Friday, November 21, 2008

How To Save Big On Prescription Drugs

We are a pill-popping nation.  Americans are taking medicine for everything from heartburn to erectile dysfunction.  But a growing number of people are having trouble paying for medicine.  A recent Kaiser Family Foundation Poll found that 29 percent have not filled prescriptions in the last two years because of cost.

Here are some tips on how to be a smarter patient and stretch your health care dollars:

Few consumers realize that the retail price of a prescription can vary among local drugstores by 300-400 percent; shopping around can save plenty.  Mail-order pharmacies and online retailers offer even greater savings.  The value of drug purchases also varies with the quantity of medicine purchased.  Maximize your savings by finding out what quantity of pills gives you the best value and purchase your medicines from the retail or online pharmacy that gives you the best price.

Find out the retail price of a prescription before using a prescription drug insurance plan
Your prescription drug co-payment may be higher than the retail price!  Always find out what your drug costs retail before using any prescription coverage, then you can choose the most economical way of paying for it.

Insist on treatment with generic drugs
Generic drugs cost up to 90 percent less than their brand-name counterparts.  Insist your doctor prescribe medications that are generically available.  Obtain generic substitutions for expensive brand names whenever possible.

Insist on cheaper medicines within the same class, or a cheaper class of medicine for the same treatment goal
Because doctors don't often consider cost when prescribing medication, they tend to choose the latest, most expensive drugs.  There are usually cheaper medication choices.  Ask your doctor if a substitution for an expensive drug would be an appropriate way to bring prescription costs within your budget.

Buy a three month supply
Usually it's less expensive to get a 90-day supply instead of buying one month at a time.

Look into prescriptions by mail
Sometimes you have to plan ahead on this one, but it can end up saving you a lot of money.

Prescription drugs are becoming more and more expensive, but if you follow these tips and do your research you can end up saving a lot on your prescription bills - without sacrificing your health.