Published August 12th, 2019 by Stephanie
Statistics indicate that most Americans will spend an average of $1200 per year on medicine. For the vast majority, that’s not a small amount of change, and if the cost is higher, for Americans with specific, serious needs, the financial demands can be a major challenge. It’s because of the high cost of some medicines in the USA that some people, even when they need a prescription to live their lives in health, comfort, or even to stay alive, may forgo badly needed medicine to avoid the costs.
Even when some Americans manage to find some help in the form of medical insurance policies, this is not always a situation of being “free and clear.” It’s not unusual for medical insurance coverage to have a “co-pay” policy, where the policyholder still pays some money on medicine, with the insurance company covering the remaining amount.
So what can Americans do if there’s a need for regularly consumed medicine, but the wallet isn’t bottomless? Here are five tips to save money on prescription drugs.
As shocking and upsetting as it may be to hear, in some cases, you may be better off paying for a prescription on your own, rather than using the co-pay system of your insurance company. The reason for this is because you can sometimes end up paying more money through a copay system than you would have if you’d just gotten the prescription uninsured. This is known in the industry as a “clawback,” and the only way to avoid it is to do your homework ahead of time.
For example, you want to buy some insulin, and under the terms of your copay medical insurance policy, you are expected to pay $400. Naturally, you would assume that means the insulin costs much more than $400, and whatever the remaining difference is, your insurance company adds onto it to cover the cost.
However, if you do your research, you find out that had you bought that insulin without using your copay system, it would have cost $300 to anyone buying it uninsured! The pharmacy you bought the insulin from collects the money you paid, and sends the extra $100 back to your insurer!
The only way to avoid this is to make sure you know what the costs of your prescriptions are, and then choose to pay uninsured prices when you know the co-pay is higher than the shelf-price of the drugs.
If you’re not a rich American, you’re one of the millions of others working hard, trying to get by, and making sure that every dollar counts. The costs of a regular prescription can quickly spiral out of control, so one way to save money on prescription drugs is to get a little help from organizations that are willing to give it.
Whether locally, or at the state, or even federal level, there are groups that can assist people in covering the cost of drugs, or entering into programs where the drugs are much lower cost. A 30-day prescription of a drug for only $4, for example, can be a critical piece of financial aid, especially for lower-income families. Look at your local pharmacy or other organizations within your city that may offer special programs for people with medical needs, especially for children.
This one requires time, diligence, and a willingness to research the details, but it yields results. Pharmacies charge whatever they like on the prices of prescriptions, and the basic business law is “charge whatever you feel you can get away with.” This means that the pricing on medicine can wildly vary from one pharmacy to the next based on affluence of the location, or whether the pharmacy is independent, or part of a big retail chain following corporate policy.
If you comparison shop, you’ll find very different prices at different locations, and you may even find much lower deals at reputable online retailers since they don’t have to pay the overhead costs of running a physical store and pass those savings on to customers. If you do your homework, you can save money prescription drugs with some diligent comparison shopping.
It’s not the kind of knowledge that’s widely spread; it’s not unusual for your doctor to have coupons available for discounts on certain medicines and prescriptions. The next time you visit your doctor for an issue, or just a check-up, ask about whether there are any coupon discounts available for the medicine or prescriptions that you require. While many doctors get these coupons, so few people ask for them that they often forget they even have them in the first place. It never hurts to ask! If there are coupons present, and you receive them, then it’s a simple matter to go to the pharmacy the next time you need a refill and present the coupons alongside your purchase to pay less.
If you want to have a consistent chance to enjoy discounts on a variety of different prescriptions at many different pharmacies, then think about getting a prescription discount card. When you acquire one from a place like the USA Rx website, you don’t have to pay any money for the card, nor do you need to subscribe to service or be affiliated with a particular insurer. Anyone, insured or not, can sign up for free with such a card.
Once you have it, all you have to do is present it to a pharmacist, and if it is one of the over 60000 pharmacists in all 50 states that recognizes the card, then you get a discount applied. You can save money on prescription drugs with a discount card like this because it potentially carries anywhere from 10%-75% off on various drugs and medicine.
So remember that while medicine can be very expensive in the United States, there are ways to navigate these prices, and save money on prescription drugs, so that you can be smarter with your finances. Every little bit helps!