Monday, December 2, 2013

5 Tips To Save Money On Medications

Ritalin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Many seniors find it difficult to finance everyday living expenses while paying for expensive medication. Even with insurance, some medications can take a chunk out of a senior's budget, leaving him or her to make difficult choices such as cutting back on money for food to pay other bills. However, there are some programs and resources in place that can help a senior to afford medication. Consider the following five tips to save money on medication.

Ask your health care provider for samples if the prescription is new. Sometimes a new medication may have side effects or may not work well in treating a condition. Whenever this happens, the medication usually sits in a medicine cabinet or is discarded, which is a total waste of money. Prescription-drug samples can help you save money while you determine if the medication is effective. If samples are not available, ask the health care provider if he or she can write a partial prescription, which can save some money if you find that the medication does not work as expected.

Talk with your health care provider about special discount cards that will reduce your copay. Some pharmaceutical companies now offer discount cards that will reduce the amount of the copay for brand-name drugs. This is to help brand-name drugs compete with generic drugs, which cost less. If the company offers a discount card there may be limitations since some insurance companies will not approve the use of a discount card with their plans. Generally, a patient must activate the discount card by telephone or online, and the pharmacy will contact the insurance company to verify that the card can be used.

Contact your local agency on aging or similar organization that provides services for older adults. These agencies do not usually pay for medications, but they do employ caseworkers or social workers who are familiar with special programs for older adults. They can inform you of whether there are programs at the state or local level that can provide some financial assistance for medications and help you complete the paperwork to get the process started.

Talk with your health care provider about whether a generic medication will work for you. In some cases generics work as well as over-the-counter medications. However, if your prescriber recommends a brand name drug, it may be because your body will respond better to that specific medication, so spending more for the drug can help your avoid medical issues that could cost you more in the long run.

Purchase a larger supply. Buying a 90-day supply of prescription medications may qualify you for a discount. Some pharmacies and insurance companies offer discounts to those that purchase medications in bulk. Consider using a locally-owned or family-owned pharmacy. They often have some flexibility in the prices they charge and may offer discounts for quantities for regular customers. Another strategy that may help double your supply of medication is pill splitting. If you take a medication that is 20 milligrams, a 40 milligram pill would provide two doses, and the cost may not be much more than the lower dose pills. It should be noted, however, that not all pills are suitable for splitting. Your health care provider will determine whether your pills are appropriate for splitting. Never split a pill without specific directions from your health care provider or pharmacist.

Compare Medicare Part D prescription plans and make changes during the open-enrollment period. By carefully looking at each plan's medication coverage, you might find a plan provides better prescription-drug coverage than your current plan.

It is possible to save money on medication. Think about trying some of these strategies that could help provide the finance you need get your medication.

Author Bio
Sarah Daren is a writer who creates informative articles relating to the field of health. In this article, she offers financial tips to individuals dealing with medical costs and aims to encourage further study through online masters of health law programs.

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