There’s not much more daunting than having to fill a prescription and wondering what it’s going to cost. Prescriptions are expensive. Plain and simple. I often wonder why prescription drugs are so expensive. What I really wonder though is how I can access lower medication costs.
Affordable prescription drug treatment seems nearly impossible anymore. It seems like you see more and more commercials for medications you’ve never heard of. It makes you think this may be why prices are out of control – more medications keep getting introduced.
Saving money on prescriptions may seem impossible, but I’m here to tell you it’s not. If you follow these secret tips, I think you can save a good amount on your medication costs.
Here are 6 secret (not so secret) tricks on how you can lower medication costs.
6 secrets tricks to lower medication costs
1. Shop around using a pharmacy price checker
Shopping around may be the most underutilized strategy, when attempting to save money on your drug’s cost. It’s because you don’t immediately think to shop around to find the lowest pharmacy prices. You just expect your pharmacy to have a low price. Luckily there are pharmacy price checker apps, like LowestMed, that can quickly list what your medication’s price is at the pharmacy of your choice.
You need to use price transparency apps, if you don’t want to be blindsided by cost, when you approach the pharmacy counter.
Why are we so unaware of what our medication’s price is? I mean, when you see prescription drug ads in magazines or on TV, the price of the drug is never mentioned – this is mostly because prices vary not only by pharmacy location, but also by which source you use for pricing. You see, drug prices also vary by which form, strength and quantity you fill, as well as whether you use a discount card or your insurance. Drug pricing is complicated. Shopping around, using a pharmacy price checker, can help you navigate those waters.
2. Don’t use your insurance
Alert! It’s sad to say, but your health insurance may not always have the lowest price for your prescription. You’d think they would, considering you pay a premium for less expensive access to healthcare. As stated before though, drug prices vary by pretty much every variable possible – yes, even your insurance price varies by which pharmacy you shop at. Cash prices also vary by which pharmacy you use.
There is concern about your prescription purchase being applied to the deductible. We’ve built a simple page that can help you navigate how to apply for your prescription purchase to be put toward your deductible. You can find out more on our deductible page.
This can be frustrating, but don’t lose hope. If you can train yourself to not blindly present your health insurance card at the pharmacy, you might be able to find a lower price elsewhere. Of course, we highly recommend comparing the cost your health insurance provides against prices like those found on LowestMed. Once you’ve found lower medication costs, pay it.
3. Split pills
You’ll need help from your doctor with this one. Splitting pills can be a great way to literally cut the cost of your prescription treatment in half. Think of it this way, if you have a medication that calls for a 50 mg dosage, you could talk to your doctor about prescribing you 100 mg tablets, if they’re available.
Once you’ve received your new prescription, you can easily chop your pills in half and get that 50 mg dosage.
Though a little more difficult to do, you can take it a step further by splitting pills into quarters. Be sure to talk to your doctor, as well as following your pharmacist’s advice, on the best way to split your pills.
4. Buy in bulk
If your doctor is willing to write you a prescription for a 90 or even 120-day supply, do it. The more you buy, the lower your cost is going to be. It’s one of the easiest ways to lower your medication’s cost. This trick doesn’t necessarily work with all drugs though, but if you’re on a medication regimen, this is definitely something you should consider.
5. Negotiate with your pharmacist
Sometimes it pays to tell your pharmacist you can’t afford the medication. It’s not necessarily a barter, but some pharmacists will work with you on the price of your medication. This doesn’t always work, but it definitely can be a tactic you could use when trying to lower the cost of your prescriptions.
6. Ask about cheaper alternatives
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it can still be effective. People are still overpaying for their prescriptions, simply because they don’t know a cheaper alternative. Cheaper alternatives, or generic versions, can be just as effective.
Challenge your doctor, next time you go in for a routine visit. Ask him if you still need to be on all of your prescriptions. If you do, ask him if a cheaper alternative exists or if the branded medication you are on has gone generic. Every year, brand drugs come off patent. Once the patent has expired, generic manufacturers gain the ability to produce the drug at a lower price.
Is there anything else that can be done to get lower medication costs?
Never approach the pharmacy counter not knowing what your medication is going to cost. So many of us think we just have to pay what the pharmacist tells us. That’s simply not the case. If you conduct one search on LowestMed’s price finder, you’ll see that costs vary widely from pharmacy to pharmacy.
By simply following these 6 tips, you could find yourself saving a significant amount of money and lighting the pathway to lower medication costs.
LowestMed’s Health Information Center is meant for educational purposes and is not intended for medical advice. If you would like to recommend any story ideas, feel free to contact us.