An RX for Saving on Medications
Despite the Affordable Care Act, health care has yet a long road to travel before truly becoming affordable. Almost ten years ago, I developed a serious medical condition. Overwhelmed by the high cost of medications, I had no choice but to explore ways to save money. Here are some effective strategies that have helped me cut my costs.
Go online. Visit the websites of the manufacturers of all your prescription and non-prescription medications and supplements. It is definitely worth the time. Many manufacturers of prescription drugs offer cost cutting programs and/or coupons. For example, the manufacturers of Zegerid have a program where the patient pays the first $10, and they pay the remaining cost up to $100! This saves me $57.50 a month! Many manufacturers offer additional saving programs for those who meet certain income guidelines. As for non-prescription medications, some companies offer coupons and/or loyalty programs. Nature Made let’s you accummulate points for products purchased that you can redeem for coupons for future purchases.
Ask your doctor for free samples. Pharmaceutical representatives often give doctors free samples in the hopes of boosting sales. Some of these samples even include coupons. This is a good approach if you are trying a new medication and are reluctant to purchase a full month’s worth before you have a test drive.
Go generic. I can’t emphasize this enough! Whether the medication is prescription or non-prescription, almost all generics have the same active ingredients as brand name items. For instance, at BJ’s Club, a two pack package of 30 dose Miralax costs $29.99 while the generic brand is only $15.99. Shop at wholesale clubs whenever possible. Often times, the savings pay for the membership. Also, use coupons. Some places let you “stack” a manufacturer’s coupon with a store coupon. Recently, BJ’S Club had a coupon for the generic laxative mentioned above. I was able to purchase it for a mere $12.99!
Talk to your employer. A lot of employers offer a Flexible Spending Account where you can set aside a particular amount of pre-tax dollars for medical expenses. When you start accumulating medication and other medical expenses,you submit them to your employer for reimbursement from these funds. Some employers give employees discounts at a designated pharmacy. I am able to save 25% on all prescriptions through my husband’s employer.
Claim your costs. You can deduct medical expenses if they exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income, 7.5% if you or your spouse are 65 or older. Click here to see what expenses qualify for deduction.
Split the tab. If the medication you are taking is in tablet form, ask your doctor to prescribe it in twice the dose. You can then split the tablet in half. Use a pill splitter (available at many pharmacies) to achieve uniform results. Make sure to first check with your health insurance company to make sure this practice is allowed and does not constitute fraud.
Hopefully the cost of health care will decrease. But for the time being, a little research can help you lower your costs. Until next time, happy homemaking!