prescriptions are expensive, there is no turning back. if you live in the usa In the US, that means you pay more per capita for drugs than any other industrialized nation in the world. when you’re young and healthy, you may not worry too much. But if you’re diagnosed with a chronic condition or need an expensive medication, the costs can add up quickly.
A quarter of adults who take a prescription say it’s hard to pay for their medications, according to data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Even if you’re part of the 75% who don’t spend pennies to pay for a drug, it’s always nice to have a little extra money in your pocket.
how to get cheaper prescriptions
here are some strategies to help you save on prescriptions:
- compare prices.
- Use a prescription drug savings card.
- look for prescription drug coupons.
- request assistance with prescription medications.
- ask for the generic.
- try a different medicine.
- Find out if you need that medication.
- request a 90-day supply.
- shop online.
- Consider changing your insurance plan.
1. compare prices.
Before you buy a flight, compare the cost of leaving at different times or using a different airline. when shopping for clothes, you can either wait for a sale or buy a different brand to save a few bucks. Why should picking up your prescription be any different?
While most people need a prescription at some point in their life, most people don’t realize that prices vary between pharmacies. Switching from one pharmacy to another could help you lower costs, especially for recurring prescriptions. or trying a big box store might net you more savings.
don’t worry. You don’t have to visit multiple pharmacies to compare prices, even if you take multiple medications. instead, search for your prescription on singlecare and enter your zip code to find the cheapest place to fill your prescriptions near you.
related: find a pharmacy near you
2. use a prescription drug savings card.
prescription drug discount cards, like singlecare, can help you reduce prices by up to 80%. it’s free and easy to use. simply go to singlecare.com (or download the app) and search for your medication. be sure to adjust the filters for your dose and quantity, then select the coupon for the pharmacy with the lowest cost.
If this is your first time filling a prescription with singlecare, you’ll get a $5 discount. then every time you fill another, you’ll get extra discounts on future drugs with our extra savings program.
singlecare’s price transparency charts let you compare the cash price to last year’s singlecare savings. if it’s lower than your insurance copay, you know you’re saving money.
Related: Why is my prescription more expensive with insurance?
3. look for prescription drug coupons.
When a drug is new, it is often expensive and only available in its brand-name form. Sometimes manufacturer coupons are available to people who meet certain requirements, like providing medical information or being insured. the savings on prescription drugs are great, but not everyone can use them. note: singlecare free drug coupons are available to everyone, regardless of insurance status and income level.
Some retail pharmacies will also offer coupons to entice customers to fill prescriptions with them. For example, you can get a $25 store gift card for your first prescription as a new customer.
4. request assistance with prescription drugs.
Prescription Assistance Programs (PAPs) exist to help people who need medication but can’t afford it. there are many different types offered by: drug manufacturers, state or local governments, and non-profit organizations. most depend on a demonstration of financial need or a denial from an insurance company. needymeds.org is a good place to start to find out if these prescription drug discounts are available to you.
5. ask for the generic.
Generic and brand name drugs have the same active ingredients. that is, they will be equally effective in treating your condition. the main difference is the cost to you.
Brand name drugs tend to be more expensive due to the lengthy drug development process. manufacturers charge more to recover costs. when a patent expires, other manufacturers can make the drug and competition drives down the price.
6. try a different medication.
Most doctors know that some medications are more expensive than others. If you’re having trouble paying for your treatment, talk to your doctor about trying a different prescription that might cost less.
“have an open discussion with your health care provider about the price of your medicine; be honest with your doctor about the importance of drug-related finances,” suggests shaili gandhi, pharm.d., vice president of formulary operations at singlecare. “Generic drugs can cost a fraction of the cost of brand-name drugs, or an equivalent drug could cost much less. if you don’t mention it to your doctor, they may assume your insurance will pay for expensive prescriptions”
But insurance doesn’t always cover it, and even if it does, we know how important it is to save.
Newer drugs tend to cost more, while older drugs like penicillin and statins have lower prices. there may be an equivalent therapy to prove cheaper.
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7. find out if you need that medicine.
If you’ve been taking the same medication for years, it’s worth checking to see if you still need that prescription. “make sure you don’t pay for drugs you no longer need”, dr. gandhi recommends. “talk to your health care provider about lifestyle changes that could remove a medication from your daily regimen. or just check a recipe you’ve had for years.”
If you’ve made a lifestyle change that works, you can reduce your need for certain medications. It never hurts to ask your health care provider.
8. request a 90-day supply.
For routine medications, you may consider 90-day refills. they can reduce the price and add convenience. In other words, for drugs you know you’ll need for the foreseeable future, like high blood pressure drugs or birth control, you may be able to order a three-month supply.
Instead of refilling every 30 days, a 90-day supply may reduce the total copay. Buying in bulk can cut costs by up to 29%, according to a study from the University of Chicago.
9. shop online (carefully).
You order just about everything else online, so why not add medications to your digital shopping cart? it’s a great way to find deals on other items, and the high price of prescription drugs has led many people to search the internet for lower-cost alternatives. add convenience, and it seems like everyone wins.
If you use a reputable pharmacy, it can be. however, it is easy to accidentally buy counterfeit pills. Before buying medications online, make sure the pharmacy requires a prescription for purchase and is part of the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program. look for contact information, in case you have a question for the pharmacist and other clues, the site is valid, such as a physical address in the us. uu.
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when in doubt, use singlecare’s free prescription delivery service. In partnership with GeniusRX, we offer home delivery of 4,000 of our most common medications in all 50 states, typically in two to three days. You’ll get consistently low prices with even greater discounts on some of the most frequently filled prescriptions.
related: what is pharmacy delivery?
10. consider changing your insurance plan.
Whether you’re covered by insurance through your employer or Medicare Part D, your plan determines your deductible, which drugs are covered, and your copay at the pharmacy counter. If you’re diagnosed with a new condition and the drug that treats it is too expensive, it’s time to explore your options. a slightly higher monthly payment could mean a lower deductible or better drug coverage. when a monthly prescription costs less, that expense can be balanced.
Whether you have insurance or not, there are options to lower your out-of-pocket costs. Don’t let high prices be the reason you don’t take your medications!