Save Big on Prescription Medicine

10 01 2012

Have last year’s medical costs left you drowning in bills?  Fear not for 2012.  Let’s discuss the variety of ways to save on prescription medicine costs.

Some ways to save BIG:

  • Government Assistance.  Medicare and Medicaid are available provided your income meets the eligibility.  For more information visit Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Multi-Month Prescriptions.  Depending on your insurance carrier, some folks may save money on mandatory monthly prescriptions by asking your doctor to prescribe a 3-month supply versus one-month.  Here’s how that works:  your copayment for a one-month prescription may cost $10 (or $30 for three months), however, a 3-month supply may only cost you $15.  The savings:  $15 [$30 vs $15].
  • Prescription Drug Mail Program.  Again, some insurance companies offer prescription mail programs.  Here, you can save money by receiving your prescription in the mail rather than pharmacy pick-up.  While this may sound enticing – some things to consider:  safety of your mail delivery, timing of delivery, etc. 
  • Pharmacy Discount Programs.  Many pharmacies are now offering pharmacy discount programs for those that either do not have medical insurance and/or those with low incomes.  The pharmacy may provide you with reward points and discounts for every purchase.  It’s a great idea to see what program your pharmacy has in store and inquire about the rules/regulations.  Those with insurance may not be eligible to participate so it’s important to inquire within.
  • Prescription Transfer Gift Cards.  This was a hot item a few months back.  Some retail stores with pharmacies were offering $25 gift cards when you transferred your prescription to their store.  This is an amazing deal!  Be on the lookout for these types of promotions or ask your pharmacist/cashier if the deal is still on.  Keep in mind, don’t just transfer your prescription because you want the gift card.  Think about the store’s location – if you are transferring to a store that is farther away that may sway your decision-making.
  • Rebates.  Many manufacturers offer rebates.  Before paying for your prescription, run an internet search for the specific drug brand and print it out.  Also, the pharmacist may have a running list of rebates.  Many generic drugs are rebateless.  Often times I will see if there is a rebate for the brand-name drug and if not I will ask them to fill it as a generic (your prescription must indicate generic drugs okay).  The rebate can offset the cost of the actual copayment.  Please note that medicare/medicaid holders are usually not eligible for the rebates (read the fine print on the rebate forms).  When submitting rebates – make copies of everything submitted.
  • Generic versus Brand Name.  Generic drugs can save folks money per month because they cost less than brand name (aka preferred).  Generic brands may be a great choice if you are looking to save money BUT always consult with your physician.

Here’s to a healthy and happy new year!

*The content of this column intended for informational use only and is not to be construed as providing legal, investing, accounting, or other professional advice. Your situation is factually specific and you should accordingly seek qualified professional counsel concerning your specific medical needs.

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