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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Prescription Savings

Let's face it, we all like to save money when we can, especially in these "scary" economic times.  One of the most expensive items in your budget may very well be your prescriptions.  Whether you have health insurance or not, the drugs you need to stay healthy can be very expensive.  However, there are ways you can save some money on your prescriptions.  Here are a few - if you know of more please let us know!

1.  Pill splitting - doubles the prescription without adding cost.  How?  Prescriptions are billed on a "per pill" basis, not on their strength.  If you are currently taking 250 milligrams of a drug for example, ask your doctor if your pill can be split.  If he says yes, ask him to write a new prescription for 500 milligrams.  When you pick up your prescription purchase a pill splitter (usually under $5)  and go home and split your pills.   You just doubled your prescription for no additional cost.

2.  Mail order - convenient and some plans offer a savings.  Mail order prescriptions are a very common offering now, but not all people are taking advantage of them.  If you are taking medicine on a routine basis (cholesterol drugs, blood pressure drugs, etc.) check into whether this option is available to you.  More often than not you will save half a co-pay or more on a 3 month (90 days) supply.  In addition, the prescriptions are delivered right to your home!!

3.  Co-pays - may be more than the cost of the drug.  When you have your prescription filled at your local pharmacy, check the price of the prescription before handing over your drug card.  Some prescriptions may cost less than your plan's copay, but if you have already produced your insurance card you may be charged the co-pay rather than the actuall cost of the drug.

4,  Drug lists - retailers offer $4 prescriptions.  Before running to the corner drugstore to fill your prescription check with WalMart, Target, K-Mart and other retailers.  Each chain has its own list of drugs available for $4 pr $10 dollars for a 90 day supply.  Don't forget to check with your local grocery store - Publix offers free antibiotics from their list as well as some other reduced price prescriptions.

Remember, too, to ask your doctor to prescribe a generic whenever possible.  But check before you have that prescription filled, also, because there are a few occasions when the generic is more expensive than the brand.  Some of the major insurance companies have included a drug comparison tool on their websites.  If you are insured by one of these companies' plans, you can type the name of your prescription into their tool along with your address and it will tell you which pharmacies in your area have the drug and how much it will cost.  You would be surprised at the variance in costs even amongst drugstore chains!

Whatever you do, please make sure you have talked with your doctor or pharmacist when appropriate.


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