How to save on prescription drugs
One of the biggest concerns that customers have when negotiating their health insurance options is the cost of prescription drugs. They are constantly trying to learn how to save money on prescription drugs so that their medication is less of a financial burden on their lives.
It’s no surprise that people want to reduce their drug costs given the constant fluctuations in price from the drug market. Fortunately, many pharmacies offer loyalty programs that can reduce the costs of prescriptions and make it easier to save on medication and other essentials in your life.
1. Choose between discount cards and prescription drug insurance
Prescription drug insurance and medical insurance are very similar. You pay a premium for the coverage and then a copay whenever you get a prescription filled. For the most part, many health insurance plans cover prescriptions and the cost it built into your premium, so most people don’t even think about it when they sign up. The ACA doesn’t require large employers to include prescription coverage, but it’s rare not to.
Conversely, customers pay a monthly fee for a prescription discount card and then receive a discount on the prescriptions they fill. These plans aren’t insurance and are provided by a variety of different sources, including:
- Drug companies
- Organizations such as AARP
If your health insurance doesn’t cover prescription drugs, or not as much as you need it to, then you may consider investing in a prescription drug card through your local pharmacy.
2. Check for generic versus name-brand prescriptions
People who suffer from allergies are told to keep their EpiPen on them at all times. They never know when they could have an allergic reaction, which means these pens are essential life-saving devices. However, the makers of EpiPen, Mylan Corporation, increased the price from $100 to $600 for a two-pack. To fight this, CVS sells a generic version of EpiPen with the same active chemicals that costs a little over $100. This is just one example of companies fighting back against expensive drug prices with generic options.
Whenever your doctor writes a prescription, ask them about generic alternatives to the name brand. You can also talk to your local pharmacy about their generic offers. Not only will these prescriptions cost significantly less than the name brand ones, you might have a higher discount on your loyalty card because you chose the pharmacy’s brand instead.
Bonus: Prescription Savings Strategies Video
3. Shop around for different prescription prices
Many people assume that the cost of one prescription is the same wherever you go, but this is a common misconception. Some pharmacies, even those right next to each other, such as CVS and Walgreens, have wildly different prices for various prescriptions. If you have a regular prescription that you’ll keep refilling throughout the year, shop around to a few nearby pharmacies and see which ones have the best offer.
Signing up for multiple pharmacy loyalty programs can also help if you have one-time prescriptions (such as an antibiotic for an illness). Consumer Reports created a website where you can check the best drug prices and find where you can save. You can also learn more about your prescriptions and see if there are generic options available to you.
4. Manage your prescriptions easier
By choosing a pharmacy program, you should be able to manage your prescriptions easier. Many pharmacies have apps that send alerts when your prescription is low and needs to be refilled, or you can manage your own refills within the app interface. All of your prescription medication is located in one place so that you don’t have to worry about over-ordering or tracking your orders and their numbers.
Many of these apps also offer coupons, points, and discounts for healthy behavior. For example, the CVS loyalty program gives customers points for getting flu shots and other vaccinations. This is a great way to prevent illness and save on prescriptions in the future when you don’t get sick.
5. Save on other health staples
Not all pharmacies offer rewards programs that cover other items in the store. You might be limited to items that are health-related or can’t go over certain set thresholds. This is another reason why customers need to shop around when they’re deciding on a pharmacy loyalty program. The team at Young Adult Money created a guide with three popular pharmacies to help you decide which reward program is best. It helps you determine how free you will be to buy whatever you want with your rewards.
Everyone’s health insurance and prescription needs are unique, so be sure to keep learning about your options and shopping around before you make a set decision. The last thing you want to do is decide on a health plan and then realize there was a better option available.