Medications are confusing enough to figure out and then, on top of watching drug interactions and side effects, we have to shop for the pills like sales at the meat counter. Whether you are on a high deductible plan or a version of state/federal insurance the cost of your medications is an important budget item. There are a few ways to minimize the cost when shopping for medications.
Use the internet to price out drugs. There are a large number of on line pharmacies that put their pricing right out there – it shouldn’t be a secret. The quantity of the refill has a lot to do with the cost of the drug and of course, generic versus branded can save you a huge amount (+200%) on some prescriptions. All major drug stores have websites like Walgreens and Wal-Mart.
Another option is the mail order pharmacy. Many health insurance carriers work with a mail order pharmacy to deliver the drugs directly to your mailbox. Once the initial hassle of setting up the prescriptions is completed, mail order pharmacy is extremely convenient. Refills are completed via voicemail system, mail order or internet. The savings comes in the three month supply option where co-pay patients benefit from smaller co-pay on a bigger supply. Folks without the co-pay option, like high deductible or un-insured, also benefit from the 90 days supply. Like so many things we purchase, buying in bulk drives the cost down.
A lesser known way to save on prescriptions is pill splitting. This is where the dosage is written at twice the amount required and split before ingesting. This means the doctor may write the script for 100 mg tablets, taken Ã?Â½ – tablet per day. How does this save money? When the prescription is delivered you will have 90 day supply at a 45 day price. In graphic presentation it looks like this:
45 tablets [at 100 mg each] Ã?Â· Ã?Â½ tablet per day = 90 day supply
Lastly, always learn the cash price for your prescriptions. Some drugs are actually cheaper than the co-pay if you pay the cash price. This is true of many established and mature treatments like penicillin or thyroid hormone.
Managing your health is important. Don’t let costs get in the way of good health care and be a wise consumer. Your doctor and your pharmacist will partner with you in this endeavor.