How to Get the Best Prices on Your Prescriptions
Medicines can be notoriously and prohibitively expensive in the US. Lack of price regulation, exclusivity and general capitalist forces contribute to this, but there are ways you may not be aware of that can save money on your prescriptions without compromising your health and financial stability. .
Use special apps or coupons to save on prescription costs.
Apps like GoodRx are great if you don’t have insurance. You cannot use discount cards or apps in conjunction with insurance; it’s either-or. They are generally free, and while your pharmacy will pay a transaction fee, they probably won’t mind because you’re paying them up front instead of going through an insurance company and waiting for a refund. In addition, they know that in this way you can increase loyalty to the pharmacy.
If you have a high deductible, high copay , no insurance, or your insurance doesn’t cover a certain drug, GoodRx , RxSaver , and the like are good options for you. Your doctor may also have valid drug coupons that you have been prescribed, so ask them at your visit. Using discount cards and drug coupons is not quite the same as simply clipping coupons: you have to be specific and sometimes ask directly for what you need. Luckily, apps like GoodRx will list the prices of each drug at all participating pharmacies, so you can easily figure out which pharmacy to go to for the most savings.
If a generic version of your drug is available, check to see if it’s listed on Cost Plus Drugs , Mark Cuban’s new online pharmacy. A billionaire investor recently launched a site with more than 100 generic drugs that users buy up front for a fraction of what they would pay at a traditional pharmacy. There are limited options and you’ll need to consult your doctor about switching to a generic, but if your medications are there, expect some savings.
Ask for Prior Authorization
This advice comes from personal experience: when I got this job and changed my health insurance, I went to the pharmacy to get my medicine, which I do every month. Instead of my usual $90, they asked me about $500. I left in a panic, but by contacting an insurance representative, I was able to easily get pre-approval, which brought my monthly expenses down to about $50— less than before.
Prior authorization, also known as prior authorization, occurs when your insurance company determines that your services, treatment, drug, or equipment are medically necessary and decides to cover the costs. Your insurance company should list covered drugs on their website, but if they don’t or you don’t see your drugs, talk to your doctor. For me, it was as simple as my doctor sent the company a note saying yes, I need this medication, so yes, they should cover it. It may not always be that easy and your insurance may cause more fights, but it’s worth it. All this I was able to figure out using the chat feature on the insurance company’s website; you may not even have to make a phone call.
Talk to your doctor about your finances
When a doctor prescribes something, you may not feel entitled to participate in the decision-making process . But if the medicine is too expensive for you, it’s important to let you know so you can discuss other options. In some cases, a doctor may make an exchange, whether it is a switch to a generic version or a slightly different drug that can solve your problems as well as a more expensive drug.
Use a flexible spending account (FSA)
The Flexible Spending Account is part of some benefit packages and allows you to transfer pre-tax money from your paycheck to a debit card that you can then use for health-related expenses, including co-payments. While it’s true that it’s still your money, the FSA card allows you to use pre-tax funds, so you’ll save on the taxes you’d pay on that money. It’s also important to have money in the budget for recurring health care needs and you won’t feel like your checking account is taking such a big hit every time you go to the pharmacy. The only caveat here is that any FSA money you don’t spend by the end of the year will be confiscated, so if you’re saving money through your benefits for this purpose, make sure you have a plan for using it. ( Here’s how to use unspent FSA funds .)