In the United States, the law on prescriptions is stringent. Certain drugs, such as antibiotics or codeine that you would be able to purchase over the counter in other countries, can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription in the USA. Some pain medications, like headache tablets, are, however, available over the counter in pharmacies.
According to a report from the Journal of the American Medical Association, the United States spent an estimated 18 percent of the gross domestic product in 2016 on healthcare – about twice the amount of ten other high-income countries. It claims among its peers the largest expenditure on pharmaceutical products.
Prescriptions and Medicine Costs
The cost of medications for individuals is often raised by having multiple prescriptions. According to the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute, 57 percent of US households have savings of less than $1,000 to fund health expenses. About 25 percent have savings of less than $100. On a positive note, nearly 85 percent of commercial insured citizens spend out of their pockets less than $20 a month. The major concern is, with the average annual costs of specialty drugs being $52,000 and the median annual wage $48,665 in the US, the cost of drugs far outweighs income. Approximately 8 percent of adults in the US do not take medications prescribed for them due to affordability challenges, as indicated in a National Centre for Health Statistics survey.
How to Save Money on Your Prescriptions
Here are a few concepts to help you save money on your prescriptions, making healthcare more affordable:
- Purchase from an Online Pharmacy
When you order them online, certain items are cheaper, which could be the same case for medications. An online pharmacy has fewer overhead costs in comparison to a local pharmacy. This makes it possible to offer medicines at reduced rates. Additionally, you’ll get them delivered to you. Not only is the cost friendlier, but it’s also more convenient using an online pharmacy.
- Order Large
Your insurance has to copay each time you get a prescription. Consider asking for a 90-day supply instead of a 30-day supply for long-term medications. This way, you’ll only need one copay each quarter of the year.
- Opt for Big Doses
For medications divisible with a pill splitter, ask your doctor about the possibility of getting a double dose. For instance, a 10mg (milligram) pill can be split into two 5mg pills. This excludes medications that cannot be split, like enteric-coated tablets or capsules, or those that use the slow-release method, such as Protonix (pantoprazole) for heartburn and Glucophage XR (metformin ER) for diabetes.
- Purchase from Big-Box Stores
Many big-box chains and grocery stores have pharmacies that offer a wide range of generic medications at affordable costs. It is more cost-effective to get a 90-day supply instead of a 30-day supply.
- Shop Around
Before making your final purchase, shop around first at different pharmacies, comparing prices. Some pharmacies purchase from a middle man, thus increasing the costs. In contrast, others purchase directly from the manufacturers, keeping costs minimal. Cost comparisons are more comfortable to carry out if you are checking out online pharmacies.
- Update your Medicare Plan
Year after year, Medicare plans may vary, including copays, deductible amounts, and covered medications. Please review your options on their website.
- Use Generics
Generics are significantly less expensive, and they still consist of similar active ingredients to brand-name drugs. For instance, a few years ago, Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering medication, retailed for an average of $390 for one month’s supply. Its generic version, Atorvastatin, costs an average of $10 for the same quantity. Any time you get a prescription, inquire from your doctor if the generic version is available.
- Enroll in a Prescription Assistance Program
Different types of prescription assistance programs exist. They are offered by local and state governments, Medicare, drug manufacturers, and non-profit organizations. For example. Partnership for Prescription Assistance, Medicare Extra Help, Needy Meds, and state assistance programs.
- Request for Samples from Your Doctor
Requesting for samples is incredibly efficient for expensive prescriptions. You will use the drug and ensure you have no adverse side effects before spending your money on purchasing.