Request the generic version

by Krisna Garcia

Looking to save money on your prescriptions at your local Rx pharmacy? With prices constantly rising and insurance coverage seemingly getting worse and more expensive by the day, the better question might be, who isn’t? Whether you’ve just been prescribed a new medication and you’re not sure of the costs or you depend on an expensive medication to treat a chronic health condition, trips to your Rx pharmacy can be stressful. About 41 percent of all Americans take at least one prescription medication, while 17 percent take three or more prescription medications. If you’re wondering how to find health savings for prescriptions, there are several options you can try regardless of your insured status.

If your medication has a generic version, you can easily save money by requesting that your doctor prescribe you the generic form of the drug instead of the brand name medication. If you’re concerned about quality, don’t be – generic medications undergo the same rigorous testing by the FDA as brand name medications do prior to being sold. The main difference between brand name and generic medications lies in the inactive ingredients (ingredients that do not affect treatment) used in the manufacturing of the drug. Inactive ingredients may affect cosmetic details like color, shape, and size of the medication, so the generic version of a drug does not necessarily resemble the brand name version. The active ingredients used in both medications are the same, so your treatment will not suffer, but you will save money.

Although about 80 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured, if you are one of the lucky few who has good health insurance coverage, your medication may be covered by your insurance, especially if it is generic. Regardless of how good your insurance is, most insurances have some drugs that they will not cover, so you may not get the best price when processing your prescription through your insurance. Patients should ask for the cash price, look for coupons, research patient assistance programs, or purchase the drug with a local pharmacy discount card, as you may be able to save even more than when purchasing the drug through insurance.

Regardless of your insured status, Rx pharmacy discount cards offer patients the opportunity to save big on all prescription medications approved by the FDA. Pharmacy discount card companies negotiate directly with the drug companies to provide lower rates for patients, helping guarantee the best rate. Because pharmacy discount cards can be used on all FDA-approved medications, including those that are brand name or not covered by insurance, patients with insurance may find that they receive a lower price when using a pharmacy discount card as compared to processing through their insurance. There is no cost associated with pharmacy discount cards.

While you’re not likely to find coupons or rebates for generic medications, some manufactures do offer coupons or reduced copays on the brand name form of the medication. Ask your doctor during your visit if they are aware of any existing discounts or coupon codes that may be available, as some offers are only available upon receipt of a sample from your physician. Other coupons may be offered online.

Patient Assistance Program.

Some manufacturers offer patient assistance programs to low income, uninsured, or underinsured people who meet certain criteria. Patients who are eligible for patient assistance programs receive their medications for free or at a low cost. However, these programs are not available to everyone. Individuals who are covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid are typically not eligible for these programs, as are some patients with commercial insurance.

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