Spend Less at the Pharmacy in 5 Easy Steps

Spend Less at the Pharmacy in 5 Easy Steps

Bargain hunters, rejoice. Saving money can extend way beyond grocery store coupons and shopping for clothes during the off-season. These days, it’s possible to save money at the pharmacy, too—you just need to know how. Before you get your next prescription filled, check out this list of new and innovative ways to reduce your bill for your medications:

  • Cut back on brand-name meds: Did you know generic drugs have the same benefits as brand-name ones? It’s true, and many generics can cost as much as 90 percent less. Save money by opting for generic prescriptions whenever possible.
  • Consider mail-order prescriptions: People are busy, and some days it’s hard to find time for a trip to the pharmacy. So why not skip it completely? Several pharmacy plans offer mail-order prescriptions, which can save you up to 33 percent off your out-of-pocket costs while your medications get delivered right to your home.
  • Make use of step therapy: Doctors can also help you save by prescribing medications via step therapy. This program has your doctor first prescribe less expensive drugs that have been proven effective for patients with similar conditions. Then, if needed, you’ll “step up” to a more expensive medication. This gradual approach to prescription treatment helps you stay your healthiest, at the lowest cost possible.
  • Use online resources: As a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or Blue Care Network member, you have access to the online member portal and Blue Cross mobile app. Your online accounts can help you evaluate drug prices and look for lower-cost alternatives to the prescriptions you take. You can also opt to have certain prescriptions transferred to home delivery, or mail order.
  • Go long: If you take any prescriptions for chronic conditions, getting a 90-day supply can save you both time and money, if this benefit is part of your health plan. Rather than paying a copay on three 30-day supplies, you’d pay less for a 90-day supply.

Although drug coupons may save you money at first, they are not a reliable way to save on your prescription medicines. Many coupons are only offered for a one-time use, and costs go up significantly for refills. Drug manufacturers offer coupons for expensive medications, but there may be more affordable options available. That means using coupons can actually end up increasing your total out-of-pocket costs. (This issue is also a contributor to rising health care spending nationally.)

One thing to remember: If you use coupons and get prescriptions filled at different pharmacies, your pharmacist won’t be able to track how much of a medication you’ve taken or identify potential drug interactions.  Click here to see what cost-effective medications are covered by your plan.

Want to learn more about saving on prescriptions? Check out the following posts:

Photo credit: Army Medicine

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