Save On Prescription Drugs
Whether in filling your own prescriptions, or handling finances for an aging parent, it can be difficult budgeting for required medications. Adding an expensive new prescription is particularly challenging for those already struggling with debt management issues. The good news is that there are ways to effectively manage rising prescription costs.
Here are some tips from the experts at Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions, a nonprofit, certified consumer credit counseling service, on how to manage debt while buying essential medications.
- Compare plans. Medicare Part D is a new plan that enables patients to pay lower premiums on prescription drugs. Seniors should talk with their doctor and compare any existing supplemental coverage to determine if Medicare Part D is right for them.
- Read the fine print. Find out if your health care plan has a formulary, or a list of drugs covered. Keep a regular inventory of your current medications so you can easily determine which are included in the formulary.
- Ask your doctor. Credit counselors advise asking about less-expensive medications. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a medication that can treat more than one condition.
- Go generic. Buying generic drug equivalents to name brands can save consumers 30%- 50% or more, say credit counselors. There may also be over-the-counter medications that may suit your medical needs.
- Shop around. Compare prices on a prescription-by-prescription basis. Stores often have specials on popular drugs. Pharmacists may even be able to price-match if you find a lower price elsewhere.
- Stock up. For medications that are prescribed for long-term use, credit counselors advise buying in bulk. Ask about expiration dates before purchase to ensure that they won’t expire before you take them.
- Split pills. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you can get your prescription at double your dose and then split the pills in half. This can save consumers up to 50% on their prescription drug costs, and some HMOs even require that it be done. Check with your doctor to determine if this is appropriate for your specific medication. Splitting time-release formulas can sometimes result in inexact doses.
- Order by mail. Ordering prescription drugs by mail can save 10% to 15% and is easier for patients who take certain drugs on a regular basis and can order in advance. When ordering through the Internet, make certain that it is from a reputable pharmacy, as many sites are unauthorized to sell medications.
Work with a consumer credit counseling professional. The specialists at Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions can help you determine ways to budget for healthcare and prescription costs along with other day-to-day necessities. Additionally, many adult children of seniors are faced with juggling budgets for two different households. Clearpoint can create a personalized plan to meet changing needs.
By following these simple debt management tips from credit counseling experts, you may be able to save significantly on your prescription drugs each year. As always, check with your doctor before making any healthcare related decision.