Save Bundles on Medications
by Nadine Shapiro
Cut Costly Prescription Prices
Become a Smarter Patient
Your Personal Health Plan
Less than a year ago, I took a new job because of medical insurance. I had been a contractor for the state of Maryland and was watching my insurance premiums rise. As I got sicker, my premiums got higher, which tends to happen if you work for a fairly small place. My new job includes top of the line medical insurance with prescription coverage. I thought I would be covered for what I needed, but was I wrong! I had to fall back on what I learned when I had no coverage. These tips have helped me in so many ways and saved me more money than I can count! I hope they will work for you.
1) Always ask for samples.
I don't want to buy a bottle of a medication that I cannot tolerate or that isn't helping me, so samples are a great way to find out if this is the right drug for you. Doctors often have many samples available, so don't be shy. Being honest with your health care providers also gives them more of a chance to help you and be generous with samples. When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I needed an antidepressant because another medication I had to be on for the MS was making me feel really down. My insurance at the time did not include any prescription coverage. My health care team understood I had no other way to get my medication, so they gave me as many samples as they could find.
2) Research patient assistance programs.
When the samples ran out, I found out that many of the drug companies that made my medications had patient assistance programs for which I qualified. Note that I was working full time, so it pays to see if you qualify. These programs are usually through drug companies and require basic information such as your income and living expenses. One of the medications that I'm on was denied by my insurance because it was considered for "off-label" use. Being denied by my insurance company qualified me to receive this drug through a patient assistance program. I have saved thousands of dollars by going directly to the pharmaceutical company, since this drug costs over $800 a month. An excellent website that will stream line your search for available patient assistance programs is www.needymeds.com.
3) Go with the generic.
Just four years ago, one of my medications cost $92 a bottle. Since then, that pharmaceutical company has come out with a generic, which costs only $5 though my insurance company. I get the generic at double the dose and cut my pills in half. This saves time and means going to the pharmacy less frequently, which saves money and gas!
4) Look into direct mail service.
My insurance company allows me to order certain medications directly through them, if I sign up for their mail service. In fact, they encourage it. I pay co-pays for two bottles of a certain drug and three bottles are mailed to my door. Look into what else your insurance company offers while you're at it. They might offer discounts for various services such as acupuncture and massage therapy.
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