How to lower the cost of prescriptions.
When it comes to Facebook, I am a bit of a lurker. I also try not to spend too much time on the site as it can be a real time sucker. Every now and then, though, a post will catch my eye. While the information regarding lowering prescription costs wasn’t new to me, it was something that I had forgotten to make a point of doing, and that is to ask! The post was all about pharmacy gag rules, also referred to as a clawback.
Below is a link to a video that explains how this works.
Having now reached our max out-of-pocket for healthcare, it won’t help us this year, but I will be making a point to ask in 2018! Our FSA has a debit card for which we pay for prescriptions, etc. No sense in using up more of those funds than necessary.
This post on Facebook got me to thinking about other ways to save. Some of this comes from my experience as a nurse and some just come from learning a few tricks as I’ve gotten older and wiser!
- Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor’s office for prescription samples. Not too many years ago I was treated for Graves’ disease. While my endocrinologist was regulating my thyroid medications, I probably received a good three month or so supply of medications. All it took was asking! Obviously, a doctor’s office won’t have every prescription, but it never hurts to ask!
- Have you ever had sticker shock when picking up a prescription? I know we have, even with insurance. Years ago Hubs was treated for an eye infection. The medicine that was called in was crazy expensive. Our pharmacist was kind enough to call our doctor’s office and ask for an alternative medication. While you may not have a pharmacist that will do this for you, there is nothing that says you can’t make a call and request something cheaper. This is not to say that you will always be successful as not all drugs are created equal, but hey, you never know until you ask!
- Depending on your insurance, getting routine prescriptions via mail order may save you some money. Getting a 90 day supply may also help with reducing the cost.
- Call around and inquire about the actual cost. Also, check with places such as Cosco and Sam’s Club. While it may not be true for every state, I live in a state that permits using their pharmacy services without being a member of the club. Also keep in mind that just because one pharmacy offers certain drugs for $4 (i.e.Walmart), it doesn’t mean they all do.
- If you’re not loyal to a particular pharmacy, look for deals for transferring or filling your prescription, giving you a kickback for doing so. While these offers don’t seem to be quite as prevalent as they once were, I do still see them advertised from time to time. For the most part, as long as my prescription gets filled in a timely matter, I don’t care where it gets filled and will gladly take a $25 in-store credit for giving them my business.
- Keep your routine meds filled. I’ve been on the same blood pressure medication for years and always call to have it filled whenever the insurance permits. Doing so gave me a small stockpile which came in very handy between Hub’s job change last year. It meant because I had enough on hand, I didn’t need to pay to get it refilled while we were in what I refer to as “the COBRA window”. On a side note, always remember to rotate your meds so they don’t reach the expiration date. Most medications have a decent shelf life if stored properly, but it is something to be considered.
- Unless instructed otherwise by your doctor or pharmacist, be sure to follow the instructions on your prescription. Again, if you have any questions, ask!
With all of the above tips, your mileage may vary. As a disclaimer I’d also like to add that this post should not be a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health care provider!
What are some ways you have reduced your own health care costs? Here’s to a healthy 2018!