If you regularly take prescription medications, you know how fast those costs can add up. Just a single medication might run you $10, $20, or even more!
If you are uninsured or under insured, those prescriptions might have a significant impact on your budget. And if you take more than one medication or have multiple family members taking medication, it becomes even more important to save money on your medications.
Unexpected Prescription Costs
While you may be able to predict the monthly cost of your maintenance medications, what about when someone is sick?
In my house, it never fails that a single cold manifests differently in each of us, resulting in several unexpected prescription costs.
One cold may start as an ear infection in one child…a case of pinkeye in another…and then I end up with sinus infection because I’m paying more attention to the kids’ illnesses than my own.
When you get your prescription filled, you have no idea what that medication is going to cost you until the clerk rings it up. When you are on a tight budget, waiting to see that final total can be stressful!
Whether you are looking to save money on one of your regular medications or you need a medication because of an unexpected illness, here’s my favorite tips for saving money on your prescriptions.
1. Ask for samples
Your doctor’s office likely gets samples of medications from pharmaceutical reps. Next time you are trying out a new medication, ask your doctor if they have any samples you can try. It might save you a few weeks of medication costs!
2. Go with the generic prescription
Check with your doctor if there is a generic equivalent of your medications, especially if you have a medication you take regularly. Some pharmacies will substitute a generic when available, but others do not automatically substitute generics.
For example, you plan’s copay might be $10 for a one-month supply of generic medication, $40 for formulary brand names, and $60 for non-formulary. Big difference!
3. Compare prices between pharmacies
Prescription prices can vary widely between pharmacies. One of my favorite new tools is to use SearchRx. Just search the medication you need, put in your zip code, and it will let you know the prescription prices at the local pharmacies.
This is particularly handy when you have those unexpected prescriptions and you aren’t sure where to get it filled for the best price.
SearchRx can be used on the web or they also have an app that can be downloaded through iTunes or Google Play. The free app and website also allows users to find coupons to save even more, and you are eligible for their savings even if you are uninsured!
These discount codes can save you up to 75% on almost every FDA approved medication. This discount is accepted at over 60,000 pharmacies including CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid, Walgreens and more. There are no restrictions and no fees.
4. Look for the $4/$10 prescription program
Several stores such as Wal-mart, Target, and Kroger offer common generic medications (at common doses) at just $4 for a one month supply and $10 for a 90 day supply. Only certain dosages are covered and program availability varies by state.
If you are looking for a 90-day supply, you will probably need your doctor to write the prescription that way (instead of by month). If you have a pharmacy that does this in your area, it’s a great way to get your medications for less than the cost of a copay.
5. Pharmacy hop
Pharmacies want to win your business. Many pharmacies offer a reward (I’ve seen it a lot in grocery store pharmacies) for transferring a prescription to their store. Sometimes you’ll need a coupon that is in their weekly flyer to get the rewards. You’ll need to bring your current prescription bottle to the store and that’s usually all they need to transfer the prescription over.
You should also check pharmacy prices using SearchRx to see which pharmacies offer the best prices. One medication might be best filled at one pharmacy, while another is cheaper elsewhere. It pays to shop around!
Save Money on Prescriptions
The cost of medical care is high, but there are ways to save money even on your medications. Take advantage of SearchRx to save the most money on your prescriptions.
Looking for more healthcare savings? SingleCare is another great service that offers savings on prescriptions, dental, vision, and telehealth visits.