February 07, 2009

Save Bucks On Your Rx Drugs

drugstore

I read a fantastic article in the New York Times, by Lesley Alderman, about how to save money on prescription drugs. I’ve slash out the doughnut hole lingo and other senior factors and created a summary version that relates more to 20 and 30-somethings.

As part of the research for my book, I’ve done a ton of research on resources for discount drugs, and other forms of financial assistance for young adult cancer patients. On the right column of my blog page, click ‘Download Chapter One’, underneath the cover of my book. The resources section at the end of this free PDF is loaded with my finds.

Snail Mail Drugs
If you have health insurance, call the 800 # on your card or search on line to see if your company offers a drug mail order system. Many do. This service tends to be used for prescriptions you take on an on-going basis. For example I pop a levoxyl every single day, and will for the rest of my life. I could get these sent in the mail from my insurer at a huge discount. This service, however, would not be used from a temporary drug, such as an antibiotic for an infection. The paperwork to sign up for this service is relatively simple, so what the hell am I waiting for? Bulk levoxyl here I come.

Brainstorm With Your Doc
To your next appointment, bring a list of your Rx’s or the actual bottles. If you have health insurance also bring a copy of the list of drugs your insurer covers – this is called a formulary. You can get it by calling your insurance company or visiting their website. Then ask your doc the following questions:

  • Is there any duplication of medications – are they all necessary?
  • Have they all been effective and do you need to remain on all of them?
  • Are you still on the correct dosage?
  • Is there a generic version that could be used instead? (Be sure to ask about generics anytime you are given a prescription.)

Comparison Shop
If you are paying out of pocket, check out Destination RX to shop around for the best prices on prescription drugs. Times reporter Lesley Alderman also suggests trying the local or mom and pop drugstores in your area too. Sometimes they have surprisingly lower prices.

No Insurance or Low on Cash
If you don’t have insurance visit the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, that has a database and online application for free prescription programs for low-income, uninsured, and underinsured patients. Yes, the organization irritates the hell out of me because it is a non-profit group run by pharma to help those of us who cannot afford their drugs, and they are likely just getting a tax deduction from it all plus good PR, but I guess we take what we can get, right?

Are there other ways that you have tried to cut your Rx costs?  What was the most you have ever paid for a prescription?  (I once got a shot that cost $2,000.)  Do you ever get Rx by mail?  If so, has it saved you money?

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Comment(s)

  1. Aftercancer Says:
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:58 PM

    You might want to suggest splitting. If your drug is available in a higher done and it is split easily you can ask your doctor for twice the dose and cut the Rx price in half. You can pick up a pill splitter at the drugstore for a few bucks, definitely use it, otherwise you’re chasing half pills around the kitchen hoping to find it before the cat.

    Is this your primary blog now? I’ll change the listing on my site if that’s the case.


  2. Kairol Rosenthal Says:
    February 10th, 2009 at 11:50 PM

    1) My health insurance company is very in favor of pill splitting. Read my previous post about United Healthcare called Twice The Stupidity Half The Price (http://everythingchangesbook.com/kairol/twice-the-stupidity-half-the-price)

    2) I think pill splitting is a resourceful way to save money, but it can be dangerous if, for example, you have chemo brain, are dazed on pain killers, or have a combination of people helping with your care. These situations present a lot of room for error.

    3) Yep, this is my primary, my one and only blog now. Thanks for changing the listing on your blog!


  3. anonymous Says:
    February 11th, 2009 at 7:36 PM

    i’m going to have to try the mail-order meds myself- i had no idea that you could do that! thanks for sharing!

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