I’ve seen some tragic situations over the years when people can’t afford their meds. For example, I’ve met organ transplant patients who couldn’t pay for their anti-rejection drugs and ended up losing the organ they had struggled so hard to receive. I, myself, have dealt with some terrible withdrawal symptoms when I couldn’t access my mental health medications. Therefore, I know firsthand how important it is to learn how to save money on prescription medication.
Talk to Professionals to Save Money on Prescription Medication
The first step to take if you’re struggling to pay for your prescription medications is to ask for help. There are several different types of professionals that you can talk to about how to save money on prescription medication.
Talk to Your Doctor
Your first line of defense against expensive prescription medication is the person who prescribes the meds. Talk to your doctor. In fact, you may need to talk to multiple doctors: a general doctor, a specialist, a psychiatrist, etc.
Be very upfront with these professionals about how hard it is for you to pay for your prescription medications. Ask them what the options are. Oftentimes, they’ll be able to provide solutions. It might be as simple as changing the prescription to something more affordable that still works for you. Alternatively, they may be able to write a letter explaining to your health insurance why you need that specific medication.
Furthermore, your doctor may be able to offer samples and coupons to help you save money on prescription medication. At the very least, when your doctor knows that you are struggling, you’ll have someone there to help you manage symptoms related to not accessing your medication.
Talk to Your Pharmacist
Your pharmacist is another great resource to help you find ways to save money on prescription medications. They are familiar with all of the meds. They know what type of discounts are available, which insurance covers certain costs, and what generic versions of medications are available.
They may or may not be able to actually offer you a discount. Perhaps they’ll know of certain tricks, such as saving money by getting a 90-day supply instead of a 30-day supply. However, even if they can’t solve the problem, they can often point you in the right direction to find someone who can help.
Ask Your Health Insurance How to Save Money on Prescription Medication
Oftentimes, the biggest problem is that your health insurance doesn’t cover the medication that you need. Or it doesn’t pay very much of the cost. Therefore, you can go straight to your health insurance provider to get help.
If you have the option to visit your health insurance provider in person, then that’s your best bet. If not, then be prepared to wait on the phone for a significant amount of time before you reach the person who can help you. If you are persistent, they are often able to find some resolution.
You may need to discuss getting a different plan with your health insurance provider. Alternatively, they may be able to tell you what some other drug options are to reduce your costs. Then you can take that information back to your doctor to see if those medications would work for you.
Contact the Drug Manufacturer
There are certain prescription medications that are just very expensive. However, the drug manufacturers know that they have customers who can’t afford those high fees. Therefore, they often offer ways to reduce the costs of those medications.
For example, they may offer a discount program. They may provide samples or coupons. You never know unless you ask. Therefore, you should ask.
Find an Advocate
If you have tried all of these different outlets and you still can’t afford your medications, then it’s time to look for an advocate. Your therapist could be an ally in this. If you have a case manager, then they might be able to help. Alternatively, look for a lawyer, a local group, or a friend who has knowledge about how to deal with the prescription medication and health insurance industries. It helps to have someone in your corner who knows the language.
Common Ways to Save Money on Prescription Medication
Talking to professionals is your best route to save money on prescription medication. However, it helps a lot if you know what to ask for. Moreover, there are some things that you can try for yourself. Here are some of the most common ways that people save money on prescription medication:
Change the Medication
When talking to these professionals, find out if you have the option to switch to a more affordable medication. If there is a generic version of the same pill, then try that. If there’s a similar medication that’s cheaper, then try that. Always work with your doctor when switching meds, of course.
Change the Amount of Medication
Sometimes you can save money on prescription medication just by changing the number of pills that you order. A 60-day or 90-day supply may be cheaper per pill than a 30-day supply. Furthermore, it can reduce the number of times you pay a co-pay.
Also, ask about getting a stronger dose that you can split in half. For example, get a prescription for 45 days of a pill that’s twice the strength you need then cut those in half and you have medication for 90 days.
Shop with Coupons
Drug manufacturers offer coupons to reduce the cost of medications. You can also sometimes find other coupons online for various meds. Take a look at what’s out there before you pay full price.
Shop Around with a Tool Like GoodRx
How much you pay for your prescriptions depends on a variety of factors. One of those is the location where you buy the pills. Therefore, you can save money on prescription medication just by shopping around. You can use a comparison shopping tool such as GoodRx to easily find the least expensive option near you for the medications that you need. You may discover that you need to visit a few different pharmacies to get the best price if you have multiple prescriptions. Given the high cost of meds, that can be well worth the effort.
Make Sure You Have the Right Health Insurance
If you haven’t reviewed your health insurance options recently then make sure that you do so. Find out whether you have the right plan in terms of the medications they cover, your co-pays, and your monthly payment. Moreover, see if you qualify for any low-income programs in your area to help you save money on prescription medications. In addition to Medicare/Medicaide, there are often state programs that help pay the premiums and/or co-pays for people with limited income.