Prescription medicine can be expensive.
But thankfully, with the support of your health care provider or pharmacist, and a little bit of research, you’ll likely find the medications you need at an affordable price.
“For patients who are on brand name drugs, there’s a very good chance the pharmaceutical company that produces that drug also has some type of savings program,” Ryan Cann (pictured above, right), a pharmacy manager at the Harness Health retail pharmacy located inside Bon Secours St. Francis Cancer Center, shares. “And you can usually access those online.”
Prescription coupons and discount cards are another great way to save a few dollars. Many websites offer these resources, and with some research, you’re sure to find something that works for you. Ryan recommends GoodRx.com as the best place to start.
Another way to save? Ask your health care provider or pharmacist about getting a 90-day supply on your prescription.
“Not only does it save time in trips to the pharmacy, but it also saves on cost,” Holly McInnis (pictured above, left), the pharmacy supervisor at the Harness Health retail pharmacy at the Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Campus, adds. “Sometimes a 30-day supply can be a lot more expensive than a 90-day subscription.”
Holly also advises you to ask your provider about the possibility of splitting tablets. Sometimes, providers can prescribe the higher strength dose at a lower cost, with instructions for the patient to split their tablets to obtain the right dosage.
The most important advice when it comes to dealing with costly medications is to ask your provider or pharmacist for help. Do not skip doses or stop refilling your medication to save a few dollars.
“It can be tempting to stretch out medicine when money is an issue, but doing so can be detrimental not only to your health but to your safety as well,” Ryan warns. “Many feel helpless, and they aren’t sure what to do or they’re embarrassed, but we need to be aware so we can help. There may be a solution we can offer up when medication costs are beyond their budget.”
Seniors, who are often taking the most medication, should also get help evaluating their prescription drug coverage plans. Spouses often sign up for the same plan out of convenience, but doing so may be a costly mistake.
“Your plan needs to be customized specifically for you based on the doctors you see, how often you see them and what medications you take,” Ryan explains. “While it may seem simpler to sign up for the same coverage as your significant other, that can drastically increase your out-of-pocket costs.”
Again, for seniors, Medicare enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year. You do need to re-evaluate your coverage annually, as what works one year may not be the most cost-effective option for the next year.
Whether determining the right coverage for you, or looking for the most affordable medications, the key is establishing a strong relationship with your health care provider and pharmacist.
“We are always happy to help. Don’t be afraid to ask us questions,” Holly says. “We may not always know the answer, but we can definitely find the resources and explore the options you have. We’re always willing to help you find a safer, most cost-effective option, because your health really does matter to us.”
Learn about the pharmacy services we offer at Bon Secours.