How to Save Money on Your Prescription Drugs

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Paying for prescriptions can be a major source of financial stress. If you have to take a regularly prescribed medicine, look for ways to reduce costs.

Recently, my teenage son had his wisdom teeth removed. We received three prescriptions: one for pain, one for infections, and one for nausea.  Since he did not have any nausea, I had two of the prescriptions filled with generic alternatives, and the total cost was under $15.  The key was a simple question.  “Do you have a generic option for that prescription?” 

According to Kipplinger.com, “Generic drugs can cost as much as 80% less than their brand-name alternatives. The lower list price makes a huge difference when you’re in your health plan’s deductible period and paying the full price out of your pocket.

Some health plans no longer cover certain brand-name drugs. For example, one popular health plan doesn’t cover Lipitor, which costs $180.75 for a 30-day supply of 10 mg tablets. But the generic equivalent, atorvastatin calcium, would cost $13.92 under the same plan, says Jim Yocum, executive vice-president of DRX, which provides Web-based prescription-drug comparison services to health plans and employers.”

You may also get a good deal on generics at certain big retail stores which charge as little as $4 for a 30-day supply of certain drugs or $10 for a 90-day supply.

Health care and medicines are a major source of financial stress for many families. Especially if you have to take a regularly prescribed medicine, look for ways to reduce your costs.  Do comparison-shopping on-line before you buy, look for bulk discount suppliers and ask for the generic option if available.

David Belk, a physician in the San Francisco Bay area says that “Most generic medications cost less if you don’t use your insurance”. He lists drug prices and strategies for saving money on medical expenses at truecostofhealthcare.org. Mr. Belk especially likes Costco because it has an even longer list of generic drug deals.

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