Originally published May 9, 2016,
last updated June 28, 2017
3 Things You Can Do to Cut Your Prescription Drug Costs
Written by Ryan Vlasin, Medicare MarketPlace® Pharmacy Director
You’ve probably noticed your drug costs climbing in the past few years.
The average patient share of the cost for a brand-name prescription filled through a commercial health insurance plan has increased more than 25% since 2010, according to a recent report by IMS.
Expect prices to keep climbing. CBS MoneyWatch recently reported that drug prices are predicted to soar nearly 50% over the next few years.
So what can you do to control the high cost of medication?
- Look to generic alternatives.
Even if the medication that you are taking doesn’t have a generic, you might be able to switch to a therapeutic alternative that does have a lower cost generic available. Explore the alternatives with your physician. Your pharmacist may also be able to recommend an alternative medication that could save you money and the pharmacist may even be able to facilitate the change on your behalf by contacting your physician for you. If you need more help, call me at 1-800-639-0781, and I can explore your options with you.
- Ask your doctor if a medication is still necessary.
I often see clients who continue to take medications because no one told them to stop. They may have changed doctors a few times, and the medication list just kept growing. It may be time to ask your physician which medications are still necessary. As we get older, some medications that were appropriate in our 50s are no longer safe as we age into Medicare. As always, the cheapest medication is the one you were able to avoid by eating well and exercising regularly.
- Understand how your Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan works.
Get creative with you Part D plan search. Did you know that not every medication is cheaper through mail order? Some might be, but some may actually cost more because of shipping costs associated with bulky or heavy packaging. I have some clients who get a couple medications at their local pharmacy while getting the rest by mail order. They decide where to get them based on which outlet has the lowest out-of-pocket costs. This hybrid approach can really save you some cash. Make sure to look at your best plan options every year during open enrollment, Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Watch this video to learn how comparing Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans can save you thousands.
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