Saving Money on Prescription Medications
Prescription medication can be costly. Unexpected prescriptions, as in the case of sudden illness, can put a big wrench in your budget, but sometimes it is the routine, daily medicines that mess up your finances the most. If you have insurance it does help, but even with it, prescriptions can be costly. When we lived in Colorado we had a prescription plan that our copays would either be $10, $20 or $40. Guess which ones we needed most often? $40 bucks a pop is no fun on the wallet. Here are some ideas for saving money on prescription needs.
- Ask for medicines from the doctor. They get all sorts of samples from pharmaceutical companies. Doctors have told me that they wish more people would ask for them because they throw out so many expired medicines each year that people could have used. They are just so busy they don't remember to mention it to you.
- Ask your doctor if they have coupons. Twice now, I have been given coupons from my doctor for the medicine I was getting filled. It has paid for the medicine completely and the latest one will pay for the medicine for the whole year, saving me $120.
- Ask for a generic medicine. Frequently pharmacies will automatically fill your prescription with a generic and usually it isn't a big deal. But, while you are at your doctor you should ask if a generic is OK for you to use. Saving money isn't worth it if your health will be affected.
- Ask your doctor if there is a cheaper medicine available that will meet your needs. In Colorado my son had to have the $40 antibiotic because he was allergic to the cheaper meds, but for most people the cheaper ones would work fine.
- Check into local pharmacy programs. Our local grocery store pharmacy is offering free antibiotics right now. This would be especially helpful for someone who doesn't have insurance.
- Try mail order. All of our medicines require a new prescription each month, but for a medicine that you get a years prescription at once this is a great option. You are usually required to order several months at a time, but the cost is lower in the end. Think of it like buying groceries in bulk. Higher upfront cost, but lower unit cost.
- Take advantage of prescription transfer or new prescription coupons. Most drug stores and even Target will occasionally put these coupons out. Right now there is one from Target for a $10 gift card with a new or transferred prescription. As long as your medications don't run the risk of interfering with each other, transferring them around can save you money. I go to Target every couple of weeks and I also get four prescriptions filled each month. There is no reason not to use this coupon and I end up getting something else I need for free in the process.
- Get a larger amount of medicine at a time. For instance we visit the doctor every three months to get prescriptions for my son. At first the doctor gave me a prescription for 30 days with two refills. The next time we went asked if he could write me the prescription for 90 pills instead. He gladly did it and I save two copays.
Whether you get prescriptions filled rarely or routinely, saving money on them is a good idea. Use these tips to help your budget all the time.