According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), prescription costs for common drugs prescribed increases around 4.8% per year. What can you do to save yourself money on costly and life saving prescriptions?
First, if you have prescription insurance, find out what your plan covers. Do you know what your co-pay is? What types of drugs are covered? Is there a limit annually? Are there exclusions on certain drugs? Does your insurance offer or require a mail in prescription program? If they do, this is a good way to save on costs. For example, a relative was telling me they were forced to go to mail in prescription program for maintenance/monthly drugs. However, she was not unhappy about it because she ended up with a 90 day supply for the SAME copay for a monthly prescription. Over the long run, this can yield significant savings.
Section 125 Plan
Find out if your employer offers a Section 125 Plan for health care expenses, also known as Flexible Spending Accounts.They helps you keep more of your paycheck by reducing your federal & state tax. They allow you to have your employer deduct a set amount each pay period and put into a account to use for eligible expenses such as prescriptions. You do have to be conservative with this number because the IRS has rules which may or may not allow you to carry this money over to the next year. See your Human Resources Administrator for more information on your company’s plan. Informative Fact Sheet
Prescription Discount Cards
People with or without insurance can use these cards. They are sometimes offered by insurance plans, organizations, communities, or even pharmacies like Walgreens offer discount cards. There is sometimes a annual fee for these cards but they can yield you up to 30% savings. This can be recovered quickly if you have an expensive monthly prescription. You won’t save a fortune but it is better than nothing. Needy Meds has a list and description of many discount card programs.
Do not assume because one store is lower on a certain prescription, they are lower on everything. Call around for expensive prescriptions to find the best price. You can compare online at places like Pharmacy Checker. Ask around and do your research. CVS even offered to price match the generic programs offered by Wal-mart when I asked. It doesn’t hurt to ask if that is their best price or if they will price best. Also, consider substituting for a generic prescription if it is available. By law, they must have the same active ingredients so this could be worth the savings. (Always check with your doctor first as the filler products may differ and this could be a problem if you have allergies.)
New or Transferred Prescription Gift Cards
Look in the weekly ads of major retailers or drug stores to see if they offer any kind of incentives for new or transferred prescriptions. CVS has had $25 gift cards at times. It is a good way to earn a little extra back. CVS also offers quarterly ECBs $1 for every 2 prescriptions filled when you use your Extra Care Card.
FREE Samples From Your Doctor
Drug companies give millions of dollars of free samples to doctors. Ask your doctor if she has any free samples you can use. It is not a long term option but it can save you money in the short term. Even one month of an expensive prescription could yield big results.
Check to see if you qualify for Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs)
Your income may be too high to qualify for government assistance but you still may qualify for private or pharmecutical company programs. Needy Meds is a website which is dedicated to helping people who can’t afford their medication.
- K-Mart’s $15 3 month supply list
- Kroger’s $4/30 day supply, $10/90 day supply
- Marsh – Free Prenatal Vitamins
- Meijer – Free Prenatal Vitamins and Antibiotics
- Targer’s List of $4/30 day supply $10/90 day supply Generics
- Walgreen’s Valued Generic Supply List
- Wal-mart’s $4 Prescription Program