7+ Ways to Save on Prescription Medications
Dear Rich Lifer,
When the temperatures drop, the number of illnesses seem to go up, up, up. With winter weather in full effect, you’re probably washing your hands like crazy just to make sure you don’t catch whatever bug’s going around.
Let’s face it – getting sick is inconvenient, uncomfortable, and really costly!
Even if you don’t catch every flu, cold, or sinus infection that goes around, if you’re like millions of Americans, you might have chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol – and the medications for those can add up fast.
Unfortunately, the need for medicine isn’t going away any time soon. According to health information technology and clinical research company IQVIA, Americans filled 5.8 Billion prescriptions in 2018 alone. This is an increase of 2.7% over 2017, and if this trend continues as it’s slated to, net costs for medicine will go from $344 Billion in 2018 to as much as $420 Billion in 2023!
Per capita spending is at a little over a thousand dollars a year right now – and that’s just out of pocket.
Luckily, there are a few tricks you can use to cut those numbers down.
From the drugstore aisles to the pharmacy, here are some ways you can save money on medicine.
Of course, the best way to save money on medicine is to not need it at all. I’m sure you’ve heard this from your physician, but just in case you haven’t, sometimes you can modify your diet or lifestyle to lessen the effects of your conditions.
If you’d like to try this approach, ask your doctor if you can start a diet and exercise program, then look into books like How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger and start making some modifications for long term health and savings.
Certain illnesses and chronic conditions can be improved with homeopathic remedies and supplements instead of medicine.
Again, of course you should check with your physician before changing anything, but then look into holistic remedies.
According to the Michigan Medicine Library from the University of Michigan, homeopathic remedies have been used to treat allergies, atopic dermatitis, arthritis, and more, so this solution might be worth a try.
When it comes to most consumer goods, we know we should shop around. If you’re in the market for a new TV, it only makes sense that you’d compare pricing at at least a few stores, right? Well, many people don’t know this, but you can shop around for your prescriptions, too.
GoodRX.com will let you type in the name of your medication, then it will give you the pricing at several local pharmacies. Even better, it will offer you money saving coupons for that exact drug, too.
Filling a 90 day supply as opposed to a 30 day supply can help you save, too. Your doctor will have to write the prescription in a certain way to make sure the pharmacy can do this, but it’s worth it.
Not only will you save money on drug prices, you’ll save time that would have been spent on extra trips to the pharmacy, too!
Many drugs come in varying dosages. For example, Lisinopril, a popular blood pressure medication, comes in several dosages, and if your proper dosage is 20mg, there’s nothing to say you can’t take a 40mg pill and divide it in half.
Talk with your doctor about the right dosages for you, and ask them if this strategy could work for you.
Drugs like penicillin have been around so long it seems like they’re all the cheap, generic version, but other drugs still carry on in an expensive brand name form.
When you’re at your doctor’s office, ask if they’re prescribing the generic or a brand name, and if they’re not sure which one the pharmacy will have in stock, call the pharmacy, too, just in case.
A pharmacy a short drive away might have the generic option in stock and this can save you a bundle.
Sometimes, nothing but the brand name will do, and drugs are no exception. There are times when the generic is ever-so-slightly different, and that tiny change causes an unpleasant reaction, so the brand name version is absolutely necessary.
For those times, you can search the drug manufacturer’s site – they often offer coupons that can bring down the prices big time.
While local drugstores and traditional pharmacies have a certain level of irreplaceable charm, when it comes to saving money, the big box stores can’t be beat. Of those, Costco seems to be the one with the best combination of price and service.
Here’s the big bonus – you don’t even need to be a member to get these discounts! Simply tell your physician’s office to send the prescription to your local Costco and when you get there, tell the person at the door you’ve got a prescription waiting for you. It’s as easy as that.
If the thought of all this researching and cross-shopping seems daunting, why not just go to the expert source? A good pharmacist will know which of these strategies will work for you, and they’re almost always happy to help.
Over The Counter Savings
Just like with prescription drugs, you can get manufacturers’ coupons, use store brands, and split dosages. If the OTC drug you’re looking for is common enough (like Advil), you can usually get coupons in mailers, the newspapers, and from online coupons sites, too.
The bottom line here? Don’t pay full price when you don’t have to – there are definitely savings to be had.
No matter which of these strategies you go with, you’re almost sure to save. Since medicine and healthcare are usually major line items on your budget, just a few regular tweaks can make a big difference to your bottom line.
Get in the habit of looking for savings – no matter which medicine you’re looking for – and save big while staying healthy.
To a richer life,