Access to good health care is a huge benefit, but when it comes to prescription medication, many people are still left behind. Prescription medication can be pricey and many people struggle to pay for their medications each month. However, there are ways to save in this area. For anyone who may be struggling with medication costs, consider these options to make monthly costs a little lower.
1. Talk to a Physician About Medicine Necessity
Many people are started on a medication that they need at the time but may not need in the long-term. Never stop a prescription medication without first talking with your doctor. However, it's worth discussing if you need to take the medication at all. Seniors especially can benefit from taking fewer medications so ask your doctor to review the necessity of each medication prescription.
This should be done on a periodic basis and you should discuss whether there might be alternatives as well. For example, you may be able to discontinue a blood pressure medication by losing weight, following a low-salt diet, and limiting stress. Review medications that can be replaced by lifestyle factors instead.
2. Consider Going Generic
Many medications have both a generic and name brand option. The brand name option is going to be expensive but should have identical ingredients. This means that the medications will be equally effective and also have the same benefits and risks as the brand-name option. The only difference between the two medications may be the non-medicinal ingredients and the price.
Keep in mind that not all medications have generic versions. Newer medications won't have a generic version but older medications usually do. Discuss a generic version with your doctor or pharmacist and request the generic version if possible.
3. Consider an Online Pharmacy
Buying from a reputable Canadian pharmacy online is another way you can get access to prescription medicine at a discount. These pharmacies tend to have lower costs since they can serve a large group from a central location and don't have the same cost of a network of local pharmacies. Not every pharmacy is the same, but you can search for a certified pharmacy or even ask your physician if there is an online pharmacy that they prefer. Price-check your medications to determine if they offer your medications at a lower cost.
4. Shop Around
Most people don't think about shopping around for medications, but you can be paying for more than just a medication at a pharmacy. Review your receipt and you'll probably notice that you have a dispensing fee added onto your bill. The fee can vary a great deal depending on the pharmacy, so this cost can add up quickly.
The best way to get the lowest cost for your medication is to review the dispensing fees at several different pharmacies in your area. Also, if you are on a long-term medication, ask your physician if you can get a longer supply. This will save you money as you will be able to get the prescription filled less frequently.
5. Look for Subsidized Programs
Each area may have some subsidized or partially-subsidized coverage for medications. These subsidies usually apply to specific groups of people. For example, certain income levels, seniors, refugees, and native populations are all examples of populations that may be eligible, although requirements vary greatly depending on your area.
Your physician may know of programs in your area, so be sure to ask the next time you have an appointment. Even if you don't fit into a program, you can also review non-profit organizations. They can often provide aid for specific disorders or diseases.
6. Ask for Samples
Many doctors carry samples in their office which are designed to be given to patients. This is not a solution for a long-term medication but may be a good option if you only need to take a medication for a shorter period of time. You can receive help with your medication even if it's only part of what you need. It's more common for doctors to carry samples of newer medications which are the more expensive ones as well in most cases.
It never hurts to request samples from your physician so when in doubt, always ask. Even if your doctor doesn't carry any, he may be able to provide contacts for you to request samples from another source.
7. Review Medications with a Pharmacist
Although a physician will prescribe medications, your local pharmacist is a wealth of knowledge. If reviewing your medications with a doctor didn't help to lower your costs, then consider making an appointment with a pharmacist. Bring a list of all the medications you take including prescription and over-the-counter supplements.
The pharmacist can review all of the drugs and help you determine the safest and most effective medications for your condition. They can also be helpful at determining any duplicate therapies or any drugs that you can discontinue. In that situation, the pharmacist can contact your provider to discuss changing medications.
8. Ask for a Higher Dose
This recommendation is only going to work if a pill can be split in half. Some prescription medications can be cut in half and may come with an indentation in the middle for that purpose. In that case, the price of the higher dose may be lower than the equivalent dose in two smaller pills. This design can allow people to extend their medication supply which can offer significant savings over time.
Keep in mind that this tip will not work for all medications. For example, any medication that is slow-release cannot be cut in half. Check with your doctor and pharmacist before cutting any medications to determine if this is an option for your prescriptions.
Although the cost of prescription medications can be prohibitive, you don't have to settle for high costs. These tips provide you with eight specific ways that you can save money on prescription costs. Whether taking medications short or long-term, use these options to explore cost-saving options while still maintaining good health.