Since 2014, prescription prices have climbed by 35 percent! No wonder the average American is spending more than $1,500 per year at the pharmacy counter. Luckily, we discovered easy ways to save money on medications so you can get all the medicine you need for less.
Get free prescriptions here.
Due to rising costs, some pharmacies that dispensed free antibiotics and other drugs (such as Publix supermarkets) are now ending these programs. The good news? You can fill select antibiotic prescriptions at Meijer supermarkets. Certain diabetes medications (like metformin) and supplies (such as a lancet device and lancets) are available at no cost at Price Chopper supermarkets. Sam’s Club “Plus” members ($100 per year) are entitled to free prescriptions for 10 generic drugs, including antidepressant escitalopram (Lexapro) and asthma medication montelukast (Singulair). And Walmart+ members ($98 per year) get six prescriptions free, including the blood-pressure drug amlodipine (Norvasc). Many independently owned drugstores offer a range of free prescriptions too. Just call and ask!
Join the club for discounts.
Paying out-of-pocket for prescriptions ? Ask your doctor if a generic is available — it can save you 30 to 80 percent compared to brand-name equivalents. And to save even more, join a prescription savings program, which offers generics at even lower prices. Some programs are free to join, such as Walmart’s Prescription Program, which makes dozens of drugs available for only $4 for a 30-day supply and $10 for a 90-day supply. Some programs charge an annual fee but offer a wider range of medications for even less. For example, Kroger’s Rx Savings Club ($36 per person or $72 a year for up to six family members, including pets) offers more than 60 generic medications for $3 per 30-day supply and $6 per 90-day supply, and it can be used at any Kroger-affiliated pharmacy, such as Fred Meyer and Ralphs.
Let them cover the cost.
Taking a high-cost brand-name medication? Many drug manufacturers offer patient assistance programs (PAPs) to help cover costs. Some companies, like AstraZeneca (AZandMeApp.com, 800-292-6363) and Teva (TevaCares.org, 877-237-4881), pay the entire bill for certain meds! Others pay most of the cost, such as Eli Lilly, which has a $35-per-month program for insulin regardless of your insurance status (InsulinAffordability.com, 833-808-1234). To find more cash-saving programs, search for your medicine on NeedyMeds.org.
Find preferred pharmacies.
To slash even more from your out-of-pocket costs, visit your insurer’s website or call their customer service number to find out what their “preferred pharmacies” are. These are drugstores that your insurer has partnered with to sell prescriptions to enrollees at a lower cost than other drugstores — in some cases, the price is even free. Tip: For an even lower co-pay on your Rx, ask your insurer if they have a preferred mail order pharmacy. These typically offer bigger discounts than brick-and-mortar stores because they have less overhead like rent and electricity to pay, so they pass the savings on to you.
If someone calls you claiming to be your pharmacist and they say you owe money for prescriptions or they need your personal information (like a birthdate and/or Social Security number) to refill your medications, hang up. Then call your pharmacy directly and ask if they made the call. Scammers are posing as drugstore employees to trick you into sharing your credit card number or handing over sensitive information they can use to steal your identity.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.