It seems like the cost of prescription drugs keeps going up. Some of the most expensive medications cost a small fortune, making them accessible only to patients with top-of-the-line health insurance. For the rest of us, paying for prescriptions can be challenging. The question being asked by a lot of people is this: how can I afford prescription drugs without insurance?
There was a time when prescription coverage did not exist. Every prescription was paid for out-of-pocket. While that hardly seems ideal by modern standards, paying out-of-pocket is still practiced today. The secret is figuring out how to do it without breaking the bank.
A 2020 report from National Public Radio (NPR) suggests that about half of those unable to pay for their prescriptions via health insurance simply don’t get the prescriptions filled. There has to be a better way. There is. That better way is to treat prescriptions like any high-ticket item you might buy.
Utilize Discount Codes
You have undoubtedly seen the TV commercials advertising discount prescription plans. Said plans are not insurance plans. Rather, they are simply discount codes you provide at the time of purchase. Pharmacies participating in the programs apply the codes to generate significant savings. Discount codes can be utilized at neighborhood pharmacies, supermarkets and department stores, and even online pharmacies.
Purchase from Canada
Speaking of online pharmacies, a good way to save a ton of money on hundreds of the most common prescriptions is to purchase them from Canada. Though this post will not get into the details, Canada is home to cheap prescription drugs. A licensed provider like Canada Pharmacy can fill a prescription for a fraction of the price advertised by your neighborhood pharmacy.
Believe it or not, there can be considerable price disparities between local brick-and-mortar pharmacies. You might find one price for your prescription at the chain pharmacy down the street but a completely different price at the big box department store across town. There is no logical explanation for such drastic price differences, but they exist.
The point of all this is to say that shopping around and comparing prices can translate into pretty significant savings. Why pay $25 for a prescription you could get elsewhere for a third of the price? You will never know what savings are out there if you don’t shop around.
Insist on Generics
Another thing you can do to make your prescriptions more affordable is insist on generic drugs whenever possible. Granted, there are times when a brand-name drug is your only option. But according to the FDA, a viable generic is available nearly 90% of the time.
It is better to ask your doctor for a generic at the time a prescription is written. However, you can ask the pharmacist as well. Your pharmacist may or may not have to consult with your doctor first. At any rate, a generic drug could save you as much is 85%.
Open a Health Savings Account
Lastly, you might be eligible to open a health savings account (HSA) if you have high deductible health insurance or no insurance at all. Ask your employer about it. An HSA is funded by payroll deductions and voluntary employer contributions. It provides money to pay for qualifying medical expenses.
Paying for prescription medications might not be a problem if you have a good health insurance plan with prescription coverage included. If not, there are things you can do to avoid having to ignore prescriptions because you don’t have the money to pay for them. Hopefully this post has given you some things to think about.