Rising cost of medications, drug insurance, insurance co-payments, discounts, doughnut hole, coupons and affordability are all part of 21st century drug economics.
Prescription drug prices have increased significantly in the past 4 years.
The cost of prescription medications can be overwhelming. We want to limit the cost of your medications and continue to provide quality care.
Tips for saving money on prescription drugs
Generic Medications vs Branded Medications –
Many generic medications provide an equally good result as their branded equivalent, but at a lower price. Some generic eye drops are equally effective, but are not as comfortable or make your eyes appear more inflamed. Some generic medications are not as effective or produce side effects that make them unacceptable. Our doctors write prescriptions for generic medications whenever possible if the generic medications are equally as good as the branded product.
Unfortunately we have seen a steep rise in the cost of generic products over the past several years. In some cases a branded product purchased with a branded drug manufacturer’s discount card is less expensive than a generic purchased without a discount card.
Prescription Drug Insurance –
Some health insurance plans include drug coverage and some people have prescription drug insurance purchased separately. The drug insurance plan will list a formulary of drugs that the plan will cover and other drugs are “non-formulary” meaning they will not cover those drugs. The formulary list may be quite restrictive and not include the drug that has been prescribed for you.
Your drug insurance plan will usually require a co-insurance payment from you for each prescription that you fill.
Medicare has the infamous “doughnut hole” where you will pay full price for your prescription once you reach the dollar threshold. Once you have paid full price up to the next threshold, the plan resumes paying for your medication.
Often your co-pay occurs with each purchase. For medications used chronically, get the largest supply they will give you at each purchase to limit the number of co-pays you make each year.
Generic Substitution -Your insurer may suggest or require you to use a generic substitution, which is a drug that has the same active ingredient as the branded drug, but may not be similar in other ingredients. That is usually not a problem, but sometimes they will require a different strength drug to be used or the drug may be in a different tear base which can be a problem.
Therapeutic substitution –A therapeutic substitution is a drug that is not the same drug but works in a similar fashion to the drug prescribed. The substituted drug may have different effectiveness or have different side effects from the prescribed drug. Therapeutic substitutions should only be made by the prescribing doctor. Please let your doctor know if you are changed to a different drug.
Medication samples – In the past pharmaceutical companies have left medication samples at doctors offices to be given free of charge to patients. This has become less common. Samples are only for branded drugs and not for generic drugs.
Manufacturers cards and coupons –
Drug manufacturers are now issuing discount cards and coupons. Some of these will guarantee that you will not pay more than $40.00 whether you have insurance or not. Other cards give a fixed percentage or dollar amount off of retail price. These cards are found in doctor’s offices, in magazines and in pharmacies.
On line discount Cards and coupons
Sizable savings can be found on the internet at various web sites.
Mississippi State Medical Association has a web site www.mississippidrugcard.com where you may create your own discount card that is honored by most pharmacies.
www.goodRx.com has a web site where you may print discount coupons.
Indigent Assistance Programs from Drug Manufacturers
If you are not covered by drug insurance and your yearly income is below the poverty level, you may apply for one of the indigent assistance programs offered by the various drug manufacturers for their product.
Be a savvy shopper-
Purchasing medications is a retail transaction just like buying a pair of shoes or buying a new car. Buying prescription medications has become much more complicated in recent years. To save money on prescription purchases it is important to understand how your insurance works, understand the various terms that the insurer uses, make use of discount cards and coupons and feel free to compare prices at various pharmacies. There are savings out there if you can find them.