Published December 11th, 2019 by Stephanie
If you’re not in the 1% of Americans who have more money than they’ll ever know what to do with, then you already know one of the most valuable skills you’ll ever learn is budgeting. You have a limited amount of money, and many things the money should go to. Managing that money wisely, minimizing your waste expenditures, is one of the best ways to live a life with some measure of financial security.
However, there are some occasions where money is meant to be spent, and a compromise isn’t wanted, or, in some cases, can threaten lives. Dining at expensive restaurants all the time is an unnecessary expense. Dining to celebrate a major milestone or achievement is a much-needed reward. And while cutting down on snack foods to save money is a good idea, cutting down on buying medication to save money runs the risk of worsening illness or, in the worst-case scenario, resulting in death due to insufficient medication. In other words, cutting down on medicine isn’t a sign of good economic sense and can be a dangerous choice.
However, the medication is expensive. That’s a bitter—but brief—pill to figuratively swallow if it’s just for temporary illness, such as someone need antibiotics to fight off pneumonia. The medicine’s not cheap in this scenario, but it’s also not being used for a long time. That changes dramatically if someone is diagnosed with a chronic, lifelong condition. Diabetes diagnosed in a child, for example, now means decades of needing access to insulin. Over those years, that expense inevitably adds up.
There are a few different ways that people handle the money required for a medication. Some people may be well off enough financially that they can afford to pay for more comprehensive medical insurance. That type of health insurance often has special financial “assists,” like a copay system for medication where the insurer subsidizes part of the purchase price to help keep spending lower. Other Americans are fortunate enough to be working a full time job at a company that cares, and provides employees with a spectrum of benefits, including medical coverage that may include medication purchases.
But not every American has these opportunities to ease the burden of medication purchases. That doesn’t mean, however, that there’s no hope. It’s still possible for people to pay less on their medication, but it means having to put in a bit of research, and start utilizing that most basic of strategies, and compare Rx prices.
One of the things that some Americans find difficult to believe—but is true is that there are no laws in place regulating the pricing of medication. Whatever a pharmacist or pharmaceutical chain believes they can charge for a medication and still make a sale, they are legally allowed to do so, and whether people find this price accessible or not doesn’t enter into the equation.
This is why, for example, insulin, a drug required to keep people with diabetes safe and healthy, can cost $300 per dose in the USA, while in Canada, the government, which has instituted laws to regulate pricing and protect consumers, has put a hard cap on pricing, and the same drug and dosage, is only $30. This is one of the reasons why many Americans that live within access to the Canadian border prefer to buy their medication in a foreign country with consumer-friendly laws. However, while this means that pharmacies can set prices as high as they want, it also means they can set prices as low as they want. For example, in lower-income areas, it would make no sense to price medication so far out of reach that no one in the neighborhood could afford it. In these cases, a pharmacist may choose to set much lower prices to help the people of the area get access to the medication they need.
Because of the individual authority that pharmacies have to set their own pricing, it comes as no surprise that there can be a large difference between what the price will be for a pharmacy in an affluent part of a big city, versus the pricing in smaller towns.
This means that by visiting the right pharmacist nearby, or a few miles beyond where you’d normally go, you may encounter some significant savings. In the past, the only way to find out what the difference was in pricing between pharmacies was to do a bit of detective work. You either had to drive from one pharmacy to another and inquire about pricing, or else do some phone research, look for pharmacies in your area, and then call them up one after another, making a record of the prices, and then making your comparisons once you were satisfied.
Now things are a bit easier since there are apps you can download to your phone or another computing device that will do the same thing, only provide you with a centralized, online database that you can access for any location and for any medication that you’re interested in. With this kind of ease of access, it’s both smarter and easier to not just buy your medication at the first pharmacy you think of, but take a little time to do your research and compare Rx prices.
And if you’re looking to save even more money, try the discount card available at the USA Rx website. This discount card has affiliate pharmacy partners in all states, including Hawaii and Alaska. It’s also available at huge range of different pharmaceutical outlets, from the biggest retail chains like Target to the smaller, own-er/operator drug store that may be in a small town. Over 60000 different outlets are part of this affiliate program, and best part is, the card is free.
So if you’re concerned paying high prices on your prescription medication, remember to compare Rx prices, and then for more savings, apply for a discount card. Both strategies can work together to increase the amount you save without compromising on quality or access to medication.