For most retirees, healthcare is their largest expense after housing. For some, medical care and prescription drug costs actually exceed all other expenses in their budgets! For example, a person managing a chronic illness spends an average of $11,000 on prescription drugs each year. If you’re worried about your prescription drug expenditures, try these five ways to reduce your bills at the pharmacy.
Ask about generics. When your doctor prescribes you a new medication, the first thing you should ask is whether there is a generic version. Generic drugs are chemically identical to name brand ones, so you don’t have to worry about their safety or effectiveness. If there is no generic version, ask your doctor if another medication (that does have a generic version) would work just as well.
Ask about dosage. Many prescription medications are priced the same, even at higher dosage. For example, a 10 mg pill costs the same as a 20 mg pill. Ask your doctor if you could get a prescription for the 20 mg dosage, and simply cut the pills in half. This isn’t safe for all medications, however, which is why you should consult your doctor before attempting this strategy.
Shop around. You might be surprised at how prescription drug prices can vary from one pharmacy to another, even within the same city. If you find a lower price elsewhere, you can ask your pharmacist to match it, so that you don’t have to switch drug stores. If you’re a member of Costco or Sam’s Club, you could access reduced prices on medications. Sometimes Sam’s Club even fills certain prescriptions for free!
Shop online. Without the overhead costs of an actual brick-and-mortar store, many online pharmacies can charge lower prices. This is especially true when you order a 90-day supply of a medication, rather than the standard monthly order. But, to make sure an online pharmacy is legit, look for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) seal on the website. This symbol indicates that the company has participated in an accreditation program.
Consider all of your insurance options. Insurance plans change from one year to the next, and sometimes providers introduce new programs that offer more thorough prescription drug coverage. Give us a call, and we’ll help you evaluate different insurance plans.