It’s bad enough that many prescriptions often come with hefty price tags, especially in the United States. Worse, still, is accidentally overpaying for them on a regular basis.
Even those with good insurance can sometimes be charged exorbitant amounts for certain drugs. If you’re on a fixed income or have multiple prescription (especially specialty medications), the costs can be outright overwhelming.
There are, however, some ways you may be able to curb your costs on prescriptions. Before you head to the pharmacy for your next refill, try these tips.
1. Try to get a sample.
First and foremost, always ask your doctor if he or she may have a sample available. Often, you may be able to score up to a 10-day supply for free.
No, it won’t save you a ton in the long run, but it does help with those immediate costs. Additionally, it allows you to try a medication before you buy a whole month’s supply or more. If you experience side effects, this can most assuredly be a blessing.
2. Choose generics.
With name brand drugs, you’ll often find yourself paying more for the brand name than the medication itself. And despite what the commercials may say, there’s nothing special about branding – generic versions are exactly the same.
Research has even shown that brand name medications cost, on average, 18 times more than their generic counterparts. Yikes! That’s why you should always ask your doctor and/or pharmacist if there’s a generic alternative.
3. Do some comparison shopping.
Not all pharmacies price their drugs equally and certain medications may cost more at one pharmacy than another. Don’t feel pressured to stick to a specific pharmacy before you know what they charge. Instead, call around or look up your prescriptions online to find the lowest prices.
Websites like LowestMed and GoodRx can help make comparison shopping a breeze.
It can also help to compare different dosages. Sometimes it may be less expensive to get a higher dose and cut the pills in half. If this is the case, you can talk to your doctor about altering your prescription.
4. Look for additional discounts.
Sometimes if there’s no generic version available or a medication is frequently not covered by insurance, you can get a discount card. Ask your doctor or check the drug’s website for more details about potential discount plans.
In addition to drug-specific discounts, there are also general discount programs for seniors. Even the AARP has a program that members can take advantage of to cut medication costs. They say that members, on average, save 61% on drugs that aren’t covered by insurance or Medicare.