Thursday, November 17, 2011

Save On Prescription Drug Costs

By Megan N.

Almost everyone cringes at the thought of spending hundreds of dollars on prescription drug. Shelling out for expensive drugs is an especially grueling experience for seniors, and those who take multiple types of medicine daily. Because these costs can add up to hundreds out of your pocket every year, the first method for is to be proactive. Know which medicines are absolutely necessary for your health, if there are any alternatives, and whether or not your insurance covers them.

When it comes to being prescribed new drugs, remember that talking to your doctor can mean a world of difference. Doctors would rather have a conversation with their patients about drug costs than see them skip out on filling prescriptions or stop taking important medicines all together due to lack of money. Usually they can offer alternatives, including generic versions of drugs that can be a fraction of the cost. They may also be able to give samples which can reduce costs.

In fact, before you even make it to the doctor's office, it makes financial sense to check up on a few different but similar drugs that could provide alternatives to the one your doctor is likely to prescribe. Call your insurance company and ask the copayment on each one, so that when you reach the doctor's you are armed with knowledge. Tell your doctor what you've discovered financially about these drugs, and your doctor can tell you what the differences are medically. You could save yourself hundreds each year by choosing a drug with a smaller copayment and less restrictions than its alternative if there are no major differences in effectiveness.

Another two simple ways to cut prescription costs are by prescription coupons and trying different pharmacies. Buying prescription medication is a lot like shopping for the best price on milk -- different stores offer various incentives and discounted prices to retain you as a customer. You can also look out for money saving programs, like the one offered by AARP, which help fill the gap that some coverages don't.

The best defense against prescription drug costs is speaking up. Often, your doctor, neighbor, or family members can recommend pharmacies, discounts, and alternative drugs that will keep more money in your pocket.

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