1. Go generic.
Bypassing a brand-name prescription drug can save up to 80 percent.
2. Know your coverage.
Each insurance company has its own formulary — a tiered list of medications that its drug plan covers. Generally, the higher the tier, the higher the copay. So check the tier level when you get a prescription and ask your doctor if there's a drug in a lower tier that would work as well. Also, consider that an insurance plan with higher premiums may still save you money if copays or deductibles are lower.
3. Order by mail.
Many health plans offer this option. Ordering a 90-day supply can save up to a third on copays for brand-name drugs.
4. Use a preferred pharmacy.
Some 36 percent of employers have a preferred pharmacy that has agreed to provide discounts to enrollees.
5. Use discount cards.
There are many drug discount cards that can offer some savings on your prescription drugs. But they can't be used in combination with health insurance, including Medicare.
6. Seek assistance.
Pharmaceutical companies often offer assistance programs to qualified individuals. Many organizations help connect patients to such programs, including NeedyMeds.org, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (pparx.org) and the Patient Advocate Foundation's National Financial Resource Directory (PatientAdvocate.org). Find a list of programs that work with Medicare Part D at medicare.gov.
7. Split pills when safe.
Instead of getting a 10-milligram version of a pill, buy the 20-mg one and divvy it up. Get a pill splitter; don't try to cut it with a kitchen knife. Never do this without talking to your doctor or pharmacist; certain medicines cannot be split safely.
Why Your Drugs Cost So Much
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