The Price of Prescription Medications

We all know too well how it seems our money just doesn’t seem to stretch quite as far as it used to. Well, I hate to break the news to you, it’s not an illusion, it’s a fact. It seems like every time we think we can save a bit of money in our coffee can, the cost of something, anything, everything goes up. And, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but more than likely…almost for certain, you can expect your health insurance premiums to go up when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA) goes into full affect October 1, 2013 with the launching of the Health Insurance Marketplace (or Exchange). We all keep hearing that the ACA is going to provide affordable and accessible health insurance to all legal Americans. Yes, it is designed to provide expanded coverage, prevention and wellness assistance, and coverage with a pre-existing health condition but there will be a cost – to you, to employers, to healthcare providers, to insurance carriers. There is no getting around it. It’s reality folks.

So, what is one simple way to help offset the rising costs associated with health care? Besides taking care of yourself on a daily basis…you know…eating right, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, you can also take small steps in lowering your prescription drug costs. Here is how.

•   Request the lowest price at the pharmacy. You might be surprised that what you are given isn’t the lowest and best price available. The worst they can say is “yes, it is the lowest price” and you go on your merry way. Or you might be surprised and they say “yes, I can give you a lower cost”. So, go ahead and ask as you have nothing to lose and possibly some money to save.

•   Unless your doctor specifically prescribes a name brand medicine, ask for the generic brand. Generics are copies of name brand meditations whose patents have expired. A generic brand is required by the FDA to contain the same active ingredients, the same strengths, and same delivery time into your system as the name brand medications. If your healthcare provider does prescribe a name brand medicine make sure you ask if it’s possible to get it in generic form. Maybe there isn’t a generic form on the market yet.

•   Shop around for the lowest price on your prescription drugs. Your local pharmacy may have the medications you need but check the pharmacy or chain store you pass on your way home from work. It might be in just a bit different area of your city that the price is less. According to Consumer Reports some drug stores, grocery stores, and big box stores have higher prices in urban areas compared to rural areas. So check around but also make sure you aren’t spending more money in gas to save a few dollars on your prescription drugs.

•   If you are going to be on a prescription medication for long term, ask for a 90-day supply. Most pharmacies offer discounts on a 90-day supply.

•   Always be on the lookout for additional discounts. Many large grocery stores and big chain stores are offering hundreds of generic medications at deeply discounted prices. I’ve even seen some large chain grocery stores offer antibiotics at no costs (with a healthcare provider’s prescription) during the cold and flu season.

So go on, shop around…everyone likes to find a good bargain now and then.

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