You might remember when the price tag of the EpiPen made headlines in 2016. The cost of this life-saving medication, used to treat severe allergic reactions, went from $93.88 to $608.61 in a seven-year timeframe - a 500% price increase by drug manufacturer Mylan Pharmaceuticals.
While the EpiPen story was an extreme case, it's not uncommon for prescription drugs to increase in price and become unaffordable. That's why you want to make sure you're paying the best price for your prescriptions.
Here are 6 tips to save money on prescription drugs & be a savvy shopper.
This may be a no-brainer for some, but it's a cost-saving tip worth remembering. Generic drugs can be significantly cheaper than brand-name versions. While everyone benefits from generic drug prices, people over age 65, especially, saved $75 billion in 2016 by choosing generic drugs.
It's important to know that you're not compromising the quality of the drug if you choose a generic brand: The FDA says that generic drugs have the same active ingredients and effectiveness of brand-name drugs - a part of the FDA's approval process. So if your doctor prescribes a brand-name drug, ask if there's a generic equivalent. The savings are worth the effort.
Certain stores or pharmacies may offer coupons or rewards programs. Every rewards program is different, but in general: You can join a store's program (sometimes for free or for a small monthly payment) and earn points based on purchases. You can then use those points towards in-store purchases.
You might also receive other perks like free 1 – 2 day shipping for prescriptions, 24/7 pharmacy consultations, or points for reporting wellness activities like walking or running. There are many reward programs to choose from - CVS ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards, Meijer mPerks, and Rite Aid wellness+ rewards are just three examples.
You might save money if you get your prescription drugs shipped directly to your home. In some cases, you can order a 60- to 90-day supply for a better price than buying the drug in person at your local pharmacy.
Prescription home delivery also makes sense if you're unable to drive or want the convenience of not having to travel to the pharmacy to pick up medications. Just be sure to check with both your doctor and your insurance company to make sure the home delivery option is available for your specific prescription drug.
Prescription savings cards provide discounts or coupons for medications at thousands of retailers nationwide. Many companies such as GoodRx and WellRx now offer them. Some even allow you to use them for pet prescriptions. Prescription savings cards typically show you where a drug is available and what the prices are at certain pharmacies.
Simvastatin is a popular drug used to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack. The average retail price of Simvastatin is around $66.39, but it can be as low as $4.00 prescription savings card.
Prescription savings cards are suitable for almost everyone. However, it's important to check out the fine print to see what's covered.
You may qualify to get help paying for your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan monthly premiums, annual deductibles and copayments through the Extra Help program.
If you're enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A & B) and need prescription drug coverage, you have to sign up for a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) or a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, but you can't have both. Call us today to compare plans and see if you qualify: 1-800-620-4519.
This article is for general education purposes and does not replace the advice of a medical professional. Always seek the guidance of your physician or a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Outside of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, you can only enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan if you meet certain criteria.