Getting older means having to handle your finances differently. Whether you are nearing retirement age or have already retired, allocating your assets properly can help you lead the comfortable retirement that you desire. And while some of your costs should decrease, like your house payment, you may start experiencing a whole new set of expenses that could cramp your financial style.
As you get older, your medical costs tend to increase more than you might expect. Even for healthy adults, these increases could mean a strain on your pocketbook. In fact, Fidelity Investments estimates that a 65 year-old couple who retired in 2013 will need $240,000 to pay for future out-of-pocket medical costs.
One of the biggest contributors to this pain is the cost prescription drugs. Yet, with a little effort, there are plenty of ways that you can save on your medications. Take a look at these 10 ways to save on prescriptions and learn how you obtain your medications cheaper.
10 Ways to Save Money on Prescriptions
The fastest way to save on medications is to always buy the generic version if there is one available. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that, on average, generic drugs cost 80-85% less than brand name medications. Of course, not all medications have a generic equivalent available, so make sure to ask before accepting a prescription. If no generic is available, you can always ask your doctor if any other medications would work as well as the one they prescribed.
Ask for Samples
Pharmacutecal sales is big business, and doctors offices are inundated with all kinds of samples from drug salesmen. If your doctor is prescribing a popular medication, chances are that they may have some samples laying around the office. Ask your doctor if they have any available. Even by getting just a few weeks worth of samples, you might be able to save yourself hundreds of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.
Get More than One Suggestion
Depending on what type of prescription insurance you carry, the difference in the out-of-pocket cost that you incur between two similar drugs could be astronomical. This is because each insurance company has there own formulary, a list of specific drugs that are covered by your plan. By asking your doctor for a list of the top 3 drugs they would prescribe, you can avoid having to pay for the most expensive option in your insurance companies formulary.
Shopping at your locally owned pharmacy may no longer be the best option for your wallet. These days, there are pharmacies everywhere you look. Sometimes, you may be able to find the best prices at places you wouldn’t expect, like grocery and retail store pharmacies. For instance, Walmart has hundreds of prescriptions that start at just $4. Use competition to your advantage! Try shopping around and comparing prices between these competitors.
Order in Bulk
If you’re looking to save money on prescriptions, it might pay to buy your medications in bulk. By ordering a 30 to 90-day supply, you should be able to save a little cash. Spending less time waiting for refills and saving money sounds like a nice win to me.
Mail Order and Online Shopping
These days, shopping for the best prices on prescriptions is as easy as turning on your computer. There are countless websites where you can compare and order prescription medication from the comfort of your own home. The best part is that you may even be able to save money, especially when you order in bulk. Before you complete your order, be sure that the website is a “Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site” through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Online pharmacies should be happy to display this information, but you can also find a list of all verified websites here.
Prescription Discount Programs
Be sure to take advantage of any prescription discount programs that are available to you. Many organizations, including the AARP, provide their members with discount cards that entitle them to discounts on prescription medications at participating pharmacies. A simple Google search can help you find a plethora of discount cards available. Check them out and use them when applicable.
Split Your Pills
Many medications come in different sized dosages. While the dosage may be double, chances are good that the price tag is not. Instead of a 200mg size pill, ask your doctor to prescribe you the 400mg dosage. Then, split the pill in half. Obviously, this works best if the pills are designed with a crease in the middle, allowing them to be easily split apart. Also, please be aware that you still need to take the proper dosage as prescribed. Not doing so could be dangerous and have adverse effects on your health.
Check an App
These days, there’s an app for everything, and that includes prescription medicine. Try using a mobile app like GoodRX or LowestMed. These free apps compare prescription prices at local pharmacies from the comfort of your smartphone or tablet. They even provide you with coupon codes and discount cards that you can use to save even more. Just download the app and try them out. Since they’re free, you have absolutely nothing to lose.
Take Care of Your Health
Of course, the best way to lower the cost of your medications is to take care of your body. The healthier you are, the fewer prescriptions you’ll need. A healthy diet, losing weight, and staying in shape are the absolute cheapest ways to save on medicines. Additionally, getting regular checkups and participating in preventative screenings can save you thousands of dollars over the years. So, if you really want to save money on medicine, start taking care of your body now.
Wrapping it Up
Although the cost of prescription medicines can be a difficult pill to swallow, there are plenty of ways to save. By communicating with your doctor, shopping around, and staying healthy, you can avoid many of the high costs of prescription drugs. If you want, you can even leverage technology to your advantage. With a little effort, you’ll be saving money in no time.Topics: Smart Money