Prescription drug prices are spiking, and even the insured aren’t immune to high out-of-pocket costs. I sometimes joke that our medicine comes with a new side effect: financial pain!
One of the problems is consolidation. After a decade of mergers, three companies control 40% of the generic drug market. As a result, the average price of the 50 most popular generic drugs increased 373% between 2010 and 2014. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for you to save. Here are a couple of the steps you can take:
Ditch the name brand. First things first: If you haven’t already, ask your doctor if you can try any generic versions of your prescription meds. Despite recent price increases, the savings can still be immense.
If you are taking several medications for the same condition, ask your physician if there’s a single pill that would do the job. For example, your insurer could make you pay a combined $100 or more a month to get a brand-name beta-blocker and a brand-name thiazide diuretic to treat high blood pressure, says Wayne Riley, president of the American College of Physicians. But most people, he says, can sub in a generic combination pill containing both medications, which will probably have a co-pay of less than $15.
Another kind of twofer. Alternatively, you might be able to save money by splitting some pills. You will need to check with your doctor, because not all doses can be divided safely – but once you’ve gotten the green light, ask for a prescription for half as many double-strength pills. And then buy a pill splitter and cut the tablets in two.
Clip coupons. Some drug makers offer discounts directly to patients. If you take any brand medications, check the manufacturer’s website for coupons (remember, though, Medicare beneficiaries are ineligible).
Healthcare can be expensive. And it isn’t just the cost of prescription-drugs. Because of that, more and more thought is going into how to cover these rising costs. There are new income-planning techniques that give you a raise every year to help you cover those rising healthcare costs. And there are even new ways of getting some long-term care protection without paying any insurance premiums!
Why not at least find out what they are and how they work so you can decide if they are a good fit for you? The best part is that often-times these things don’t cost anything to implement!