How to Save Money on Prescription Medicine as a Healthcare Consumer

Medicines are expensive in the US and the costs keep rising.  In 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) predicted retail medicine spending to shoot up from $335 billion to $560 billion by 2028.

Many Americans are rightfully worried about the state of things. As it stands, the short term solution to this crisis is to save on prescriptions. How? Here are some simple tips.

Related: Top Medical Equipment and Medicines For Traveling During the Covid-19 Epidemic

Understand What Your Insurance Plan Covers

Here’s one common reason why people spend so much on medicines. When you purchase an insurance plan, make sure to review and understand the basics. Find out about deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. For instance, when are you eligible for non-preventive medicine coverage? Do you have to meet a deductible?

You should also find out about your plan’s formulary. Check that your plan covers your needs before you enroll. Also, verify how much of the medicine cost it covers.

In most cases, healthcare insurance plans group the medicines they cover into categories. Any medication grouped under Tier 1 requires the lowest coinsurance, while higher tier medicines will require that you pay a much larger share of the medicine price. Ensure to do diligent checks before purchasing a plan so you don’t end up spending so much out of pocket.

You should also find out if your plan has preferred pharmacies where you get to pay a smaller coinsurance. Also check for incentive offerings. For example, you can save up on prescriptions when you use the BuzzRx prescription discount app on your mobile devices.

Some insurance companies also offer an app to help customers estimate costs. If your enroller has one, use your mobile device to access verifiable information about your medication.

Speak to Your Doctor

When your doctor prescribes a medicine, he chooses from several alternatives. While doctors are expected to choose the best medicines, sometimes, there are other price-friendly options that work equally well.

Typically, brand-name medicines are more expensive than generic medicines. Price variation also exists for generic medicines that are designed to treat the same disease. One of the easiest and fastest ways to save up on prescriptions is by moving from one generic medicine to another or from a brand-name medicine to a generic one, as long as it is a suitable option.

Doctors don’t necessarily know the medicines that your insurance plan covers. It’s a smart thing to have a conversation with your doctor, bring up medicine costs, and evaluate your plan. Your doctor can prescribe a low-cost option if it suffices.

Here’s a good thing about this: 83% of insurers offer “step therapy” for at least one of the medicine classes. This means that consumers are to try a low-cost medication before moving to more expensive options if need be. However, step therapy is only common with diseases like diabetes.

Speak with a Pharmacist

You can cut down costs by speaking with a pharmacist. Don’t just hand over your insurance card to the pharmacist, ask if there are ways to save money. As simple as switching from a liquid medicine to capsule could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. A pharmacist may also suggest taking different prescriptions as opposed to a combination medicine.

Do you know that sometimes it’s better to pay cash than use your insurance plan? A pharmacist can help you determine what option is more cost-effective.

Conclusion

In a system where medicine prices are through the roof, the key to saving money on prescription medicines is being a more careful consumer. Ask your doctor and pharmacist to help you in this regard.

Also take note of insurance benefits, particularly at the start of your enrollment. Health plans change, so don’t assume. Make sure to keep tabs as much as possible. Otherwise, you may end up spending more money.

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