7 Ways to Save on Prescription Medications

A whopping $3 trillion is spent annually on healthcare expenses in the country. And this figure is only expected to soar significantly in the following year. A recent study by a leading insurance provider estimates that an elderly couple might shell out over $250,000 on out-of-pocket expenses during their retirement years. These unreimbursed costs primarily comprise prescription medicines, which might not be covered in standard healthcare insurance plans. The consistent price hikes in specialty medicines and patent monopolies are one to blame for overpriced prescription medicines.

Handling the cost of prescription medications can definitely strain your monthly budget; however, there are some options that can help you significantly lower its prices. Read on to know more.

Shop around
Comparison shopping is one of the most effective ways to ensure that you get the best deal on prescription medications. This method can prove to be of great help if your medical insurance doesn’t cover prescription medicines. Wondering how disparate the prices can be? Different pharmacies charge considerably different prices for the same prescription medications. Therefore, don’t forget to contact local pharmacies and inquire about their base prices for prescription medications to know which one is the most affordable.

Make contributions to an FSA or HSA
Almost one-third of the total prescription medicine expenses can be saved by making contributions to the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (FSA). While both lower your monthly costs on medications, there is a key difference in how these plans enable you to utilize the savings. The FSA mandates you to use the contributions in the very year they are made or based on the deadline allotted by the employer. It is critical to remember that FSA money is nonrefundable. In other words, if you fail to use the money within the prescribed timeframe then you will lose it. Conversely, the HSA doesn’t have any such limitations. If you don’t spend the money this year, then it can be kept for later use.

Use coupons for prescription medications
There are myriad of coupons available for prescription medicines. Therefore, before dropping in any pharmacy, look for coupons online. Nevertheless, ensure that you only visit the manufacturer’s site and reliable online coupon platforms for genuine deals. Redeeming coupons for prescription medications can considerably help lower the out-of-pocket expenses such as copays. Apart from pharmacies and online sites, you can also inquire about any coupons for prescriptions medicines at your doctor’s office. Some pharmaceutical companies might also offer you a free trial period.

Interestingly, coupons for prescription medications aren’t considered valid in all the states and by insurance programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. You must be wondering why? Insurance companies argue that such rebates meddle with the benefit provisions developed to encourage people to move from prescription to generic medications that are cheaper. When the insured uses coupons for prescription medicines, the provider is compelled to cover more expensive brand of medications, causing the overall expenses to surge. However, coupons for prescription medications come to the rescue as the copayment window for medications is progressively expanding, enabling patients to access better therapies.

Buy from online pharmacies
Like everything else, you will also discover discounts and offers on prescription medications sold by the online pharmacy. However, ensure that these pharmacies are accredited by Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS), have licensed and active pharmacists, and are based in the country. Apart from discounted products and coupons for prescription medications, online pharmacies might also extend additional services such as free deliveries. Also, remember that like a brick-and-mortar pharmacy, online ones too mandate the submission of a proper prescription.

Fill in prescriptions for free
There are numerous pharmacies that provide free fills for certain types of prescription medicines such as antibiotics, vitamins, and medications for hypertension, cardiac disorders, and diabetics. Call up pharmacies in your area to confirm if your prescription is eligible for a free fill. Typically, pharmacies located in grocery stores offer such programs.

Plan to ensure that your prescriptions are covered
It pays to be proactive, especially in terms of health. If you are already using prescription medicines, or have any treatments lined up for the following year, then ensure that they included in your current health plan. If not, a month before the open enrollment, you can talk to your respective provider, and transfer to another plan.

Choose generics over patented medications
Branded items are generally costly, and this pricing approach is equally true for patented prescription medications. Another excellent alternative to tackle this financial hiccup is by switching to generics. If there is no generic version, then you can use coupons for prescription medications to keep everything under the budget. Medicines can come off patents at any time, so ensure to stay alert if any new developments were to materialize in the healthcare sector.

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