Consumer Reports, which analyzes products to find the best value, has taken a look at the cost of prescription drugs. Their analysts say you may be able to save as much as $100 every month by comparing prices. Here are four things to help you get your prescriptions at a lower cost.
Ask Questions about Pricing
Sure, health care providers are busy, but you don’t have unlimited financing, either. Ask doctors and pharmacists if they know of a substitute that would provide the same benefit at a lower cost.
Once a patent on a drug expires, copies of brand-name medications known as generics hit the market at drastically reduced prices. These generics must deliver as much of the active ingredients in brand-name drugs and to do it as quickly as the original patented drug does.
Take Advantage of Discounts
You’ve probably seen generics being offered for as little as $4 for a month’s supply. A three-month supply may save you even more at $10. Big drug stores and pharmacies nearly always try to stay competitive with such offers. Which generics are covered does vary, though. Don’t assume that one store not discounting what you need means you can’t find a better price somewhere else.
Check Online and in Rural Areas for Better Prices
Consumer Reports says that both grocery stores and independent drugstores charge higher prices in urban areas than in rural areas. For example, a Raleigh, North Carolina pharmacy charged $203 for a 30-day supply of generic Actos, but you could get that for only $37 in a rural part of North Carolina.
Mail-order delivery of prescription drugs is also available over the Internet. You’re likely to find better prices there because of the increased competition from greater public access.
Buy in Bulk for Better Prices
Ask your doctor for 90-day refills instead of 30-day ones. Most pharmacies discount three-month supplies. And, see if buying a higher dosage and literally splitting the pills would be a cheaper way to go. If your doctor thinks that would work, pill splitters are available in pharmacies and online.
If you have an HSA-qualified health insurance plan, you must reach your deductible before your plan will cover your prescription drug costs. Be a smart consumer, and you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your prescription medication purposes.