One in four Americans are paying more today for their prescription drugs than they were just a year ago. So how can you find the best Rx savings the next time you pull into the pharmacy drive-through?
- Generic drugs – One of the easiest and most effective ways to find Rx savings on retail prescription drugs is to ask your pharmacist if there is a generic alternative. The Food and Drug Administration reports that generic drugs on average cost about 85% less than their brand-name alternatives. There’s no need to worry about whether you’re getting the same product: Generic drugs use the same active ingredients at the same strength and purity as their original brand-name medication. Not all medications have a generic option, but it certainly pays to ask the question.
- Compare Prices – Much like supermarkets charge different prices for the same quart of milk or bag of coffee, local pharmacies charge different prices for the same medications. Make a few phone calls to price out the cost of the drug you need at several local pharmacies. Better yet, download an app to your phone such as GoodRx.com or Rxsaver.retailmenot.com to do the work for you.
- Cash Discounts – Before pulling out your debit card, ask if your pharmacy offers an Rx savings discount for paying cash.
- Insurance Co-Pays – Ask your pharmacist for the retail cost of the medication you need to buy and then compare it to the prescription co-pay required by your health insurance. Sometimes your prescription co-pay can be more expensive than the drug itself.
- Preferred Pharmacies – Find out if your health insurance company has a preferred pharmacy. If so, compare the price you would pay at this pharmacy versus the one you normally go to.
- Online Coupons – Search for online Rx discount coupons on sites such as internetdrugcoupons.com. Major drug coupons are arranged by categories including medications for pain relief, asthma, mental health, and cardiovascular needs.
- 90-Day Supply – Most doctors supply patients with scripts for 30-day drug supply. If you take medication regularly and have used it long enough to know that you will continue taking it, ask your doctor if he will provide you with a 90-day prescription instead. Buying medications in higher quantities can help improve your Rx savings.
- Free Medications – Some supermarkets and wholesale club stores offer Rx savings in the form of free two-week supplies of specific medications to customers. Supermarkets such as Publix and Winn Dixie, don’t require a pharmacy club membership, but you must have a prescription from your doctor. Publix, for example, offers Metformin (for diabetes), Lisinopril (for high blood pressure), and Amoxycillin (an antibiotic) free of charge to its customers. Walmart touts a list of $4 generic drugs while Winn Dixie has a list of both $4 and $10 generics to choose from. Check out store websites to view a list of all the free medications available.
- Discounted Savings – Some chain drugstores and wholesale clubs, such as Costco, offer savings on all their prescription medications. If you are uninsured or your insurance does not cover all over your prescriptions, joining the Costco Member Prescription Program can be translated to significant Rx savings estimated between 2% and 40% per prescription. The Costco discount prescription plan even allows you to add your pet as a dependent for greater savings on prescriptions for Fido or Fluffy. Other chain drugstores, such as CVS, offer similar Rx savings through pharmacy discount cards. In some cases, pharmacy discount card users can save up to 80% on medication. Review store their websites for details and download their list of qualifying medications to see how much you can save on the ones you need.