to data collected by the Kaiser Family Foundation, more or less a quarter of adults say that it’s difficult to pay for their medications. If you’re not one of them, of course, having a few dollars in your pocket would hurt.
That said, what can we do to reduce the prices of our prescription meds? Fortunately, there are a lot of techniques that you can do to lower the prices of your medicines.
Understand How Your Medicine Coverage Works
The first thing you should do is to try and understand how your insurance works, especially its copays and deductibles for different benefits. After that, see the list of medicines it can cover. And if you think that you already know all of them, think again. Plans tend to change every now and then, so you might want to check on them again.
Plans have categorized medicines, usually by tiers. Tier 1 drugs are your plan’s preferred generics, which require low copayments and insurance. Of course, the higher tier your medicine is, the higher you’ll have to pay with your share. Another critical aspect that you should check out in your plan is their preferred pharmacies.
Some plans tend to have preferred pharmacies which can help take a huge chunk off of your share when buying from them. Also, see if your plan has an app that helps you determine the money you would pay for your medications. For example, United Healthcare has an app that helps consumers get their medicine through mail order and see if they can get it from a network pharmacy. If they do, you can use your phone to estimate the amount you would pay for your drugs.
Compare the Prices
Comparing prices is not only limited to when buying clothes or booking flights; it can also be applicable when buying your medicine. Take note that the doctor would only give you the name of the medicine, but not necessarily its price, which means you can get the prescribed drug in any reputable pharmacy in the market. Pharmacies have different prices from each other, so it would be in your best interest to find the lowest price available.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to go to multiple pharmacies in your area to see which cheapest drug you can buy. You can do it online. Many online sites can help you compare prices and even give you coupons and discounts when the criteria are met. Usually, it will only take you to input your prescription medicine and your zip code so the algorithm can find it for you.
Ask for Generics
One of the things that many patients don’t know is that you can ask your doctor to prescribe you a generic one instead of the brand name one. Typically, doctors will prescribe you the name brand since they are the best. However, generics are just as potent as the name brand.
If that’s the case, then why are name brands more expensive? Well, not always.
You see, name brands are more expensive because of the lengthy development process and the patent involved. Manufacturers make it expensive so they can recoup the costs of making the drug. However, this is only as long as the patent is still up. When the patent expires, other manufacturers can start producing the drug with their brand, which makes the competition bigger and the price lower.
Speak Frankly with Your Doctor
When prescribing medicine, your doctor tends to choose the most effective brand of medicine you need to get well. However, they don’t necessarily know which of them are covered by your coverage. Of course, a single brand of medicine is the best for your situation, but most of the time, you can opt for generic alternatives that can still help you with your condition.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can opt for a generic medicine that easily. Of course, you need to talk to your doctor. If you’re struggling in terms of money, your doctor can prescribe you a much cheaper option and might even suggest programs and other means of saving if you need it badly.
Prescription medicines are usually expensive, but that doesn’t mean that you must always pay a large chunk of money for medicine. However, there are generics in the market that are just as effective but much cheaper than name brands. Make sure that you notify your doctor of this to make sure you’re safe. Also, there are countless discount coupons online that you can see on many sites. They even have apps like the BuzzRX discount app.