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Monday, September 14, 2009

Resources for Those without Prescription Drug Insurance Coverage




This past year my family experienced a job loss and changeover, and we found ourselves without prescription drug insurance coverage. This was a shock for my family and our wallet as on average we were spending hundreds/month on co-pays from our previous insurance plans (we have medical conditions amongst family members that need to be managed). So now what?

Here is my story of how I trimmed my family’s medicine budget AND found resources available for those (including me!) who do not have prescription drug insurance.

1.Take inventory. You must know all of your prescriptions are before you can see what options you have. Write them down, including dosage, frequency and results from current medications. Once you know your medicine profile, you can start to seek alternatives and facilitate changes.
*Please note, do NOT do the following without consulting your prescribing physicians, first.

2.Seek alternatives. Contact your prescribing physicians and see if there is a cheaper alternative or a generic version of prescribed medication.

3.Double your Dosage & Split. Ask your doctor if he/she will double your monthly dosage, then you slice your tablets into half- thus doubling your supply, while reducing your cost. This option does require homework and footwork: check pricing with pharmacy to make sure it is a cost-effective option and if your physician will do this.

4.Seek Over The Counter or Herbal Options. Again, check with your doctor to see if this option for you. For my family, over-the-counter Prilosec proved to be a cost-friendly option for treating Acid Reflux. (see IF there are coupons available, too!)

5.Check out money saving programs from pharmaceutical manufacturers. Most major drug makers offer some sort of discount savings card (please note, these are NOT insurance cards). A great starting point is Glaxo Smith Kline’s site. One that I joined is Together RX Access and save 25% off my Imitrex.

6.Compare shop your local pharmacies. This option does require a bit of research, but the savings can be HUGE! For example, I take Topamax for migraine prevention. At a retail chain pharmacy, this cost me $60/month on my insurance plan and a few hundred without (yes, sticker shock!). I called area pharmacies looking for options when I came across a neighborhood pharmacy that had a pharmacy discount card that I was eligible for and my Topamax cost me only $30. HUGE savings!

7.Ask for Physician samples. Swallow your pride and ask your doctor if she/he happens to have any samples of either the medicine you need or an alternative that would work for you. That is what they are for! And your doctor would rather give them to you then see them go to waste.

8.Visit your prescribed medicine’s website. Many times there are discounts, coupons or instant rebates offered to users. Check out internetdrugcoupons for links to many medicines. Here's my success story... my husband needs the ulcer medicine, Nexium. We have tried the cheaper option of Prilosec, but it was like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. So I visited purplepill.com and found that we could get a month’s medicine for $50 with Nexium’s saving card. Add a request to the doctor to double the prescription’s dosage for two months, and we are spending $25/month vs. $168 cash only.

9.Use pharmacy coupons to offset the costs. Many retailers offer store gift cards if and when you bring a new or transfer a prescription to their store’s pharmacy. These coupons usually appear in the Sunday ads. Check out the PYP boards for announcements.

It does take a lot of work and hoop-jumping to save money in any area, and prescription drugs are no exception. Above are proven suggestions that I know work! I have done it and managed to maintain the medicines that are necessary to keep us healthy without going into debt.

Do you have any other ideas that might benefit others?

3 comments:

momof6 said...

In AZ many Fry's have a "cash" discount for RX. My RX was 74.00 for 30 day supply it is not covered by insurance but,if the Dr.changed the RX to 40 day supply the cost was 7.99 yes!!! less than $8.00 and I also found out the cost was valid for up to 79 days same price!
Not all store offer this deal..do not know why and have not asked!

Jeani said...

Check with your county. In Washington County, Utah you can get a prescription discount card. Participating pharmacies within Washington County have a brochure holder with the prescription discount cards. Cards are available at Washington County Government offices including the county libraries and Senior Centers. Many doctors', dentists', and veterinarians' offices will have cards available as well as some pet stores and animal boarding businesses. Also, the St. George Chamber of Commerce and the Workforce Services office will carry cards for pickup.

bjackson said...

RX Mole is a free service for people to network together to become better consumers of prescription drugs. The drug prices are submitted and requested by people looking to network and find the best local pharmacies.

It can give the most value to participants with co-insurance, high deductible insurance plans or no prescription insurance at all.

The address is www.rxmole.com

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