Tips for coping with the high cost of prescription drugs

Nearly one in five adults (18%) said they or a family member had skipped a prescribed medication at least once in the previous 12 months to save money, according to a recent survey from Gallup and West Health.

“While higher costs may cause many people to make concessions, that need not be the case when it comes to many prescription drugs,” said Mona Chitre, Chief Pharmacy Officer. and Vice President of Clinical Strategy for Excellus BCBS. “There are many ways to save money on prescription drugs without jeopardizing your health and safety.”

The first step to saving money, according to Chitre, is to start with a discussion with your doctor, pharmacist or health care provider who prescribed the drug for you.

“It’s essential to have a trusting relationship with your healthcare team so that you can work together to determine the best treatment for you. Ask why the prescribed medication is needed and how it works. It’s important to let them know if you have financial limitations so they can identify lower-cost options that work just as well or other interventions to fit within your budget.

Chitre recommends these money-saving tips:

  • Generics. Generic equivalents have the same active ingredients and therapeutic effects and can save up to 80% on the cost of brand name drugs.
  • Know the form of your health insurance plan and search for your copays or coinsurance. Many health plans have tiered costs for covered drugs: lowest cost for generics to highest cost for some brand name drugs. You can access most insurance companies’ drug formularies (list of drugs covered) on their websites to see what your drugs may cost.
  • Take as prescribed. Skipping prescriptions or taking medications less often than planned can end up costing you more by delaying your recovery — or worse, resulting in a hospital stay or emergency room visit.
  • 90 Day Courier/Supply Service. In addition to the convenience of filling your prescriptions over the phone or online and having them delivered to your doorstep, you can also save money when you fill one 90-day supply of your medications instead of three 30-day supplies. .
  • Review your medications regularly. At each visit to the provider, review your prescribed medications and ask if they are still needed or if lower cost options have become available.
  • Prescription Discount Programs: If you pay full price for drugs that aren’t covered by your pharmacy plan or don’t have insurance, these programs are free and can be an easy way to save on prescription drugs in participating pharmacies. Excellus BCBS offers the Inside Rx discount card to help the community access discounts at over 60,000 pharmacies.
  • Drug assistance programs: New York State offers the Seniors’ Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program (EPIC) for seniors to help supplement out-of-pocket Medicare Part D drug plan costs.
  • Manufacturer Assistance Programs: Pharmaceutical companies can offer a support program on the drugs they manufacture.

Whether you’re insured or not, there are plenty of ways to save money on prescription drugs. Become a savvy shopper and always talk to your supplier or pharmacist before making any changes to your medications.

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About Alex S. Crone

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