7 Ways Seniors Can Lower Prescription Drug Costs

courtesy of DailyCaring.com

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On average, people over age 65 take 14 to 18 prescription medications a year. Multiple medications are challenging to manage and rising medication costs put significant financial pressure on seniors. Drug costs have been increasing steadily over the years and jumped 10% from 2015 to 2016.

Every dollar counts, especially for older adults who are living on Social Security. To reduce costs, we rounded up 7 tips to help seniors save money on prescription drugs.

1. Switch to generics.

On average, generic drugs cost 80 to 85% less than brand name drugs. Ask your older adult's doctor if there are generic drugs that could safely replace their brand medications.

The FDA requires generic drugs to have the same quality and performance as brand name drugs, but there may still be subtle differences that could affect your older adult. That's why it's important to speak with the doctor before making any changes.

2. Find less expensive brand name drugs.

Most health conditions can be treated by a variety of different drugs. Some of those drugs may even work in similar ways, but cost much less.

Ask your older adult's doctor if there are less expensive brand name medications that could treat their condition just as well as the current medication.

3. Switch to a mail-order pharmacy.

Many health plans and pharmacy companies encourage you to use their mail-order pharmacy. You'll save money on most drugs and get a three-month supply. That means no more running back and forth to the pharmacy, which will save time, too!

7 Ways Seniors Can Lower Prescription Drug Costs

4. Find a better Medicare drug plan.

If your older adult is paying high prescription medication costs, a different Medicare drug plan could lower those costs.

Use the Medicare Plan Finder to look at different plans or talk with a free expert counselor at your local State Health Insurance and Assistance Programs (SHIP) office.

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5. Get help from state programs.

Some states have programs that provide extra help paying for prescription medications. It's worth the time to investigate if your senior's drug costs are high relative to their income. They may qualify. Find out if your state offers extra help paying for prescriptions.

6. Get help from the drug manufacturer.

Some drug companies offer programs that help people pay for their medications. Use this easy tool to look up your senior's drugs to see if there are any assistance programs.

7. Apply for the Extra Help program.

For lower income seniors, Social Security has a program called Extra Help With Medicare Prescription Drug Costs. It helps pay for costs related to a Medicare prescription drug plan. Find out if your older adult qualifies and how to apply.

If your older adult is paying a lot for medication, it's well worth the time and effort to see if there are less expensive alternatives or other ways to lower those prescription drug costs. It could mean thousands of dollars in savings.

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Take the Next Step:

  • Decide which of these 7 tools can help reduce your prescription costs and take action to follow through.
  • Find tools and resources geared specifically for the 50+ crowd in The Dollar Stretcher section dedicated to your financial issues. If you're over 50, your financial needs are different. And so are your questions.
  • Use this tool to maximize your retirement by determining the best age to take your Social Security benefits. Don't leave thousands on the table by taking Social Security at the wrong time.
  • Subscribe to After 50 Finances. You've learned how to work smarter, not harder. This weekly newsletter is dedicated to people just like you. Subscribers get a FREE copy of our After 50 Finances Pre-Retirement Checklist, a list of everything you need to do to be ready for retirement.

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