Prescription drug savings can be had in several ways. You’re probably already familiar with how you can save money on the costs of medications by asking your doctor for generic equivalents of your prescription drugs. Here are five more cost cutting tricks:
(1) Ask for free samples of prescription drugs. Doctors are deluged with pharmaceutical sales representatives handing out free samples from manufacturers, but they don’t always distribute the samples to their patients. If you ask, you may get a week or more of an expensive prescription drug for free.
Caution: Make sure to check the expiration dates as some of these medications may have been sitting around the doctor’s office for way too long.
(2) Get your prescription drugs through mail-order or on the Internet. Obviously, you should always do this only when appropriate, but buying prescription drugs by mail or on the Internet can be very economical, and convenient. However, you must be careful that many mail-order pharmacies used nonpharmacists to fill prescriptions. While usually a pharmacist with check the final order, the volume of prescription drugs being processed is usually very large and mistakes do happen.
Buying by mail order or over the Internet means you lose the benefit of face-to-face communication with your pharmacist who can warn you of possible interactions and negative side effects.
The bottom line: The Internet or mail-order is best used with drugs you’re familiar with, and medications that are taken on a long-term basis. That way you will minimize the risk of taking a wrong prescription drug or falling victim to unforeseen drug interactions.
(3) Don’t let your insurance company impose limits on your prescription length. If your doctor writes an order for a 90 day supply of your prescription drug your insurance company may approve only a 30 day supply. Limiting your prescriptions in this manner helps your insurer to cut costs but actually costs you more money and extra trips to the pharmacy.
Loophole: If you want or need a prescription for a 90 day supply and your insurance company only covers 30 days, ask your doctor to substitute “take as directed” instead of “take once a day” on the prescription form, which makes it hard for the insurance company to know how many pills comprise a 30 day supply. You’ll be able to then get your full 90 day supply filled.
Caution: Find out how often the medication should actually be taken and write it on the prescription label.
(4) Avoid time release formulations. Many prescription drugs are offered in both time-release and non-time-release forms. Time-release forms are often more convenient and also more expensive.
(5) Look into patient assistance programs for your prescription drugs. These programs are available by many pharmaceutical companies but are not publicly advertised. They are usually used to assist people who are short on cash because of job loss or financial setbacks. You may qualify for free prescription drugs. In most cases, all that is required is for your doctor to certify that you’re unable to afford the cost of the prescription drug. Call the manufacturer directly or find out if a particular drug is available through such a program and what the terms are.
Some information from The World’s Greatest Treasury of Health Secrets from the Editors of Bottom Line Publications
Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic Ph.D Licensed Psychologist