When people hear that they must go on another medication, their heart drops; not because it is another pill they have to take, but because they are concerned about what the cost will be. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that in 2016, Americans spent more than $460 billion on prescription drugs.[i] With inflation and the increase in prescription drug use in America, this number keeps rising. So, what can the average person do to afford medications that they need to stay healthy, or to prevent further health issues?

First, consumers should educate themselves and learn about the different options available. Think of it like buying a car: you’d do your research to find the pros and cons of a vehicle and shop around for the best price before making a decision. This should be your same mentality when it comes to your health insurance and prescription drug coverage. If you are currently enrolled in a medical plan, know what your prescription drug coverage is. Educate yourself on the different tiers that your prescriptions may fall in under the prescription coverage. Ask the following questions:

1.Does your coverage allow 90-day supplies?  

2.Would a mail order option be a cheaper way to get your prescription rather than going to a brick and mortar pharmacy?

3.If mail order is cheaper, does your insurance give you the benefit of a 90-day supply for the same price as a 60-day?

Having this knowledge and information allows you to look at all your options and make the most educated decision in figuring out how to pay for your medications.

Next, let’s look at preventive drugs, which are medications used to help avoid any future health issues or illnesses. Does your plan have a preventive drug list, and if so, are your medications on it? If your medication is not listed on the insurance carrier’s preventive list, take the list to your primary care physician (PCP) and ask if there is a possibility that you could be switched to a medication on the preventive list. This small change could potentially save you a lot of money.

More and more, we are seeing discount programs available for consumers to assist with the cost of prescription drugs. One example of a discount program is GoodRx. This program allows consumers to obtain prescription drug costs from neighboring pharmacies and receive discounts for the prescription drugs. Through your insurance plan, your medication may have a copay of $60, but you could obtain a cost through GoodRX of $25. By taking the time to do the research, it will allow you to save money and know what is available to you. It is worth noting that GoodRX cannot be used in conjunction with your health insurance.

If you want your copays for prescription drugs to go towards your deductible, you might want to look at coupons available from the drug manufacturer instead. Many manufacturers offer coupons that can be used in conjunction with your medical insurance.

Navigating the health insurance world can be stressful. Using the resources available to you, and educating yourself on the different options to cut costs are ways to help ease the stress of figuring out how you and your family members will be able to obtain necessary medications. For questions or help navigating your plan, feel free to reach out to us at info@bondbenefits.com or give us a call at 585-248-5870.

[i] https://www.marketwatch.com/story/almost-half-of-americans-have-used-a-prescription-drug-in-the-past-month-2019-05-08